Last month, we reported on the dire state of the books at Pacifica, the nonprofit that owns KPFA. Pacifica’s new CFO Raul Salvador and board chair Margy Wilkinson (a member of SaveKPFA) found an operation in disarray, after being locked out of the network’s National Office next door to KPFA for two months by ousted executive Summer Reese. Bookkeeping entries had not been made for nine months, and there were unpaid bills lying in large, unorganized stacks, some of which were slated to be shredded until Wilkinson intervened.
After weeks spent reconstructing financial data, Pacifica’s new staff have now issued the most complete network financial statements since Pacifica’s 2012 audit.
Stiffing pension to pay consultants
There was massive overspending at the National Office, which, according to a report from Pacifica National Finance Committee chair Brian Edwards-Tiekert “produced the largest loss the Pacifica National Office has posted since the height of Pacifica’s civil war in 2001.”
Adding injury to injury: while last year’s leadership was running up large bills with temp agencies, consultants, and law firms, they were skipping payments to the pension fund for Pacifica workers, and holding on to payroll taxes that were supposed to go to the IRS.
The good news: the overspending and deficits appear to have leveled out. So far this year, the network is basically breaking even, and there are more savings on the horizon. If Pacifica is able to restore its eligibility for Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding, it should run a healthy surplus. (CPB funding was suspended in 2013 over compliance issues, cutting the network’s revenues by over $1 million per year). | READfinancial report, Excel financial spreadsheets (balance sheets, income statements, consolidated monthly sheet)
The biggest challenge facing Pacifica’s new leadership are the angry creditors they have inherited from the Reese era — several of which have initiated lawsuits.
But there is progress on this front as well: new interim executive director Margy Wilkinson negotiated a 21-month interest-free payment plan with an attorney who had been suing Pacifica over unpaid bills. And in early September, the Pacifica National Board voted to approve a 0% interest loan of $156,000 to cover an unpaid tax bill it inherited and head off further penalties. The loan comes from Aris Anagnos, co-founder of the Los Angeles Peace Center and the Humanitarian Law Project, as well as a long-time supporter of Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles. (You can learn more about Anagnos by listening to this interview with him on KPFK). Anagnos had asked that the discussion of the loan and his name both be made public — to inspire other major supporters to join him in helping Pacifica through its current difficulties.
Now that Pacifica’s financial records are getting cleaned up, Wilkinson reports that it’s getting easier to push back on some claims by creditors. Recently, she talked down a vendor threatening to sue over money Pacifica had already paid.
Still unresolved is the money owed to Pacifica’s pension fund, and lawsuits over unpaid bills, including one from a temp agency Pacifica used heavily last year, and another from Free Speech Radio News, which was forced off the air in mid-2013 after Pacifica stopped making payments for its daily newscast. . . . “
Excerpt: “M.C.: The potential in radio’s second largest market is enormous. When I started in radio, one of the first lessons I was taught was about the special bond that exists between the listener and the station; between the host and the audience. It’s like a personal, intimate relationship.
My impression is that, unfortunately, KPFK has sometimes deceived its most precious asset, the audience. That is to say, our core “business” is radio. We should abide by the un-written rules of radio, no matter what. I don’t see any other path to regain KPFK’s audience than to regain the confidence and trust of its listeners again.
The only way to do so is by delivering our message through the evergreen radio truth: to educate, inform, and entertain. All three actions must go along jointly and evenly. . . . “
Greetings All Just a reminder: The Pacifica Listener Forum conference call is TODAY Saturday 9/11 at 2pm PT / 5pm ET.The call will last about 2 hours, and you can join the call at any time. Access info is below. Hope to have you on the call today. All members of the Pacifica Radio community are welcome to participate. Please join us and invite others. Peace,Andrew Weiss Co-Coordinator – Pacifica Listener Forum Listener / Member – KPFK Los Angeles email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCESS INFO FOR FORUM CONFERENCE CALL TODAY SATURDAY 2pm PT / 5pm ET
Here is the telephone access:
Access is free and available with any type of telephone. No app needed.
Telephone Access Method #1:
Dial-In Phone #: (563) 999-1448
Access Code: No access code needed with this number.
“You are invited to participate in another on-air candidate forum – this time it will be broadcast in Spanish and there will be live language interpretation for any and all who need it. The forum will be from 8:30-10:30PM PST on Monday, September 27th.There will be more details to follow about protocol and how language interpretation will work, but it will again take place in a Zoom meeting which will be patched through and broadcast live on KPFK. Candidates will have a chance to introduce themselves to listeners, and the rest of the program will be for listeners to call in and ask questions, with each candidate having the opportunity to respond.”
Pacifica’s tradition of unhampered access to the airwaves has allowed our network to play a uniquely focal role in American media. We have broken pivotal news stories and brought issues and artists to the spotlight that may have been overlooked.
We broadcast via satellite and Internet and have one of the most extensive and important sound archives in the world. With a network of approximately 200 affiliate stations, we are energizing independent community radio through collaboration, interactivity and program exchange throughout the network.
Pacifica Foundation established the concept of community radio in the United States when it created KPFA in 1949 in Berkeley, California. Today, Pacifica owns WBAI in New York City, WPFW in Washington DC, KPFT in Houston Texas, KPFK in Los Angeles, and KPFA in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Pacifica Announces Settlement With Empire State Building and Empire State Realty Trust
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Livingston Tel: (510) 316-9783 Email: email@example.com
Pacifica Announces Settlement With Empire State Building and Empire State Realty Trust
(New York) – The Pacifica Foundation announced today the settlement on a series of agreements that release WBAI, the organization’s New York radio station, from a court judgment as well as the last two years of its lease at the Empire State Building as of May 31, 2018. The Foundation is also in the final stages of completing an agreement to relocate its transmission facility to a new site nearby. The agreements and move will preserve Pacifica’s service to millions of people in the New York Metro area.
The settlement, announced by the Pacifica National Board, relieves Pacifica of a $1.8 million 2017 judgment for Empire State Realty Trust (the organization that operates the Empire State Building) and against WBAI and Pacifica, additional rent and penalties accrued since the judgment was issued, and any remaining obligations that would have incurred after May 31, 2018.
Funding for the settlement was provided through a loan from the non-profit lender FJC, which includes a reserve amount that frees Pacifica from maki . . . “
Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases. Those cases include the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI.
The Pacifica Foundation operates noncommercial radio stations in five major metropolitan areas, operates the Pacifica Radio Archives with decades of historical audio, and syndicates content to over 300 affiliate stations. Pacifica invented listener-sponsored radio.
About Public Media Company
Public Media Company is a nonprofit strategic consulting firm that fosters innovative and sustainable local media in communities across the U.S. Over the past 17 years, Public Media Company has worked with more than 300 public media organizations in 49 states, facilitating more than $338 million in public media station acquisitions and impacting 80 million people, or 1-in-5 Americans. Public Media Company worked with a number of public television stations on the spectrum auction and launched and managed the innovative content-sharing and discovery platforms Channel X and VuHaus. The Public Media Venture Group is Public Media Company’s latest entrepreneurial effort that seeks to strengthen local public media stations and the communities they serve.
FJC, A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, is a 501c(3) public charity whose mission is advancing donors’ charitable goals and financial planning through creative and pioneering solutions including its non-profit Agency Loan Fund (ALF). FJC offers the ALF as an investment option to donor advised funds and to qualified tax exempt not-for-profit organizations. ALF loans have helped finance projects for public radio and television stations, the establishment of group homes for the disabled, classes for special needs children, programs at community centers for the aged, adult literacy programs, cultural institutions, and arts programs. “
” . . . Again, these issues were know to all for decades. The debates in the Program Council at WBAI over Gary Null when he made 40-60% of the revenue never focused on whether those arguing it were simply incapable of crafting a sound that attracted 17,000 people an hour. I suggest that people see the new documentary on Dick Gregory which SHOWTIME has. I always admired and learned from him. At one point I had all his records which I listened to again and again. But I found the commentary on his interest in health issues fascinating. It reminded me of one of the telling comments in the WBAI Program Council when people would freak out over his attraction to a mass audience. Barbara Nimri Aziz simply said , “Don’t you undrestand how he makes people feel about themselves. he makes them feel good since he is directing his advicfe to make them live longer and take care of themselves. It’s obvious” This is from wikipedia about Gregory’s health campaigning which I had totally forgotten about.
Vegetarianism and animal rights
Gregory became a vegetarian and fasting activist in 1965 “based on the philosophy of nonviolence practiced during the Civil Rights Movement.”[His 1973 book, Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet For Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ With Mother Nature, outlined how fasting and going vegetarian led to dramatic weight loss. He developed a diet drink called “Bahamian Diet Nutritional Drink” and went on TV shows advocating his diet and to help the morbidly obese. He wrote the introduction to Viktoras Kulvinskas’ book Survival into the 21st Century.A talk he gave at Amherst College in 1986 inspired Tracye McQuirter to become a vegan activist.
In 1984, he founded Health Enterprises, Inc., a company that distributed weight-loss products. With this company, Gregory made efforts to improve the life expectancy of African Americans, which he believed was being hindered by poor nutrition and drug and alcohol abuse. In 1985, Gregory introduced the “Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet”, a powdered-diet mix. He launched the weight-loss powder at the Whole Life Expo in Boston under the slogan “It’s cool to be healthy”. The diet mix, if drunk three times a day, was said to provide rapid weight loss. Gregory received a multimillion-dollar distribution contract to retail the diet.[
In 1985, the Ethiopian government adopted, to reported success, Gregory’s formula to combat malnutrition during a period of famine in the country. Gregory’s clients included Muhammad Ali.
In 2014, Dick Gregory updated his original 4X formula, which was the basis for the Bahamian Diet and created his new and improved “Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health”.
