The veil of “Shadow Censorship”, like that of Twitter, has even taken hold in the premier Pacifica Radio line up at Anti-War station KPFK in Los Angeles. The station’s premier program on both foreign policy and progressive national issues has been removed from its 9 a.m. weekly spot. It can only be heard if you get up really early, at 6 a.m.
Amy Goodman has been the main framework of the KPFK line-up for many years. It could be argued that her show, “Democracy Now”, has gone a long way to keep KPFK afloat. Her show is one of most popular progressive shows in the country. Not only does this weaken the prime 9 a.m. broadcast hour, but it will hit KPFK’s bottom line, as Amy Goodman is one of the best “pitch” persons at KPFK, bringing in untold thousands of dollars to support the station over the years. In addition, Goodman makes appearances in Los Angeles as KPFK sponsored events, bringing the station even more publicity and funding.
What is strange about this is that no notice was given to the listeners. No vote was taken as far as can be determined. Evidently the Program Director made the decision by himself.
Shadow Banning. This is a method used by the large social media platforms to remove programs and individuals from the platforms without anybody knowing what is really going on. The person or program is still there, it just can’t be seen by anybody else. Twitter just admitted to “hiding” over 600,000 individual accounts. This is pure and simple corporate censorship. By “hiding” Goodman’s program at 6 a.m., before most folks are even awake in the morning, they are exercising a form of “shadow censorship”. Her former 9a.m. time slot was in the key morning time that folks flip on their radios.
Anti-War activist Frank Dorrel has put out a statement on this sudden removal of Democracy Now:
I am totally against this change. If Democracy Now underperforms during a fund drive at the 9:00 AM time-slot, I would think it is because more often than not, you cut away from the show to have Christine offering some other product not associated with Amy Goodman. In my humble opinion, Democracy Now is by far the most important show on KPFK. Tom Hartman is no Amy Goodman, not at all. Not even close. He’s OK and I think his program deserves being on the station. I can’t believe you are making this change. So now Democracy Now will only be on KPFK at 6:00 AM. I would think this move will end up with less people listening to KPFK then before. Just one man’s opinion. I have been listening to KPFK since 1980. This is the station where I learned all about U.S. foreign policy, hence my film: “What I’ve Learned About US Foreign Policy”- www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdMWOjYuYwk&t=183s – which Amy promoted along with the anti-war book I publish & distribute: ADDICTED To WAR – during a fund drive many years ago and received over 100 orders at $200 per order. She did this with Jerry Quickly. I still get many orders for ADDICTED To WAR. I have distributed close to 240,000 copies since 2002.his.
This move comes after Pacifica station in Berkeley KPFA has removed another popular program, Guns and Butter. They also purged the 17 years of archives for the show at the same time without notice. This show also dealt with controversial topics. The question is why Pacifica stations are going down the censorship road, “shadow banning” and outright removal of controversial, but popular programs. Is Pacifica turning into another corporate authoritarian platform, removing the most controversial programs? YouTube hired 10,000 censors to “police” and remove controversial videos. Facebook has been caught censoring, as well as google. In the last few years, around a billion pages, platforms, and individuals have been removed from social media. This is the worst attack on Free Speech in the history of mankind. A shame that the so-called free speech radio stations at Pacifica are going down the same path.
The incredible financial mess continues at Pacifica. Because they have blown the audit dates for 2 years and have lost about 2 million dollars in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the network is danger of financial failure. The new June 2016 deadline for filing looks like a repeat disaster, possibly blowing close to another million, despite hiring a new Chief Financial Officer, Sam Agarwal, who is facing an uphill battle to literally pry basic financial information from the stations. Some of the Pacifica stations, like KPFK, do not even have regular bookkeepers at this point, and Agarwal has taken the financial records away from at least 2 stations, it was revealed by Fred Blair in his first KPFK financial report as the treasurer of the Listener Board.
Some serious financial information came out at the recent National Finance Committee, WBAI’s report, and the KPFK Listener Board meeting. Here’s a few bullet points:
—Only 2 of Pacifica’s 5 stations have full-time business managers. This in itself is insane behavior of management. They have been unable or unwilling to commit to straighten out the chaotic financial situation.
—Neither WPFW, Washington, D.C., nor WBAI, New York have had their draft FY16 budgets approved yet. FY16 began on October 1, 2015.
—The CFO said that cash flow is a major concern now, some stations can’t even meet the National Office’s payroll deadline and are critically behind on health care insurance payments, Central Services fees, and other expenses.
—The Auditors have concerns about WBAI’s rental agreement obligations to the Empire State Building. This is for transmission antennae and is said to be around $50,000 per month.
—The CFO said that Pacifica should not count on getting Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) grants for four to six months because of the lateness of the audit. He said that meeting the short range cash needs for those four to six months would be a challenge. (And this may not happen if the auditors cannot get the information.)
—The CFO has not been able to even access all the bank accounts, meaning a lot of information is not available.
—WBAI winter fund drive after the entire month of February and an additional week is only 65% of projected budget.
—CFO has not been able to get ANY information from WPFW. Financially he doesn’t know what is going on there.
—Pacifica has not sent the financial statements to the stations that were due in February.
—The amount of information that has been demanded from the auditors
Click on Box to view KPFK Treasurer’s Report. Keep watching entire video as last part is a Supplemental Report by former Treasurer Kim Kaufman.
