PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD #2, FRIDAY JUNE 1, 2012 — We have received a lengthy response from Larry Kratka on the situation at WTBR, with the on-off of Bill Sturgeon‘s radio show at that venue.

We have some additional investigation and followup, in fairness to all parties, and on Monday we present as much as we have learned about WTBR: What Really Happened with Bill Sturgeon. It’s not a pretty story from what we know now.

ADD #1 FRIDAY JUNE 1, 2012 — We make quick comment on the WTBR “scandal” involving the approval then the pulling of the pre-empted show planned by ex-WBRK talkmeister Bill Sturgeon, who was to follow John Krol‘s “Good Morning, Pittsfield” beginning Tuesday, May 29.

LARRY KRATKA: Nothing to say.

WTBR station manager and nominal student adviser Larry Kratka sent a press release heralding the new show. All seemed well, until we learned that on the appointed day, the show had been mysteriously pulled. Kratka gave no explanation, leaving Sturgeon, Krol, and the community scratching their heads. According to iBerkshire‘s Joe Durwin, Kratka would not provide much beyond “no comment” to that website’s inquiries. THE PLANET has our own request in to Kratka for comment.

Kratka Pulled the Plug, But Krol, Sturgeon, and the Community Still Don’t Know Why

Sturgeon and Krol have said via Facebook that Kratka basically pulled the rug out from under them without proper notice or legitimate cause. Is this related to THE PLANET’s discussion of the proper use of WTBR in terms of student-run versus adult programming, which is a separate discussion entirely? We think not. Not once, in any way, shape, or form, did THE PLANET advocate either publicly or privately for Sturgeon’s show to be pulled. Sturgeon has said he has reason to believe there’s a whole lot more to the story than Kratka’s letting on. We should point out that Kratka is Snooze Director at WBEC, which provides a tantalizing clue to what’s going on with this mess.

Since WTBR falls under the control of the School Committee, it’s time Chairman Alf Barbalunga and the members to invite Kratka to appear in open session for questioning.

THE PLANET will only wait so long for Kratka to respond before we begin our own investigation. We only a tiny amount of snooping, we have piled up a few more clues.  The question boils down to this: What is Larry Kratka hiding and why?



Our question is not rhetorical. We honestly wonder, as Alania, captial city of the dictatorship  of Chartockia, begins on Monday another of its plaintive attempts at blackmail, also know as the WAMC fund drive.

HERR DOKTOR, dictator of Alania, Chartockia

The quick answer to the sobbing, throbbing, bobbing, and hob-nobbing request of Herr Doktor and his brow-beaten sycophants to their begging for your hard earned money is: “No thanks, I’ve already given.” You see, anyone who pays a penny in federal taxes is already a member of NPR, of which WAMC is a member. That little bit of the federal income tax that goes to keep public radio on the air is your contribution, not that you have a choice.

The Piling of Fortune Via the Stifling of Reason

That’s exactly what a liberal loon such as Herr Doktor wants: a dictatorship not of the proletariat but of a person who is one of the worst writers ever to poison the pages of the Boring Broadsheet, one of the worst broadcasters ever to spit into a mic, and one of the most pretentious “scholars” ever to browbeat a student or suck-up to an Important Politician. Incidentally, the loons on the rabid right also enjoy such stifling of reason.

Workers of the World Unite: Do Not Send a Penny to the WAMC Fun Drive. Do not be fools. The station has already taken your coin via your federal taxes!

WAMC and NPR: Birds of Separate Feather

One last point: To talk of WAMC, you must separate the National Public Radio aspect. NPR provides some good programming. National programming at NPR probably accounts for 95% of its listenership. It’s awful “local” programming that WAMC subjects it listeners to that we, as an act of conscience and as the humane thing to do, wish to see either suspended or greatly improved.

What started out on a good broadcasting track has been derailed by Herr Doktor’s totalitarian mismanagement of an asset that could, with fresh blood and a huge turnover in staff, become a legitimate player in local news and commentary. The best remedy for that ailing station is to get rid of the nepotistic employment patterns in the dictatorship of Alania, Chartockia and the preference for mediocrity that Herr Doktor prefers to make his “light” seem brighter, and then you may have a radio station worthy of your money.


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2012) — Welcome to June!

On Wednesday night, the Pittsfield School Department presented its initial budget figures for FY13 to the School Committee. In attempting to understand the financial pas de deux that will take place in the days and weeks ahead, understand these basic facts:

The Budget Process Primer

* The Mayor is CEO AND CFO is the city. He proposes the municipal budget, including the overall expense for public education.

* The City Council receives the budget from the mayor and acts on it. It can approve, amend through budget cuts, or send the budget back to the corner office for resubmission. Council has final say over approval.

* As a department, the school superintendent receives the mayor’s spending goals and begins to implement a plan to meet his department needs.

* The superintendent, unlike other department heads, submits its operating budget proposal (again, based on direction from the mayor) to a board of overseers, the School Committee.

* The School Committee performs a line-by-line review (that will take place on Wednesday, June 6).