In 2003, Gregory and Cornel West wrote letters on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Kentucky Fried Chicken‘s CEO, asking that the company improve its animal-handling procedures.[Gregory saw civil rights and animal rights as intrinsically linked, once stating, “Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.” I am personally less interested in these kinds of issues than others but that is MY PERSONAL PREFERNCE. I learned decdaes ago to spearate my personal preferences from the practical necessities of financing very fragile fiscal realities at Pacifica stations. . . . “
” . . . Latest evidence of the Board’s bad faith comes in the form of an email, purportedly from Micheal Palmer, a real estate broker in Houston who is treasurer-elect on the governing board. The text of the memo follows. Palmer’s email to Pacifica national board chair Mary Frances Berry puts forward a plan to destroy grassroots opposition and raise money to pay for the voracious cash needs of the national superstructure by selling either KPFA, the network’s flagship station in the Bay Area, valued at around $70 million, or WBAI in New York, probably worth even more . . . .”
” . . . There are a couple puzzling features in the address panel of the email. Berry’s name middle name is incorrectly spelled, though Micheal is the proper spelling of Palmer’s first name. How can such an explosive memo be seeing the light of day instead of remaining locked in Mary Frances Berry’s safe? The truth is ironic and extraordinary. The IGC internet service provider did a trace and confirms that the email originated at Micheal Palmer’s email account. (Click here to read the IGC trace of the email’s origins.) But it was sent to the email address of Andrea Buffa, director of the San Francisco Media Alliance and one of the protesters on whom Pacifica manager Lynn Chadwick had conducted a citizen’s arrest for demonstrating outside the Pacifica national offices in Berkeley. Buffa was arraigned on July 13 directing the attention of the press to the text of the letter on CounterPunch’s website. (Click here to read press release from the Media Alliance.) It seems that Palmer in one of the most momentous Freudian slips in recent memory managed to direct his email to an active opponent of all the schemes being hatched by him and Berry. . . . “
” . . .
From: Palmer, Micheal @ Houston Galleria, firstname.lastname@example.org To: ‘Mary Francis Berry’, email@example.com . . . “
From the email: ” . . . But seriously, I was under the impression there was support in the proper quarters, and a definite majority, for shutting down that unit and re-programming immediately. Has that changed? Is there consensus among the national staff that anything other than that is acceptable/bearable? I recall Cheryl saying that the national staff wanted to know with certitude that they supported 100% by the Board in whatever direction was taken; what direction is being taken?
As an update for you and Lynn I spoke with the only radio broker I know last week and his research shows $750,000-$1.25m for KPFB. There wo . . . “
” . . . This is the best radio market in history and while public companies may see a dilutive effect from a sale (due to the approximate 12 month repositioning effort needed), they would still be aggressive for such a signal. Private media companies would be the most aggressive in terms of price, which he thinks could be in the $65-75m range depen . . . “
” . . . the Finance Committee will undertake a close review of the Audigraphics data provided recently to determine what it is costing us per listener, per subscriber, per market, per hour of programming…in order give the Executive Director and the General Managers benchmarks for improvement. Even with that data my feeling is that a more beneficial disposition would be of the New York signal as there is a smaller subscriber base without the long and emotional history as the Bay Area, far more associated value, a similarly dysfunctional staff though far less effective and an overall better opportunity to redefine Pacifica going forward. It is simply the more strategic asset. . . .”
Then he wrote: ” . . . An afternoon panel discussion on the Pacifica crisis will be held Saturday, July 24 from 1-4 p.m. at the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society, 9550 Haskell Avenue in North Hills. Panelists include former Pacifica board president Peter Franck, fired Pacifica national programmer Larry Bensky, KPFK local advisory board chair and litigant David Adelson , and long-time KPFK programmer Roy Tuckman. Dr. Helen Caldicott will also address the issues via a pre-taped presentation. . . . “
Please note, an email’s origin can be traced back.
Folks reveal their own bad intentions in their own writings:
Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News
by ERIC C. JACOBSON Tuesday, Apr. 08, 2014 at 2:07 PM ECJLA@AOL.COM (310) 204-0677 PO Box 67674, Los Angeles, CA 90067 Excerpts follow:
” . . . A case in point is Carol Spooner. She was the lead plaintiff in one of the two main “listener lawsuits” that succeeded in “taking back Pacifica” during the last major crisis involving the Foundation at the turn of the 21st century
Ms. Spooner and her allies wrested control of Pacifica Foundation away from a self-perpetuating Board of opportunists who really were aiming to denature Pacifica’s heritage and essence, put it into service of what the late, great Alexander Cockburn called “the neo-liberal inferno” and remake Pacifica into a benign Democratic-establishment-friendly left-of-center version of National Public Radio. Ms. Spooner then spent the next half-decade immersed in enervating factional conflicts with others who competed for power within the new framework of democratic governance for Pacifica enshrined in complex bylaws adopted following the final seizure of Pacifica in 2002 from the “ancient regime”.
In it she (astonishingly) calls for the Pacifica Foundation to dissolve its 5 station union, transfer its valuable broadcast licenses to the governing bodies of its constituent stations, sell WBAI into the commercial marketplace and distribute the proceeds as “endowments” to the remaining 4 stations. Suffice it say this is a very radical and almost certainly legally untenable proposal (given the trust and fiduciary responsibilities of any Pacifica Board of Directors to maintain fidelity to the founders’ non-profit mission and the charitable nature of Pacifica’s acquisition of WBAI), and would come as a shock to the vast majority of the 80,000 listener-sponsors at the 5 stations. Most Pacifica station listener sponsors like the idea of Pacifica being a small but proud “national progressive radio network” and want to build that network up, not shatter it to pieces. . . .”
” . . . For example, Pacifica acquired its New York City station WBAI (in 1960) as a charitable gift from philanthropist Louis Schweitzer. Schweitzer’s stated purpose was “to liberate a single element of mass media technology on behalf of the public” and thereby enhance “the free marketplace of ideas.” http://www.wbai.net/hist/tab_77_2.html . The law treats such charitable bequests as perpetual and although a court could permit subsequent stewards of such a donated property to divest themselves of it, under the “cy pres” doctrine, the most they could do is transfer it to another strictly non-profit organization equally devoted to the donor’s charitable purpose. In sum WBAI cannot legally be sold into the commercial marketplace in the unimaginable event a majority of Pacifica listener-sponsors voted to do so.
Yet in recent interviews Ms. Reese has recounted a stunning conversation she had on this subject with Dan Siegel, the Oakland, California lawyer who brought another of the lawsuits in the “take back Pacifica” mobilization of ~2000, and who has been a protagonist in Pacifica’s factional wars ever since (particularly those occurring at KPFA). In August of 2013 Mr. Siegel endorsed Ms. Spooner’s proposal although they differ on some “fine points”. See an exchange between Mr. Siegel and Ms. Spooner found here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PacificaRadiowaves/conversations/topics/10735 .
” . . . Although Mr. Siegel is no longer on the PNB (due to Bylaws provisions . . . Ms. Reese’s main antagonist on the PNB majority is Dan Siegel’s law partner Jose Fuentes, the member who made the motion for her termination at the very end of the March 13, 2013 telephonic Board meeting. Given the close relationship between Siegel and Fuentes, it is reasonable to assume that Fuentes and his colleagues in the Board majority are likely pursuing Ms. Spooner’s outlandish “game plan”
As to some of those: PDGG is seeking to restrain the Board majority from breaching Ms. Reese’s contract. And it is not seriously disputed by anyone that the Pacifica Foundat . . . “
” . . . The Board did not provide notice to its own members that Ms. Reese’s termination would be voted upon at the March 13th meeting, and took the vote with 4 members absent and without hea . . . “
by Kim Kaufman Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014 at 11:44 PM firstname.lastname@example.org “…3 out of the 4 current delegates to the PNB from KPFK, my home station here in Los Angeles, have evidently joined forces with like-minded cohorts from KPFA…”
One current PNB member, Lydia Brazon, is surely one of the architect’s of this plan going way back. She and Dan Siegel have long been allies and co-conspirators..
I strongly support Summer Reese in her position as Executive Director of Pacifica and in her efforts to preserve and protect the network and five Pacifica stations and their mission, and to prevent the total collapse of Pacifica into bankruptcy court, pay-off its debts, clean-up the corruption and financial mess, and rebuild.
I believe those Pacifica directors who voted to fire her without cause weeks after her contract was signed acted with gross abuse of their authority and have recklessly and/or intentionally placed Pacifica in grave peril. Some of them may just be acting out of cluelessness and factional malice. But others of them are not clueless, including Dan Siegel’s “SaveKPFA” allies at KPFA — Margy Wilkinson, Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Jose Luis Fuentes — and Lydia Brazon at KPFK and Cerene Roberts at WBAI. I’ve heard speculation and rumors about what their ultimate “end game” intentions may be, but whatever that is they are clearly attempting to force Pacifica into a position where desperate deals may have to be made that may not preserve and protect Pacifica’s mission.
It is true that in August 2012 I circulated the outlines of a plan for an “amicable divorce” at Pacifica — by doing a signal swap for WBAI (which is in the commercial band) with another station down the dial in the NYC area and using the cash generated to endow an independent Pacifica national programming service as well as five independent nonprofit radio stations set up by the local boards at the five signal areas. You can read it here: http://tinyurl.com/nxcau5c
I still think that may be the best way forward, but reasonable people can disagree about that. I know that Summer Reese disagrees.
What is not subject to reasonable disagreement is that firing the Executive Director, in breach of her contract, exposes Pacifica to serious risk of total collapse with little or no opportunity for an orderly resolution to its difficulties.
