This article explains the basic background. For more recent developments, please check out Bernard White Blog.

Bernard White Speaks Out!

Dear friends and supporters of WBAI,

I know that for many of you the events and actions that have taken place over the last few weeks have been very confusing. In this lengthy two-part explanation I will attempt to provide some clarity to the aggressive actions of the Pacifica National Board, the WBAI Local Station Board and its on staff collaborators from the perspective of one of its earliest victims. If you read this entire document you will see the connections and be well versed on the reality as it is unfolds at WBAI.

As most repressive societies do, Pacifica’s present renegade management has imposed a gag rule to intimidate staff members that are not in favor of their actions. As a result they have effectively limited the amount of information that has gotten to the public. So far in the last few weeks the National Board has removed the station manager and the Program Director at WBAI, forced out the Program Director at KPFK and the News Director of Informativo, fired the Chief Financial Officer of the foundation. They are also secretly considering the removal of the station managers at KPFA and WPFW. Is it just a coincidence that they are all people of color or are they all incompetent? Does this constitute a pattern and practice? You be the judge.

Conduct your own investigation. Believe no one. Look at the evidence. Come to your own conclusions.

Part 1: Recent Events

On Friday May 8th at around 4pm I was asked by LaVarn Williams WBAI’s Acting Station Manager to come to her office. When I got to the office and took a seat I was given a letter that placed me on a 10-day suspension, without pay.

The letter stated two specific reasons for the suspension:

1)You have failed to structure successful fundraising drives at the station, as shown by the substantial decrease in listener-supported revenues at WBAI.

2)You have failed to establish programming that increases and retains our listeners, as shown by the significant loss in the number of WBAI’s listeners.

Also present in the office was Ahmad J. Anderson, Human Resources Director. I was asked if I had anything to say and I said no. I knew that this was in fact a termination and did not want to engage in a useless discussion so I returned to my office. About ten minutes after my return a seemingly annoyed LaVarn came to me and said on second thought I want you to leave the building right now, so I did.

On Tuesday May 19th, the day that would have been the 84th birthday of Malcolm X, I received a letter via FedEx from LaVarn Williams. Inside the envelope was a letter of termination.

I was informed that Ms. Williams had determined that it was in the best interests of WBAI to replace me as program director for WBAI, effective immediately. The letter was signed by, LaVarn Williams, WBAI’s acting station manager.

My termination was effective as of Monday May 18th, four days before the end of my ten-day, unpaid, illegal suspension. Thus, the long-term campaign of LSB board member Steve Brown had achieved a major victory. Make no mistake, there are other players involved but the brains and financier of this takeover is Steve Brown.

A series of duplicitous and questionable maneuvers preceded this termination. Alliance for Community Elections (ACE), formerly List Prog., formerly CDPny , is the renegade faction of WBAI’S Local Station Board, which presently constitutes a voting majority on the LSB, has finally fulfilled its long pursued goal of eliminating the program director as a prerequisite to taking full control of WBAI’S program schedule. Their ultimate goal is to remove non-pliable, progressive programmers in general and people of color in particular from the broadcast schedule. This will allow them to bring back to the airwaves two former producers who were released from WBAI for legitimate cause. Since this is a personnel issue and I am not at liberty to disclose the reasons but there are others at the station who are more than willing to share the reasons.

The actions taken against general manager Anthony Riddle and I were the result of an illegal, closed session board meeting. This extraordinary and hastily called meeting initiated by the ACE faction of the LSB is fraught with violations and improprieties.

The ACE faction and the so-called independents kept the agenda secret from non-ACE members until after the meeting started. Before the meeting commenced there was an attempt to evict the station manager from the meeting. The reason given was that he was a staff member and should not be privy to personnel discussions because it may intimidate the staff members who are board members. He pointed out that since he is the manager he is also an ex-officio member of the board and entitled to stay in the meeting. They had no answer for this so Riddle stayed. Once the meeting finally got underway, Steve Brown, the Karl Rove of the Ace faction, made a motion to dissolve the established evaluation process even though the process of evaluation had already begun. Over the enthusiastic protests of the Justice and Unity group the ACE majority passed the motion.

Brown then made a motion to hold an, on-the-spot, immediate evaluations of the Program Director and the Station Manager. The Justice and Unity group once again protested declaring the unfairness of these actions. At the point where they realized that the ACE faction was going to move forward they removed themselves from the meeting. Then without providing any documented evidence to substantiate their claims, the ACE group demanded that the Station Manager fire the Program Director. They also told the station manager that if he did not follow their directive then he would experience negative consequences relative to his employment. To his credit Anthony Riddle is a person with integrity and did not allow himself to be complicit in this illegal request. The outcome of this meeting was conveyed to the interim executive director Grace Aaron and the termination process was officially underway.

