Last Wednesday (2/10/16) WBAI’s Treasurer, R. Paul Martin, distributed an internal memo summarizing the current states-of-accounts for WBAI and Pacifica Foundation’s national office. The bottom line is Deep Red: WBAI is swimming in debt.
As of February 3, 2016, WBAI was about $956,000 in debt NOT including an unspecified amount owed to the national Pacifica Foundation and other Pacifica stations. The national office has been keeping the lights on at WBAI for several years.
|R. Paul Martin, WBAI Treasurer|
You can download Martin's memo here [link].
Beyond the long-term debt, WBAI appears short of day-to-day operating cash. According to Martin’s memo:
• WBAI has not paid for its transmission site atop the Empire State Building for two months. The monthly fee for the site is $12,000.
• WBAI was $6,000 short of the money needed to make its February 1, 2016 payroll. Pacifica’s national office made of the difference.
• WBAI’s off-air fund raising events are not of sufficient magnitude to off-set losses in on-air pledging. Too much money is being spent on premiums for large donors. Martin’s memo says some of the premiums are of a nature to have negative impact on WBAI’s listeners. [Martin.s words]
• KPFK, Los Angeles, recently lost an initial round of arbitration with 18 employees. If upheld, KPFK will owe a very large bill to pay [Martin’s words] that may exceed $100,000. Plus, there are other employee grievances still pending.
• Neither WBAI or WPFW, Washington, DC currently have Business Managers and the accounting for these stations is lagging behind. Martin says the delay makes it impossible to file overdue audited financial statements. If Pacifica can’t get its FY2O15 audit done by June, Martin says we lose CPB grant money again. [NOTE: I don’t know if it is true that Pacifica is still qualified to receive funding from CPB. I hope not because, in my opinion. Pacifica is not deserving of this support.]
GARY NULL: FRIEND OF FOE?
Potion and pill promoter Gary Null has had a program on WBAI for 39 years. The Gary Null Show is still on WBAI Monday – Friday from Noon to 1:00pm.
As previously reported, in January 2015 Gary Null & Associates filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, that alleges copyright and trademark infringement. Martin’s memo says Pacifica can’t afford to loose the suit because Pacifica’s insurance for such lawsuits has a $250,000 deductible.
Fundraising ties to Null are another area of concern. According to Martin’s memo, Null recently conducted a raffle for one WBAI coontributor to attend a Null-sponsored wellnesss retreat.
The promotion brought in $200,000. WBAI’s proceeds were around $6,000, 3% of the amount contributed. WBAI provided Null with oodles of free on-air publicity. Martin says: There were questions regarding the conformity of this arrangement to the charity laws of New York.
Here is how WBAI promoted Null’s retreat on its website:
Most of the $200,000 apparently went to Null to pay for one WBAI contributor to attend the retreat. I wonder if Null charged WBAI for the Free time to relax, detoxify, rejuvenate and re-energize.
Gary Null is like a bad habit that WBAI and Pacifica can’t quit. He is a long-time station personality who raises money for the station while he sues them at the same time. In my opinion one of the major reasons for Null’s suit is build a legal wall around him so WBAI can’t cancel his daily show. Without this free exposure daily exposure in NYC, Null’s businesses would loose a valuable pipeline to his customers.