As a side note, it’s easy to get lost in the cast of characters who have been involved in Pacifica, so I don’t blame Eric Jacobson for his confusion and mistaken characterizations of me and my role at Pacifica. I served on the Pacifica National Board for 3 years — from January 2002 through January 2005 — first on the “interim” Pacifica Board for 2 years after our lawsuit was settled removing the old corporatizing board. During that time I chaired the committee that re-wrote the bylaws creating a democratic Pacifica with a voting membership. I then served for one year on the first elected board, after which I retired from any formal role at Pacifica. Since then I’ve sent out occasional email commentaries over the years, and have supported those candidates who I believed were best suited to ending the enervating factionalism and rebuilding Pacifica for the “beacon of the Left” that it should be and needs to be in these times. . . . “
Carol Spooner is a retired attorney living in Santa Rosa. She can be reached at email@example.com
Feb. 2020: KPFA’s building in Berkeley set to be auctioned off for non-payment of taxes
The progressive radio station has not paid property taxes since December 2013 and owes $486,751. The Pacifica Foundation, which owns the station, is not revealing whether it has a rescue plan.
KPFA’s iconic building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way is set to be auctioned off March 20 because of the non-payment of taxes.
The progressive radio station has not paid property taxes on 1929 MLK Jr. Way since December 2013, and currently owes $486,751 to Alameda County. The Tax Assessor’s office has a contract with Bid4assets to sell off delinquent properties. The public auction will start at 8:30 a.m. March 20 and continue until March 23 at 3:30 p.m. The minimum bid is $486,853.
The station has until March 19 to pay the debt to stop the auction.
“We’re all freaking out about it,” said Christina Huggins, the chair of the KPFA local station board. “We’re all worried about it. It’s alarming.”
The management of the Pacifica Foundation, the parent organization of KPFA, and four other radio stations around the country, did not respond to a request for comment. Huggins and other KPFA officials have been told to step back and not get involved with the tax bill, said Huggins.
She and others believe that the Pacifica Foundation has hired a Southern California law firm, Alpert Barr & Grant, to negotiate a settlement with the Alameda County Tax Collector. Berkeleyside’s call to Alpert Barr & Grant was not returned. Lydia Brazon, Pacifica’s new interim executive director, did not return Berkeleyside’s emails.
The enormous property tax bill is only the latest crisis for the progressive radio network that started in 1949. For many years there has been infighting among various factions at the Pacifica Foundation and inside KPFA, as well as between the foundation and radio station. There have been revolving executive directors and interim EDs at Pacifica Foundation — 19 since 2003 — and a changing cast of board members at KPFA. The internal politics are complex . . .”
Why the Pacifica National Office intervened at WBAI by Akio Tanaka Thursday Nov 14th, 2019 4:28 AM Pacifica have a directorship that somehow believes you can VOTE reality out of existence. Recently, as I was reading an exchange between Bill Crosier, KPFT Director, and Tracy Rosenberg, former KPFA Director, regarding the crisis at WBAI, it seemed that they were talking past each other. So, I asked a fellow board member Darlene Pagano, who sits on the Audit Committee, for her take on the exchange. I want to share her response.
———————————- “Hello Akio,
I joined the PNB Audit committee, having been on the non-profit org side of many an audit in my time, and what I can say is that NETA is pulling Pacifica out of a lot of stinking muck and mud and we should be as thrilled with them as we can possibly be. NETA has been sounding the alarm on the Pacifica financial DISASTER since about day 3 of working with us.
I do think that there was NO money to further give to WBAI, and the fact that no one said NO to their GM earlier (and then dealt with the consequences) was an incredible lapse of Fiduciary responsibility at the very top of our governance structure.
John Vernile did do what an Executive Director should do, and that is make hard choices and prioritize the PACIFICA FOUNDATION needs, even if is a terrible shock to one station. Triage.!!
The NFC meetings affirm to me that NETA (a professional, “dis-interested” financial specialty firm) is the best thing that has happened to Pacifica recently. The financial documents they produce can be relied upon and will give the iED and all the GM’s a great deal of help in making some hard decisions and possible direction in planning.
Major donors and lenders will be helped by this level of verified information as well. Perhaps even our CA Attorney General who has made repeated warnings about revoking our Incorporation due to th . . . “
Kinda Ridiculous …. by Tracy Rosenberg Sunday Nov 24th, 2019 6:10 AM “While I can’t help what some people want to believe, it is really sad to see people on the board of a community radio network being so oblivious to what their mission actually is: to operate local community radio stations. The mission of a nonprofit is not a joke. It’s the purpose of its existence. And nobody ever said it was going to be financially easy.
Pacifica’s national office is bleeding money right and left, due to poor supervision by the board. Plain and simple. The numbers are right in front of our faces. Anyone who chooses not to look at them is simply complicit in a blame game that is focused on dangling WBAI and its very lucrative broadcast license as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Look at these crazy numbers for a supposedly poor national office that claims it is on the verge of collapse due to a payroll loan of $35,000 for a week.
A national office payroll of $1.026 million dollars over the past two years.
National office consulting contracts totaling $399,417 over the past two years.
National office legal bills totaling $607,785 over the past two years.
National office contracted accountants totaling $321,933 in the past year. (The NETA folks).
National office corporate travel totaling $61,000 in the past year or more than $5,000 a month.
More than $2.0 million dollars received in major donor income and how much used to pay back a loan due in 2021 that holds real estate assets including the three production studios in Berkeley, LA and Houston?
The bad news is, author, playwright, radio comic, Joseph K. Adams has passed. I will so miss him. Here’s the last (worth reading) I heard from Joesky: “I think I think it’s important to try what you feel will help, reasonably, short of intense self-prescribed drug treatment. Acknowledging that it’s sad for a reason. And facing that reason. For me it was being molested as a child and having to deal with it where it belongs, in the past, I was for, I’m not for now. And I can protect me. That is a huge amount of growth. My story.May 19May 19, 2021, 5:04 PMYou sent May 19Many of the men I have met recently were molested, the latest by catholics.You sent May 19Sounds like a good reason to attach to your inner childJoseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 19Child molestation and rape in any form qualify for ptsd. Being held at gunpoint or otherwise having your life at risk in a violent crime. Being in combat for people are repeatedly trying to kill you. There are lots of reason for PTSD but the first issue is getting honest with it. It’s terrifying and no one ever wants to admit being that powerless. But with the work I’ve done I’ve learned how to put it where it belongs, in my past, and connect to the parts of me that were isolated in different tragedies.Joseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 19I suggest you look up a c e, adverse childhood events, from the cdc. It’s goes long beyond adult children of alcoholics,. It’s really very good.You sent May 19I want to send your words to my friend. If necessary could I use your name?Joseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 19Certainly. We go back quite a ways and I have never found you to abuse my reference or credit. Feel free.You sent May 19Thank youJoseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 19
You sent May 19My job before Covid was teach english as a 2nd language. If I can’t do that again, maybe I will look for another avocation
1Joseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 19I’ve always felt it important to do work that would leave something behind, and help someone. Sounds like that job did.You sent May 19For then, but that’s over. I have a knack for finding the worst in things.You sent May 19I feel proud of what I did for KPFK and its listenersYou sent May 19I sent much of your words to him.May 20May 20, 2021, 8:41 PMYou sent May 20How are you, when is your bedtime?May 20May 20, 2021, 9:05 PMJoseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 20I was in a zoom meeting. I don’t have a specific bedtime but I’m turning in pretty quick. How are you doing?You sent May 20Are you doing groups by zoom? More power to ya!Joseph K. AdamsJoseph sent May 20I’ve been stranded at home without being able to go to meetings for a very long time. When the pandemic hit and people started doing Zoom it was my chance to quote get out quoteJoseph sent May 20I hope people will still do them later.”
You sent May 20Now that I’m forced to learn how ( sort of) I think we’ll continue.You sent May 20June 18 at 3:22 PMFri 3:22 PMYou sent June 18 at 3:22 PM HE TOLD ME I SHOULD CONNECT TO MY INNER CHILD, AND PROTECT HER, AND THAT’S WHAT HELPED HIM.
“Why the Pacifica National Office intervened at WBAI by Akio Tanaka Thursday Nov 14th, 2019 4:28 AM Pacifica have a directorship that somehow believes you can VOTE reality out of existence. Recently, as I was reading an exchange between Bill Crosier, KPFT Director, and Tracy Rosenberg, former KPFA Director, regarding the crisis at WBAI, it seemed that they were talking past each other. So, I asked a fellow board member Darlene Pagano, who sits on the Audit Committee, for her take on the exchange. I want to share her response.
———————————- Hello Akio,
I joined the PNB Audit committee, having been on the non-profit org side of many an audit in my time, and what I can say is that NETA is pulling Pacifica out of a lot of stinking muck and mud and we should be as thrilled with them as we can possibly be. NETA has been sounding the alarm on the Pacifica financial DISASTER since about day 3 of working with us.
I do think that there was NO money to further give to WBAI, and the fact that no one said NO to their GM earlier (and then dealt with the consequences) was an incredible lapse of Fiduciary responsibility at the very top of our governance structure.
John Vernile did do what an Executive Director should do, and that is make hard choices and prioritize the PACIFICA FOUNDATION needs, even if is a terrible shock to one station. Triage.!!”
Our Board problem is that the members don’t know who they’re voting for or against. We need to wake up and join the computer age, and really show who we are on line. And we should show pro and con arguments for all issues on line. I have many more arguments, but I don’t know if.
Jun 11, 2021, 5:43 PM (4 days ago)
The problem is not this or that form of governance. The problem is the people who have been in governance all these years. NDP are the same old people who not only created the “bad” bylaws but are now putting themselves in unremovable leadership positions. The same people who broke Pacifica can not fix it with a “new methodology,” which really does little more than try to eliminate the “other faction.”
Taking the loan was in and of itself not negligent governance, although it was not great. Needing the loan was the result of negligent governance. “Working on audience,” Pacifica’s core business, should have been a focus and I believe that almost everyone in governance for the last 20 years believes they have/had the key to that – if only the other faction didn’t get in their way. Each faction has had their turn, with only decreasing results with each switch. NDP are the same people who think they’re geniuses and some of them have now been part of both factions, all of which has produced negative results. Even if NDP is approved, there will be new factions from the same old people making more bad decisions.
