wbai.net Pacifica/WBAI history   events   links   archive   bylaws etc   gov. proposals
PNB   LSB   elections   contact info   opinion   search

Proposals for revised bylaws

From: jim Dingeman
Date: Mon May 20, 2002 8:40 pm
Subject: BY-Law Revisions-Jim Dingeman

These are some of my ideas...I will revise this manana

BY-LAWS PROPOSALS-submitted by Jim Dingeman May 20, 2002

PREFACE: The key problem facing those of us who experienced first hand the top-down imposition of the National Programming strategy in the early and mid-nineties was the general fear and paralysis of many of our associates at each station who were reluctant to speak out on these issues. Normal debate was squashed by the iron hand of the PNB of that time and the situation led to the overwhelming number of listener-members in each signal area being excluded from any knowledge of what was transpiring.

Many of these ideas are should be regarded as a starting point for a open and free debate as to what measures are needed to NOT have a repeat of that situation. A vital issues is how do you set up a elaborate system of checks and balances that will allow the normal fear of producers who primarily are focused on their air time and salary to communicate to the listener-members who provide 80% of the revenue whazt is going on.

Glib explanations that fall back on GOOD people now being in power miss the point. The GOOD people of the past issued right on statements like the San Luis Opispo pronunciamento of the early eighties and turned into the elements of the PNB that helped create with their ham fisted behavior the civil war of the past ten years. The Listeners-members must be empowered in ways not heretofore thought of to counter-balance any possibility of capriciousness on the part of the PNB,local LAB or station staff.

A major redress to the past imbalance is to EMPOWER the mass of tens of thousands of listeners with MANDATED free speech audio zones where policy issues can be explored and freely debated without consequence.

Throughout all these by-law proposals I suggest the principles of diversity and affirmative action should be honored and included as vital to their success.


A. The Program Council will be the central forum for discussion and implementation of program policy, content, and format in every Pacifica station. It will be the main institution for producer and a major vehicle for listener member input into programming decisions for discussion of long-term programming goals, for on-air fundraising and audience-building, for planning, and for evaluation of the results thereof. The Program Council will review program quality and standards, and will conduct annual reviews of each station’s goals with respect to air sound, audience building, listener-member support, community access, and training.It will participate in community needs assessment meetings organized by the local LAB as per CPB requirements. Every three months the program council will be mandated to hold a open public meeting open to all to hear from the listener-members at in their signal area.

B. It is recommended that the Program Council's processes and structure be reviewed at regular intervals, i.e. every 6 (six) months, by the General Manager and Union Officers with the assistance, if necessary, of outside consultants. The local Ombudsperson committee and the Local Advisory Board will also conduct open and public available assessments of the Program Council every six months also. The purpose of such reviews is to assure that program planning be efficient, open, fair, nonsexist, and nonracist

C. The Program Council shall include the Program Director, Executive Producer of Arts, Executive Producer of Public Affairs, the News Director or a News Department employee, Operations Director, and one representative elected by unpaid producers from public affairs, arts, at large, and new media. The Local Advisory Board will elect two representatives from its ranks to be part of the program council. Listener members will elect four representatives to represent public affairs, arts and culture, at-large and new media issues of concern to the listener-members of the Foundation. The election

The Program Council shall make programming recommendations by consensus when possible, by majority when necessary. Final decisions shall rest with the Program Director and/or General Manager. A plurality of votes against a final decision of the PD or GM can appeal their decisions to the PNB and ED of the Foundation.Also mandated set aside Reports from the Listener or Local Advisory Board are not subject to any content approval from the GM or PD.

E. It is understood that the owner of the Pacifica station’s license,Pacifica Foundation, is bound by the terms of that license and relevant federal statute and regulations to maintain control of the air, and the licensee has delegated this responsibility to the chief officer of the station, the General Manager. A training course and briefing process will be constructed via the web/and or other educational processes to publically educate the listener members, staff and Program council members as to the meaning and restrictions of these statutes.

F. The Program Director, Executive Producer of the Arts, Executive producer of Information, and/or Operations Director shall review/evaluate programming using standards established by the Council and shall report such reviews/evaluations to the Council to the listener-audience and staff at large. The minutes of the program council shall be posted on the web within a day after they deliberate and their contents reported to the listener audience on the Report from the listener Show

G. The Program Council shall meet a minimum of every two weeks. The meeting shall be held in a large public space so listener members may attend and participate in its deliberations. The time for the meeting will be after working hours at a time convenient and accessible to the listening public and staff. The Program Council meeting will be announced via cart at least 7 times a day for five days prior to the meeting being held throughout the day and night, with special emphasis on prime time shows


I. All members of the Program Council are required to attend all meetings, absent a valid excuse. Substitute members for the LAB, Producer-members and listener members can be substituted with suitable advance warning.


K. The listener members of the Program Council are mandated to report at least once a month the proceedings of the program council to the REPORT from the Listener Show. The LAB members are also mandated to report to the listening audience on the REPORT FROM THE LAB show at least once a month. The Producer members of the Program Council will have a mandated slot on the Report to the Listener Show at least once a month.

L. In all cases the LAB,listener members and producers will have a NO-GAG rule in feeling free to communicate with the listeners Pacifica policy issues, especially where differences may emerge. The members of the Program Council are encouraged to air these differences and any censorship directed against them can be appealed to the PNB,LAB,ED and Listener-Ombudsperson committees for investigation and action.


There will be a MANDATED weekly two hour show titled REPORT FROM THE LISTENER. at every Pacifica station. It will be regarded as a free space that CANNOT be censored by the GM or PD as regards ANY discussion of Pacifica policy or programming issues. Federal regulations regarding broadcast constraints that pertain to the FCC liscense will be respected and taught to the listener members involved with such a show.

