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

Bernard White, WBAI Program Director,
at 7-27-05 LSB meeting

Below is a transcript of remarks by WBAI Program Director Bernard White at the 7-27-05 LSB meeting. Issues addressed by the PD include lengthening fund drives, need for premiums in fund drives, Gary Null's recent fundraising record, bringing young people to the station, Democracy Now! on the program schedule, difficulty making changes due to the program council, and a well-funded destabilization campaign.

Also included in this transcript are questions by LSB members and Bernard's responses, and remarks by WBAI Arts Director Janet Coleman and Public Affairs Director Kathy Davis.

Audio of the meeting is available at: http://kpftx.org/archive.htm#ilsb050727. The quality of the recording is poor. Inaudible sections are indicated by "...". Thanks to Steffie Brooks for help with transcription.


(37:04 of hour 1)

Bernard White: I had a much longer report, but I was told time was important, so I truncated it, but I decided to write some things down, because there are some things I wanted to say and I've been wanting to say for a long time. First of all, I want to thank the Board for the opportunity to speak with you this evening about programming at WBAI. This is along with the discussion of our present economic condition and the myriad fictitious reasons being bandied about explaining our dilemma. Now is probably the best time to have this discussion.

We won't be able to discuss every aspect of programming this evening, but there are some important issues we need to explore. Most of you don't know me personally, and I have not been involved in any of the e-mail wars that are a constant feature of communication on the internet concerning WBAI. Therefore ... my understanding of my particular philosophy as it relates to programming of listener-sponsored, non-commercial Pacifica radio in New York City, or of my attempts to bring about program changes that I believe will enhance our economic position.

But this evening I have the opportunity to give you an idea of who I am, and how Iíve attempted to fulfill my job function and responsibilities. and how I assess our present status in this point in our history.

I want you to be aware of the motivation (hard to hear) of those who initiated the call for me to come before you this evening and of the well-financed destabilization campaign designed to bring about regime change being waged by some in this post-coup period. To pretend that there is not an active campaign going on is to elude reality, and to avoid the positive possibilities of this moment. Here are some of the reasons that have been publicly given for requesting my attendance.

• "Our fund drives have gotten long because WBAI has encountered difficulty in raising our goal amount."
• "WBAI's inability to reach its goals in a timely manner is an obvious indication that the listeners have rejected our present schedule and the programs that we offer. They say listeners are leaving by the thousands."
• "Gary Null's absence from the schedule is the reason we can't raise record dollar amounts."
• "WBAI's management is incompetent."
• "The Program Director is a non-thinking neanderthal, who operates through brute force and intimidation," (inaudible)
• "WBAI is homophobic, anti-semitic, ..., anti-youth, anti-latino, and most recently, anti-caribbean."
• "The fiscal problems we've been encountering are in large measure, the program director's, ... until we finally get rid of him."
• "What WBAI needs is regime change."

Be that as it may, I welcome the opportunity to discuss ... matters in a real open honest and respectful way .. programming and fund drives at WBAI.

If WBAI has nothing else in abundance, it has hundreds of program directors, all of them know the best possible programmatic configuration for our broadcast schedule, and they openly and clearly express their personal desires both on and off the air.

I hear their many suggestions each week, and probably, .... Most of these individuals have absolutely no idea of how a program schedule is crafted. We will not ignore these ... falsely interpreted, and the impact that this... is having at this moment in our history as a listener-sponsored, non-commercial, community radio station, attempting to satisfy the million requests and demands that we have to address every day, while satying true to our mission.

I'd like to address each of these issues one at a time. "Our fund drives have gotten long because WBAI is having difficulties making our goals."

Our fund drives have indeed gotten long, and there are obvious quantifiable reasons why that is happening.

(41:50 of hour one)

It should be apparent to all the board members, because you see the records, that our expenses have gone up dramatically in the past five years, for a variety of converging reasons. Due to a term discount provision in our rental agreement, after five years of occupancy, our rent has leapt toward market value. Our utilities have steadily risen. Our utilities have risen. Rent and utilities have gone up from $447,255 in FY 2001 to $631,857 in FY 2004. This is an increase of $185,000 dollars. This includes a transmitter on the Empire State Building.

