WBAI Struggles - Page 3
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Thread: WBAI Struggles

  1. #21
    FredLeonard
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    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by TVCOOL
    Well if anything staying on FM would be for the best 'because AM Radio is dying and smartphones ,MP3s ,etc have FM Radio tuners built in only.
    Which are useless because the FM tuners (if any) only work with wired headphones attached. On the other hand, Internet audio streams from AM and FM stations - or no station at all - are all created equal.

    FM is dying, too. It's just closer to the top of the bowl right now.

  2. #22
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    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by Theater of My Mind
    Just to elaborate on the point above, IIRC the LSB discussion I read put the value of 99.5 anywhere from $5-15 million.
    The current stick value of WBAI is somewhere in the range of $55 to $60 million and up, depending on how many interested parties there are.

    WNSH went for $40 million, and is an inferior property.

    This would mean that were Pacifica looking to stay on FM, they could take WNSH and $15 million and go to the lower rent Jersey transmitter location.
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  3. #23

    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Surfing the station's finance Yahoo group since the whole situation fascinates me, I came across a post from one of the local station board members in March that might provide some insight as to what could be going on now. Or maybe not, because who knows with that operation. But it's interesting food for thought, and some of it seems like it could be playing out now:

    Here is what I think the next step will be. It is probably the only sensible thing left for Pacifica to do, and in fact I am convinced that the PNB delegates from the other four stations will insist on it, in order to save the entire foundation from collapse.


    I believe that Pacifica, one way or another, will have to come up with the $200,000 required to save WBAIís Empire State Building antenna. Why? Because if WBAI went dark for lack of an antenna, the FCC would lift its license, and since that license may still be worth $5-$10 million or more in a potential swap or sale, Pacifica will not want to foreclose that option.


    Once the antenna is saved (at least for the moment), I think Pacifica will close WBAIís offices and fire all its paid staff to eliminate approximately $2 million in operating expenses and payroll costs (except for the one token person I believe the FCC requires to be in physical control of the station, and who would be paid only a minimal token salary).


    Finally, in order to preserve WBAIís license, Pacifica would begin broadcasting a direct feed to the Empire State Building antenna from KPFA or KPFK in California. This feed Ė if Pacifica were smart Ė would be a continuance of the entire current WBAI program grid, with producers working from NY, either by telephone or pre-recorded CD, which is how many programs are now produced anyway. The stationís producers could use by-the-hour rental studios. Or they could work out of their own homes (which is not as bad as it might seem, since in my opinion there has always been too much hand-wringing in Pacifica over the need for ďprofessional studio sound quality,Ē which is something that I think has always been much more important to producers than it has ever been to listeners.)


    There would be a huge benefit in choosing to continue broadcasting WBAIís current programming schedule from California Ė rather than simply substituting the KPFA or KPFK schedules, or just playing music. The benefit is that, since WBAIís listeners will still be hearing the programs they all know and love (we hope), the station could continue to raise money, as it has always done, through periodic fund drives.


    But -- since there would no longer be any operating expenses for the station (other than the monthly antenna rent), virtually all of the fund drive revenues could go towards paying off WBAIís and Pacificaís past debts, at the rate of about $1.5 million per year (less antenna rent), which is what I would guess the station could still raise through its fund drives.


    This arrangement would go on until the network stabilized its finances. Which, unfortunately, might be ad calends Graecum, unless steps are taken not only to improve management but also to institute more sensible policies.


    But sadly, there seem to be no powers or parties in prospect able to lead, or force, a meaningful change of direction at Pacifica Ė certainly not at its national or local boards, which for the past several years have shown themselves to be both uninformed and impotent.


    So even if the station and the foundation are able to survive, for the present, by implementing the above scenario, I do not see any long-term scenarios that include happy endings. I hope that the management of WBAI and Pacifica -- who are also reading this letter -- prove me wrong.



    Dispiritedly,


    Stephen M Brown

    Member of the WBAI Local Station Board

    and therefore also to blame




  4. #24

    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Is it simply an assumption that if 99.5 went dark, it would be reallocated as commercial instead of showing up again in a future NCE window?

  5. #25

    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by stevensonair
    Is it simply an assumption that if 99.5 went dark, it would be reallocated as commercial instead of showing up again in a future NCE window?
    Short answer: No.

