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Thursday, May. 28, 2009 at 9:29 PM
"Let Me Set the Record Straight." Former WBAI 99.5FM General Manager Anthony Riddle speaks out on "ridiculous rumors" circulated by the coupsters.
Title: Half of What You See, And None of What You Hear....
Half of What You See, And None of What You Hear....
To My Friends At WBAI,
I have had a few moments out of the fussing and fighting at WBAI and I have to admit that that much is not a bad thing.
People disagree about the basic issues and fight for control of the station and its resources. I understand that. I understand that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and that always you find a way to fight for what you believe in.
There are those who believed the station would run better without me as GM. They have a right to believe that. That they got what they wanted ought to be sufficient. Evidently, a few people need to invent justifications for their actions as well. Ridiculous rumors circulate daily. No one has the right to lies. So, let me set the record straight, before it is carved into stone with other Pacifica “urban legends”:
· WBAI did not get two eviction notices.
· WBAI did not get one eviction notice.
· I did not hide the non-existent notices or any other notices from anyone.
· WBAI’s arrears in rent were discussed in private conversation, and at local and national finance meetings on a regular basis.
We were significantly behind in rent at Wall Street. In late March or early April, the owner sent a “Three Day Notice to Quit.” This is a predicate notice: Pay us or we will begin the legal process to collect or evict. It is a warning. It is the only one we got during my tenure.
The owner didn't realize we’d sent a major payment of ,000 five days before. When the owner found this to be true, he asked us to prepare a reasonable repayment plan, which I did with the knowledge of the National Office. I added to it a payment plan to catch up on the Empire State rent.
We made the first payment for 120 Wall on time. We paid the entire Empire State rent owed a full month ahead of schedule.
Anyone who says otherwise is confused or misleading. But now there is no excuse for either.
Two: An “I told you so.”
It was announced in meeting after meeting that WBAI was 0-250,000 short in revenue for 1QFY’09. This was increased in second quarter reports and meetings. Time after time I tried to correct this error. I frantically called the late Fall PNB meeting. I sent written explanation. I argued verbally when I was present. I tried in the weekly GM meetings. I tried at the LSB meetings. At some point, I gave up, because it didn’t matter: No one would hear and we weren’t doing that well otherwise, anyway.
It was a technical accounting issue. National Office instructed me to include in the FY’09 budget expected collections in October and November of pledges made in the Fall Drive. But for the first time, the Fall Drive was in spread over two fiscal years—FY’08 (September) and FY’09 (October). So, when we brought in the money, if the pledge was made in September, we booked it for 2008. If the pledge was in October, we booked it in 2009. So, much of the money budgeted in FY 2009 came in, but was accrued to FY 2008. We were only a few thousand dollars short on that drive and nothing else could account for such a difference. We were not 0,000 or 0,000 or 0,000 short. The repetition of this inaccuracy wore me down over time. It alarmed all of Pacifica. But I could not undo it once it became legend.
If you go back to the audit report given in the most recent PNB meeting, you will hear the listing of how short each station was in FY 2008 according to the auditor. You will hear the confusion of the speaker saying, I paraphrase, “The auditor reports that WBAI is about 0,000 short of budget for 2008. We don’t understand this. We think it should be closer to 0,000. We’ll have to figure out what is wrong here.” (Please excuse my memory.)
If you are still following at this point, then you understand that the bulk of that so-called short-fall is the money collected in FY 2009 but accrued to FY 2008. It was there, just like I said. Finally. It makes no difference now; it was a misunderstanding of Pacifica’s accounting which made a bad situation at WBAI look horrible and opened us to attack. It did not affect the bottom-line, only the narrative.
Undoubtedly, this narrative will be attacked because there is nothing more offensive in our Pacifica world than the narrative which contradicts the legend of the week. I do not intend to argue with any further attacks on this because, in the end, it does not matter. I am out of the GM position now. Many changes will be made. All that matters is that WBAI be healthy and relevant. It is not an easy task, so I wish all who endeavor success.
This is my official statement on these matters. If you have questions or disagreements, please refer to the above statement as many times as necessary. Thanks.
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