Salaries have also gone up. From $1,129,000 in 2000-2001 to $1,500,000 in 2004-2005. That is for all staff except for my assistant and me. We have not received any increases in pay, and there are no discussions scheduled on the issue. I have not personally gotten a raise in at least four years.

Audience member: You deserve one.

Bernard White: Thank you sir. For the most part, well deserved staff salaries (inaudible) increase over this period of 347,000 dollars. the total amount for these two categories alone is close to $600,000. This amount does not include board related expenses, which have gone up, and the board has done little to pay its own way. There are however some recent efforts being made to raise funds over the objections of some LSB members.

It doesn't include the cost of (inaudible), which has also gone up. Pencils, paper, pens, pads, magic markers, etc., etc., have all gone up. Logic dictates that if our expenses have gone up, it will probably take a little longer to raise additional income.

There is another extremely important issue that causes us to have to spend more time requesting funds, however, I will not raise that issue at this point, I will lay it out later on.

Another item: "WBAI's inability to reach its goals in a timely manner is an obvious indication that listeners have rejected our present schedule of the programs that we offer." This is a totally unsubstantiated claim that has no basis in fact. The claim gets repeated over and over, never is supported by data. Whenever I ask for documentation from those who make the claim, I am told quote, "People that I talk to say they don't listen anymore." As if this personal experience adds some legitimacy, some validity, to the statement.

There are semi-scientific industrial tools that are used to measure audience size, growth and composition. In fact, the empirical data suggests the opposite. All the (inaudible) tools that I have seen indicate that we are not losing audience, and that our audience is extremely diverse. If there is other data out there, I'd like to see it.

Another item: "Gary Null's absence from the schedule is the reason why we can't raise the projected dollar amounts."

(45:47 of hour one)

Anyone who says that is either attempting to purposefully mislead or just doesn't know what they are talking about. The record speaks for itself. The revenue generated by Natural Living at one time was quite substantial. However, that have been going down steadily for the past seven years. Of course it had to, for over the year, on top of being on the Natural Living website, calling for a boycott of WBAI, and a denunciation of its leadership and staff. ... and still is to a lesser degree, a repository of negative commentary about our station. Natural Living local support groups became a place where negative discussions about the character and intellect of WBAI's management and staff were main agenda items.

So of course the amount of money that Natural Living could raise during fund drives would go down. Natural Living had become totally ineffective in our fund drives. Since we have changed the noon lineup, the cost of (inaudible) premiums has dramatically decreased, and the amount of revenue that is generated during that time has been on a steady incline.


Dr. Kokai has made a real positive monetary difference for WBAI.

In the interest of time I'll skip to one of the last points. I believe that it's a very important point, and for which probably in large measure I have been invited here today: "The fiscal problems we are encountering are the program director's fault, as a result of bad programming."

Nothing can be farther from the truth. Can programming be better? Of course.

(48:03 hour 1)

We always struggle to produce better programming. But our programming is not bad. In fact, itís quite good. Itís very easy and intellectually dishonest to point to programming as the reason as to why weíre in fiscal difficulty..

I contend that the on-air fundraisers is the only thing that is actually working at WBAI. Thus far, itís kept the lights on, the salaries paid, our vendors satisfied and itís covered just about all of the Boardís expenses.

... of the obstacles that our fund drives have successfully negotiated is a testimony to the strength of our programming, not to its weakness. In the face of the constant on air and off air denunciations by a small group of our most celebrated producers, in the face of LSB members who send out poison pen emails with all kinds of negative fabrications and racist assertions not only to our listeners but to individuals across the country we continue to move forward.


In the absence of a Development Director whose job is to secure grants, major donors, we continue to move forward.

We are again confronted with a well-financed program of destabilization very difficult. Weíve been boycotted, we move forward to protect station and attempt to help it to grow.