    Longer answer: 99.5 started out as a commercial facility before being donated to Pacifica in 1960, and remained on the table of allocations as a commercial channel.

    If WBAI were to surrender its license (which isn't going to happen), "258B" would simply reappear on the table of allocations as a vacant commercial channel, and would then be put in the next pool of channels for a future FM auction.

    Broadcasters seeking to reserve 99.5 as a noncommercial channel would have to make the case that reserving 99.5 for noncommercial use would result in first or second noncommercial service to a significant percentage (greater than 10%, if memory serves) of the audience within the 99.5 contour. Because of WBGO, WKCR, WFUV and WNYE - not to mention all the other noncommercial signals ringing the city - that would be a high hurdle to clear. (WNYC-FM is in the commercial band, of course, and I don't immediately recall whether 93.9 is officially reserved as a noncommercial channel in order to count in this calculation.)

    Bottom line: the only way 99.5 remains noncommercial is if either Pacifica continues to operate WBAI, or sells the WBAI license to another operator who will keep it noncommercial. But like WFME, it's already a commercial facility in all but license status.
    All kinds of good stuff over at http://www.fybush.com

  6. #26
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    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by Theater of My Mind
    Surfing the station's finance Yahoo group since the whole situation fascinates me, I came across a post from one of the local station board members in March that might provide some insight as to what could be going on now.
    That person, in typical Pacifica fashion, has a disconnect with reality.

    A station that loses a transmitter site... due to storm, lease, etc., can do several things. One is to go dark pending finding and installing a new site... the FCC will require that proof that this is moving along be filed, but that could hold them for several years even. Or they could go silent and file for temporary authority while a buyer is found due to inability to operate. This could give them a good amount of time. Or, they could LMA the station, with or without a promise to buy, to someone who would step in and pay the ESB and put a commercial format on it.

    A station can be silent for quite a long time and preserve its license if it justifies the silence with the FCC and does not lie or deceive the Commission.
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  7. #27

    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo
    Quote Originally Posted by Theater of My Mind
    Just to elaborate on the point above, IIRC the LSB discussion I read put the value of 99.5 anywhere from $5-15 million.
    The current stick value of WBAI is somewhere in the range of $55 to $60 million and up, depending on how many interested parties there are.

    WNSH went for $40 million, and is an inferior property.

    This would mean that were Pacifica looking to stay on FM, they could take WNSH and $15 million and go to the lower rent Jersey transmitter location.
    Or do a trade + cash for 105.9, allowing WQXR to return to a full signal, and WBAI to continue reach most of their core audience (which I presume are mostly city and close-to-city listeners). Possibly in addition to having WNYC/WQXR throw in the 99.5 HD-2 for WBAI to boot.

  8. #28

    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by FredLeonard
    WBAI should have heeded the old aphorism: "If you want to send a message, call Western Union."
    The world's last telegram is actually going to be sent 2 days before, on July 13th:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/w...egram/2426373/

  9. #29
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    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    Quote Originally Posted by HHH
    Or do a trade + cash for 105.9, allowing WQXR to return to a full signal, and WBAI to continue reach most of their core audience (which I presume are mostly city and close-to-city listeners). Possibly in addition to having WNYC/WQXR throw in the 99.5 HD-2 for WBAI to boot.
    But that situation would saddle Pacifica with ongoing ESB rent payments, unless they moved to a different building... unlikely.

    And I don't think classical produces enough donation income for a swap to be financially justifiable.
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  10. #30

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    Re: WBAI massive layoffs

    CC's plate is full, so is CBS unless they swap an AM and cash for it (1010 most likely). I'm sure Cumulus would love to have it, and there's room at the inn and money as well, because the money will be found for a rare NYC signal opening.

    There's also Townsquare.

    Bottom line is that WBAI is worth quite a bit of money because it is a commercial band station, full market signal, right in the middle of the dial.

    WBAI isn't a format that relies on people stumbling across it on the dial to build cume and TSL. An AM would work fine for their purposes. Most of the audience is aging hippies/radicals anyway, so they're in the AM demo. An AM for WBAI would be much better than off the air.

    Personally, they're so mismanaged and dysfunctional that they deserve everything they're getting. This is what happens when the inmates run the asylum.
    NS Radio Engineering, Inc.<br />Serving NJ, NY and New England

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