John Vernile may be a professional in some areas but not, as far as I can tell, in the radio business. KPFA will be making the decisions and if you like that, then bravo, you’ve won the brass ring. This is, of course, what KPFA has been trying to do for over 20 years. There’s not much more to it than that. It’s a crapshow either way.
Next: Facts:United Electrical moved their office from the Bay Area to LA and the staff needed a union with local support. The NLRB ruled that unions can’t represent unpaid staffCWA reps at KPFA represented many KPFA unpaid staff over the years and helped negotiate a grievance policy for unpaid staff. Facts:KPFA has 4 training programs in news, operations, drive time UpFront and the apprentices with a social justice orientation. It gets grants. It upgrades technology and supports a full news department. In this challenged media market it has continues to be self sustaining because of a skilled diverse management team and production and programming training for staff. Why is WBAI’s low listenership programming still on the air? Why is there not a major effort to improve the same old vapid programming and infomercials. Is it factional control of management, conflicts of interest or lack of broadcasting management skill? It may be a self serving issue for some. It needs to be investigated and improved. I appreciate that you care about programming Jim. It is key to improving WBAI and all the stations. Swearing doesn’t really help convince people.
Why is WBAI’s low listenership programming still on the air? Why is there not a major effort to improve the same old vapid programming and infomercials. Is it factional control of management, conflicts of interest or lack of broadcasting management skill? It may be a self serving issue for some. It needs to be investigated and improved. I appreciate that you care about programming Jim. It is key to improving WBAI and all the stations. Swearing doesn’t really help convince people.
Subject: Re: A Message From Pacifica’s General Counsel About A False Posting Regarding Jane Fonda
On Fri, Jun 11, 2021 at 9:13 AM >wrote:
> Who knows or cares what level of acrimonious bullshit the various > factions and sub factions will put forth to justify inertia
it’s a fascinating miniature of the left’s foibles. isn’t resistance to amending those bylaws which have served the foundation ill over the last twenty years properly characterized as self-destructive inertia?
> They have studiously avoided for twenty years dealing with the > broadcast issues That was obvious from the start during the bylaws > process and remains so today
eventually, destruction will overcome inertia. if the current bylaws repeatedly failed to install governance which drives audience building via talented managers, shouldn’t the foundation try a new methodology?
the admirable drive to reacquire CPB funding, if it succeeds, may free just enough other revenue to cover interest payments to FJC. taking the loan was negligent governance. needing the loan should have been a strong signal to work on audience, if not in NYC, then somewhere else. but pacifica did nothing except extend its interest payment obligation.
Sharon Kyle, editor of LA Progressive will become Pacifica’s ED if the proposed bylaws are adopted. She did a questionnaire which follows the below. Below are my responses/questions to the answers she posts from that questionnaire. My answers are on KPFK Los Angeles 90.7 on Facebook:
Sue Cohen JohnsonAdminSell what off, KPFK? Hire outside professionals? That would make us into NPR! Sue Cohen JohnsonAdminManager Tarabu Betserai tried really hard to write a killer grant for KPFK, but was crushingly denied. And no CPB either. Grants are not the answer, and they would not be enough. Sue Cohen JohnsonAdminBetserai was from KPFA, for KPFK’s mgr. These are comments from outside people, they show how un-aware outsiders are. Listen to our listeners! They are desperate for health info. Don’t demean them.by assuming they don’t know which is true and false. They want alternative points of view just like they want alternative News and public affairs. And those are the plurality of our financial support. What do you think they mean when they say tell the truth about Covid? Something’s Happening successfully plays alt health info, he knows his overnight audience, leave him alone. Cut off WBAI? Throw away a huge potential audience in the biggest city and market in the country? Don’t you care about those people? Last time we had a National fundraising office, they not only sent direct mails to the members of the stations but also wanted the proceeds of station fundrives to go directly to them. And they had a National Program Director. With no local money there’s no no local hiring and no locally chosen programming, like a repeater station?
NEXT What follows are the suggestions and answers to Her Questionnaire, as published by her:
https://www.laprogressive.com/survey-results…/…” . . . More to the point than these general statistics are over 300 comments from survey takers. The vast majority of survey respondents who listen to Pacifica believe it is in trouble. Their recommendations fell into five major categories:Fix the FinancesBroaden Its ReachImprove ProgrammingAddress Internal ConflictsDeclare War on Conservative/Moderate media When asked how they would improve Pacifica, many respondents laid out very specific recovery plans. Others had thoughtful comments about the current hullaboo. Rather than attempt to sort, group, or skew those responses, we list a number of them here, followed by a link to all of them. You’re welcome to add your comments below.
” . . . Break up Pacifica. There seems to be no other way to get rid of all of the problems. Maybe keep those stations which function well. Get rich supporters like Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Jack Black, Joni Mitchel, Mimi Kennedy, Lebron James, Jane Fonda, Al Gore, etc to give a lot to pay for the launch of the new station that has hired real professionals and accountants. The big signal has to be maintained.Pacifica missed the opportunity to become a university of the air-waves…thus allowing degree earning students to be supported and funded by their local Pacifica radio station…and in turn providing income to the stations involved…allowing for a rapid spread trained journalists, technicians etc..Pacifica has taken a real dive in the last year or so. Instead of edgy, radical news breaking reports, Pacifica has gone the way of NPR with human interest and liked news. I would return to the original format.I think the first order of business needs to be to get more people like me aware of Pacifica. Next would be to generate a backing of paying subscribers. Third would be to develop effective outreach to counter the inevitable badmouthing of Pacifica that can be expected from the likes of Fox News.It may not be the best advice, but I really want to see the Left become more assertive. I do not want violence, but the Left could be more aggressive in attacking the Right.It may not be the best advice, but I really want to see the Left become more assertive. I do not want violence, but the Left could be more aggressive in attacking the Right.Not to feel as dry. Also, it’s good to have progressive leftist programming but also have Moderate programming with leftist viewpoints so that more of a mass audience can relate. More programming from the viewpoint of the everyday person and what they are going through and how progressive policies are helping them in their life.Declare war on liberal AND conservative media – two different flavors of the same propaganda. Be fiercely independent. You cannot frame stuff as “fighting back against the right” since the left as just as, if not more corrupt. Rebrand as the ONLY source of propaganda-free news. Attack the phony narratives. tell the truth about Covid and Israel and the USA being the world’s biggest terrorist state and Biden being a lifelong conman/grifter. That’s a good place to start. You have to win people back by telling the truth. That’s how Krystal and Saagar did it.Oh, so many ways. There has to be a rejiggering of mentality, and there should be a push for foundation money — really — to create real people’s news. Produced and directed by and given by the people — the poor, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the BIPOC, marginalized, and those of us who are hard left socialists, communists.Dispense with the snake-oil and magic crystal shows. How can Pacifica brag about its honesty when it is peddling false medical claims for untested products?KPFK needs to be better integrated with the struggles and issues of local communities. Needs to do better outreach and marketing. Many local people are not aware of Pacifica. Beyond issues taken on by progressive, issues of concern to regular working people need to be highlighted.Get the financial house in order so we can stop being in perpetual fundraising mode. Ditch the new age hucksterism. Selling highly questionable items and get rich programs belong on the home shopping network for gullible morons not on Pacifica and FIRE Christine Blasdale because she is the one pushing these things!!!I would make Pacifica more present and participatory in society beyond its daily broadcast. I moved to LA in 2003 and was immediately aware of KCRW and KPCC, and LA Weekly. They sponsor and are present at cultural events. Many people talk about them. I do not ever recall Pacifica arising in any conversation. Pacifica has never come up in web search results for any news story for which I have ever searched for more information.Sell it off and use the proceeds to finance a modern, progressive digital imprint.Hate, really HATE to say it, but one has to somehow catch people in their 20’s and 30’s a bit more (I’m in 60’s)… if only fleetingly that their electronic address in given if poss. Then keep up-dating them with things periodically. And making the archive system as cutting-edge as possible, so, for example, “Something’s Happening” doesn’t HAVE to be listened to in the middle of the night, possibly increasing listener-ship by a dozen-fold eventually. Other matters deserve hard thinking about.Improve the financial condition of the station so we are not subjected to the incessant fund drives! Cut WBAI and Gary Null off and stop paying the rent/mortgage on that expensive NY office building. Make Democracy Now! broadcast from Amy or Juan’s place and declare a jubilee on the massive debt Gary Null has accrued towards Pacifica. He’s got enough moolah from his health food store there in Manhattan.People used to listen to FDR’s “fireside chats,” because they knew who was speaking and what time the “chat” was going to take place. What if organizers selected two hours per week as “21st Century Fireside Chats.” Schedule well known Progressive leaders to share their thoughts about issues that are crucial to the lives of “ordinary people.”Get the hippie-dippy New Age baloney off. More Barbara Prescod, more Rich Jeserich, more Marxist analysis, more communists.Reorganize a la New Day so that the larger stations won’t be broken up to save the debt-ridden stations….and keep our local control to address the needs of all of Pacifica.Get your top media people to become household names with a rigorous PR campaign that gets them on TV, radio, social media, etc.Streamline the governing process; create a fundraising arm or development office nationally with networks in every Pacifica region or market area. Actively survey the listeners on usefulness of program offerings; stabilize the management and leadership locally and nationally.The non-stop fundraising let’s the audience know that something is not right with the organization. I listen all the time and have to wonder who is running the organization. I know there’s support for the station + incredible amount of quality volunteers donating their work. It would be great to get a solid business structure to match the strength of the signal.Make it less corporate and more diverse. Talk about workers and unions and have cultural programs that reflect the communities they serve. What happened to “Straight No Chaser”? I loved that music program. another great show? Smoke Rings. Have music appreciation programs with the experts in music like Gustave Dudamel. Interview guests like Professor Gerald Horne who wrote the authoritative book on Jazz titled, “The Political Economy of Jazz”. interview real intellectuals, not posers.By maintaining its democratic governance structure and establishing a task force to learn and teach — working with all five stations — how to effectively utilize the network’s archived programs (which is most of them) to tap into the podcasting world, the medium typically used by members of younger generations to access audio programming. And NEVER AGAIN cynically betray the founder’s pacifism (the source of the network’s name) by resorting to transparent fascism: sending violent thugs to a Pacifica station (that was, btw, GIVEN to the network, along with more than a decade of massive financial support from the benefactor, which is how Pacifica was able to survive and expand) to terrorize staff, cause extensive damage and frighten the landlord, who had always been a Pacifica supporter, with the goal — at the very least — of quashing local community control at that station.Better organized websites would permit access to podcasts by subject. Comments within those areas could be moderated. Content could be tagged and reposted to social media sites.Pacifica needs a social media strategistPacifica can spread itself into red states via social media, especially with regard to Calendars, elections, events, and partners . . . “
Thanks again to Pacifica in Exile and Tracy: “Let me help you out, Kevin. What you are saying is not what journalism experts actually think.