Grace Aaron’s visit to WBAI was designed to give the national board and WBAI listeners the impression that she was here to objectively assess WBAI’s problems and craft a solution. It is now obvious, based on her behavior once she got here, that she no intention of being objective, fair or honest. Steve Brown is the one who scripted the outcome of Grace’s visit prior to her arrival in New York City.

WBAI does in fact have financial problems; there is no question about that. However, If Grace wanted to actually help us out of our difficulty it seems to me that she would have engaged in some form discussion with the managers to identify the problems and assist us with resolving the identified contradictions. She never said a word to me and pretended that she was looking for something on the floor when we passed each other in the hallway. Focusing on our programming as a solution to our financial problems is a ruse to fulfill the long held dream of the ACE faction of changing our programming and removing people of color from the broadcast schedule and putting into place obedient people who share their views and whom they can manipulate. Because the individuals who are being used to enact this policy are black don't be fooled. This move has everything to do with race and the potential for personal profit making. Mark my word, if the proposed changes go through there is at least one individual who intends to achieve a monetary gain.

I maintain the same belief today that I held during the last Coup. I believe WBAI’s listeners, in the main, are both intelligent and analytical. I further believe that if there are common themes that unite us all; our belief in fairness, our intolerance for racism and an abhorrence for the callous manipulation and destruction of people to achieve personal gain. After you review all of the information I am confident that you will have a greater understanding of the present reality and make the proper corrective demands.

What has happened here is that a long term well financed, raced based campaign, designed to takeover WBAI’s programming has finally achieved success. Steve Brown, who has a long history of questionable and illegal behavior, has constructed, financed and with the assistance of a handful of collaborators executed this entire takeover campaign.

Who is Steve Brown really? Why would a multi-millionaire want to be on the Local Station Board of WBAI? What is the ultimate goal of most millionaires?

These articles may provide some insight into the character and thinking pattern of Mr. Brown: http://www.whoisstevebrown.info/

As always, I advise you to “Stay Strong and Pay Close Attention.”

Bernard White

Part 2: Anatomy of The Latest Coup

Background:

Before the Christmas Coup of December 23, 2000 the Pacifica National Board (PNB) governed all of the Pacifica Foundation’s 5 radio stations and each station had a Local Advisory Board (LAB) that met regularly with station management to discuss the functioning of their respective radio stations. The LAB functioned in an advisory capacity. The role of the LAB was to lend their expertise and insight into solving and anticipating problems. Delegates were then elected from each LAB to represent the concerns of their particular station as well as deal with issues of concern relative to the Pacifica Foundation. As a result of the settlement that reversed the Christmas Coup all of Pacifica’s five radio stations are governed by Local Station Boards that play a greater role in the day-to-day functioning of the stations in their respective locales.

With this increased responsibility also came a greater level of competition to become a board member. Although the stated purpose of this change was to give the listeners a more significant role in the governance process it also gave those with less than honorable intentions and vast economic resources an unfair advantage by the creation of an unleveled playing field.

At WBAI there is a renegade segment of the LSB that is primarily interested in power projection, racial homogeneity and cronyism. The want to go back in time to the WBAI they once knew. This group wants to reconstruct a time in BAI history when most of the producers were male and white. They feel that the inclusion of other peoples is an insufferable imposition on “their” station. They act in an intolerant, capricious, discriminatory, retaliatory, prejudicial and coercive manner and believe that the ends justify the means. An additional feature of the WBAI state of affairs is this faction has a member that I believe also sees the distinct probability of increasing his personal income.

Toward that end he has designed and implemented a plan that has the following features:

Vilification and Disinformation Campaign:

To get a glimpse of how this propaganda campaign was carried out go to the web and look up (WBAI LSB Disassociates Itself from the Public Statements of Steve Brown). There you will find a minute portion of a series of racist fabrications that were sent out with great frequency to thousands of people within the Pacifica universe. The goal of this ongoing effort is to systematically give the impression that WBAI is unmanageable, unsafe, out of control, anti-Semitic and an irreversible drain on Pacifica . Another design of this effort was to make it difficult for us to achieve our monetary goals by bombarding our listeners with poison-pen emails thereby creating doubts in the minds of our listeners and the minds of national board members about our ability to function effectively. The emails were designed to systematically create an image of WBAI by the utilization of a negative racial construct focusing on the Program Director as the source of all that is evil.

