WBAI LSB Secretary statement
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WBAI Local Station Board Report to the Pacifica National Board
I am Patty Heffley, WBAI LSB Secretary. The Chair Berthold Reimers is very sorry he could not make it his wife went in the hospital and she is sick. The Vice-chair and Treasurer were asked and were not able to attend as well.
This report is information from the Chair and the Treasurer as well as from information made available to the public through the WBAI newsletters and managers reports that sheds light on the current situation and what we face in the future at WBAI.
First you have a basic informational report from the chair in your books as to what the LSB has been doing since its inception. A correction - The attendance grid included is incorrect and does not reflect the actual attendance.
There are four WBAI LSB standing committees that relate to the duties of the LSB as stated in the Bylaws: Finance; Programming; Management Evaluation; and Membership, Outreach and Fundraising. All the committees are meeting regularly except the COI which will be convened next week. The ad-hoc Elections Review Committee submitted reports to the National Committee before ending.
Also included in the report is how some members of the LSB have assisted WBAI in the following ways: Looking for a potential new space for the station, some have developed a phone-bank program to call those who have not fulfilled their pledges and seeking why; assisted the premiums department in obtaining premiums that are long overdue in delivery; launched print campaign with Gore Vidal CD's in the Nation bringing in 400 new Listener members and 14,000 more dollars.
I have passed out a detail of fundraising dates and details that were culled from the WBAI official newsletter. You can see the money raised, dates of drives, the extensions, etc. (see attached WBAI Fundraising details May 2003 - June 2004)
In addition to the printed report, there are two other items I would like to mention:
First, WBAI is just finishing its May fund drive which began May 10th and was extended through today. Despite a week's extension, it has not met its goal of $1.1 Million. It may not meet its adjusted goal of $900K. As of midnight last night the total pledged was $817K. Instead of the goal of $58K a day the average in this last fund drive has been $32,700 a day. This is the fourth consecutive drive that has underachieved by having to be extended for several days in one instance or by not reaching its goal even after extension.
In order to meet the station's budget, interim mini-drives have been necessary. Approximately 81.5 days have been devoted to on-air fundraising or over 20% of the past year. You can see the details on the sheet I handed out.
Listeners are repeatedly told to pledge to save the station and to save people's jobs (layoffs have been threatened and rescinded all year long).
Some LSB members are concerned about the amount of fund-raising on air and whether the current subscriber base is sufficient to cover the station's budget.
On Saturday May 28th there was a special emergency WBAI Finance Committee meeting called by the Executive Director and the CFO to address the poor results of the current fund drive. In addition to the finance committee, in attendance was Ravi Reddy, a financial consultant, the General Manager Don Rojas, the new Development Director, the Program Director, 2 AFTRA shop stewards, and 2 of the Unpaid Staff Organizing Committee stewards.
According to the LSB Treasurer, Paul Surovell, these were the financial solutions announced at the meeting:
Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks and consultant Ravi Reddy are developing new guidelines for financial operations at WBAI that will include more management controls, among other things.
The CFO said he has identified $100,000 in non-salary spending cuts, but he gave no specifics.
Pacifica and WBAI management expressed confidence that by extending the Fund Drive through June 5th, $900K could be raised. Again, as of last night it was $817K.
More solutions are as follows.
(2) In the same period there will be 6 "Cyber Fund Drives" in which listeners will be asked to go on the website to make pledges and buy premiums.
(That is 12 more days of fundraising in 2 months.Some members of the LSB are worried about donor fatigue.)
(3) The LSB is being asked to raise $100,000 in FYR05 (see budget proposal).
(4) Each LSB member is being asked to contribute individually at least $500.
We are looking for responsible proposals from management. Mostly what has been proposed so far are more fund drives. One thing that doesn't seem to have been addressed is the programming.
It is the view of many members of the LSB that programmatic changes to increase and motivate our listeners need to be considered in addition to the extra fund-raising measures.
There are many more issues to address at the station that have been discovered by members of the Board while doing the committee work and through volunteering at the station. Management has been responsive by answering the questions raised by the members which has been helpul.
Attachment: WBAI Fundraising details May 2003 - June 2004 Compiled by Patty Heffley and James Ross
WBAI Fundraising Details May 2003 to June 2004
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