The Times’s problem, Jarvis said, is that manufacturing conversation by ensuring different viewpoints are heard,, is overly simplistic and does a disservice to the newspaper’s readers.
“Again, what is The New York Times’ north star?,” Jarvis said. “Neutrality is a myth. Journalism cannot be objective but we must be transparent. We get in trouble all the time when we try to chase the god of objectivity to balance neutrality. I think that’s what happened at The Times.”
The report found that several BBC shows fell victim to an “over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality,” resulting in far too much airtime for climate change deniers. A follow-up report published in 2014 concluded that this key conclusion “still resonates today”.
This situation, known as false balance, arises when journalists present opposing view-points as being more equal than the evidence allows. But when the evidence for a position is virtually incontrovertible, it is profoundly mistaken to treat a conflicting view as equal and opposite by default
Allowing storytellers to center a perspective in news is not new, and in fact was commonplace in a great deal of news reporting throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Muckrakers who exposed corruption in government, the work of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, which exposed the horrors of lynchings in America, these were not objective narratives. Wells-Barnett was not out to show some balanced perspective on why Black people were being murdered in the South without justification.
What are some of the problems that arise with both-sides reporting?
First, as mentioned, it centers perspective as opposed to truth telling. That in turn leads to the elevation of absurd ideas for the sake of balance, which is what we call the creation of false equivalencies.
Have your ever asked a supporter of New Day Pacifica a single question? You seem to just continually publish your own unsubstantiated opinions like some like some old political party hack. Let me teach you journalism. You’re opinion isn’t the story. The people and the happening are the story. Please ask both sides or just shut up.
On Sunday, May 30, 2021, 9:56:04 PM CDT, Ann Garrison <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Kevin, there’s no one I’d rather see endorsing New Day Pacifica. On Sun, May 30, 2021 at 6:57 PM Kevin White <email@example.com> wrote: Do you support New Day Pacifice? I do. I consider them them the real path out of this nonsense. Please streamline our governance.
Excerpt ” . . . can be found later at http://www.somethingshappening.com and click on ‘what happened?’ Thanks to Sha Tahmasebi for redesigning and maintaining the website. AUDIO ARCHIVES “Something’s Happening!” (and the Sunday ‘Alan Watts’) are available for listening on demand for 60 days after broadcast. Go to www.kpfk.org and click on ‘Audio Archives.’ Be sure to use the handy search engine to list only the program (s) you are interested in listening to. “Something’s Happening!” and “Alan Watts” are not downloadable because they contain program material which is not owned by Pacifica (nor me). BEHIND THE SCENES The fund drive will go on another week, until June 4. With a $650,000 original goal, we have just made $300,000 at the end of May – a problem we are sharing with other non profits. “Something’s Happening!” Has maintained #1 position of all programs in the amount of pledges taken as well as the level of listenership. Buzz and I have brought in far beyond our salaries and program expense which should make the ongoing program good for the station’s budget but things haven’t seemed to be evaluated that way in current bookkeeping by the boards. And we certainly contribute excellently to the Pacifica Mission! (for over 70 years combined) And Buzz has served both on the national and the local boards. Our proposed layoffs reek of Qanon logic. . . . “ This page is from 2015:
Excerpt: . . . “Pacifica stations but to be able to personally pocket some of the proceeds. That unaccountable National Board led to crises that culminated in the lockout of KPFA in 1999 and the Christmas Coup at WBAI in 2000, triggering a long struggle that culminated in the current democratic bylaws structure.
Flash forward to 2019, and a rogue minority faction on the National Board, intent on selling the New York station, WBAI, and use the proceeds to benefit the Western stations in the network, launched a coup. Farcically insisting they were attempting to “save” WBAI, coup mongers, led by since fired Interim Executive Director John Vernile (then on the job for all of two months!) and National Board Secretary Bill Crosier, removed WBAI from the air in the midst of a fund drive.
The fund drive was stopped, the web site at which listeners could make donations was disabled and all local programming was taken off the air, replaced with canned programming from California with no local content. The team led by Mr. Vernile that descended on WBAI the morning of October 7, 2019, dismantled the equipment, rendering it impossible to broadcast; immediately fired all employees; confiscated the station bank account; took checks left in the office; put padlocks on the doors; and told the station’s landlord she should find a new tenant while cutting off rent payments. The WBAI web site, including all archives of past shows, was wiped clean and replaced with a one-page site with a propaganda message justifying the coup. Not the actions of people with the interests of listeners at heart.
That coup would be reversed a month later, but the other half of the coup attempt, a referendum on bylaws proposed by those behind the WBAI shutdown, remained to be contested. It was defeated by a nearly 2-to-1 margin by both listeners and staff a year ago.
Nonetheless, we have to go through this again, instead of putting energy into tackling Pacifica’s problems. This time the proposed bylaws, while still . . . “
Ed. Note: KPFK would not, would never be a beneficiary or perpetrator of this, just KPFANationalOffice.
Members ask logistical clarifying questions to effectively implement the decision
Members ask questions to understand rationale, measure against mission, express concerns, and possibly co-create something better.
Asking management questions about decisions in private
Purpose: manager gets member “on board” with decision. Convincing through fallacy, seduction, or threat is allowed. Member’s questions not to be answered unless the answer gets them “on board”.
Member seeks to understand manager’s proposal, how it flows from and is related to common purpose (mission), and may raise concerns which are expected to be addressed, possibly resulting in a proposal modification.
Asking management questions about decisions in public
Threat to authority. Not being a team player. Management must re-establish authority or lose face and power.
Seek to understand proposal and assess how it matches the common purpose (mission), raising concerns about mismatches, propose possible modifications to address mismatches. Proposal will NOT go forward while significant unaddressed concerns persist.
Discussing and critiquing management decisions and edicts among members
Polarizing the organization. Threat to authority. Mutiny. Disrespectful to avoid using proper channels.
Benefitting from diversity’s wisdom. Safeguarding against decisions counter to mission. Combatting marginalization.
Failing to produce the membership list when requested by a member
Protection. Protecting members from harassment. Securing lines of authority and communication. Squashing divisiveness and pain. Possibly saving face.
Censorship. Free speech rights violation. Legal violation. Trying to avoid responsibility to answer relevent questions.
Please note that member lists cannot be accessed by members to get addresses etc., they go to Mailing House to have the messages be sent out to members. https://rescuepacifica.net/
On Tue, May 4, 2021 at 2:01 AM <> wrote: > Your philosophy would have worked well when WBAI was financially supporting the whole network including the struggling CA stations, which I guess would have been sold off in the 70’s when they were flailing.
i’ve heard of such times, but haven’t seen documentation. pacifica did sell a national office in 1981 to bail out WBAI and WPFW, so 1925 MLK wasn’t the first casualty.
> I know divide and conquer is appealing to some, but cannabalism is what it is. The reality of paying the bills sometimes calls for belt tightening, but you always hold onto the stations and local broadcasting because > that is Pacifica’s mission and delivering on what the mission demands is what controls the actions of nonprofit organizations. That’s the difference, by the way.
that is certainly the important difference. pacifica’s mission is nonspecific as to location, and as i’m sure we all know, reads in part: “To establish and operate for educational purposes, in such manner that the facilities involved shall be *as nearly self-sustaining as possible*, one or more radio broadcasting stations…” if a station or facility chronically fails to sustain itself, trying another market is an obvious idea.
pacifica foundation board meeting, 11/21/81:
…SALE OF THE VENICE BOULEVARD BUILDING After a long discussion of needs and alternatives, a Resolution was adopted, 16 for, 0 opposed, 1 abstention, as follows:
Moved (Mel Reich) Seconded (Alex Vavoulis), carried:
That the President be empowered, in consultation with the Executive Director, Treasurer, KPFK Station Manager, and the Board of Directors members in Los Angeles, to mortgage, sell or otherwise dispose of the National Office building as quickly as possible; provided that $216,000 shall be available in the first year for National Office debt retirement, moving expense, retirement of first mortgage and real estate commission.
The motion on use of the money that would become available was passed 14 for, 0 opposed, 1 abstention as follows:
That to the extent monies are available from the sale or other disposition of the National Office Building, or financing relating to the sale or other disposition of the National Office Building, the monies shall be applied to the following matters:
1. Retirement of National Office debt of up to $120,000; 2. Moving expense of National Office of approximately $25,000; 3. Loan to WBAI of up to $60,000; and 4. Grant to WPFW of up to $60,400…
unread,Jul 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AMto Lynne Chadwick, co-founder of NFCB’s “Healthy Station Project” named as new manager for KPFA $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
On July 3, 1997 KPFA management announced that Lynne Chadwick, Director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, would take over for outgoing KPFA GM Marci Lockwood. Chadwick is one of the founders of the “Healthy Station Project” which pushed community stations toward commercialization and “professionalization,” and advocated the use of more paid staff and a reduced role for community programmers and members in decision-making.