Destabilization:

Identify and nurture key staff members who have personal dislikes and unmet ambitions. Support and protect those staff members who can be used to sabotage efforts to make positive change. A clear example of how this process manifests itself uncoiled at one of the national board meetings several years ago. Three staff members were given an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for each of them to make a three-minute-long negative statement about me to the national board. It was such an apparent and poorly orchestrated attempt at destroying my character in the eyes of the board that even critics of WBAI didn’t buy it. However it was enough to plant seeds that would sprout later. Although I spoke to all three of these staff members the day before I left for the meeting none of them gave any indication that they were going to attend the board meeting. I was quite surprised to look up and see them walking through the door together in time to speak during the public session. I was really astonished to hear the statements that they presented. Ironically one of the staff members who took advantage of the free trip is always too busy to attend staff meetings that are held just yards from his office but he made his way all the way to southern California to make a three minute presentation.

Over the last seven years WBAI has had five different Station Managers. Each manager was visited by a delegation of the ACE faction led by Steve Brown. With each initial visit they warned the manager that If they wanted to be successful in the job one of their first acts should be terminating my employment. None of managers had a valid reason to terminate me so they refused. After they refused they were subjected to endless harassment, vilification and eventually they either refused to continue in the position or they were removed. Anthony Riddle is the latest victim of their retaliation and vindictiveness.

Invasion:

After engineering a take over of the national board by their allies the stage was set for an invasion. Enter Grace Aaron, the ACE ally from the West.

The first stage of the invasion was Grace Aaron’s visit to New York . (She played the role of “Economic Hit Man.)” Aaron met with Anthony riddle and tried to convince him to fire me making it plane as to what his fate would be if he refused. Much to his credit he too had no valid reason to terminate me, so he refused. He had also fallen into disfavor with the ACE group because he began to confront them on their racism and constant harassment.

Grace also made a failed furtive attempt to take control of our transmitter. While she was in New York she met only with forces that were friendly to her mission. Even though her expressed concern was our the alleged lack of quality programming in our present grid and the role it played in our inability to meet all of our expenses in a timely manner she never discussed her assertions with me, the Program Director. Aaron also never presented any evidence to substantiate her claim of a dwindling listenership. We never did a comparative analysis of WBAI in relation to other stations in the network or to the experience of listener-sponsored media across the nation. She refused to discuss the role that escalating expenses played in creating our deficit. (See attached bar graph)

Occupation and Regime Change:

The next stage of the invasion was the arrival of LaVarn Williams and her installation as Acting Station Manager. Other members of the invasion party were Tony Bates and Ahmad J. Anderson, Director, Human Resources. Anthony Riddle was removed and I was the subsequently terminated effectively turning the management of the station over to the ACE group, led by Steve Brown and their collaborators. Their allies on staff will be the beneficiaries of staff changes. You can easily identify the ones who collaborated with them because they will be recommended to take leadership roles in the new regime. The staff will also begin to see Brown in the offices of WBAI as he begins to size up what opposition he may encounter from staff members.

Suppression of All Dissent:

A “Gag Rule” was imposed declaring heavy penalties for all violators. There can be absolutely no discussion on the airwaves about recent internal events… That is unless you agree with the actions that were taken. If that is the case then you can talk all you want without any fear of being taken off air.

Theft of Resources:

The final stage of the invasion will be the theft of our most valuable resource, our program grid. We can expect a concerted effort by the ACE group and their allies to attempt to go backward in time. We will see the return of producers whom they are friendly with and who were released from WBAI for legitimate reasons. This will all come to light as they strut back on the scene. We may also see the exposure of the ACE member who plans to benefit personally from the return of his (former) business partner.

Do these aggressive tactics seem familiar?

The remaining Staff members at WBAI and the listeners must pay close attention to those individuals who are now celebrating in their offices and in the hallways. These are the same individuals who have come to the airwaves to repeatedly proclaim their neutrality. Remember who told us that what was unfolding before our ears wasn’t really happening. The whistle-blowers who tried to alert us to the duplicitous behavior of some of our national and local board members were declared to be paranoid, over reacting and having an ulterior motive. You can be sure that these are not the only acts of duplicity engaged in by these on staff collaborators neither will it be their last.

This is no time for celebration. This is indeed a Pyrrhic victory.

For anyone who is interested in getting regular updates on this ongoing saga and the rapidly growing fight back effort regularly check: www.takebackwbai.org and www.wbixradio.org

“Stay Strong and Pay Close Attention”

Bernard White

BAR GRAPH:This graph illustrates our major problem. Our short falls in income are the result of several issues least of which is the quality of our programming!

Former CFO, Lonnie Hicks submitted this report to the national board in 2007. Of course they ignored his findings.

“While Listener support is definitely a factor in the WBAI deficit, as seen from above it is not as significant a factor as the one examined below.”

“The driving factor is clear from the chart below. WBAI has the highest rental, utility and tower costs of any unit in the Network more than 7 times the costs of any other unit at 736k.”

See the chart; Click Here

“It is clear that the station must move to less expensive quarters.”