Former KPFK Treasurer Outlines Dire Conditions
Kim Kaufman, former KPFK LSB Treasurer issued the following report
This is a supplemental report to what you’ve just seen on the video
I have written elsewhere how Lydia Brazon’s majority has approved deficit budgets for KPFK totaling approximately $1 million dollars the last two years. But what’s really telling about this year’s KPFK budget is that the majority of fund drive days – almost 2/3s – come in the first half of the year. There’s mostly smoke and mirrors in the second half. I wonder if they intend for KPFK to be in business in the second half of this fiscal year which starts April 1.
As Fred said, there is a new CFO. His last job was at a San Francisco non-profit. It was largely funded by various state department and law enforcement agencies that are usually associated with regime change in foreign countries. It’s an unusual choice for Pacifica one would think.
The CFO has been at Pacifica for less than two months and said he hasn’t reviewed most of the station’s budgets – but suggested they may be unnecessary and can be replaced by “innovative thinking.” He can’t possibly be familiar with all our operations in this short time and yet he’s decided our business model is no good. And that he and Lydia, without informing the board, have put out proposals for alternate funding. But he’s not prepared to get into specifics yet.
Such “innovative thinking” may be underwriting as was discussed at the last National Finance meeting. This seems to me to be a straw man – a sham argument set up to be defeated. It seems odd that after two years of the national board majority claiming how fantastic they were doing because they were in charge, now suddenly, there’s a financial disaster with the only choice being presented is to take underwriting. And the board saying nothing while the CFO says publicly that listener support should be dismissed as reliable or even desirable.
The majority on the national board have already forfeited $2 million dollars in lost funding because of two late audits filed to the State of CA and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CFO seems really fuzzy about the next CPB deadline which he seems likely to miss which will cost Pacifica another one million dollars in lost grants. It seems odd that making that deadline in June to make sure we get that $1 million dollars isn’t his highest priority.
This is a straw man because first of all, our audience is simply too low to be attractive for any serious underwriting. Any business that would be aligned with our programming is not likely to provide much financial support relative to our low listenership. It won’t bring in significant funding and in exchange, it will upset our listeners at the mere idea of this. But perhaps that is the point. Say no to this scary underwriting and the alternative is… wind up in bankruptcy court? Sell off a license?
But why is no one talking about the real choices? What real management and leadership would do with a radio network would be to improve the programming, which is what we do to serve the public which is why we have non-profit radio licenses in the first place. We would get a plan to do appropriate marketing. And we would clean up the sloppy or outright fraudulent accounting and business practices.
In KPFK’s case, we would ask why is there unqualified management making obviously bad decisions… like taking off KPFK’s most popular programs and replacing them with cronies? Or why did the GM fire the webmaster and allow KPFK’s website to degenerate to a non-functional mess? That has cost us thousands, if not tens of thousands of listeners who used to listen on-line, download shows – and donate through the website. Rather than underwriting, how about re-hiring the webmaster and getting back those listeners?
Lew Hill, the founder of the Pacifica Foundation, which owns the five radio licenses, was very clear in his writings. Popular programs would get listener support. Unpopular ones wouldn’t. This the integrity of listener sponsor radio. That’s why it’s a public service not a private broadcasting club. Why is the national board majority so allergic to talking about this? Why are they allowing management to drive away KPFK’s listeners? Who benefits?
Supplemental Finance Report
As of Wednesday, the February fund drive total was: $261,469 after 15 days/ $17,431 per day. The budgeted goal is $600,000 for 22 days/ $27,272 per day. To reach the goal, the drive would have to be extended to 34 days (assuming per day doesn’t decline).
The budgeted goal for December was $400,000 at 15 days/ $26,666 per day. Two days were added. The pledged amount was $316,752 for 17 days/ $18,632 per day. Novick and the GM assumed in the budget the rest of the days of December would be “quiet drive days” to achieve the goal. That leaves the “quiet drive” magic dust to make up the $83,248 difference.
This February drive is the last drive in this half of the year. 102 fund drive days were budgeted for FY2016, 63 in the first half of the fiscal year (October-March). With the addition of 8 days already added, the total drive days are now up to 110 days with 71 in the first half, assuming no more days are added to the February drive (a not-likely assumption).
There are only 39 budgeted fund drive days in the second half of the year (April-September) at an average of $23,111 per day (an overly rosy number based on actuals). The rest of the listener support comes from 92 budgeted “quiet drive” days at $5,400 per day to raise about $500,000 in the months of April, June, August and September.
The LSB or Treasurer should ask management for the results of the quiet drive days in December. How many days did it run and how much was pledged/ paid per day? This was supposed to all go through the website. It does not show up in MEMSYS.
It’s important to see how realistic these quiet drive number are going forward. My estimate is the December quiet drive brought in something over $1,000 per day which falls far short of the $5,400 per day budget. December is historically the best month for this kind of pitch
This appears to leave a $400,000+/- gap in fundraising for the second half of the year for the quiet drive days, plus the much lower than budget per day $ in these first three drives.
The NFC approved FY2016 budget was created entirely by Treasurer Novick, iED/Chair/NFC rep Brazon and GM Radford on the NFC. An earlier draft was approved by the LSB majority with a $1 million deficit. This draft is an improvement but is still a severely deficit budget.