* The reconciled school committee budget (worked out at the mayor’s direction by the school administration and the school committee) goes to the city council, which votes it up or down.

But It’s Like Making Sausage

That is the process. On the surface, it appears clean, straightforward, streamlined, and simple. In actuality, it’s like making sausage. In Pittsfield, you also have an added unique factor: an outgoing Superintendent, leaving under a cloud of suspicion, lame ducking a bloated department whose enablers are beginning to realize that perhaps — and we only say perhaps — their financial ruse has been discovered and a jig is up.

Taxpayers are beginning to pay more attention because, for the first time, they are getting access to information that previously had not been readily available. Taxpayers have been at the mercy of  a School Department “wink-wink, nod-nod” deal between and among a bloated and largely incompetent Administration, a greedy and inflexible teacher’s union, and the “roll over and play dead” compliance of an acquiescent School Committee.

HOWARD "JAKE" EBERWEIN III: Lame Duck budget propsal, in a word, was lame, as Dan Bianchi and Terry Kinnas pointed out on behalf of taxpayers.

There are, however, a couple-three members of the school committee asking good questions, led by Mayor Dan Bianchi and Terry Kinnas. There is THE PLANET, sharing information and trying to bring previously secret and closed processes out into the open.  Finally, there is the ensuing discussion that’s beginning to spill into the mainstream. Let us hope our Right Honorable Good Friends on the City Council are paying close attention to these proceedings. Taxpayers have had enough. Time to start reeling in an out of control school budget and start demanding performance.

School Committee Hears Jake’s Figures

The budget review that took place Wednesday was the committee’s first look. The line-by-line review takes place Wednesday, June 6. The preliminary session, though tentative, produces some interesting moments. Allow a few observations:

* 5-to-1 Student-Staff Radio: PPS at Its Top-Heavy Best — Superintendent Howard “Jake” Eberwein III shared two numbers: There are 6,000 students in the system (rounded off) and 1,200 employees (again, in the round) in the School Department. Committee member Terry Kinnas, a former high school math teacher, crunched the numbers for Jake: That equals five students for every staff member, an astounding number that puts into perspective the huge overhead supported by taxpayers for what the data show are mediocre results.

MAYOR DAN BIANCHI: "Jake, you ain't gettin' a penny more" or words to that effect.

* Bianchi Steps up for Mary Jane and Joe K — Jake and Mayor Dan Bianchi had an interesting exchange that, despite its brevity, has $1 million riding in the balance. Such are the stakes in this high-roller form of gambling known as the School Department budget, where the taxpayers usually come to the table knowing the game is rigged against them. This time, Bianchi spoke up for Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski.

* Jake’s Pitch to Pad It by $1 Million — When Eberwein presented his budget request, Bianchi spoke up with words to the effect of: “That’s not the number I gave you.” (Again, not the actual words but the gist). Bianchi referred to the pre-budget negotiations, when he presented Eberwein with amount of money the city was prepared to pay the schools for the operational slice of the budget. Bianchi said it was $15,575,078. Jake, trying to slip a fastball by taxpayers, threw his number on the screen: $16,575,078, to the penny, one million more than Bianchi had, in principle, agreed to. Plugged into the total operation costs, Bianchi expected Jake to present $53,506,071 instead of $54,506,071.

* Jake-Dan II — “That’s not the number,” Bianchi said. Jake replied: “I’m presenting what my department needs.” When Bianchi called Jake on the carpet for his million “fast one,” Eberwein looked surprised, even stunned. Superintendent’s aren’t used to being challenged by the School Committee when it comes to budget proposals. They are used to getting what they want. Bianchi looked upset when he saw Eberwein’s inflated figure. Bianchi concluded by laying it on the line, telling Eberwein: “You’re asking for $1 million more than the city will give you. The city isn’t going to give you the extra million. Period.” A small win for taxpayers, a giant win in the symbolism of the school department budget. It was probably Bianchi’s finest moment yet in his tenure as mayor. He did the taxpayers good.

* Truth-in-Advertising, Sort Of — In another tiny victory, Eberwein admitted to the overall school department cost to taxpayers: $82 million. For this, THE PLANET will modestly take credit, since we have been pounding away at truth-in-advertising. For years, the School Department excluded costs for running busses, health and unemployment insurance, and maintenance fees, which get buried in the city-side ledgers. Even at that, though, the $82 million sells the budget short. That figures doesn’t include at least $7 million in federal tax money, plus the $2.5 million net loss to the district for school choice. Thus, the true actual budget number is at least $91.5 million.

* School Choice: Figures Lie — In another bit of budgetary mumbo-jumbo, and a classic example of how the School Department and the Administration basically lies about the budget, comes with its presentation of the School Choice figures. In the latest FY for which figures are available, Pittsfield brought in about $500,000 and lost roughly $3 million in through School Choice (the program through which parents can move their children out of one district and into another). In presented School Choice numbers, though, the Administration includes only the half million taken in, with no mention of the $3 million out (the net-out loss of $2.5 million). This type of subterfuge and fiscal dishonesty cease. THE PLANET credits Kinnas for championing this issue, and his work is having some effect. People in Berkshire County are starting to realize the realities of what’s happening in Pittsfield Schools.