The Grassroots Radio Coalition, whose second annual conference will take place at the end of this month in Boulder, Colorado, is composed of a growing number of stations who have rejected the “Healthy Station” premise. In many cases, these community stations have had to fight long hard battles to take their stations back. Because of this, the GRC conference attendees understood and were supportive of Free Pacifica delegates who attended last years conference to publicize our struggle.
This a further ominous step in the program of the current Pacifica regime of Executive Director Pat Scott, whose “5-year Plan” articulates a goal of re-creating Pacifica Stations as a “professional broadcast organization.”
Jesse Walker, a community broadcaster and journalist, has provided the following excerpt from a work- in -progress which explains the “Healthy Station” project and the struggle against it. (WERU is one of the co-founders and sponsors of the Grassroots Radio Coalition.)
From Studio B, where most talk radio shows originate? With a toggle switch between B and Master Control?
“My question still is what plans do you and your allies on the Pacifica Board and elsewhere have to bring Pacifica into the current era and capture a younger audience.
form a task force to figure out what has driven the younger audience from streaming and digital physical media to retro electromechanical phonographs (ie, “vinyl”). then adapt that driver for the type of sound pacifica creates, to facilitate easy migration of this younger audience from streaming and audio podcast / download to pacifica’s retro FM broadcasts.
maybe what pacifica needs are more music programs certified to source all sound from vinyl. i think free radio berkeley had a program called “vinyl time machine” which did just this. fortunately for KPFA, they never acquired an FCC license. so let pacifica seize this opportunity! pacifica could augment the audio broadcast with jacket and liner notes images over the Internet, and more fully recreate an album experience which would be new to this younger audience. make sure the task force examines any necessary licensing for the images.
too bad the younger audience will most often have to appreciate a seventeen inch image on a six inch screen, but maybe they’ll gather around the iMac for a nicer and more social experience.”
“KPFK owes about $300,000 to the Pacifica National Office which imperils the entire Network. (According to the KPFK Business Manager in the KPFK Finance Committee meeting of Jan. 13, 2021 the exact amount is $294,632.) Pacifica owes its accounting firm over $200,000. If this firm stops work for us it could jeopardize our nonprofit status, delay our audits and violate the terms of our $3.2 million loan.
The Pacifica National Office no longer has reserves to cover KPFK shortfalls. According to Anita Sims, Pacifica interim Chief Financial Officer, funds will have to be taken from KPFA to cover them.
KPFK has a narrow window of time to maintain its independence. All efforts to improve KPFK income have either failed completely or been inadequate to make up for revenue declines. If action is not taken to reduce expenses immediately drastic measures very damaging to KPFK may take place. If KPFK can’t raise enough money to pay its expenses it may have to be shut down or its building sold.
Sharon Adams, KPFA Treasurer, has stated several times that any station that can’t pay its bills should have all of its staff laid off and be converted to a ‘repeater’ station. You can hear her saying this in the National Finance Committee meeting of Oct. 27, 2020.”
Thanks for this: Sidney Smith”Change your formats upgrade the tech refine your world view to attract new generations of progressives. Become more effective by going back to the foundations of the network. That is be interesting inventive humorous inviting thoughtful. Humane to all points of view. Even with those we don’t agree with…this was a foundation of Pacifica which was lost from the 70’s on. We became a cult an already converted choir to be preached to. The main critical sense I get from people is that we talk of what’s wrong, but rarely of how to actually fix it. Fix it in a way open to all as opposed to the doctrinaire. Do this, and an audience a 21st century audience will come. Don’t, and be stuck with an shrinking listenership of the stubbornly convinced. I joined WBAI when I was 28. I left or was forcible retired during one of the cyclic purges for the usual reasons at 63. So I have some notion of how things are. Circular firing squads of varying kinds. Some better some worse, but all in that circle. Open up to this now not so new century. This with all of the complex changes it has wrought. Mind I know many former staff, and supporters have been saying this since at least the 90’s. For 30 years such simple suggestions have been ignored. So here you still are hanging by the skin of your teeth. There are other kinds of Listener Sponsored radio stations, and networks out there. They mostly thrive. Ask them why. Hint…they advance, and change with the times, and eras. They are open to new ways of doing business performing on the air, and just being…being in this era, and looking ahead. I know this first hand having been part of a few since retirement. I expect this will be ignored by the entrenched powers or ruling ideological cliques. Though perhaps some individuals working in these digital fields of grass might pause, and consider. Regardless good luck you all.”
My dear friend Bob Fass has passed away. He was a fixture in New York radio for 50 years, and more. I was honored to work with him during my broadcast career. He was noted for his courage compassion wit, and unique humor. Also the man could be impossible sometimes. Which was added seasoning to the experience of knowing, and loving him. He was much respected by the arts, and political communities. Below a very short video I recorded of him on air. Bless him.
It was the latest milestone in Substack’s ascendance as a platform for high-profile journalism. The company’s rise, punctuated by a venture capital round that valued it at $650 million, has been fueled by an influx of well-known commentators formerly employed by major media outlets such as the New York Times, Vox, and BuzzFeed. Some are lured by the editorial freedom, others by the cash on offer, which for top writers can hit seven figures. Several outlets have lost their biggestnames to Substack (though not always unhappily); Slate and New York recently lost their star advice columni . . . . “
It’s easy to balance the budget by laying off staff.
It’s easy to bloom from small numbers when you don’t have digital and internet resources to count with, until you do have those resources. It’s a false comparison, apples and oranges.
For Strategic Plan, read Brainwashing Session
They above day-sheet is unusual in that Sojourner Truth did not make $3,000, and neither did Background Briefing. This is from a 2015 FunDrive. Roy’s Something’s Happening did excellent for an overnight show. Now they want to lay him off. And they laid off Christine Blosdale, who made maybe 1/3 of total FunDrive money.
Why lay off staff at KPFK, KPFA keeps bragging that it’s the financial rock upon which the network stands? They have a flush staff. Last time I was allowed to look, they even employed someone with a developmental or other mental disability, to do small work in the Membership department. And their dept. head said about another membership task, “you can do it during your free time at work.” Yes the disabled should be respected, nothing against the disabled, we always hire them if they are capable, but at the cost of laying off essential personnel who are keeping the station from going under? Why lay off the news staff at KPFK? And money-making programmers? Don’t get me started! Membership is the department that physically and digitally brings in the money! KPFA is in the hippie heaven of the world. It was always lefty and the site of the Free Speech Movement of the 60’s. Their listeners take it for granted that they should support their lefty radio station.
At KPFK-Please don’t let this happen: Roy of Hollywood, Something’s Happening: “National board meeting will meet Thursday night to discuss layoffs of Roy and Buzz and others. If you want to help write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. and the national board at email@example.com. (a single email to both is OK). “
Roy gets a little pay as programmer and overnight staff/boardop. His show makes amazing money for an overnight show.
The Pirate Radio Broadcaster Who Occupied Alcatraz and Terrified the FBI
Over fifty years ago, John Trudell overcame tragedy to become the national voice for Native Americans—and a model for a new generation of activists.
Read when you’ve got time to spare.
Trudell had one thing the FBI could not stop: his voice. Image by Michelle Vignes/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images
He sat at the same table each evening, sometimes with lighting and sometimes without, a cigarette often in hand, a guest always by his side. In the background, the sound of waves rolling against the rocks and the stuttering of a backup generator were constants. Then, with a crackly yet true radio connection, streaming through the wires from an unthinkable place — Alcatraz Island — he began speaking in a calm, determined voice. The nation was listening.
In the Pacifica Radio Archives, located in a modest brick building in North Hollywood, you can hear what hundreds of thousands of Americans heard on those evenings.File through the cassettes and you will find more than a dozen tapes labeled with a single word: Alcatraz. Each is followed by a date, anywhere from December 1969 to August 1970.
But these were not simply programs about Alcatraz, that island in the notoriously frigid San Francisco Bay that was home to a federal prison until it closed in 1963. Rather, they were broadcast from the former prison building itself, from a small cell without heat and only a lone generator for power rumbling in the background.
The show was called Radio Free Alcatraz , and it was hosted by John Trudell, a Santee Sioux Native American activist and broadcaster.
By the winter of 1969, Trudell could be found in that austere cell, speaking over the rush of waves in a composed Midwestern accent. And by 1973, he had become one of the FBI’s most feared activists, with a file that would eventually run longer than 1,000 pages.
Why would the FBI compose its longest dossier about a broadcaster speaking from a rocky island a mile offshore? What was Trudell saying that frightened them so much?
Trudell was advocating for Native American self-determination, explaining its moral and political importance to all Americans. On air, he often revealed the innumerable ways the government was violating Native American rights: obstructing fishing access in Washington State, setting unfair prices on tribal lands, removing Native American children from local schools. But he didn’t just reveal the cruel contradictions at the heart of American society. He imagined a future in which equality — between different American cultures, and between all people and the earth itself — would become a reality
And for the first time, non–Native American communities were listening. More than 100,000 people tuned in to Pacifica stations in California, Texas and New Yo . . .