While I would not preclude a severe financial crisis before the end of March, it appears extremely likely after March.
Whistleblower on Pacifica National Board Exposes Years of Fraud and Violations of FTC Rules at Pacifica Stations Across the Country.
by Ed Murray
Dateline: Sacramento, California
On February 20, 2016, Steve Brown, a member of the Pacifica National Board, filed a very serious complaint with the State of California Registry of Charitable Trusts. In his complaint, Mr. Brown asserts that there has been ” a continuing pattern of serious criminal activities at Pacifica (still going on) that has been condoned, abetted, and/or committed by members of Pacifica management and its board of directors during (at least) the past three years.”
Mr. Brown, after much agonizing, has decided to become a whistleblower, and expose the mail – order practices of several of the Pacifica radio stations and its management, who have chosen to look the other way and ignore Mr. Brown’s frequent demands that the practices stop. He outlines a consistant pattern of fraud at Los Angeles station KPFK, station WPFW in Washington D.C., and at WBAI in New York City.
The charges put forth by Mr. Brown relate to the millions of dollars these stations took in while promising the donors they would receive “premiums” in the mail, often they would be DVDs, or CDs. These charges have been ongoing in the internet media for some time. Other websites, such as www.PacificaInExile.com have also reported the anger of donors who did not receive product that they had ordered. These violations have amounted to thousands of dollars over the years, leaving angry donors.
Here is the complete text of the charges filed with the California Attorney General’s Office.
Deputy Attorney General
State of California
Department of Justice
Registry of Charitable Trusts
P.O. Box 903447
Sacramento CA 94203-4470
February 20, 2016
Re: Pacifica Foundation Radio Complaint # CT011303
Dear Ms. Mossler:
I write to inform you of new and even more serious violations of civil and criminal statutes by the persons originally named in Complaint # CT011303. They make intervention by your office more critical than ever. It may be the last chance to save the Pacifica Foundation.
Complaint # CT011303 was filed by 8 former Pacifica board directors (with my approval and support as a current director) because the foundation’s executive director, Margy Wilkinson (and her successors) – together with the foundation’s corporate counsel, Dan Siegel, and the board majority faction they control – had been colluding in a pattern of illegal activities that could not be blocked by normal internal controls.
However, now the situation has worsened. Because your office has not yet taken action (perhaps because our foundation is too small?), those persons have been emboldened to behave even more recklessly – and illegally – thereby placing the assets and safety of the Pacifica Foundation at even greater risk.
For example, a lawsuit (civil action no: 1:16-cv-241, united states district court, eastern district of new york) has just been filed by Gary Null against the foundation and three of its executive directors for violations of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435) and violations of federal criminal statutes dealing with intellectual property theft.
Although the current and former executive director, and the majority board members of their faction, had been put on notice, numerous times, by myself and other minority directors, that illegal violations were occurring (and had been occurring for at least 2 years), they refused to stop these activities or fire those responsible, apparently because the violations increased foundation revenue. If the above-referenced lawsuit against the foundation and its officers and directors prevails (as I believe it will, because its causes of action are valid), the statutory fines and penalties that can be imposed on the foundation – especially by the FTC, Justice Department, and US Postal Service – could amount to tens of millions of dollars. This would absolutely destroy the foundation. That it is why it is so important that your office intervene.
Here are only a few recent violations of law that have been abetted and/or committed by Pacifica’s management and controlling board faction, which neither I nor the foundation’s minority directors have been able to block or roll back.
1. Violations of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435)
by Pacifica Radio Station KPFK
In a recent fund drive, Pacifica Radio Station KPFK solicited on-air donations of approximately $800,000 from about 7,500 California residents by promising to send them a variety of merchandise (value: $50 to $300) in return for their donations. The FTC Mail Order Rule https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/mail-internet-or-telephone-order requires that such merchandise be delivered within 30 days of receiving payment, unless otherwise stated in the solicitation; or, if it is known that delivery will take longer (but not more than 60 days), a specifically worded notice specifying when delivery will take place, or offering a refund, must be sent to each recipient.
However, the station did not deliver any of the merchandise within 30 or 60 days, nor did it send the required delay notices. Instead, the station manager privately informed her staff – and also let it be known to the foundation’s executive director and board – that she had already spent the money intended for acquisition of the promised (and paid-for) merchandise, and therefore would not deliver that merchandise until a year(!) past the order date (with a good chance that it would not be delivered at all). This violates 16 CFR Part 435 in numerous ways, for which the station can be fined as much as $16,000 per violation. These statutory fines apply even if the merchandise is eventually delivered. And each late and/or undelivered item of merchandise counts as a single violation, making Pacifica’s possible exposure $16,000 x 7,500 = $120,000,000.)
2. Violation of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435)
by Pacifica Radio Station WPFW
In a recent fund drive, Pacifica Radio Station WPFW solicited on-air donations of between $300-$400,000 from approximately 4,000 Washington, DC, resident by promising to deliver a variety of merchandise (value $50-$300) in return for their donations. In this case, it is my understanding that — not only was no merchandise delivered and no notices sent — but station management knew, in advance of solicitation, that it did not have the money to acquire that merchandise, and would probably never deliver it to any of those who had paid for it. Because this is a “knowing violation,” in addition to the statutory fines (of up to $64,000,000), the matter could be referred to the Justice Department for further prosecution and penalties.
