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WBAI LAB minutes

Minutes of the WBAI Local Advisory Board Meeting

Tuesday October 1, 2002, at 75 Varick St., 14th Fl., Manhattan.

Present: Panama Vincente Alba, Rashida Ismaili Abubakr, Marian Borenstein, Cece Caruso, Anne Emerman, Gail Golden, Madelyn Hoffman, Connie Hogarth, A. Victoria Hunter, Lee Kronick, Ray Laforest, E. Anthony Mackall, Miguel Maldonado (Chair), Andrew Norris

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by the Chair.

The agenda was discussed for approximately 15 minutes. The minutes from the previous LAB public meeting of September 3 were adopted.

General Manager's Report: Valerie Van Isler handed out copies of a WBAI fiscal statement as she began her report. The experience in the recent past was compared to the "Year of Living Dangerously", yet the station in the past 8 months had raised more than ever before: $2.5M was scheduled but $2.9M had been raised. This was ascribed to various sources, including major donors, renewals, and 6,000 new subscribers. The station needs a fiscal assistant. WBAI has the most diverse staff of the Pacifica stations. For the future: a day of fundraising for the Pacifica archives will occur in November, the "Imperatives for Peace" program is currently running at 11-12 PM, and it is hoped that a rebroadcast can occur at 6-7 AM every day. Otherwise the General Manager read from her report recently delivered to the iPNB.

Questions/comments from LAB members.
Asked whether the Director of the News Department, Jose Santiago, was given adequate notice of the 11-12 PM slot, the GM said that the program was introduced as a result of a very fast pace of events, and account needs to be taken of these circumstances. The budget sheets distributed by the GM indicate funding for Free Speech Radio News (FSRN) coming from the "Central Services" segment. Is this in keeping with prior agreements and how much is budgeted for FSRN from WBAI? GM: yes, and the amount for FSRN for FY 03 from WBAI is $130K. Madelyn Hoffman urged that more input be obtained from peace activists outside NYC.

Questions/comments from others: Sylvia: The Latino community is underserved and under-represented on air. GM: Listed Latino members of staff, said it was adequate. Susan Lee: Questioned how the projected annual budget could be $0.5M more than the current budget - considers this unrealistic, unachievable. GM: The goal of the drive is to have an annual budget of $2.6M, which can be reached. Deena Kolbert: There are approximately 10 jobs/positions that need to be filled at the station. Who will fill these - the current GM or the new GM? GM: She has only made interim hires for vacant positions during July, August and September. This situation cannot last much longer, and she will talk with Dan Coughlin about it. Miguel Maldonado commented that Dan Coughlin had promised LAB chairs in a meeting that there would be no appointments before a GM was hired. Steve Brown asked why the LAB did not ask about the station budget.

General Manager Search Committee: Anthony K. Mackall, co-chair of the committee reported. The 48 applicants had been reduced to three finalists, after a series of intensive phone interviews averaging 30 or more minutes. One of the 3 finalists had withdrawn. He expects to have solid information by the end of October, however, a continuation might be necessary if no candidates are recommended. Cerene Roberts suggested revisiting some of the 48 applicants, and is concerned about keeping everything on hold because of the unfilled GM position. AKM said the process so far had been reasonably efficient and the committee feels it is premature to reopen the search in that way.

Restructuring the LAB: There was considerable discussion about how to better organize the LAB. Connie Hogarth mentioned that meeting dates and times are uncertain; for instance, the last LAB meeting was a fiasco. Agendas need to be prepared and circulated. Rashida Ismaili Abubakr said we need an executive meeting to define responsibilities, to define the structure and format for the new board. Anthony K. Mackall suggested that a portion of each meeting should be devoted to discussing the LAB performance and work to date. There is no self assessment. A LAB retreat would permit members to air differences. Ray Laforest outlined the 3 conditions under which an executive meeting could be held, but noted that a private LAB meeting at which no business is conducted is fine. There was more discussion about the need for a retreat. Miguel Maldonado said he was glad to see 14 LAB members present at this meeting, but had concerns about a LAB retreat. He considered there was a lack of respect for him as a Latino. He said he had been treated badly by the station.

Cerene Roberts suggested a listserve for comments to the LAB, and rotating the chair of the LAB meeting. Patty Heffley said she had not seen many LAB members at the 21 bylaws subcommittee meetings, and she would fight votes in private. Sylvia was concerned by the level of mistrust among LAB members, and urged the LAB not to mistreat Miguel Maldonado. Steve Getzer said the LAB did not need to hear from the public about the retreat - it is a LAB issue. Romulo said the idea of a retreat is anti-democratic.

A motion was proposed that the LAB have a retreat: the vote was 13 in favor, one abstention.

Madelyn and Rashida agreed to prepare the agenda for the LAB retreat.

It was agreed by consensus that the LAB create an Agenda Committee, with the purpose of preparing the agenda for LAB meetings in advance. It was agreed that the committee comprise Miguel Maldonado, Marian Borenstein and Andy Norris.

LAB Show: Andy Norris enquired about the status of the program noting that the last one was approximately one month ago. Cerene Roberts noted that the Program Council proposed that the regular monthly LAB show should air on the Wednesday or Thursday following LAB meetings, probably during Wake Up Call. Rashida suggested the show occur one week later to alow time to prepare minutes. After some discussion it was suggested that the LAB send a letter to Bernard White to formalize this process.

The meeting ended at approximately 10PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Norris
November 5, 2002

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