Let me say this. I donít talk about people behind their backs. I donít send out . . . emails. I talk directly to people about my concerns. My door is always open, and usually itís open 12-14 hours a day during the week including most Saturdays and many Sundays. And I want to answer any questions you may have.


(51:00 hour 1)

Questions from Local Station Board members

Berthold Reimers: (much inaudible) You mentioned about programming quality. But there were no specifics in your report. You say programming is not bad. ... That doesn't mean anything. You mentioned that there are no statistics about the listeners approval of the programming whatsoever. ... finances in this organization. Do you have the proof? And what exactly is your programming agenda, because you didn't talk about it.

(announcement from chair asking for maintenance of decorum)

Bernard White: First of all, I hope I remember all of your - whatever that was. I agree with you that there is a nice spirit at the station right now, that weíve been making every attempt to create that nice spirit at the station. Just like Indra was trying to tell you that itís a team effort, not an individual effort. Weíve come together to try and come up with ideas to make things work. My manner? You donít like my manner? Thatís who I am. I let you know who I am. And thatís who I am. I try to speak directly without sugar-coating and let you know exactly how I feel I think you brought me here to find out how I feel.

As far as statistics are concerned, we donít have statistics. We have the Arbitron ratings and as I said itís not that there are no statistics because the people who say weíre losing audience, they donít provide any statistics. We have on record what the statistics are that we have, and our statistics say that we have an increase in audience and that the listenership has grown tremendously. And I think the listenership is also reflected in the number of subscribers that we have and they are holding kind of steady. But when you look at the statistics for listener-sponsored radio you will find that every year after an election they kind of hold steady. Thatís not my ... I could show you the documentation.

Was there any other question you had?

(Berthold mentions programming)

Bernard White:Well, programming is quite good. Is it great? At times. Can it be better. Of course. We try to cover as many different issues as we possibly can. We cover all of the major national, international, as well as local issues from a variety of different communities. And thatís what our job is. that's why we're there. Thatís what we try and do. Do we cover every single thing? No - we have 168 hours and we can't cover every single thing. But we cover as many different things as we can. We try and let people who have something to say it in their own voice and from what I see there are a lot of people who believe that what we do has some value.

Steve Brown: Mr. Program Director, thank you for coming down and addressing the board. You're right, it's been a long time. I'm certainly very concerned about the high expenses of the station. You're right - that's certainly one reason for the financial difficulty of the station. However, the question that was asked by many was not... but why the revenue of the fund drives has fallen....many more days...much less days, more money previously...average fundraising has fallen steadily over the past few years. This is a real point of concern. The evidence of listener displeasure is that the same amount of listeners are simply not pledging the same amount of money that they used to. This is a sign to me of dissatisfaction. I know, everybody's saying "no," but it's very hard to measure the psychological state of a listener, it's easy to measure the dollars that came into the station, and those dollars have been declining, and that's a separate issue from the station's expenses, for one. So if you would please explain that.

The second question is that you say that Gary Null was not responsible for ... income. For the past 26 years he's raised up to 1/3 of the station's entire income. These figures are documented. In the past three years, you pre-empted him, almost entirely, from every fund drive. So it is true, ...the money raised by his program declined significantly. so the second question is why, aside from one week of symbolic protest.... over the past three years ... begging to be allowed to pitch and fund raise, and you refused to let him do that. so his contribution to the station was one third of its budget, and the shortfall .. is approximately one third. So how do you say that his absence has not impacted on the revenue of the station? Thank you.

Bernard White: Those are the kind of fabrications that I referred to earlier. Gary Null did not make and you canít show me that he made one third of the revenue of WBAI.

(hour 2 00:00 - There is a gap in the recording here. Bernard is still answering the same question.)

... is the public relations person and Amy Goodman was the one who was raising money for him back in the early 90s. After she left, and the reason why she left was because he was doing "Hidden Agendas" and bringing on the right-wing group of militia people who did not believe in the Holocaust and she could not in good conscience continue to pitch with anybody who would bring on such people. And since that time since she stopped pitching his revenue that he raised has been steadily going down.