3. Violation of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435)
by Pacifica Radio Station WBAI
In a recent fund drive, Pacifica Radio Station WBAI solicited approximately $500,000 in donations by promising to deliver a variety of merchandise (value $50-$300) to approximately 5,000 New York City Metro Area residents in return for their donations. However, only a fraction this merchandise was delivered, and that was long after the 30- or 60-day limit allowed by the FTC. Moreover, no FTC-mandated delay notices were sent, and the balance of the merchandise has not, to my knowledge, been delivered, and may not ever be.
Hundreds of complaints about non-delivery of merchandise by this station have been received personally by me and others, after the donors were unable to elicit a response from the station. To verify for myself the station’s illegal delivery practices, I sent $200 to WBAI on February 2, 2015, in response to one of its numerous on-air fundraising solicitations; in return for my donation it was promised that I would receive a book and a DVD by Webster Tarpley (approximate value $50). It is now one year later, but I have not received this merchandise, nor do I expect that I ever will.
I estimate that, in the last 12 months, at least 5,000 orders have been unfulfilled by this station, and many more fulfilled late, in violation of FTC regulations. Those 5,000 orders alone risk statutory fines of up to $16,000 x 5,000 = $80,000,000. If solicitations from the past 36 months are included, the number of unfilled orders – merely at WBAI alone — could rise to 15,000 or more, risking statutory fines of up to $240,000,000.
The only way to determine the exact number of delinquent orders is to examine the records at all 5 Pacifica stations. However, when I requested these records at WBAI – and by law, as a director, I am entitled to examine all foundation records without exception – my requests were ignored and the records withheld. Absent action by your office, these records will remain hidden, and the defrauding of tens of thousands of residents in the foundation’s five broadcasting areas – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Washington DC, and New York – will continue.
4. Violation of federal criminal statutes against intellectual
property theft by Pacifica Radio Station WBAI
Much of the merchandise used by Pacifica radio stations to solicit donations consists of commercially produced CDs and DVDs, mostly feature-length films, documentaries, and self-help videos. Normally, the stations would purchase these items from reputable vendors at wholesale prices ranging from about $10-$20 each, and then deliver them to donors. But at Radio Station WBAI, in some cases (I do not know how many, because records have been withheld) the station manager would purchase only a few copies from vendors, then illegally duplicate tens or hundreds or thousands more to fulfill the balance of orders. This has been going on at WBAI and other Pacifica stations for many years. Because the practice can save the foundation up to $100,000 or more a year, it is not stopped by the foundation’s officers or the board faction in control, no matter how often the practice is brought to their notice and protested. Not only does this break the law; it also cheats the donors by sending them fraudulent substandard copies instead of the genuine merchandise they were promised in return for their money.
I and two other minority directors have first-hand personal knowledge of illegal CD and DVD duplication at WBAI. I collected some of these fraudulent copies myself, and know of two specific vendors whose copyrighted products have been illegally duplicated in this way. One of them, Gary Null (whose lawsuit I referenced at the beginning of this letter), has acquired some of these illegal copies on his own and identified them as fakes. Intellectual property theft is one of the causes of action in his lawsuit. I understand that statutory fines for theft of intellectual property are $250,000 per violation, and include prison terms of 5 years for first offenders.
I do not know how many vendors have been defrauded, or how many illegal copies have been made. The documents and records that would reveal these numbers have, as I noted, been withheld from me — either with the acquiescence of foundation officers and board members, or their active cooperation.
5. Pacifica’s attorney provides deceptive and destructive
advice to management and staff members
In response to one of my frequent protests against Pacifica’s ongoing FTC violations and illegal duplication of copyrighted material, a staff member at KPFK said she would cease to solicit donations for the station because of the risk of civil or criminal penalties against her and/or the foundation. In response, the foundation’s attorney, Dan Siegel, issued an email announcement saying that she should continue her solicitations, because Pacifica was exempt from punishment under the FTC Mail Order Rule. This was false and misleading advice, which Siegel had reason to know – as an attorney – since the statute explicitly states that non-profits and charities such as Pacifica are not exempt.
Siegel is not an FTC lawyer; he is an employment lawyer. Had he exercised reasonable fiduciary diligence and called the FTC for a Staff Opinion, he would have quickly been told that Pacifica is not exempt, and that its practices are indeed actionable violations of FTC law. Nor is there any exemption for Pacifica from federal criminal statutes that prohibit the theft of copyrighted material.
Sadly, Dan Siegel’s deceptive and (what I must regard as) self-serving advice to foundation staff members carried great weight, because Siegel, in addition to being the foundation’s attorney, has also served as its executive director. This willingness to wink at or deliberately violate state and federal law seems to be just one example of the recklessness with which Siegel and his faction have been running (and running down) the foundation.