New Day’s Jan Goodman Accused of Financial Misconduct by KPFA Board MembersBerkeley-In a second amended Turner vs. Pacifica Foundation complaint filed at the end of February, KPFA board chair Christina Huggins, KPFA LSB member Donald Goldmacher and Pacifica director Andrea Turner accuse Jan Goodman, the proposed new vice-chair of the board in the “New Day” bylaws proposal, of prohibited self-dealing and financial misconduct while on the board. The complaint states: On or about March 28, 2018, the transaction of a $500,000 loan to PFI from Pacifica Supporters Loan LLC. The principals of PSLLC are Jerry Manpearl, an attorney and Goodman’s husband, and King Reilly. At the time of the subject loan transaction, Goodman was a member of the Pacifica Foundation board. … Despite her obvious conflict of interest on account of being married to a principal of the lender, Goodman did not recuse herself or abstain from the PFI Board of Directors vote approving the loan, but instead voted to approve the loan. $28,000 was paid to Manpearl, Goodman’s husband, for legal fees and expenses and $10,000 was paid to Reilly as a brokers fee…. The PSLLC-PFI loan was unlawful and a prohibited self-dealing transaction”. Now to be clear, like pretty much everything in the sloppy lawsuit from “Pacifica Safety Net”, this charge is bogus and untrue. For one thing, Goodman did recuse herself from the closed session vote on the loan. But what is important to note is that Goodman is being put forward as the future vice-chair of the board for 3 full years, with the power to personally select enough of the other board members under the New Day proposal to ensure her agenda will prevail. Yet some of those at KPFA on the record loudly supporting the New Day bylaws revisions have no compunctions about swearing in a court of law that Goodman’s behavior has been unlawful and unethical. We hate to cite this lawsuit at all, as it is such a ridiculous piece of work (pretty much what would happen if you took a Save KPFA propaganda email and cut and pasted it on to legal paper without the most basic fact checking), but here at Pacifica in Exile, we provide documents, so here it is. You’re paying for it. What this episode reveals is that the New Day folks, while they may be promising you smaller boards that will never fight, in reality have absolutely no hesitations turning on each other with bogus accusations whenever they feel it is advantageous. The “New Day” will be much like the old days. We can’t come up with any justification for them trying to revise the bylaws to install a board member that they would testify to a court under penalty of perjury is guilty of unlawful and unethical conduct. The moral of the story is that you can’t fix bad behavior with bylaws. Under any set of bylaws and any organizational structure, people that want to wreak havoc and sling allegations at their colleagues, will do so. The “New Day” alliance between KPFA, KPFA and possibly KPFT against the two east coast stations is built on a highly shaky foundation that is coming apart before their bylaws revision even comes to a vote in May. It won’t fix Pacifica. It won’t even stop the board members from suing each other. Vote NO on the New Day bylaws in May and more importantly, start taking names. The KPFA and KPFK board members who have refused to condemn the Safety Net lawsuit from Goldmacher, Huggins and Turner should not be returned to any Pacifica board. The New Day supporters pretending that changing the bylaws is changing the bad behavior on the boards are not what Pacifica needs. If you reject the New Day proposal, you’ll still have the ability to vote off bad behavior and those who sanction it. And that is how you really create a new day for Pacifica. If you value being kept up to speed on Pacifica Radio news via this newsletter, you can make a little contribution to keep Pacifica in Exile publishing . Donations are secure, but not tax-deductible. To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit our website at www.pacificainexile.org ### Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-sponsored radio. Thanks again for all your good work to Pacifica In Exile
Excerpt: “About the newest events occurring at Pacifica stations… centralization is essentially one thing and one thing only: CONTROL. Centralization is how the system reproduces itself, by quieting the voice of those people it deems deviant, those people it deems dissident, those people it deems other than human, other than people. … Centralization is about control. And de-centralization is about liberation, freedom, and liberating voices, personalities, identities that have been under the thumb of repression.
So I know what side I’m on. I hope you’re on that side.”
~ Mumia Abu Jamal, December 7, 2020
On Tuesday, December 8, four KPFA plaintiffs – Pacifica National Board (PNB) member Andrea Turner-Dyson, Local Station Board (LSB) Chair Christina Huggins, LSB member Donald Goldmacher, and former LSB member and secretary, Craig Alderson – sued to put Pacifica into receivership. Their complaint featured provably false claims about Pacifica’s relationship with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the status of our audits, and includes events that occurred while many of the “New Day Pacifica”(NDP) / “Pacifica Restructuring Project” actors were part of management and/or governance majorities.
The Los Angeles court attack was sprung just days after the PNB agreed on a timeframe for a 2021 Bylaw Replacement Referendum from NDP. Although most 4th graders could have convincingly argued that NDP’s “new” proposal was too similar to the resoundingly rejected 2020 Referendum to warrant the expenditure of the organization’s limited funds, the Board acceded to the NDP demand / threat rather than going to court.
So much for limiting legal expenses… Apparently, there is no . . . “
Berkeley – Law firm Foster Garvey has revealed that $80,000 was secretly wired from Berkeley radio station KPFA’s operating account in October of 2019 to the law firm that was defending the failed WBAI shutdown. The amount represents approximately one out of every five dollars donated in KPFA’s September/October fall fund drive.
TheBigA said: This is what some people would call “inside baseball.” It is, but I don’t mind seeing it posted since Chris Alberts’ blog and the WBAI blue board are gone now, making it harder to keep up with the antics.
Anyway, isn’t there a long tradition of Pacifica board members spending crazy percentages of their organization’s money on court cases and lawyers to fight their own internal battles? This doesn’t seem like anything new or surprising. The whole operation is like watching the endless petty battles inside a terrible HOA.
Excerpt: “Born in New York City, Peter’s early interest in classical music, radio, and electronics spurred him to collect and modify “mostly junk” from NYC’s Radio Row. He graduated from UConn Storrs in 1961, worked briefly at a Hartford CT radio station, then returned to NYC, where he was mentored by renowned high-end radio manufacturer and philanthropist Avery Fisher, becoming an associate editor with Radio Electronics and a free-lance audio journalist for other magazines. A dream job called him to Los Angeles: Director of Operations at KPFK-FM (1973-1979). Making significant recordings for alternative radio in the 1960’s and early 1970’s with the organization Radio Free People honed Peter’s editing skills. H . . . “
Excerpt: “Two websites created F18Sep2020: https://pacificasafetynet.org (also the destination when keying ‘pacificasafetynet.com’) – and no, there’s no ‘pacificasafetynet.net’. (Thx to a reader for this info.) The main site links show their colours: New Day Pacifica, & Save KPFA – https://pacificasafetynet.org/links/#other-resources a 501(c)(3) registered Tu29Sep2020: doc linked from Pacifica in Exile, please see below – will also be embedded on this webpageof course, a GoFundMe, created 5Oct2020: “Donald Goldmacher is organizing this fundraiser” – well, he is the chief financial officer, according to the Cali Secretary of State; “$60,000 goal”; as of Pacific breakfast, W16Dec, $1 350 had been raised from 8 donors, all within the last 24hrs bar the first donation, made 18 days ago, Sa28Nov; https://www.gofundme.com/f/pacifica-safety-netofficers publicly disclosed M16Nov2020, to the Cali Secretary of State: Sherry Gendelman, Chief Executive Officer; Craig Alderson, Secretary; & Donny ‘do you think I care?’ Goldmacher, Chief Financial Officer – see Pacifica in Exile doc dropa YouTube channel, Pacifica Safety Net, created F20Nov2020: 13 subscribers as of Tu15Dec; no public content, but two vids (detailed below), that are ‘unlisted’, so they don’t come up in a YT search, but each has a URL so can be shared; notably, comments are turned off – these peeps aren’t into conversation, discussion: they’re steamrollers (think tankies), into dissemination, into top-down communication; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1mgsTKWHgHkxO-yyK83RiQ/about[UPDATE . . . the two vids were made public at c. 1600PT W16Dec (changing the upload date to 16Dec, but leaving the views unchanged).]& a Facebook page created Sa21Nov2020: linked to the primary website; three . . . “
Don’t let Pacifica national mine OUR listeners with a Fund Drive directly to them over OUR airwaves! Beware of strategic planning and retreats, AKA brainwashing sessions! They have taken power at the ‘top’, don’t go for their too expensive Get-rich-quick bright ideas! There’s no free lunch.
The Sunday Gummies A surviving shot from the 1972 Marathon where the Sunday Gummies originally got together as guests on “Nightangels” – the KPFK after midnight series (Bruce Gossard, Tom Stanford, Ethelie Ann, Steven Tyler (not THAT Steven Tyler, Captain Midnight), Rick Brawlver, Jay (? – late night OTR guy) and Jason B Goode). The original Gummies were Gregg Roebuck, Joe Adams, and Phil Tuttle (Laura Tuttle, your uncle?). We wound up as regulars on the Jason B Goode’s Heavenly Miracle Air Experiment, but by then Phil would be gone and David Arias was thrilling us with his electric voice. The only picture we have of Phil is this one. Personnel – woman who took the picture (with her second generation Polaroid Swinger) reflected in the glass – unknown, Phil Tuttle (Brother Phil, tried to do his own show, Mostly Bluegrass, which didn’t work out). Next to Phil is Howard Larman, Mitchell Harding and Cathy Kulkin, just married. Seated is Mike Hodel (Steve Hodel take note). He was director of Public Affairs, co-author of a Sherlock Holmes novel (Enter the Lion), and my personal reporting and production mentor at KPFK. He taught how to do invisible edits with a razor blade and follow a story where the evidence led, not where I wanted it to lead. Standing next to Mike is Will Lewis, station manager, and seated next to him – applauding – is Everette Frost.