If youíre going to tell me that his putting on his web site for a year "boycott WBAI" had no impact, then ... If youíre going to tell me that going around to the local groups, maybe talking to some of you out there, talking negatively about the station, about its leadership, about its staff had no impact, then I say once again thatís just being delusional. It had an impact. One of the times he was on the air for two hours, he raised $250. Now that had nothing to do with me taking him off the air. He was on the air.

Female voice: Bernard thatís a lie. I mean you're full of crap.

Bernard White: Someone called me a liar.

Vajra Kilgour: Excuse me. Iím sorry. Please donít interrupt. Patty do you have a question?

Patty Heffley: Yes I do.

Steve Brown: Would you answer the second question?

Bernard White: About preemptions?

Steve Brown: No, about the drives falling in revenue ... over the past three years.

Bernard White: When we came back after the Coup people there was a state of euphoria and people just gave us money like crazy. They sent tens of thousands of dollars in. People were just very happy to get us back.

But each year after that it was a natural waning process. People donít send in the ten thousand dollars anymore. But people still in large numbers come out to support us at the fund drives. When you combine that with the fact that revenue has gone up, I donít think you can really say ... well that our expenses have gone up, that itís going to take us a little longer to meet the expenses. Thatís what we do. We try to meet the expenses.

Preemptions? Well. There were good reasons to preempt Gary Null because at some point you have to make a decision on whether or not youíre going to provide a platform for anybody who is going to come to the air on a regular basis and be disrespectful of the listeners, be disrespectful of the staff, disrespectful of Pacifica and we keep providing him a platform for that ...

(Applause drowns out a few words.)

And so I preempted him.


Patty Heffley: Thank you. First of all, I want to say Iím offended by the accusations of the costs of governance. The takedown of the Pacifica Foundation was possible due to the silence of the staff and the programmers at the station. And it was only through the lawsuits and the listeners and everything else that brought back these stations and now thereís a governance structure in place that prevents the sale of the station.

Therefore, it's because of this new functioning governance Ė it isnít functioning very well due to the problems that we're having - that we have a Foundation at all ... that people are getting paid any kind of money.

Now. As to the fund drives. KPFK in Los Angeles raises $1,000,000 in 12 days and $83,000/day. Our last fund drive, the spring fund drive, by the end we were raising $19,000/ day. There is donor fatigue. We fundraise one out of every four days. The whole network is carrying WBAI. We can't even pay our own way. So I am asking, How do you account for the low daily drive rate?

(4:57 of hour two)

Bernard White: First of all about KPFK. KPFK for a long time - First of all, for a long time WBAI carried the entire network so I don't feel guilty about the network. That's part of my answer.

Patty Heffley: That's not my question.

Bernard White: Well that's part of my answer.

Patty Heffley: Well sure it is.

Vajra Kilgour: Please allow him to answer without interruption.

Bernard White: KPFK has a transmitter that covers a very large part of California, I think itís like three times the listening radius of WBAI. After the coup they began to fashion themselves so they were beginning to address some of the issues that were ignored by the previous administration. So as a result of that their revenue, the people who are being touched, the people who are now listening to the station has increased and is now reflected in their revenue.

Fund drives are strange things. When we are looking for premiums, because fund drives are premium-driven right now. Theyíre not personality-driven like they were back in the 60s and 70s. Theyíre premium-driven. I donít care who you are. If Amy Goodman goes on the air with a jive premium she makes no money. You got to have an exciting premium that people will want to get involved with. Our premium search starts ... itís a continuous thing. Weíre constantly looking for premiums that we feel will excite our listeners.

(07:00 of hour two)

We ... a lot of money this time because Shirley, my assistant, found on the internet a premium that had to do with 911 and boom an explosion. People started to call up like crazy. Theyíre still calling up for that premium. It might be on right now. Before that we had Joy Leary who excited a lot of people. And boom people started calling in.