In the earlier filing of this complaint, it was noted that the goal of Dan Siegel and his faction was apparently to bankrupt the foundation, so that its licenses and assets (estimated to be worth $100 million or more) could be acquired by a shadow corporation named “KPFA Foundation,” which Siegel and another board member had created for this purpose 27 months ago. This shadow corporation, I might add, was created in secret, its existence deliberately withheld from the foundation’s executive director and board of directors. However, as our corporate attorney, was not Siegel legally obligated to disclose to the board (1) the existence of that corporation, (2) its purpose, which was inherently antithetical to the welfare of Pacifica, and (3) his controlling interest in that corporation? But he never did so, until its existence was uncovered, accidentally, 4 months ago, by the secretary of the Pacifica board, to her great astonishment.
After its discovery, Siegel then admitted that the purpose of his shadow corporation, whose legal address is that of the law firm he owns, was indeed to acquire the licenses and assets of the Pacifica Foundation, in the event that it went bankrupt (an event that he and his faction were uniquely placed to engineer, and towards which they have apparently been working). Therefore, the only way Siegel’s secret corporation could succeed, is if Pacifica were to fail. Is this not an unacceptable conflict of interest for Pacifica’s attorney, and a reason for him to be severed from the foundation? Yet because his faction controls the board, he is impossible to remove, and therefore continues to exert what seems to be a deliberately destabilizing influence on the health of the foundation.
Although I am not an attorney, I would think that if a corporation’s officers and board of directors are made aware of illegal activities under their control, but refuse to use their authority to stop those activities, they are in effect abetting those activities – and are therefore accessories after the fact. As such, do you think they are appropriate custodians in whom to entrust the care of such a valued public asset as Pacifica?
The fines and penalties that Pacifica might suffer due to the reckless and illegal behavior of its management would be a number with so many zeroes that it could not fit on the output screen of my calculator. It would mean the death of Pacifica. I hope your office will not stand by and allow the current management faction to wreck our foundation. I hope, as well, that if you decide to act, it will not be too late.
Stephen M Brown
Director, Pacifica National Board
When contacted about this story Rachele Huennekens, Press Secretary of the Office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris stated “We don’t comment on any potential or ongoing investigation, as a matter of law and policy.”
Do KPFK’s Statements Regarding $70,000 in Unfulfilled Premiums Put Programmers at Risk Legally as Fund Drive “Pitching” Continues Unabated?
by Ed Murray
A recent posting on the Pacifica watchdog website, PacificaInExile.org turned up a nightmare issue that came from KPFK’s General Manager, Leslie Radford. Here’s the paragraph from Pacifica In Exile:
“At the same meeting, Radford stated her intention was not to pay for past-due premium gifts for subscribers unless compelled to by “legal action”. KPFT treasurer Bill Crosier pointed out subscribers are unlikely to donate again if they still haven’t received gifts from previous drives, but Radford stuck to her guns about not paying past due premium bills. She described the unpaid bills as totaling $70,000, which loosely represents about half a million dollars in pledges from 3,000 people. Radford’s statement verges on a declaration of intent to commit mail fraud and may compel the legal action mentioned”.
These statements took place at a Pacifica National Finance Committee meeting on December 14, 2015. You can listen or download the audio of the meeting, click here.
A problem that has been occurring at several of the Pacifica network stations over the last few years is that promises of “premiums” to donors for making pledges have in many instances not been sent to the donors. This, of course, infuriates the donors or subscribers, who have pledged, say, $75 – $300 and are waiting for a dvd or some other gift that never arrives. The question is if this is a continuing pattern of behavior by the station, does it constitute a fraud, possibly mail fraud? The further question is how far down the chain of command the fraud charge would apply? All programmers are expected to participate in the fund drive “pitching” . If the station announces, or it becomes clear after several years of this nonsense, that because of lack of funds to mail out the premiums, or indeed pay for them, that the station is just “blowing them off” to save money, are the programmers also guilty of participating in the scheme?
Ms. Radford, during the Pacifica National Finance Committee meeting, seemed to be saying that KPFK is mainly interested in paying bills that might result in legal or court actions if not paid, and that she wasn’t worried much about the past due premiums of $70,000 ending up in court, so no rush to take care of it? She mentioned that the $70,000 was much less than it was in a previous statement, hopefully meaning that KPFK is trying to “catch up” on the premium mess, but she did not expand on the comment, or give any indication of when, if ever, all the back premiums would be sent out.
WBAI in New York has also had an on-going problem with premiums. It’s actually worse there, as Progressive Radio’s Gary Null has intimated that past personnel at the station may have been involved in a conspiracy of sorts to bootleg Null’s documentaries and offer them as premiums without paying for them. He has threatened a “major” legal action if his demands are not met, and it is possible that the turn of the new year may see this legal action filed against Pacifica and/or WBAI. This would possibly be for a much more serious charge of copyright violations, a Federal crime. Click here to go to Gary Null’s Progressive Commentary Hour archives, check out the three shows of 9-22, 9-29, and 10-6 on Pacifica’s Problems.
Another bombshell was dropped by Ms. Radford at the same Finance meeting, which took place via skype or telephone, was that she had a letter in her hand from someone who was interested in buying KPFK’s building and would then be willing to “lease it back to us”. The property on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City is considered a prime parcel, and any big real estate investment group would be interested in buying it, knowing that there would be a possibility that KPFK would default on the lease in the future, leaving the new owner free to get the high going rents after that. This shocking announcement would dispose of a great capital asset, bring in a pile of cash now, but would be very costly in the long run. It will be interesting to see how this idea goes forward. The looming black holes of debt and mismanagement are pressing in on Pacifica, and disposing of real estate assets may now be on the table.