* Status Quo Ain’t What It Used to Be — That leads to the final observation: The apologists for the Status Quo in Pittsfield of course are angry at THE PLANET for sharing this information. We are “rumor mongers.” We are “entertainers ruthlessly exploiting the masses for readership and ratings.” We are “opportunists, cynics, and the blame for everything that is not happening in Pittsfield and hasn’t happened for 25 years.” We graciously accept these backhanded compliments, of course, because they suggest are work is having the desired effect. We have one simple goal, actually: To bring people into the Light.

For decades, “They” got along by controlling the information, leaking out the favorable and suppressing the unfavorable.  With cyber-journalism, anyone with access to e-mail is a potential whistle blower, source, and informant. They have lost control of the communication. Viva free speech! Viva sunshine! Viva Truth!



That’s it for the moment. On Monday, we shall have THE PLANET’s review of Cassandra Speaks, starring Todd Randolph as journalist Dorothy Thompson, as Shakespeare & Co. opens its 35th season, some discussion of recent developments in Lenox, and who knows? Maybe more on the WTBR scandal and the latest lamentations in the land of Lenoxology.










  1. Jim Gleason
    June 1, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Thank God for Mayor Bianchi and Terry Kinnas finally asking questions of this school administration.Way to put your foot down Dan. This bloated budget has to be brought back to reality and people have to realize in the teachers union that the rest of us aren’t getting 3and 4% raises every year like they seem to want and, for the most part, get on a yearly basis.Good job to Terry and Dan for standing up for the rest of us, the little guys.

    • levitan
      June 1, 2012 at 9:54 am #


      Good column today on the Budget, Dan. This type of reporting is where you shine.

    • Pittsfield Pete
      June 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Well said Jim,

      Anyone know what the extra million being added to the budget was going to be usederic?

      Perhaps pay increases for the UEP teachers and to replace miss used grant money once issued in the past to fund pay raises. Hummmm!

  2. GMHeller
    June 1, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    How dare you cross swords with Alan Chartock and tax-exempt WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Inc..
    It’s not as if Mr. Chartock was ever elected to run the place.
    He’s obviously there out of the goodness of his heart.
    The nearly $200K annual salary he gets paid and the cushy fringe benefits he gets, and the pension he’ll be getting when and if he ever retires have nothing to do with Chartock’s devotion to listener-supported ‘public’ radio.
    And just because WAMC is on the eve of asking the public to dole out another $1 million for WAMC’s Spring beg-a-thon — the last time was just four months ago — is no reason to doubt Mr. Chartock’s commitment to cash flow.
    You see, Dan, it’s really not about the money.

  3. GMHeller
    June 1, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    Oh yeah, and it’s not about political power and pushing Socialist political agendas, either.

    • Ed Shepardson
      June 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      Dan, isn’t it time to man up and require everyone to use their real and full names? That’s what S.I. Newhouse would have done I’m certain. And you know it is the right thing to do, don’t you?

      • Just a Thought!
        June 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm #


        The Truth is The Truth

        ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’

        By the Bard- (The one and only)

        To use Juliet’s words…

              ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
              Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
              What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
              Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
              Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
              What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
              By any other name would smell as sweet;
              So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
              Retain that dear perfection which he owes
              Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
              And for that name which is no part of thee
              Take all myself.

        • Ed Shepardson
          June 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

          If indeed the truth were the truth, pen names (handles) would be fine. That is not always the case here. Or elsewhere. Imagine Joe Pinhead signing the Declaration of Independence and cosigned by “Just A Thought.” As Dan Rather used to say….Courage.

          • levitan
            June 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

            Political writing is anonymous, jerk. As in the Federalist Papers.

          • Ed Shepardson
            June 2, 2012 at 4:46 am #

            I forgot to add Levitan to the Declaration. Sorry.

          • Joe Pinhead
            June 2, 2012 at 10:10 am #


            Excellent reading, Ed thanks for reminding me to read this opinion yet again.
            Just Sayin

          • Joe Pinhead
            June 2, 2012 at 10:16 am #

            Levitan, I couldnt agree more- for those not wishing to read the SC piece heres some food for thought.

            “…This tradition is perhaps best exemplified by the secret ballot, the hard won right to vote one’s conscience without fear of retaliation. “

          • danvalenti
            June 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

            As always, you nail it. We’re glad you’re still on the side of the law!

          • Ed Shepardson
            June 2, 2012 at 10:55 am #

            Mr. Pinhead,

            Please read, very carefully in that decision, about false statements and my statement that “if indeed the truth were the truth, pen names (handles) would be fine.” They are the same, are they not? And I suspect that there is an abundance of false statements on this blog whose authors hide behind fictitious names.

          • Chet Murphy
            June 2, 2012 at 11:36 am #

            Ed thats the problem with these blogs, anyone can say what ever they want even if its a total lie! Its very easy to say these lies without useing your real name! Courage

          • danvalenti
            June 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

            True, but it’s also easier for most people to say what they honestly feel if they have the assurance of anonymity. It works far more that way than the others, that is, the liars. In the same way, when we’re tracking down stories and interview sources, 99 out of 100 times, if the story has political sensitivity, the source will not let us use his or her name. That’s the nature of doing business in a small city that has become petrified in political fear.

