The dispute between WBAI/Pacifica and the Empire State Building over WBAI’s refusal to pay the rent for its transmission spot atop the building enters a new phase on October 4, 2017.
Oral arguments will be heard that day by New York District Judge Gerald Lebovits.
Empire State is requesting that the Court make a summary judgment to settle a long-standing lawsuit caused by WBAI/Pacifica’s failure to pay rent. The last time they paid rent was in 2014.
If the Court approves Empire State’s motion, WBAI and Pacifica will have to pay $2.1million in back rent plus legal fees.
At the hearing, Empire State will argue that WBAI/Pacifica has no valid defense. They will point out that WBAI/Pacifica signed a lease agreement in 2005, made payment until 2014 and then stopped making payments claiming the amount wasn’t fair. Empire State will say WBAI/Pacifica stopped paying the rent because of inept management.
On the other hand, WBAI/Pacifica are expected to try to make a make a nunc pro tunc case that would void the contract. They will say the rent is onerous and unfair. So, this is essentially an appeal for mercy from the Court.
|Antenna workers at Empire State Building|
WBAI has mounted a campaign intended to “shame” Empire State for being heartless capitalists. Empire State believes that WBAI/Pacifica’s claim is moot because they willingly signed the agreement.
There is a lot at stake for WBAI/Pacifica if the Court rules in favor of the summary judgment. They will have to come up with $2.1 million pronto. Because WBAI/Pacifica are in the midst of financial crisis, they could be forced to liquidate the FCC license for WBAI or be forced to enter bankruptcy.
Observers say that the most likely outcome is that the Court will agree with Empire State and approve the summary judgment.
KHSU ADDS SECOND STATION: RADIO BILINGUE
|KBAE's projected coverage area|
Last week it was announced that KHSU in the Eureka area is purchasing another FM signal in the market. Humboldt State University, the licensee of KHSU, is paying $70,000 for the license of KBAE 95.5 FM. KBAE’s projected coverage area is shown on the map on the right.
Rather than establish a second station with a Classical or Triple A service, KHSU will become a repeater of Spanish-language Radio Bilingue, based in Fresno.
In a press release, Radio Bilingüe describes itself as a community-based radio network with a satellite system that reaches scores of affiliates throughout the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico as well as its own seven stations in California, three in New Mexico, one in Arizona and one in Colorado.
Radio Bilingüe programming can be heard online [link].
Until the FCC approves the license transfer, KHSU is now airing Radio Bilingüe via a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA). There are 5,000 to 10,000 people of Hispanic origin living in Humboldt Couty.
RICHARD MILES IS THE NEW GM AT WBAA, WEST LAFAYETTE
WBAA AM & FM [link], licensed to Purdue University, announced that their new General Manager is Richard Miles. Miles is a well-known and respected public media veteran. Before accepting the WBAA gig, Miles was VP of Interactive Media & Content Strategy at WFYI FM and TV, Indianapolis.
Miles will likely find working at WBAA to be a different environment than WFYI. Purdue keeps close watch on activities at the stations and has a very active role in station decisions. Previous GM Mike Savage was at WBAA for a relatively short time. Rumor has it that Savage tried to mitigate Purdue’s presence in station decision-making.
KEN SAYS: I know Richard Miles and he is a great guy and a solid manager. He knows the scene at WBAA and Purdue well from his years of working in the state. We wish him the best in the new job!