The membership [ of such a show will consist of listener members elected from respective listener groups in the signal area. In addition, five members of the staff for this show will be elected by the listener members with the same mass election standards and respect for diversity that the KPFA election standards for the LAB call for. In addition, five listener members will be drawn at random by lottery from the general body of listener members to participate in this show. They will serve on this show for one year. The listener members of the Program Council will be considered automatically members of this show and will be responsible for providing one show a month on what the program council is up to for the local signal area audience.

Engineering staff for these shows shall be rotated and their responsibility shall be purely technical. The staff of the show will include normal radio craft training and selected members of the show staff will be cleared as within three months for master control as a FCC approved broadcast engineer.

The report from the listener shows will once a month coordinate with the report from the listener shows in the other signal areas a NATIONAL hookup that will receive questions from listener members at the NATIONAL level on the latest in Pacifica policy and issues.

The Report from the Listeners will also be given space on dedicated servers to maintain a ongoing web site and resources will be detailed from the PNB to pay and maintain such a website.


Once a month a one hour show shall be organized at Prime Time that will be dedicated as a FREE SPACE where opinions and issues can be expressed on Pacifica policy and issues where NO censorship or retaliation for broadcasting disagreement in policy issues will be allowed. The purpose of this show will be to provide a free space for public discuyssion of issues. The selection of topics for this show will be done with by consensus by the Ombudsperson committee , the Listener-members of the program Council , the LAB and the program Council. The purpose of this is to further provide a independent medium for voicing any concerns on policy


Every local station will elect with the same application of the LAB election process a Ombudsperson committee. The Ombudperson committee will provide a Inspector General and airing function for any points of controversy as regards programming, Pacifica policy and personnel differences. It will operate also as a sounding board and vehicle for new ideas and change that may not be presently considered. It will also have as a responsibility to report to the listener community once a month any issues it considers important. It will also monitor and report to the listener audience any changes in national and local policy and statutory changes that effect the broader issues effecting the station and Pacifica in its signal area .

Every two months there will be a mandated three hour show on the local air waves where issues of Pacifica policy and national broadcast policy can be discussed and debated with the listner members, The Ombudsperson committee will be mandated to coordinate with other Pacifica stations and affiliates issues of mutual concern. Every three months a mandated three hour show will be organized with coordination with other Pacifica stations and affiliates concerning issues of policy.


All local signal areas will have a independent election commission composed of at least twelve listener members who will be responsible with coordination with the ED of supervising and administering honest and free elections. The funding for the election commissions to function shall be drawn from the national levy from the local stations. Any money raised independently will be used to offset the automatic financing of the election commission. No members of the election commission shall be running as candidates and all their member ship within two years must be elected through the normal process of listener member elections.


As a statutory by-law to be held every four years in perpetuity there will be a mandated by-laws convention to review and pass on proposals for by-law change, All suggested by-laws will be subject to listener-member vote via all the listener members of all five stations.

The election of the listener –members to this convention will be done as follows.

1 –Fifteen listener members will be elected from each signal area at least two years before the convention to begin meeting and holding publiv meetings to review and analyze their concerns on the by-laws. They will work with the current PNB and LAB’s who will also help facilitate this process.

2-Every four years a spot will be designated at least one year in advance where the by-law convention will take place. The funding for the convention will be drawn from the national levy and will be offset by independent fund raising.

3- All proposals for by-law revision will be cycled through the pre-existing FREE radio spaces on air for adequate debate and airing of views and opinions.

4-Exactly three months after the by-law convention each station area will hold a listener member election to determine the consensus of opinion on the existing by-laws or any new measures proposed.

5-The Ballots can be handled through a resuscitated folio for each local station.


One of the statements in the mission statement is that the Pacifica foundation will help promote creative writing as part of its mission.

This is from the Original mission statement in 1948 Article II (c): In radio broadcasting operations to provide outlets for the creative skills and energies of the community; to conduct classes and workshops in the writing and producing of drama; to establish awards and scholarships for creative writing; to offer performance facilities to amateur instrumentalists, choral groups, orchestral groups and music students; and to promote and aid other creative activities which will serve the cultural welfare of the community.

Article II (d): In radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to the lasting understanding between nations and the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all such groups; and through any and all means compatible with the purposes of this Corporation, to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms.

Each station should have a FOLIO where the principles of free speech and diversity of opinion should be enshrined. The folio should publish the station schedule but also be a further vehicle for the expression of ideas of the Management, Staff and Listener members. It should include a dedicated section where these opinions can be aired. The folio should also be used as A BALLOT vehicle for listener members.


All stations should be mandated to help bridge the digital divide within the signal area they reside in. There should be a plan to redesign space inside each station so that T-1 access is not only provided to the staff but to the listeners as well. A capability and commitment to train all interested in learning similar to how a IMC functions should be envisioned and implemented in each Pacifica station.

This might include training programs similar to existing ones around the country that act as community learning centers for all varieties of new media training. Such services can be revenue streams but MUST take into consideration the financial resources of those that it serves.

Each station should be mandated to create through the resources of the new media separate internet based radio stations. These should be aiming to design several station streams that can allow many who have previously not had voices on the air access. For example, a entire stream might consist of 24/7 music programming and broadcast via the web.

Special fundraising should be designed to finance these initiatives.


All the stations operate in metropolitan areas where the trends of gentrification and national trends of escalating real estate prices abound.

It should be mandated that all stations will help each other to acquire their own property as assets as soon as possible to reduce operating costs and increase financial independence.

top of page | governance proposals | bylaws etc | home