          • Chet Murphy
            June 2, 2012 at 11:38 am #

            Ed I do give Jimmy Gleason credit for backing up his claims by useing his real name.

          • Joe Pinhead
            June 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

            Mr. Shepardson,
            Who’s truth? The School departments set of numbers that excluded various costs and trotted out as fact? The True numbers the Planet has compelled the district to come to terms with? Both sets of numbers are the “truth” except for the omissions. If you decide to believe the numbers put forth by the school department without challenge go ahead. Comments written by Joe Pinhead or Ed Shepardson will ultimately be determined by the reader for the truthfulness and believability. An example would be your definition of courage, If you define courage as simply as putting ones name on a blog or a written opinion piece please explain to me why in the BB the editorials generated by the house are unsigned?
            As for the SC opinion It is very clear in both its body and footnote citations the thoughts and feelings of the First amendment and the right to anonymity.
            “Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind.” Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60, 64 (1960). Great works of literature have frequently been produced by authors writing under assumed names. [n.4] Despite readers’ curiosity and the public’s interest in identifying the creator of a work of art, an author generally is free to decide whether or not to disclose her true identity. The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible. Whatever the motivation may be, at least in the field of literary endeavor, the interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry. [n.5] Accordingly, an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. ”
            Just sayin

          • Just a Thought!
            June 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm #


            Your argument is valid. You do not overtly accuse ‘The Planet’ or it’s bloggers here if anything. You simply cast meaningless judgement. In fact , the only real point you have attempted to make amounts to a ‘hill of beans’ a ‘mountain out of a mole hill’. Your rally cry for real names represents an act of you missing the content being discussed.

            Your minuet argument which you prolifically indulge in amounts to next to nothing. In fact, your obsessive need to continue your ‘real name’ argument, in the face of the issues being discussed here is quite revealing about Ed Sheperson’s ability to disern what the important Issues are in our community.

            Issues which are actually worthy of the effort you continue to expand on your demand for your ‘real name roll call and ID check’ campaign.

            Good Luck with your ‘highly important’ endeavor Ed. Many of us have work to do and feel impassioned on far more important issues.

          • Home Run
            June 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm #


            To borrow your word via Dan Rather, I would simply add.

            School Comm’- Courage
            School Dept’ – Courage
            UEP- Courage

        • Ed Shepardson
          June 3, 2012 at 5:16 am #

          Just a thought…
          You spelled my name wrong and sorry you have to work on Sundays.

          • Ed Shepardson
            June 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

            Sorry, I’ve been gone all day. Spent the day in Boston trying to convince a bunch of Muslim extremists to convert to Judaism. Went pretty well. lot of interest.

          • danvalenti
            June 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

            Well done, ES. Were you the guy selling fridges to eskimos?

      • Pittsfield Pete
        June 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        Give us Your real name Cheat !

        So far You have posted under Chet Hunter and then Chet Murphy. Neither of which is true or even the correct gender name! Courage !

        • danvalenti
          June 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

          That’s not a valid request, given that you do not use your real name, eh? And please, refrain from “Cheat.” We’re trying to keep the comments section a cut above the rest. Thank you.

          • Ed Shepardson
            June 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

            Your comment section is indeed a cut above the rest.
            Keep up the good work,
            Brad Pitt

          • Pittsfield Pete
            June 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

            Point taken Dan ! Fair criticism ! I fell prey to
            my validity being attacked and attacked back on a an equally base level. I must remember that it is always the truth that creates validity not an induvidual or an individuals name. Two wrongs do not make a right. I do know this on a very deep level.

            I appreciate your integrity on this matter and willingness to point it out. I stand corrected, and I am reminded that one must, as hard as it is always rise above.

            Thank you for this reminder Dan and my apologies to Chet.

        • Ed Shepardson
          June 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

          Mr. Pinhead,

          The one big difference between you and is that I exist. You don’t. Nor does tito, levitan, pittsfield pete, etc. Kind of like Nazi Germany when everyone was afraid to speak against Hitler. I see the one block of Pittsfield that looks good (South and North Street) and then I look at other areas. Houses are actually being boarded up. Looks like Detroit. We have murders, we have drugs, we have riots, And you people hide behind your screen names. You should be proud.

