MOTION TO DISASSOCIATE LOCAL STATION BOARD FROM COMMENTS OF LUANNE PENNESI

[Introduced by LSB member Mariana Gaston on June 23; not yet voted on]

Whereas, in recent emails that were widely distributed and also posted on the website of WBAI producer Gary Null, WBAI Local Station Board member Luanne Pennesi:

1. claimed that WBAI "is now...the home of a few self serving, egocentric folk who are using the station to feed their insatiable power needs and to publicly project their uncensored opinions towards anyone who disagrees with them," and

2. called for listeners to "Just stop supporting the station and find any close substitute on the dial" and to "create a citizen's action committee to provide the concerned public who want to replace the current management (and much of its staff) with those who are committed to returning the station to its original mission;" and

3. made the following statement in a public letter to WBAI General Manager Don Rojas: "Examine the background of virtually all the newly hired Blacks, and friends of the management.   It is time we recognized that you have accepted the station's trajectory into hell.";   and

Whereas, the LSB is specifically charged under the Pacifica bylaws with the duty to "assist in station fundraising activities," and to "exercise all of its powers and duties with care, loyalty, diligence and sound business judgment" and one of the official purposes of the Pacifica Foundation is "to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors," and

Whereas, such unsubstantiated charges, racially inflammatory remarks, negative attacks, and calls for a financial boycott are extremely damaging to the station's efforts to increase listenership and raise funds, and thus work against the duties assigned by the bylaws to the LSB, and furthermore that the negative reference to a particular racial group of employees runs counter to the above-stated mission of Pacifica, and

Whereas, such condemnations and calls for removal of management personnel prior to any process of annual written evaluation required by the bylaws suggests a clear bias against performing such evaluations in a fair manner,

Therefore, be it resolved, that:

1. The LSB disapproves of, and disassociates itself from, the aforesaid recent public statements by Board member Luanne Pennesi, and calls on all LSB members to desist from making statements that prejudge the performance of WBAI management personnel, that indulge in personal attacks on management and staff, and that undermine listener financial support for the station.

2. The LSB respects differences of opinion about station policy among its own members and with station management, and suggests that the station sponsor a community forum with speakers holding diverse views on the nature of WBAI programming as part of the overall role of media in U.S. society.

[References on reverse side]


REFERENCES FOR CITED QUOTES:

•  From: "Who Will Stand With Us?" under the section "Luanne Takes a Stand" at http://www.garynull.com/Issues/WBAI/ActionCommittee.aspx

WBAI is no longer a listener sponsored radio station that represents a cultural and educational forum to foster understanding, creativity and uncensored information.

It is now, according to thousands of disenfranchised listeners who left the station because of it, the home of a few self serving, egocentric folk who are using the station to feed their insatiable power needs and to publicly project their uncensored opinions towards anyone who disagrees with them.

•  From: "Who Will Stand With Us?" under the section "Luanne Takes a Stand" at http://www.garynull.com/Issues/WBAI/ActionCommittee.aspx

So what can be done about it?

1. Just stop supporting the station and find any close substitute on the dial and go on with your life.

2. Write letters to the General Management (GM) and the Program Director (PD) with your concerns and suggestions: though several efforts have been made (well over 44,000 people have written to them), the only responses to these letters, if they are even entertained, are ones of a dismissive nature, bristling with resentment and sarcasm.

3. Get involved with the Local Station Board (LSB): Anyone who has come to the meetings or have seen the minutes see that there are members of the Justice and Unity group, or the management's "team", whose effect of being there seems to be to prevent ANY commencement of the real work that needs to be done. Some on the board say that the process takes time. It has taken us 3 months just to get our committees identified, and presently there is major quibbling over legal procedure, so no work is getting done on them. Only problem is, the station is just about out of funds, and their main way out of it is to keep asking the dwindling listenership to put up more money to fund what many feel are inappropriate expenses. Since February the LSB has been asking some very necessary questions of the management and have gotten no real time answers with regard to BASIC FISCAL AND ADMINSITRATIVE ACCOUNTABILITY. The response from management has essentially been public minimizing of the effects and importance of the LSB on the air by the GM and PD and accusations of the LSB trying to "micromanage" the station. There are basic issues of moral, ethical, alleged criminal behaviors and organization failures that need to be addressed, yet since they have been brought up, they have been defended, denied, tabled, or ignored by management. These will be specified in the pages that follow.

4. Create a citizen's action committee to provide the concerned public who want to replace the current management (and much of its staff) with those who are committed to returning the station to its original mission. Our actions will include the regular submission of e-mails and letters to the Pacifica National Board about our outcries and demand for accountability; through the posting of transcripts of shows that continue to violate the basic philosophy of the station and to provide regular interactions over the internet and at scheduled meetings about how we can reorganize the station to match its original philosophy. As well we will utilize as much alternative news media to get our message out in order to obtain more local support. Like it or not, the only way out of the current quagmire is a clash between the audience and the PNB regarding the current management at WBAI.

3. From "Luanne's Response to Don Rojas Statement to the Pacifica National Board, June 10, 2004," posted at   http://www.garynull.com/Issues/WBAI/LSB/Goodlight2/LuannesResponse061004.aspx   (second paragraph)

The tone and temperament of the on air sound of WBAI is unprofessional and to many unlistenable. Have you forgotten that more important than the LSB or the staff and management are the listeners? They have been insulted pummeled, isolated and denigrated. How dare you talk about unity, recovery, conciliation, cooperation, when NOTHING or less than nothing has been done to honor our most important asset, the audience? The racism is palpable. Examine the background of virtually all the newly hired. Blacks, and friends of the management. It is time we recognized that you have accepted the station's trajectory into hell. Since when did you have the right along with Bernard to make unilateral decisions that will ultimately cause the station to lose more audience?

 

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