Making good on his previous warnings, on January 15, 2016 Gary Null & Associates started off the New Year by filing a massive lawsuit against the Pacifica Foundation, Bertold Reimers, Lydia Brazon, Margy Wilkinson and two other individuals. The civil suit was filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of New York. The Lawsuit charges the defendants with 13 separate causes of action, the copyright and trademark infringements being very serious. Click Here to read the lawsuit, which was posted on the blog WBAI NowThen.
Ian Masters, KFPK programmer who was warned he would be fired for mentioning the name of the acting director of Pacifica, Lydia Brazon, can rest assured that her name has now been mentioned, as a defendant in a federal lawsuit.
Null said he had provided somewhere around 20,000 premiums to Pacifica over the years, but his reputation was damaged because the defendants not only failed to send out many premiums to subscribers, but actually made spurious copies of his copyrighted and trademarked material, including multimedia on which the defendants pasted on false labels, making it seem the product was original from Gary Null.
Null, not only seeks to stop the defendants from any future fraud of counterfeiting his products, but asked the court to force Pacifica to keep any fund drive funds in a separate trust fund until such time as the premium is mailed to the donor or subscriber. This would be music to the ears of the many folks who have complained about donating to various Pacifica radio stations and not receiving their premium as promised. After supplying Pacifica stations with the hottest premiums for 39 years, Null has had enough of this behavior, and has discussed many of these issues on his Progressive Radio Show.
It remains to be seen what action Pacifica will take on this matter. Defending against these charges will cost many thousands of dollars, money that needs to go to pay other bills. Huge deficits are looming over some of the stations, including WBAI in New York, where a lot of the alleged illegal activity took place. WBAI also allegedly owes around $700,000 to the Empire State building for transmitter rental. Pacifica is in a state of turmoil, with contending factions in open warfare. Many fear that the entire network is doomed because of bad management, which has led to the loss of thousands of supporters and listeners. A lawsuit like this could be the beginning of the end to the once grand and admired anti-War network.
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.
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.