An interesting conversation occurred on Ian Masters’ Background Briefing yesterday, Sunday October 11, 2015. Program Director Alan Minsky was on Ian’s show to pitch for money and support for the latest KPFK fund drive and Masters mentioned that during the recent period when he was ill “a group of people tried to take me off the air.” As the conversation progressed, he asked “Why should I raise funds for people who are trying to get me off the air?” Actually, a relevant question in the light of all the award winning show hosts who have either been cut, or have resigned recently. The feeling among many of the hosts is that the new faction that has taken over Pacifica has some kind of secret hit list for shows they want removed. Some off-the-record talk at some past LSB meetings indicated that Alan Minsky might also be on that list. This could all be written off as just run of the mill criticism that has existed among the different factions. Or it could be real.
Some snippets from the show:
Masters: “…so I could be taken off the air for mentioning the name of the person who runs Pacifica?”
“Here we are, Free Speech Radio and we can’t even mention the name of the person who runs Pacifica?”
Minsky: “You could be taken off the air if you continue this kind of conversation depending on the words you say.”
Masters: “These people don’t appreciate anything I do. They are clearly in a different universe.”…….
“The idea that you could be taken off the air for mentioning the name of the head of Pacifica is so insane.”
Alan Minsky and Ian Masters have been friends for a long time. Minsky said he was a free speech purist, but that Pacifica had rules about disparaging any other program hosts or station officials. The pressure on many of the hosts lately has been intense, especially with an on-going union action and the very survival of the network at stake. Most of us out here in the radio listening audience wouldn’t mind hearing from the hosts on air as to what is happening at KPFK and Pacifica, and what the feelings and opinions of the staff are at this time. After all, we are listening to real-live people, not robots, so anyone who has listened to a particular host for years would want to know their views on the current crises. Possibly there should be a round-table discussion on air, with members of the staff voicing their opinions as to what’s wrong at Pacific and some proposed solutions. From the look of things, the new ruling faction is having a lot of trouble in correct decision-making and maybe some input from the staff would be helpful. Anyone stepping into the leadership of Pacifica is a public figure, and should be ready to receive some body blows from the public for bad decisions. Be ready to take responsibility for your bad or ineffective actions is the rule in business and politics.
What is known, without a shadow of a doubt, that the present ruling faction, going back several years, has made some disastrous decisions. Right now, the most important task is to get the business end of Pacifica in order: the financial mess, the audits, the premiums, the accounting. A station can survive a while with unpopular programming, but blowing the money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, failure to keep up with F.C.C rules, and the State of California rules, could be a death-blow. Not even to mention what will come of the fiasco with the union.
Buildings Bursting With Angry Employees Is a Dangerous Thing
by Ed Murray
Dateline Los Angeles:
It’s a perfectly natural behavior pattern. As the entire Pacifica network surges toward complete disintegration, everyone is angry. There’s so much tension at the KPFK building that sometimes it seems that the whole place is just going to start spinning around and take off into outer space. Most of this is caused by the new ruling clique and their actions. Getting rid of a bunch of people and cutting the staff salaries has everyone on edge, especially those who might like to pay their rent next month and maybe have enough left over for a taco at Poquito Mas. Last week it was reported that not only were the staff union members put on half salary, but the union dues that were deducted from their wages had not been remitted to the union in months. Nice. Now the question is will the union continue to represent members who haven’t paid their dues, through no fault of their own? Tensions run high.
There is, however, a solution to all this. As KPFK slips and morphs its way into the business model of Revolution Radio, these kinds of problems will melt away. As reported on previously, no one is paid at Revolution Radio, except maybe the owner, The NnightHawkk. Or “Mr. Nnight Hawkk”, as he is sometimes called. If nobody is paid, and the entire staff and all the hosts are working for free, then nobody gets mad when the pay is cut in half, or cut completely. Problem solved.
There is also the Pet Factor as it is called. The Nnight Hawkk knows that pets have a calming effect on humans. At Revolution Radio, you will see a big old hound dog lounging around, and a lot of cats. This technique should be immediately applied at KPFK, and in fact throughout the entire Pacifica organization. Pets should be mandatory at all stations.
How nice it would be if everybody could bring their real best friend to work with them. Imagine a menagerie of doggies and kitties at KPFK, and maybe a nice canary singing in his window cage at the front entrance. This would have a calming effect on the employees who are now bursting with anger. It’s hard to get upset at anything when there’s a purring kitten nestled in your lap. And if some barking dog sounds float out over the air during a show, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would remind the subscribers that they are listening to a radio station made up of real people. And lets face it, dogs have important things to say too.
How To Throw A Big Bash And Raise Funds. The Story of Hawk Fest
Anyone who’s been listening to KPFK the last few years has heard the sound: a near constant, shrill, whinning sound. No, nothing is wrong with your radio or the KPFK Transmitter. It’s the ever-present begging-for-money sound that drones on day after day. Down south in Louiville, at Revolution Radio, they know things. And one of them is how to bring in a few bucks and have some fun.