          • Joe Pinhead
            June 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

            Mr. Shepardson,
            I should be and am proud-you however if I don’t exist should give thought to being seen. Do the BB editors exist? Have you made the same demands of them that you request here? Or do you only demand names of those who don’t carry your thoughts and position? Have you denounced the Eagle and it advertisers based upon your beliefs? They editorialize every day sometimes twice a day without a name and your okay with this? Does the BB blog demand that posters use their real and full names? If not have you posted your thoughts there as well? What is your issue with those here who respectfully submit comments?
            How do I know you are who you claim to be? Should we ask for a utility bill? What level of ID would suit you? What if someone else wants more should we post DNA?
            Just curious when will you demand to see our ballots and how we cast them? As much as you dislike it anyone who desires can participate on this forum with or without identifying themselves as long as they are respectful.
            In the end we will not agree so I guess we can only agree to disagree however I am glad that you posted whoever you are is not as important as the fact that you participated in a discussion.
            (fingers tired and eyes are to old to type on a phone)
            Just sayin

          • Ed Shepardson
            June 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

            Mr. Pinhead,
            First, you forgot to address me as Mr. Brad Pitt. Second, the issues that I have brought up here have been only to question the cowardice of those who post here and other places using fake names. But whatever issues I have written about, I have used my real name.
            Lastly, the Berkshire Eagle is responsible for all content including their editorials. In essence, each one is signed by the Berkshire Eagle. And why would I denounce their advertisers? They have nothing to do with their editorials. I suspect, you have a personal agenda but we will never know because you will never step forward. If you’re not willing to give me your real name, how about your real agenda. I know you’ve got one. You Mr. Pinhead, are a coward. But why?

          • Pittsfield Pete
            June 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm #


            You confuse the Nazi Germany anology of not providing a name to those who did nothing and turned a blind eye, when a ‘moral’ wrong was taking place. There were far more who did provide there name to the Nazi regieme of the time and who then hide behind the Nazi form of oppression.They  believed that because they stood in the majority the actions but be right. They chose to look away, justify, and pretend everything that was taking place in Nazi Germany as above board simply because it was the thinking if the majority at the time. 

            In fairness, I really do not think you can accuse The Planet of ‘ choosing ‘ to look the other way and of choosing to maintain  a status quo without calling for further scrutney and examination, or calls for accountability. 

            In fact, your argument seems to fall flat when one takes your point further. Do you think the Heroes who risked so much in protecting and harboring Jews in Nazi Germany would have been protected by the Nazi’s by simply supplying their name. The very notion that Schlinder would have been afforded protection if he penned his opposition to the Nazi party by simply using his ‘real name’ is totally obsurd. 

            Historically speaking, the real Heros in such cases were those who actually risked all to dare to speak the truth and reject the propaganda of the majority.

            I’d choose to stand behind one if these heroes any day even if I never ever got to know their real name .

          • Ed Shepardson
            June 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

            MEMO FROM BRAD PITT.
            The other thing that amazes about bloggers who use fake names. is that you all don’t read well. This to Pittsfield Pete…I did not…I repeat…did not accuse the Planet of anything. Nothing, nada.. And your education of the culture of Nazi Germany prior to the war is lackling severely. The only person with any clout to speak out against Hitler using his own name and his own money was, believe it or not Charlie Chaplin.

          • Pittsfield Pete
            June 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm #


            On a final note to your hollow argument , I would add the following.

            Bin Ladin was eliminated by navy seals. We don’t even have ‘handles’ to refer to these individuals. They simply are refered to as ‘Seals’

            To apply your logic, these individual’s do not even exist. Perhaps the choppers the used even flew themselves.

          • Pittsfield Pete
            June 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm #


            Ref: Brad Pitt memo..

            Can you please tell Brad Pitt to reread the post refering to Nazi Germany posted by Pittsfield Pete. Brad clearly misses the point.

          • levitan
            June 3, 2012 at 7:06 am #


            The moment one tries to invoke Nazi Germany, I ask, and how about Stalin & Post Stalin SR?

            I can assure you the tradition of anonymous writing was alive and well there and still is if you keep current with the news.

            Political writing is often anonymous and is protected by the courts. False statements, libel, and slander are not protected and anonymity is not a shield against litigation.

            My inclination indicate whether my name is a pen or not vanishes with your desire to know. I stick it in your eye.


          • levitan
            June 3, 2012 at 7:15 am #


            I also disagree with your assertion regarding Charlie Chaplin’s ‘clout’.

            I have in my own family a relative who made repeated ventures into Poland to smuggle Jews out from under the noses of Germans. He did not reveal his name doing that, and he used his own money.

            Those acts were selfless, dangerous, difficult, and saved lives.

            Chaplin attempted some satire and missed the mark. The more you inspect dissent movements, the more you’ll find people avoiding recognition. Thankfully, we do not live in those places and those times, and identity and speech are valued here by those who value the foundations this country was founded.

          • danvalenti
            June 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

            Anonymity has long been a safe harbor for those who were otherwise churning up the ocean.

  4. levitan
    June 1, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Who gives a hoot about WAMC? I stopped listening years ago when the main focus of it’s ‘journalism’ turned to Dr. Chartock’s innards and became suspiciously stocked with interviewee’s related to family members of the station.

    Rather amateurish really, but they do manage to soak up a boatload of cash.

    • Scott
      June 1, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      It is hard to stomach at times especially the “hear something give something” campaign they have going on now but I will admit I have heard some things on there that were informational and it’s where I learned that it’s only in my best interest to vote democrat.

      • levitan
        June 1, 2012 at 11:44 am #

        I believe the rubble of auto wrecks along the Taconic (albeit quickly removed for public safety) is directly attributed to drivers thrown in to a deep slumber by public radio programming.

