Whenever a business or organization is on the ropes you can count on want-to-be heroes showing up to save the day. This scenario is now playing out in and around WBAI, New York. A new suitor, promising a miracle cure, is making an aggressive push to take over WBAI.
That organization is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), a company that operates cable TV public access channels. MNN has offered Pacifica’s National Board of Directors a “sweet heart” Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA), a nonprofit version of a Local Management Agreement.
MNN has been recruiting WBAI employees and volunteers to be on “their team” for a takeover. MNN says it will be holding a community meeting on Saturday, February 10th [link] from 3pm-6pm at MNN’s Firehouse Studio at 175 E. 104th Street in Manhattan to make their case. Also MNN has produced a short infomercial that supporters have been airing on WBAI.
MNN describes what they envision being in the PSOA in a letter to the Pacifica Board and its supporters within WBAI:
• MNN will house and operate WBAI at MNN’s facilities. Pacifica keeps the FCC license. No term for the PSOA is mentioned.
• MNN will assume all costs including staff salaries and rent for WBAI’s transmission site atop the Empire State Building.
• MNN will be responsible for all fundraising, programming, hiring and firing decisions and promotion of WBAI.
• MNN says an advantage to Pacifica is that the PSOA will “stop the financial bleeding” at WBAI. However, Pacifica will still be on the hook for all of the debts (estimated to be $8-million) incurred prior to the PSOA. Other advantages MNN says they offer include: Simulcasting WBAI on a cable channel, simulcasting some MNN programming on WBAI and providing WBAI producers training.
WHY THIS DEAL SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN
I have no idea if Pacifica’s Interim Executive Director is considering MNN’s offer and I hope they won’t. I am not dissing MNN – they seem to be doing fine work with the cable access TV channels – they simply are in a different business.
MNN is almost totally subsidized by cable franchise fees that subscribers pay to their local cable company. According to MNN’s IRS 990 for 2015 (the most recent available) in 2015 had total revenue of $9,070,891. Franchise fees made up $9,038,502 – 99.6% - of MNN’s revenue. MNN apparently has no income or experience in fundraising.
Also, Dan Coughlin, the CEO and President of MNN, has a history with Pacifica. He was Executive Director of Pacifica of the Pacifica Foundation from 2002 – 2005.
Though his stated reason for leaving the job was to spend more time with his family, news articles from the time paint Coughlin as a secretive man who allegedly paid bonuses to himself and friendly associates at WBAI.
Coughlin was hired at MNN in 2006. According to 2015 IRS information, he was paid around $400,000 in salary and benefits that year.
PLEASE HELP ME FIND A GOOD HOME FOR MY CUSTOM AUDIO CABLE
In 2017 my wife and I moved from a 2,000 square foot single-family house to a 1,000 square foot apartment. We did a good job of downsizing but we still have more stuff we need to part with.
One example is the custom audio cable shown on the left. I had it built for me in 1995 when I had an old-school production room.
Here are the basic stats:
LENGTH: 20 feet
INPUT & OUTPUT: 20 channels
PLUGS: XLR, RCA, 1” Telco
WEIGHT: Around 18 pounds
This custom snake cable was built by Doug Thompson, a fine engineer from Minnesota Public Radio. It is in like-new condition. My cost was around $870. I am even including the patch-bay.
So here is my pitch: If you want the cable and agree to pay for the shipping it is yours. Please contact me via text at 612-819-8456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, Ken.