WBAI GM Indra Hardat on WBAI's finances, 6-18-05
[The following statement written by WBAI GM Indra Hardat and read by Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks at Pacifica's national board meeting at Berkeley on 6/18/05. Indra could not attend the meeting in person.
To hear audio of the meeting, go to kpftx.org]
Please accept my apologies for not attending my very first national board meeting. I had a prior commitment and cannot attend. At this critical juncture in WBAI's life, and in the wake of our failed fund drive, there seems to be a flaw, an imbalance, in the sources of revenue sought by WBAI.
It is urgent that we examine the factors that are giving our drives diminishing returns. Our goal was $1.1 million. We grossed $688,000. At a 78 percent fullfilment rate, this figure translates to $536,000, which is only 2 months operating expenses. Historically WBAI can maintain financial stability if each of our three main drives raises $1 million. The summer mini-drive raises an additional $250,000.
It's obvious that our current on-air fundraising plan is not a rational one. Even if we extended the drives for an additional seven days or longer, we still would not meet the goal.
In the interests of the station, the time has come to take immediate action to get a new foolproof fundraising plan to restore financial stability and listener confidence. We hope to take the following measures to start this plan.
1. We'll be having a summer drive July 18-July 30 instead of the normal August summer drive. The reason is we cannot wait until August to increase our cash flow - We will need the funds earlier. Goal for that drive will be $325,000.
2. We have alerted AFTRA, the paid union staff, that because of the huge shortfall with the spring drive, we may have to cut payroll and other operating costs. We are also appealing to AFTRA for their help in organizing a black tie affair in August or September that could possibly raise $25,000-50,000.
3. Special events coordinator David Rothenberg has already set in motion a few benefit concerts that should raise at least $20,000.
4. We have met with a few development officials who are willing to volunteer their time to promote WBAI and at the same time try to organize a few off-air major donor events.
5. We are planning a pier party 8/28/05, and hope to raise about $10,000. We are encouraging all staff to support this effort.
6. I am working on a direct mail drop appeal that could bring in a minimum of $50,000. Despite the current political climate I feel that WBAI still has a wealth of loyalty among a large percentage of listeners who are willing to give their support.
7. Based on our previous listener surveys we still need to make the necessary programming changes that will take WBAI to the next level. Our listeners are our blood line and without them we cannot move forward.
8. We need to have an effective outreach/development team who will work to ensure an increase to our listener base by a large margin. Members of the LSB are making efforts to set up phone banks to call lapsed donors and encourage current subscribers to pay their pledges. Our premium and subscription department is cultivating relationships with programmers, so that our premiums are delivered in a timely manner to our listeners, which in turn will increase our fulfillment rate.
9. In the interests of healing and moving on we have made efforts to address the Robert Knight issue regarding Earthwatch and the paid position as a Wake-Up Call host. We have met with the Unpaid staff team (USOC) and AFTRA to discuss this issue. We need to be patient and let the process work. We will keep in mind that as a result of a long hard historical struggle, WBAI has no gag rule. We will also keep in mind that the sense and substance of due process needs to become a felt reality at WBAI.
Best regards, Indra Hardat
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