If we're lucky we can get two or three premiums like that which generate a lot of interest in people securing those premiums, which help the fund drive. In the last fund drive nothing materialized. We thought we had some things that we thought would be exciting. But they didn't materialize until after the fund drive. So we couldnít use them. Another thing about fund drives, if you get one thing that's hot it stimulates people to get some of the other things. Because if they want that and can't afford it they get something else. It's not a robotic thing. It's something you have to work with, and hopefully, as long as you're working, or trying to get in exciting premiums, hopefully you'll find something that will be exciting for the listeners.

Evan Tobias: Question related to the fund drives and programming - Unscientifically as chair of the Membership Outreach and Fundraising committee Iím constantly out and speaking to people at different events and actually most people have said when they come to the table that theyíre very happy with programming which is an unscientific way of find out things...

But one of the things that people bring up, that Iíve heard people say, I guess more people my age ... People are wondering what could be done more to bring youth to the station, not only working in the station but listening to the station, being more active in the station, and listening to Wake Up Call, with all due respect to your work with Wakeup Call, a lot of that is being worked on right now, where .... is actually doing work for it. What is the feasibility of that model possibly being ...throughout the station on a more regular basis? Do you have any other ideas of ways to bring youth into the station?

Bernard White: My belief about youth or bringing anyone else into the staion is that you donít just bring them in and put them on the air. You bring them in and you put them to work and you hope that they will learn about radio and as a result of learning about radio, they will filter into different slots during the broadcast day. I'm well aware when we hired Deepa of what her plans were. And I support those plans. A team of young people who are involved in doing the work of producing Wakeup Call. Those are the people who are involved, who will also be learning about national politcs, international politics, local politics ... They are also learning about how to put together a radio program with a beginning, a middle, and an end. And they will be there. And they will be making - I believe that they will be able filter into other stations.

But it's based on them developing an understanding of radio, a knowledge of whatís going on in the world. Because thatís what we want to do. We want to bring in youth who have some commitment to struggle, to the peace movement, and these youth are learning that. and when they come in it will be a natural fit for us rather than just going out and finding some kids who are interested in hip hop and putting them on the air. I have nothing - I don't have a lot of things against hip-hop, but you know, I donít think thatís what we need to do.

We need to take a look at who we are putting on the air and make sure they get some real training before they hit the microphones.

Bob Lederer: I wanted to ask you what the impact of the change in membership dues imposed by the bylaws two years ago. Formerly $50 was the regular rate and $25 the low income/student/senior rate. And that was changed to $25 across the board. It took a while for a lot of producers to change the groove that their minds were in. And it probably didn't really get in until Mr. Rojas finally had to make a major point at the last meeting before he left, which was just before the May drive, of saying "folks, we have to be very clear, the rate is $25." So my question to is, Do you think that played a role and to what extent in difficulties raising funds over the last few years?

Bernard White: I do believe that that has had an effect. I think that most people who in the past were told it was $50 would give up to $50. If you tell them you donít have to pay $50 now that itís 25 theyíll pay 25. So that has - I believe that has - I haven't done any research on it but I do believe that it has. Because we do see a lot more, I do see at the pledge drive a lot more $25 pledges as opposed to $50 pledges that we used to see before.

Ray Laforest: Going back to the descussion of hip-hop - There is a wildly successful show at KPFA called hard-knock radio. And have you gotten any chance to look into it, the dynamics involved in its success? And I also understand it is done by a young guy who was trained at KPFA. And personally, I do believe the base of the station has to be working people, the great majority of this town, and surrounding ... what Pacifica is about - for change, for reality .... so how do you see working with the ... committee - I've seen the statistics of listenership is increasing. And obviously these are people who are who are listening but are not able or willing to contribute as much. But still I believe that is the way. Of course ... and what's happening in terms of fundraising, off-the-air fundraising.