        I discovered I had to stop listening to it behind the wheel as it was simply too hazardous. It should be put in the same category as distracted or negligent driving.

  5. Still wondering
    June 1, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    WAMC manages to get the money everytime they have a fund drive. Alan’s class envy/scare tactics work and he knows it.
    I used to be a member of WAMC but stopped years ago after listening to one too many insults of people who are not far left robots.

    • Scott
      June 1, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      He’s very rude to callers with an opposing view I have noticed that. I couldn’t understand why he got so goofy over Eleanor Roosevelt.

      • levitan
        June 1, 2012 at 11:36 am #


        The ‘best interest is vote Democrat or Republican’ I believe is a false equation.

        Looking back to Clinton, I see an equal sprinkling of innocuous policy and recklessly damaging policy strung together seamlessly from admin to admin. GWB seems to be the worst, largely because of two non-declared wars, but the collapse of the economy can be tied directly to Clinton and Rubin’s tossing overboard the Glass-Steagall Act.

        If Chartock has you attached to the Democratic Party, it is likely because he courts leaders of the NYS and MA party to strengthen his radio fifedom.

        • levitan
          June 1, 2012 at 11:40 am #

          By the way, I find it amusing that you cannot even mention WAMC on the Eagle’s blog. And mentioning Me & Mario (and it’s entertaining demise) is grounds for immediate dismissal.

          Talk about thin-skinned!

        • Scott
          June 1, 2012 at 11:51 am #

          I just meant they make it sound so good. The Eagle banned me for my pro gun stance as well as mentioning Planet Valenti and I used my real name there so it’s not like I was spewing hate and ignorance anonymously like most in the comment section.

          • Chet Hunter
            June 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm #


  6. Just a Thought!
    June 1, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    This underhanded and slick attempt at adding an extra million to the exact the penny is very revealing about Jake.

    It is a perfect example of Jake’s complete willingness to play dirty and his ability to set people up with a very premeditated ‘Fast Ball’

    Thank goodness for the Mayor being completly on the money.
    (pun intended).

    As it has been recorded on TV and because I saw it myself I
    know this to have indeed taken place. It all reveals much about jake . As if it is in jake to try play such a dirty underhanded trick in a public forum meeting that is recorded on TV, can you just imagine what he is capable of behind closed doors?

    Jake, on TV and in this public meeting was indeed figurrtivley caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Can you imagine what could yet be coming?

    Go Mayor Bianchi Go!

  7. Giacometti
    June 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    WTBR is a student run educational FM radio station whose license is owned by the Pittsfield Public School Committee.
    Under Dr. LaFrankie in the 1990’s the station physically moved
    from a dark corner in the basement of Taconic High School to
    a classroom attached to the Library/Audio Visual Department on the main floor. Under the FCC license which the City’s School Committee oversees the station’s main focus is to TEACH students broadcast courses in radio communications. The station was never intended under the FCC License to provide a forum for adult run programming. Now that WTBR has built itself into a widely listened to station it is time that the School Committee returns the station to its roots of teaching radio broadcasting to high school students and at the same time developing improved reading skills and higher self esteem

    • Home Run
      June 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      This disregard for the kids education and use of power for personal gain by many in the school system is very common.

      Such a common theme and so prevelent that in my opinion it is next to child abuse. Perhaps not proveable legally, but morally it sure is.

      • danvalenti
        June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

        Words of wisdom.

    • danvalenti
      June 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Excellent information here. It’s a matter for the school committee at this point. First, have Larry Kratka come clean on the odd programming decisions made recently. Second, have him make the case for continuing WTBR under present format. Third, consider whether it’s time for the station to get back to its roots and its original intention, to teach high school students about broadcasting. If the students have insufficient interest, pull the plug and perhaps replace it with a podcasting lab.

      • Chet Murphy
        June 2, 2012 at 11:39 am #

        Dan I bet you 80% of Pittsfield residents don’t know or care about WTBR!

        • danvalenti
          June 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

          CHET M
          The figure is likely higher than that. What makes this story relevant will be revealed Monday.

  8. danvalenti
    June 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    The BB has banned all mention of PLANET VALENTI, Dan Valenti, and anything remotely critical of WAMC or the “doktor.” His column is an atrocious waste of newsprint and photons. To think trees have to die for that muck. We proudly place our ban along with the ribbons on our uniform shirt pocket, right next to our Combat Badge. We’re under their skin and inside their head. THE BB even refused to run a review of one of the books published by PLANET MEDIA BOOKS (“Vertically Coastal” by Jerri Chaplin) from one of its own stringers, because THE PLANET is involved! Incidentally, if Herr Doktor wishes to debate these matters on the air, live, we shall be more than happy to accommodate him.

    • levitan
      June 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      It appears that when critique gets too heavy and even the labors of his loyal retainers are too little, the Eagle will pull his articles from online viewers. Most likely, it enables the doctor to imagine hoards of raving fans clipping his mush to the fridges.