Once a year, The NnightHawkk gears up for a big bash, which of course, is appropriately called Hawk Fest. It’s a shindig that KPFK should pay close attention to. Mr. Mike Ringley, The NnightHawkk, clears the decks for action a few weeks before the Labor Day holiday and organizes the event, which took place this year on part of his farm, which is called Hawk’s Nest. Being thrifty, like most southern folk, Mr. NnightHawkk has a do-it-yourself attitude. He even built his own stage this year for the night-time music show. It looks cool at night with the color lights on it, and the performers and bands appear to be floating in the trees. A few sips of some Kentucky white lightning will help to bring that image home.
The Hawk Fest is a fabulous event. It only costs $25 bucks for a ticket, which comes with a camping spot. Or you could bring your own RV. In that case the fee is only $20 bucks, which is really a bargain on many levels. The food plates cost extra, but are very reasonable, like about 25% of what you would pay in L.A. From the youtube videos, it’s obvious that the food is fantastic. The pre-fest video walk around showed the NnightHawkk’s gardens, he and his wife grow their own food. A lot of the listeners at KPFK are always talking about going to an expensive market to buy “organic” food, which costs a lot more than just regular food. At the Hawk’s Nest farm, they GROW their own food. How many KPFK folks actually grow their own food? Some are even a little snobby about eating only organic (the wealthy folks). But down at the Hawk Fest, real, home-grown food is served, and lots of it. KPFK should take note of this – there’s plenty of room on the roof of their building to start a big garden. This is a very sheikh thing to do, nowadays in urban areas, and a roof-top food garden could supply all the future non-paid volunteers with some good, healthy grub, since eating at fancy-pants restaurants will be a thing of the past for them.
And no big bash is complete without some entertainment. The NnightHawkk is no stranger to music. His bio says he studied music at UC Berkeley. He had his own band and is killer at rock-and-roll. There is a problem, sometimes, living in a rural area, in getting some musicians together. A recent Facebook post by Mr. NnightHawkk brings his frustration to the surface: ” i may be a musician but i fucking hate musicians UN trustworthy distracted lot nu reliable put off people that have no clue that this a business behind all this this is why i quit music.” (sic) Also on hand at this year’s Hawk Fest was stand up comedienne Tere Joyce, and the master of ceremonies was the beloved Sean David Morton. Click here to see Tere Joyces’ impromptu interview with Sean David, and get a glimpse of the famous white lightning.
KPFK could certainly learn a lesson here and put on its own bash. Get some of the “work in kind” contractors to build a simple stage at the end of the parking lot. Get out the folding chairs and tables and have the local restaurants cater the food, like they used to do for the phone volunteers in the old days of fund raising. Tickets for the event could include a meal. Get a few bands, or if nobody will pitch in, how about forming your own group? A monthly night -time Progressive Radio Bash should bring in enough money to buy seeds for the roof garden.
One warning should be stated, and this is from the Hawk Fest official rules of engagement: Leave your firearms stowed in your vehicle trunk or safe. Anyone giving adult beverages to anyone under 21 will be violently ejected from the event. This event is family friendly will be many kids around. Anyone that imbibes to the point where they become a nuisance will need to go to their tent or be ejected form the event. (sic) Suggest KPFK also post these rules in large print, especially since there are so many angry employees and staff members.
Give Progressives and West-side Liberals What They Really Want
by Ed Murray
Now that KPFK has pretty much gutted out some of its award-winning programs, like Sonali Kolhatkar’s Uprising, and Ian Masters’ Background Briefing, it can concentrate on programs that Progressives really want to hear about, like the annual Venice Beach Go Topless Day March, Rally and Protest. And let’s face it, awards for quality broadcasting are monstrously over-rated. Really, an award is just a piece of paper with some words on it, in a nice frame. KPFK is now free to print up their own awards. Or, they could do a 3-D plaque by making a quick trip to Radio Shack and buying some cheap mics for about $5-$10 bucks each, get a couple of “U” shaped clamps at Home Depot, and mount the mics on nice pieces of wood. These could be KPFK’s “Golden Mic” awards. Give them out to all the new revolutionary volunteer programmers, it’l make them feel swell.
Obviously, it’s way past time for KPFK to jump in the mud bath with the other tabloid media. Look to Revolution Radio for guidance. One of their shows, for instance, “Freedom of Joyce”, with host Tere Joyce, puts out some interesting topics. Stand up comedienne Tere even beat out KPFK on it’s own turf when she went to Venice and filmed the Free The Nipple Parade for her show. This was a big event in Venice, with hundreds of young women demanding the right to go topless at Venice Beach, and parading around with only little pasties covering their nipples. It was quite a scene. The question has to be asked: Where was KPFK? A “Go Topless Day March, Rally and Protest” program would be popular with a big portion of their listeners. This is what progressive folks and westside liberals really want to hear about. Who cares about politics anymore? It’s such ugly stuff. And soon it will be nothing but history, so why worry about it?
Which Loon Made Those Decisions?
And while it’s being discussed, what’s with KPFK having a table at a recent Los Angeles City-Wide picnic for Unions and union family members? KPFK was accused of “union-busting”, but they showed up at the recent Union picnic. Weird. But they didn’t show up at the huge Los Angeles Times Book Fair this spring at U.S.C., or the equally cool Spanish Language book fair. Which loon made those decisions?