Bernard White: Well, Iíve listened to Hard Knock Radio and I think itís a good program. I donít know how well it would do here in New York City but I do think itís a decent program. One of our problems is that we have youth programs that are displaced. We have a youth program that is Friday afternoon early, Friday morning and thatís not the place for it. But making program changes is another ...


So we have people here, they do an excellent program. We have excellent folks who are dedicated and committed. Theyíve also been feeding in to WUC, they periodically will do a news report, so they are, theyíre getting ready. They are just about ready to embark out on their own.

So with a change in location I think we will begin to attract more youth. I have an idea for a youth lineup on Friday thatíll make Friday a very special day for youth. But as I said thatís another Board meeting.

Vajra Kilgour: How are we fixed for time?

Baruti Bediako: One comment, and one question. The role of PD as the primary fund developer, fundraiser for the station is definitely a challenging one. And I think thatís something we need to look at foundation-wide in terms of how we get fund developers ... people who can suplement the on-air fundraising; we've reached a plateau, at least temporarily in terms of how much we can raise on the air. So we need to definitely consider ways to hire people who can do off-air fundraising, because I think that's a profession - people who raise funds, that's a whole profession, something they specialize in. that's something we need to seriously investigate.

Another issue around programming besides fundraising is the placement of Democracy Now - I'm sure you'e heard this but ... on at 9, but people catch it on cable TV at 8. But there's an issue that was raised, the validity in my mind is that we can get Democracy Now on during a time that maybe working people can maybe listen to it. It's a revenue generator for us, it might generate even more revenue in another time slot. So, what are your thoughts on that?

(18:04 hour 2)

Bernard White: Iíve heard that quite a bit. First of all, Democracy Now! has kind of leveled off in the amount of money that it raises. It doesn't raise as much money as it once did... neither does Wake Up Call - everything has kind of leveled off. In fact, most days, Wake Up Call will raise more than Democracy Now. I think it has to do with how we look at the grid, what's going to be our philosophy. We can, if we want to, take pre-produced programs, produced outside of WBAI, and prominently put them in places that they would raise a lot of money. But that measn we have to remove indigenous programming to be replaced by this imported programming.

Democracy Now! helps us to extend our listening curve. There's a local listening ... that starts at about six o'clock and it goes up til around nine o'clock, and it drops off, and then another one goes on til about five o'clock, and it comes back up. We had done phenomenally, because we had Gary Null on for 20 years, and he had developed a health audience... so around noon time ... it would jump up and come down again, then rise around the time of talkback.

What Democracy Now does, having it on til 10 o'clock, is allow us to retain listeners for a longer period of time. It comes on at nine, .... listenership drops off then, but because we have Democracy Now on there, our curve continues to go up, and it doesn't drop off until 10 o'clock. What would be ideal is to get something really strong for the 10-11 slot that would keep the listener curve steady - that's what we should be trying to do - to keep that listener curve at a steady incline. Or having it level off at a higher level than just having it drop off.

So there is some merit to putting Democracy Now on at an earlier time. But we wind up losing if we do that. That's one of the reasons why we have not moved it.

Baruti Bediako: What I was saying was not so much earlier but how about in the evening, like when people get home from work. I'm saying take it from the 9-10 and take it to the 6-7 or 7-8 slot.

Bernard White: That's an interesting idea ... Amy wouldn't like that too much. It's not up to her. We have to do what's in our best interest.

(21:21 hour two)

Speaker unknown: I thought the point that was being raised was not so much the curve, but expanding the listenership. this has been presented in terms of how long people have been listening, but the other side of it is, within the same period they're listening, can you expand the listenership in that. So I guess there are two different philosophies about how you expand listenership. ... If it's morning, then maybe a broad amount can listen.... it does affect ...

Baruti Bediako: I would say evening time, working people are home, they can catch Democracy Now, and those are the people that can afford to contribute.