    • Home Run
      June 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm #


      Get ready… Soon you will be banned from attending school comm’ meetings or from even watching them in TV.

      The nerve of you to dare to report the events as they took place. This could be a very serious and punishable offense.

      You could now be sent to a life sentence of work at the BB. A place where your every move will be watched and someone will be in charge of your evmet thing you do and say. You would have to forget about honest and objective reporting. Not to mention freedom of the press.

      • danvalenti
        June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

        Thanks for the heads up, but I am ready to sneer at doom, I, who once licked my eight in wild flowers.

    • Ed Shepardson
      June 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      “et tu brute”

      June 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      The BB has banned all mention of PLANET VALENTI, Dan Valenti, and anything remotely critical of WAMC or the “doktor.

    • Chet Hunter
      June 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      Gee Dan. You piss on the Eagle every chance you get and then you want them to say nice things about you or do you a favor to review a book Are you for real?

      • danvalenti
        June 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

        You misread me. I don’t want any special treatment or them to say nice things about me. To ignore the issues we bring up, and to depend upon THE PLANET for many stories and lift without credit, further exposes the BB as a “newspaper” that has lost its legitimacy. As for the review, we find it ironic that they send a reviewer to one of our launches and then fail to publish her criticism. To answer your final query: Yes.

  9. dusty
    June 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    What did I miss? Is the mayor level funding the schools? I would think we would be cutting six or 8 million out of the budget this year and more each successive year till we cut out most of the fluff spending.

  10. tito
    June 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I lost interest in Chartock when he took that trip to China, word has it he drove the company car.

    • danvalenti
      June 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      This is just a question and nothing more, but how well WAMC and the dictatorship withstand an independent examination of all practices at WAMC, including, of course, the finances? Is Herr Doktor’s salary $200,000, which is the figure that gets kicked about? Do any other family members, relatives, or close friends derive income from the station? These and lots of other questions should be answered. And the BB would save some self-respect if they dropped the “I, Pretentious” column immediately. It would be an act of kindness for its readers.

      • levitan
        June 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        Good nomiker – I, Pretentious.

        They’d actually do a huge favor for Chartock by dropping it.

        “No one had the courtesy
        to salvage what was left of dignity”

        Line from a Yiddish song

  11. tito
    June 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Planet have you seen the charter commission debate, one of the phonies said he was in favor of the best candidates, he had two in mind and said he didn’t even know what Ward they were in?

    • danvalenti
      June 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      No, I haven’t seen this one yet. Been afraid to look, like I was when I was a kid and saw “House on Haunted Hill” in the darkened wastes of the old Palace Theater. Would be interested in your take on the proceedings.

  12. GMHeller
    June 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    For the 12-month period ended June 30, 2010, (the latest IRS Form 990 posted by on its Web site), WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Inc. paid compensation to its unelected (by the membership) chairman and CEO a total of $179,785.
    This figure, of course, does not include Mr. Chartock’s expense account from WAMC nor any of the taxable fringe benefits he gets from the organization, but which WAMC fails to declare to IRS.

    • danvalenti
      June 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Thank you for this information. That’s a ridiculous amount of money for a guy who screams about compensation for the 1%. Guess that makes Herr Doktor a “1 percenter”

      • GMHeller
        June 2, 2012 at 6:40 am #

        Mr. Valenti,
        Note that the salary paid Mr. Chartock by WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Inc. is separate from the whopping pension he already receives from SUNY (New York State taxpayers) from his decades at that educational institution as a full-time professor, who for most of that time (since at least 1981) was ‘moonlighting’ at WAMC in blatant violation of SUNY’s ‘anti-moonlighting’ employment policy.
        It is quite likely that it was the embarrassment Chartock’s continual wholesale violation of SUNY’s employment practices caused to SUNY Administration officials that led to Chartock’s subsequent ‘retirement’ from SUNY and not anything related to Chartock’s age or busy schedule.
        Note as well that as soon as he left SUNY, Chartock’s compensation from WAMC rose dramatically, though the number of hours he continues to work at WAMC has remained the same as when he was employed by SUNY.
        Let’s face it, working at WAMC there is no ceiling to what Chartock can get paid by WAMC’s board, whereas at SUNY, the ceiling is set by SUNY administration policy and by the SUNY Administration’s current arrangements with the professor’s union.

        • Scott
          June 2, 2012 at 7:18 am #

          For a capitalist you’re really concerned about how much money this guy makes or are you just pointing out the hypocrisy of it all? How much federal dollars go to the station and how much is funded by listeners? At the end of the year he still pays tax like everyone else.

          • danvalenti
            June 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

            It’s the hypocrisy and the lack of transparency regarding the operation.

        • danvalenti
          June 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

          Points well taken. We invite Herr Doktor to refute any of this information, should any of it be inaccurate.

          • Scott
            June 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

            DV although unfair they’re playing by the rules they don’t have to answer to us but they do have to answer to the IRS. Does donating money give one an opinion as well as an outlet to voice it at WMAC/NPR?

