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WBAI GM statement regarding
WBAI LSB Secretary statement

Back to Houston PNB meeting notes


June 6, 2004

Madame Chair,

I am respectfully requesting that the statement I am about to read be duly noted in the official record of this Pacifica National Board meeting.

Yesterday, the secretary of WBAI's Local Station Board read a report to the PNB on behalf of the chair of the LSB that I, as general manager of WBAI, found to be both inaccurate and offensive to the management and staff of our station. The tone and spirit of the report contravened the unity and collegiality that many of us on the staff are attempting to build with the members of our local board.

My staff colleagues and I interpreted the secretary's report as an unjustified public critique on those who labor hard each day to strengthen and advance WBAI and the Pacifica Network.

Relations between the WBAI LSB and the staff has reached a crisis point. Management and staff feel like they are under seige resulting in plumetting staff morale. Indeed, many talented and committed senior staff throughout this network have resigned in recent months and others, including myself, are seriously contemplating leaving Pacifica soon if the situation does not improve.

The crisis in board/staff relations is not irreparable but it needs to be addressed now before it gets completely out of control. These deteriorating relations require immediate mediation.

There's too much heat and not enough light in our midst. We need to lower the temperature and lessen the tensions. We need to dialogue with each other in a candid and mutually respectful manner. There's too much suspician of each other's motives and intentions.

We of the staff are not merely interested in protecting our jobs and defending our rights, we also share the same sense of responsibility as the bords do for the security and general welfare of this precious resource we call Pacifica, one of the few assets that the progressive movement in this country can call its own.

We are as much stewards of Pacifica as you are. We do not accept the notion that the boards are overlords and the staffs are underlings. We are all equal colleagues performing various functions and playing various roles on behalf of the progressive movement that Pacifica is a part of.

To be sure, there are many difficulties and challenges at WBAI but adopting a confrontational posture against management and staff is not the most effective way to address these challenges.

Pacifica is not like any other non-profit entity. Our mission and our vision of independent, democratic media dedicated to peace, cultural diversity, racial equality and economic justice is truly unique and that very uniqueness demands of us all an effort to shape a relationship between board and staff that reflects the high principles upon which this network was built.

The entire progressive movement is looking curiously at Pacifica to see if the post-election dispensation results in yet another self-destructive "Pacifica war" or if this institution can resolve its internal contradictions in a mature and sober manner. Sisters and brothers, we have an opportunity now to enhance Pacifica's credibility and influence within the movement and across the nation. Let us not squander that opportunity.

Thank you Madame Chair.

Don Rojas


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