(various voices)

Vajra Kilgour: One more question, then that's the end of the time

(22:59 hour two)

Cerene Roberts: The idea that the new format for governance comes with a cost ... I spend a lot of time in the tally room, whether I'm doing tally work ... I want to say that I ... during the period of time when he was on his rants, and I've had a lot of calls from people saying "why is he (Null) doing that on the air?" ... some feel that it's possible to get useful information without attacking other people ... on the spirit of the people now in that twelve o'clock spot. As a listener. Because many of my objections to Null came not as a programmer....his guests, unnecessarily and unprofessional. The spirit of the people now doing that programming is really refreshing.

... ask the very painful question about program changes, which we know are coming, and that was paraphrased at a meeting last night of the finance committee. The person asked of the two or threee programmers in the room, he said, "Well sure there's better programs you'd want there. Would you give up your slot for a better program?" ... and that silence was amazing.

So I know that program changes are come. Program changes were attempted before ... we need this we need that, we can't move people, so it's - I'm wondering what you are going to do to challenge the "change change change but leave my friends alone" attitude.

(25:25 hour two)

Bernard White: ... it's just amazing... when you attempt to move a person, because you think that there's a better, that it would be in the best interest of the station to go another way. You get accused of personally not liking them... allies, and then the next meeting you have, we're talking about programming for months, there are 50-60 people at the next meeting, because they.... so it's very very difficult, and at some point, what I'm going to have to do is to - that's right - and take away .... because the program council is a process that doesn't allow for the free flow of program changes. I think it's necessary that we have a program council, so that there can be some producer input into the process. But at some point a decision has to be made, and it's very difficult to satisfy all of these requirements and to move forward.

For instance, the program council for the last three years has been working on an evaluation tool. We don't have one. We don't even have the title for one. You know, it's just a process that's entirely too slow. So I'm going to have to ... making a change.

(27:28 hour two)

Vajra Kilgour: Thank you Bernard. We've come to the end of the time for this agenda item

Berthold Reimers: Move that we extend the time for this issue for 10 minutes, and that would include time for Kathy Davis and Janet Coleman

(Discussion, decision to have 10 more minutes total for Janet Coleman [Arts Director], Kathy Davis [Public Affairs Director], and Bernard White.)

(31:20 of hour two)

Janet Coleman: Well, I want to say that I am probably the least capable... about this fund drive. First of all,... remember getting meals for the fund drive, in the absence of the guy ... For me, it's been a very hard adjustment to make this new change to premiums over personalities. Most of the arts department has been basically longer ... than the public affairs department, although many have been there forever. But ... So those producers have fairly tried and true methods of raising their own funds, and making this adjustment to ... they can raise funds without any premiums at all, some of the bigger fundraisers, the most consistent ones, anyway, have such a strong audience, they don't need premiums ... I feel, myself, that I've been trying to locate premiums, that serve and enhance the arts department. I don't feel that I have accomplished too many of my goals in this ... and I still feel that the ones that are about war and peace and health have a stronger appeal to the audience. Whether that will always be, or whether we will be able to find a focus here. But that has been my attempt in the course of this drive, to try to make this conversion and to help my department get it throught their heads that they need to make this adjustment too.

So in this case I defer to Kathy Davis, who is almost a genius at creating strategies, you know, having this health fair, these health programming premiums ....


Kathy Davis: I want to make a correction in terms of giving credit, because I believe that the premium "Painful Deceptions" which has done so well was brought to the station by Tiokasin Ghosthorse ...

It's just one of those things that certain people, Earl Caldwell in three hours, I believe was able to raise $40,000 with this one premium.. But at the same time, how we work at the fundraising is that we have to work with each other, because everybody brings something to the table. And it may be that this time Tiokasin found the premium, it may be next time one of the other producers. But when we bring this to the table we have to be able to share them with each other ...I'm really grateful that we were able to move forward with this premium and it really saved our butt. So thank you Tiokasin.

I guess I've been at the station maybe two and a half years now, working on this fundraising, and it's been an increasing difficulty, for many reasons. A lot of it has been the politics that have begun to seriously interfere with thte functioning of the station, and this happened, I believe, starting with the elections. It's just been too divisive, and it's done a lot of damage, internally. Not just what's represented in the public, but also in terms of relationships of people who work at the station. And it's been very, very disruptive.