  13. Jonathan Melle
    June 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    I used to give money to WAMC public radio when I lived in the beautiful Berkshires. I stopped donating after Alan Chartock supported Andrea Nuciforo is politics. I feel the same way after Dan Valenti supported Nuciforo for U.S. Congress. On a personal level, I like both Alan & Dan, respectively.

    • danvalenti
      June 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

      Thank you, Jonathan.

  14. tito
    June 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    And the beat goes on…….

  15. dusty
    June 2, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Perhaps Mr Kratka got some legal advice and decided they were all venturing into dangerous waters.

    and “no comment” is the general GOB response to most questions

    • danvalenti
      June 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      We shall have Mr. Kratka’s statement on Monday. Stay tuned.

  16. Scott
    June 2, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    “a person who is one of the worst writers ever to poison the pages of the Boring Broadsheet.”

    I’ll give you the poison but the guy is a good writer.

    Also thank you for clearing up the WMAC/NPR thing now I know why I do hear some things that are informational and helpful. If Alan needs money to further is one sided political agenda then he should use his own.

    • Dawn
      June 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      When he writes about that dog I want to eat a handful of broken glass.

    • levitan
      June 3, 2012 at 7:23 am #

      I find his writing a cross between disjointed statements and the “Anyone who is Someone Social column”, peppered with veiled threats against merchants, plugs for contributors, and random political pronouncements.

      “”Yep, Coakley lost because she is a woman. Happens every time.”

      • Scott
        June 3, 2012 at 11:31 am #

        Well yeah but I’m just saying his delivery is professional it’s just his message that tends to suck.

      • danvalenti
        June 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

        Yes, the shamepless plugs, the sucking up to Those In Power, the flat-out puckered writing … oy vey, as my fellow Jews would say.

  17. Scott
    June 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    here’s one for GH

    • GEE Whiz
      June 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      That’s certainly an eye opener. What a free-loader, the ‘doktor’!

    • dusty
      June 3, 2012 at 3:09 am #

      So did the IRS or anyone else ever try to prosecute him for any of these misdeeds? Who would not love that gravy train situation? Holy Cow!!

      I think his donors might be interested to know some of this

  18. GEE Whiz
    June 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    The ‘doktor’ stinks as a writer as a broadcaster and most everything else, there can be no arguing that. Dawn, yes, when he gets going about the dog, it’s embarrassing. Embarrassing that the Eagle would run that garbage. Shows you how low things are at the paper.

    • Scott
      June 3, 2012 at 5:28 am #

      “Embarrassing that the Eagle would run that garbage. Shows you how low things are at the paper.”

      They make Bernays proud.

      He does do good interviews and asks appropriate questions I can’t deny that. There’s also no denying he’s a progressive which turns a lot of people off.

      Here’s something to think about during election time. Other then abortion and gay marriage both sides of politics share the same agenda but those two will always be highlighted in the media to pull your moral strings and sway your vote.

      • levitan
        June 3, 2012 at 7:28 am #

        Chartock is a progressive? Since when? He used his column to blast Bianchi in the first election because he wanted a recount to explore a narrow loss. He spent the last 10 years plugging for Barret in North Adams.

        • Jonathan Melle
          June 3, 2012 at 10:17 am #

          Former Mayor John Barrett III is a good man. He believed in North Adams when no else did. Mass MoCA is a success. I also like his stand against Andrea Nuciforo for U.S. Congress. Defeat Nuciforo!

          • Scott
            June 3, 2012 at 11:30 am #

            Yeah he did mayor Ruberto’s job too after he was elected for another term. Were the grass measuring police his idea?

          • levitan
            June 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm #


            I lived in NA for almost ten years under Barrett. I voted for him most of the time because he (at least I assume ) kept a good face on the city, kept taxes low, and managed the town well. The police, fire, and school dept’s were responsive to the residents. So, I agree he was a good mayor for many reasons.

            But, there are troubling stories about heavy handed responses to critics.

            My point is really about the difficulty of labeling Chartock a ‘progressive’ when he predictably supports the incumbent. To me, that behavior suggests political courtship.

        • danvalenti
          June 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

          Herr Doktor’s is so far left he fell off the scale. A fanatic by any other name …

      • danvalenti
        June 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

        Good interviews? It’s a matter of judgment, of course, but I’ve found his skills sorely lacking. He lacks the killer’s instinct, asks too many softballs of too many people, and picks on the defenseless. He’s the Cowardly Lion when it comes to interviews.

    • danvalenti
      June 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

      Bow wow. Woof woof.

      • levitan
        June 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm #


        chartock is not far left at all. I tend to think of Machiavelli when I hear him plug away. Can’t quite put my finger on my response, but that Italian’s skinny face keeps popping into my head.

        I support the duke in this fight. But, should the baron win, then I support him instead. It’s the right thing to do.

  19. Larry
    June 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Who are people here supporting for the Central Berkshire registry of deeds position??? And why???

    • danvalenti
      June 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      Excellent question. We would like to see responses as well. THE PLANET hasn’t endorsed anyone as of yet.

  20. Hurdygurdy Man
    June 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Chartick’s a lightweight strictly an empty suit. He’s perfect for the Eagle!