“It Was a Thin Book From Beginning To End”
Or so said host Tere Joyce about a book she had once read. Her ever-entertaining show on Revolution Radio has such topics as the one where she exposed Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard’s connection to JPL founder Jack Parsons. The Hubbard/Parsons connections to the occult and to Aleister Crowley are bizarre. Another show was a retrospective called The Greatest UFO Story Never Told, about Giant Rock and UFO contactee George Van Tassel. At KPFK the UFO topic is basically verbotten, along with such topics as Chemtrails, 911 truth movement, and government CIA involvement in the drug trade. Any subject that has the word “conspiracy” in it is supposedly forbidden to be talked about at KPFK, unless it is after midnight or in one of the Spanish language programs. If a UFO ever did really land in the KPFK parking lot some night the Program Managers would head for the 24 hour medical clinics for blood tests to see if they had mistakenly gobbled down some LSD. However, things may be about to change, although possibly leading to a reckless catastrophe.
The Strange Universe of Sean David Morton
Another fascinating show on Revolution Radio is a show called Strange Universe Radio, broadcasting 5 nights a week with host Sean David Morton, who has been described as a “Nationally Known Psychic”. At least, that’s what the Securities and Exchange Commission called him when they pinned a default judgement against Morton, his wife, and several of his enterprises. The SEC said:
“District Court Grants Securities and Exchange Commission’s
Motions for Default Judgment against a Nationally Known Psychic
and his Corporate Entities in Multi-Million Dollar Offering Fraud.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) announced today that on February 11, 2013 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered default judgments against Sean David Morton
(Morton), a nationally recognized
psychic who bills himself as “America’s
Prophet,” his wife, relief defendant Melissa Morton, and corporate shell
entities co-owned by the Mortons. In addition to ordering permanent
injunctions from violating anti-fraud and registration statutes and rule, each
defendant was ordered to disgorge, jointly and severally, $5,181,135.82,
along with prejudgment interest of $1,171,110.54, and pay a penalty of
$5,181,135.82 for a total of $11,533,382.18. Relief defendants Melissa
Morton and the Prophecy Research Institute, the Mortons’ nonprofit
religious organization, were ordered to disgorge $468,281 plus prejudgment
interest of $105,847.23, for a total of $574,128.23.”
Secret Passages Inside the Great Pyramid
In spite of all this, Sean David Morton remains in demand. He is a very entertaining speaker. Earlier this year he spoke at the Alchemy Event in Los Angeles to a packed hall. He’s a funny guy, really. The SEC indicates that his “investment advice”, based on his psychic predictions, might be a bit risky. But the edginess of all this makes for exciting radio programs, and Sean David Morton is still pulling in listeners and filling seats in auditoriums. Maybe he should be given a shot – put him on KPFK during L.A. drive-time and see what the psychic man can do. Could he pull in more listeners than, say Background Briefing? Hard to tell, and one interesting comment somewhere was “if he was such a great psychic how did he miss the SEC event coming down on him?” Nevertheless, Sean David, as he is fondly called by his fans, is a brilliant raconteur, and can speak fluently on almost any subject: science, ancient history, politics, futurism, technology. On a recent cruise-ship gig that he was on, he mesmerized a large audience for more than an hour giving a detailed description of the passage-ways that are under the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and how he has figured out that the measurements of the passages relate to events in world history. Mind-blowing stuff, although a little off current mainstream thought. However, he could be the savior of KPFK as a 5pm-7pm Shock Jock, if Pacifica could borrow him for a while from Revolution Radio, where he claims he has about 11 million listeners world-wide to his radio program. The Pacifica network of stations could use a few million new listeners. But first they have to replace their almost continuous fund drives with some interesting programs, and Sean David is the man to deliver on this. A side benefit is that if any secret passages are found underneath KPFK, he may be able to predict the future of the station by measuring the distances between certain mathematical points in the passages themselves.
Since 1959, KPFK, the Pacifica radio station in Los Angeles, has broadcast a wide range of liberal and hard-left-leaning programming under the rubric of multiculturalism. KPFK, for instance, airs the only LGBT-specific broadcast in the Greater L.A. area—IMRU, produced by award-winning out journalist Steve Pride.
But constant rebellion doesn’t necessarily entail respect among the programmers and community board members of the commercial-free, listener-sponsored station, so Pride created a Hate Speech Prevention policy. It took seven months to pass, but the interim policy was in effect on Aug. 15-16 when KPFK aired an unchallenged homophobic rant in which a psychiatrist compared homosexuality to bestiality, among other offensive comments.
General Manager Leslie Radford preapproved the 30-hour block of programming, “Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend” with host Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn.
LSB Meetings Reveal Tough Problems and Possible
Conflicts of Interest at Pacifica
Dateline: Culver City
Southland News Bureau has taped some of the LSB meetings of late. Listen carefully and you will see the really tough problems they face to keep the network alive and functioning. Much of this caused by a loss of money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting when Pacifica failed to produce financial documents. Additional problems, like the huge debt load, the approximately 2 million due to Democracy Now Program, the possible conflict of interest of past Pacifica director Margy Wilkinson for forming a secret shadow foundation to possibly bid for the KPFA radio license should it become available, cutting the staff pay by 50%, and much, much more. We will have additional information in the future, meanwhile here are a few links of interest that details important information, opinions, and documents on this subject.