So I would hope that people on both sides of this aisle would consider listeneing to each other instead of always opposing each other. I look forward to that.

In terms of the station, we have had a fundraiser problem with planning - adequate planning for our fundraising. I don't think it makes sense - in the long run - to have to depend on the good grace, or a miracle of having a premium that's going to have a resonance to give us the kind of return that we need. We look for it, but beyond that we have to do much more planning, the planning has to begin much earlier in the game.

One of the things about this drive is that we were relentless in trying to get the plan together, even though there were things that were obstructing that along the way. And that to me has been a fundamental reason why our fund drives don't work, because they're not adequately planned, there's not enough time going into the planning, there's not enough training producers in the art of fundraising.

So we started on this path ... that needs to be done. And this is why I point out the politics, because the politics has taken the attention of our former station manager and Bernard White, our program director. 90% of their attention is with, you know, this is going on, that's going on, this faction is after me, that faction I have to stop. All that is going on is very close to destroying WBAI. And if people could start working together, and recognizing that we have work to do - it doesn't matter who's in charge. The community of WBAI has to stop trying to destroy each other.

And people have to start taking responsibility. Those of us who are working at the station, we have to sit down and do the work, and planning, and working together, and supporting those things. And for me, with Indra being here as the interim station manager, I feel secure to be able to move forward with an idea that was going to bring something back to the station, where in the past I didn't ... and I thought ... So we need to plan, and we need to pay attention.

(38:44 of hour two)

Bernard White: We may have some differences but it's these differences that make us who we are. And that's what, uh, people have different emphases on what they think is important. It's all of these folks working together that makes this whole thing work.

I think that what ... has been talking about has been paying attention, our paying attention to some of the things that were coming at us was, uh, the result of the destabilization campaign, you know you have to keep your eyes open and look at what's coming at you, cause certainly things were coming at us. And 50 percent of us arenít able to hang, cause the other 50 percent are gonna stay, and decide when he's gonna leave on my own, Iím not going to let anybody chase me out.

I think that, you know, one of the things about the fund drives ... I disagree. I happen to believe that our best fund drives - every fund drive where we really did well there were one or two premiums that emerged that really captured the imagination of people and they began to call for them. Tiokasin brought in this premium. We finally put on the air, and every time we put it on - even Steve Road Warrior made $5,000 on it.


...people responded to him and the premium. Like I said - if you have bad premiums, even if Amy Goodman has bad premiums she's not going to make any money on it. So we have to focus on that ... also the fund drive was to, well, we came very close, something I've been talking about for the last two years. That we suspend all programming, and we suspend all programs. And just begin to put in the premium. You see that on a variety of other stations. Channel Thirteen, who's also struggled to try to make money. They put - it's the premium that becomes important. That's what the folks are focusing on, so therefore, you design the day around the premium. And we've come very close to making that a reality this time. And I think the closer we get to that, plus the combination of our ability to locate exciting premiums, we'll be good.

One question I did answer that Ray Laforest asked earlier was what are we doing about things on the street. You know, having uh, going back out. Well, one of the things I have planned for, for the next coming year, is we have a relationship with the Ethical Culture Society who are going to allow us to have programs in their building. So we're going to do that.

We also have a relationship that we've developed with Riverside Church. So we have access to Riverside Church. In September, Joy Learyís coming into town to do - she has a new book that's out. And sheís going to allow us to show her around town, and she's going to come and do some work with us around our fund drive.

So I expect our next fund drive is going to be very good. If we could get two or three more highlighters, it should be a very good fund drive.

The program schedule is what brings people in. Once they get in, then we can provide them with incentives that will bring in the money. Wake Up Call has a large audience, so therefore, when we have a premium, we have a large reservoir of people from which to draw on. Talkback has a large audience. so we are able to have a lot of people that we can draw on.

Thank you Caesar.


top of page | home