WBAI Financial Crisis Report
REPORT ON WBAI'S FINANCIAL CRISIS BY DON ROJAS, STATION MANAGER
---December 5, 2003
I'm pleased to report that our collective efforts to address the current financial crisis of WBAI are moving forward with a new momentum. In a spirit of unity and common resolve, a collaborative problem-solving process is underway involving station management, the Pacifica National Office, the union (AFTRA), the Unpaid Staff Organizing Committee, the Local Advisory Board and several concerned listeners.
In a constructive meeting held at the station on Tuesday, December 2 representatives of the above listed constituencies reviewed the current financial picture, shared relevant information and reported on the work of various development sub-committees that have been functioning over the past three weeks.
What follows is a summary of reports, agreements and understandings coming out of the meeting:
1) The conditional work-force reduction notices (the so-called pink slips) that were sent recently to various staff members remain active pending further negotiations between management and the union on a final list. No action will be taken on possible layoffs before January 7, 2004. On that day, representatives from all of the constituencies will re-convene for a complete review of the station's finances at that point.
2) Station management reported that various aspects of its comprehensive reform package are being implemented i.e. new and improved programming, increasing efficiencies in the premiums billing and delivery processes, exploration of new and sustainable revenue streams, enhancement of the station's Web site as a revenue-generating entity etc.
3) Management reported that thanks to the generosity of our listeners, the recent three-day mini-marathon fund-raiser was a success yielding pledges of $200,000.
4) Management reported that our current fulfillment rate on pledges from the October marathon and the November mini-marathon was running at around 62% but that rate was still far below the goal of 75-80%. Over $400,000 in pledges remains outstanding from the recent drives. Further, it was agreed that our upcoming Winter fund-drive would begin on January 17 with a pledge goal of $1.1 million and a fulfillment goal of 80%.
5) Pacifica's CFO reiterated that the station needed to go into January with a surplus of at least $200,000 and reminded us that between January and September we need to generate enough revenue on a monthly basis to cover our current monthly operating expenses of $306,000.
6) It was agreed that planning for the Winter fund-drive should begin immediately with January 7 as the deadline for completion of those plans. A fund-drive committee comprised of staff members and volunteer producers will be established as soon as possible to assist the program director in planning and executing the next on-air marathon.
7) A phone bank has been set up in the performance studio for producers to call listeners urging them to honor their pledges during the month of December.
8) Staff reported that planning for the special holiday radiothon (December 12,13,14) was proceeding smoothly. An outstanding roster of participating musical artists, actors, writers and poets is being assembled and a press release announcing the radiothon has been distributed to various media outlets around New York and the tri-state area. Staff is projecting a goal of raising $100,000 at the end of the radiothon.
9) Representatives of AFTRA reported that an appeal for support of WBAI in this time of need has been emailed to over 22,000 members. They also reiterated their support of staff efforts to organize various fund-raising events in the coming weeks and months.
10) The newly formed development committee comprised of close to 40 persons has been meeting at the station each Saturday afternoon and will continue to do so until further notice. Altogether, some 60 ideas for both short and long-term funding have been reviewed but the committee has decided to concentrate on a small number of short term efforts that could help realize the additional $200,000 needed by December 31.
11) It was agreed that appeals should be made to all staff (paid and unpaid) to get involved in the work of one or more of the following sub- committees of the Development Committee-premiums, carts, radiothon, concert, film/lecture series, book/arts & crafts fair, Internet, community outreach and publicity.
Snapshot of WBAI's finances as of December 5, 2003:
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