Phil Tuttle (Brother Phil, next is Howard Larman, Mitchell Harding and Cathy Kulkin, just married. Seated is Mike Hodel. He was director of Public Affairs, and my personal reporting and production mentor at KPFK. Standing next to Mike is Will Lewis, station manager, and seated next to him – applauding – is Everette Frost
“Before briefly discussing the merits, there is a question of process. Why on earth shouldn’t any bylaws proposal wait until the next election in the summer of 2021 when it can be sent out at no additional cost in a regularly scheduled election? . . . Who wants the energy of Pacifica’s staff going to touting bylaws proposals when earthshatteringly important things are happening every day, much of it misreported by the mainstream media? “ So what’s on the table this time? More handpicked directors. This time, they are: * Sharon Kyle, the owner of the LA Progressive, an online news site in LA which has had its own financial struggles, * Jan Goodman, a current director, also from LA, who has already served six consecutive years on the Pacifica National Board and would have to step down at the end of the year, but is proposing via these new bylaws to serve for another 3 years for a total of 9 consecutive years. * Lyden Foley, a current director, from Texas. * Akio Tanaka, a KPFA LSB rep. All 4 would serve from January 2021 to December 2023 as the preselected officers of the Pacifica National Board. They would be joined by one representative from each station (none of whom can be officers) and 2 staff reps (one paid and one unpaid) who would be elected in nationwide staff elections, with paid staff voting for paid and unpaid staff voting for unpaid. This cuts staff representation on the national board by 60%, and gives 10x more representation to 100 paid staffers than to the 1,000+ unpaid staffers who produce the majority of the on-air programs. To this group can be added three random at-large directors with no criteria required other than a majority vote by the ad-hoc board. It gets worse. After this ad-hoc board does its thing for three years with no input from the listener-sponsors, you will get to vote. You will get to vote in NINE different elections, selecting a person to be the national board chair, a person to be the national board vice chair, a person to be the national board secretary, a person to be the national board treasurer, a person to be the local board chair, a person to be the local board vice-chair, a person to be the local board secretary, a person to be the local board Outreach Coordinator, and a person to be the local board Membership and Fundraising Coordinator. You don’t need to pay any attention to the rest of the local station board since it will be selected for you. “
Sue Cohen Johnson shared a post to the group: KPFK Los Angeles 90.7 FM Friends Forum . Admin · 23m · Donald Macleay shared a post. tnYaesgmtgeShrefdaspaoy anrteu 8g:cm14so redlgdliPM · Donald Macleay YtelesuStpeofrdsacmy aShtniscrsoor 4:S2oa5s ruPeMrid ·
Do NOT sign the “New Day Pacifica” petition. This is the same old gang who do not want to share KPFA with the member elected boards. They keep losing so now they want rid of the board again. They already tried this move once this year.
Ellen Weintraub, a member of the Federal Election Commission, warned earlier this month that there’s a “substantial chance” election winners, including for the presidency, won’t be called the night of the vote. The commissioner urged voters to be patient while extra care is taken to tally all the votes “accurately” in order to “ensure that everyone’s vote counts” Weintraub assured voters, however, that mail-in voting is “absolutely” reliable, noting that one-quarter of all votes in the 2016 presidential election were cast with mail-in ballots (which can also be dropped off at polling stations or in drop boxes, she pointed out). More from yesterday’s article: Trump voted by mail last week in Florida’s primary. Critics say Trump’s assault on mail-in ballots is his attempt to sway the vote in his favor by reducing the number of voters, especially supporters of his rival, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — and to establish a fake justification for rejecting results in the event of his loss. “You’ll never have an election count on November 3rd,” Trump declared. “You’re not going to be able to know the end of this election, in my opinion, for weeks, months — maybe never. It may be years, but maybe never,” he added. “Because once you go past the first week, you’re never going to know.” Trump Warns U.S. May ‘Never’ Know The Results Of The Presidential Election huffpost.com Trump Warns U.S. May ‘Never’ Know The Results Of The Presidential Election He falsely claimed that if the “fraudulent” “mail-in ballot deal” isn’t cleared up by the end of the year, he could be replaced by Nancy Pelosi. 7 Comments
They don’t count these until the night of the election, after the networks have called the election. Please vote in person-it’s a one-shot against voter suppression. Trump is in power and is sabotaging the other kinds of votes.
From: Brad Friedman <Brad@BradBlog.com> To: ‘Clifford Burton’ <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 3:53 pm Subject: RE: Mail-in votes
That is not entirely correct. MANY jurisdictions begin counting mail-in ballots (the ones that have arrived early, in any event) well before Election Day.
While voting in person may be a good idea for those healthy enough to risk it, they also risk finding they’ve been purged from the roles if they wait until Election Day. And, of course, in jurisdictions which force voters to vote on a 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system on Election Day at the polls, they should DEFINITELY vote with a HAND-MARKED paper absentee ballot (though delivering it in person on or before Election Day is a very good idea.)
A vote yes is to vote for the so-called elites to dictate to the people, or even sell off the stations. But a big infusion of cash from that would just go right away for their pet projects or into their pockets. These are the folks responsible for the possible loss of KPFA’s building. Disenfranchises the 200+ affiliate stations.
YOUR BALLOT must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 19. If you didn’t get a ballot, or misplaced it, request another ballot
h t t p s : / / r e s c u e p a c i f i c a . n e t ” rescuepacifica.net “
Pacifica is the last network of independent non-commercial radio stations operating in five of the largest media markets in the country. They are KPFK, Los Angeles, KPFA, Berkeley, WBAI, New York City, WPFW, Washington D.C. and KPFT, Houston, Texas. Many observers — and listeners — have written Pacifica off as a pathetic in-fighting mess as it has long been irrelevant in the larger media world. But the fact that this organization still owns and operates five very valuable radio licenses in major U.S. markets is worth taking a look at, especially from the financial aspect which is rarely exposed.
Since KPFK (and the other stations) are having another election for their Local Station Boards (LSB), what follows is information for anyone considering running, or voting, from a former KPFK LSB member. I will highlight some of the critical issues facing KPFK and Pacifica to consider.
This is also an update to KPFK and Pacifica: A Quiet Coup from October, 2015 which detailed problems with the finances then — the lack of several years of filing annual audits to the CA Attorney General, the lack of adequate bookkeeping, etc. I advocated voting for one faction of new and returning former LSB members (which I had then been aligned with) to replace the other faction. They were elected and have had a majority on the local and national boards for the last three+ years. During this time, however, the financial picture has only gotten worse. Pacifica’s factional infighting is somewhat notorious but is the problem only the factions or is it something else?
As to my qualifications for addressing these issues, I was on KPFK’s LSB from 2009 to 2015 when I was termed out. I was, at different times, Treasurer of KPFK, on the National Finance Committee, Director on the Pacifica National Board (PNB), on the Audit Committee, on a Financial Recovery Audit Task Force, and other committees. I have been involved in and focused on the finances of KPFK and Pacifica for many years and in many capacities. I have written many analyses of budgets and actual income/expenses, been a whistleblower and advocated for transparency and honesty.
The main job of KPFK’s LSB is to approve yearly budgets from management and make quarterly reports on the station’s finances and to make sure the station is on solid financial footing. Good budgets are based on historical data and formulas that are specific to non-commercial radio whose revenue comes largely from on air fund drives. Management has not availed itself of those tools for the last two budgets and produced overly optimistic budgets. Nevertheless, KPFK’s Finance Committee brought the budgets to the LSB, which were approved with little to no discussion. The estimated $500,000 end of year surplus for FY2018 wound up being a ($67,000) deficit. This is a notable “mistake” but to date has never been analyzed by the Finance Committee.
Thus, the FY2019 budget repeated the same errors as were in the FY2018 budget. There have been verbal reports from the Treasurer, such as revenue was “better than the budget and better than the previous year.” But they have never been supported by documentation or actual data and were, in fact, false conclusions. This sort of statement is typical and shows a lack of attention and/or expertise that is needed for the required oversight duties of the board.
Because of decreasing revenue from KPFK’s on air fund drives, there are now various forms of desperate acts to raise money, most of which are forms of underwriting that violate FCC and CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) rules. Underwriting is allowed and the FCC has specific rules that need to be followed but management is not complying with them. The Finance Committee has been made aware of these violations but have thus far not taken any action. Further, KPFK is misleading the public with programmers saying that KPFK takes no underwriting, it’s all “powered by the people,” etc. This is not true and has not been for about two years.
If there are discussions about the finances at KPFK going on, they are being made behind closed doors and not at either the Finance Committee or the LSB meetings.
This lawsuit of Empire State Realty Trust against Pacifica happened because of lack of oversight by the PNB.
In October 2017, a judge ruled against Pacifica and awarded ESRT [Empire State Realty Trust] a summary judgement of $1.8 million plus attorney’s fees. ESRT sued Pacifica in February 2016 to recover back rent and tower fees, interest and attorney costs. In the years-long dispute, Pacifica accused ESRT of price gouging and “holding the network hostage” with a contract that required WBAI to pay tower rent that increased about 9% per year. . — Inside Radio
Members and programmers from WBAI called ESRT “greedy capitalists” but Empire would not back down. In fairness to all of the involved parties, Pacifica voluntarily entered into the tower rental agreement with ESRT in 2005 with full awareness of all of its provisions for potential future rental increases.
On the PNB, there was dithering and inaction. Many secret and some public meetings were held, arguing between filing for voluntary bankruptcy or taking out a loan to pay off the judgment and the rest of the contract with Empire. The decision was to take out a loan. The argument against bankruptcy was that legal fees would be high — but the loan’s fees, legal fees and interest wound up being, by my calculations, about $900,000 or more, the same or arguably much more than bankruptcy would have been. Time will tell as to the real cost of taking out a loan.
Most elements of the reported 150 page loan agreement are still secret, with claims from the PNB there is a provision in the document that requires it being secret. Requests to provide that particular provision to the public have not been answered. While a press release about the loan is still on KPFK’s website, and easily found elsewhere on the internet, it is now forbidden to name the lender publicly.
This “Summary of the $3.7m Loan” was released to the public by the PNB. The figures offered in the Summary, however, are incorrect. It appears to be an early draft as the actual amount of the three year interest-only loan is $3.265 million and the adjustable interest for the first 18 months is $379,556. Pacifica could not get KPFK’s tower included as collateral because the US Forest Service, on whose land it sits, would not allow it. The tower was supposed to be used as collateral to borrow, and pay interest on, the first 18 months of interest payments.
Thus, two buildings adjacent to Berkeley sister station KPFA were sold to pay part of the ESRT settlement and the rest used for the first 18 months’ interest. One building housed the Pacifica National Office, with offices for the Executive Director, CFO and accounting staff. The other building had been vacant for a decade or so.
The CFO at the time resigned when the loan was signed, claiming the loan was in default because Pacifica could not provide any of the lender’s required financial documents, such as a current audit, profit and loss, etc. In a leaked document, Pacifica’s general counsel also weighed in on problems with the loan.
Pacifica must start paying the interest for the second 18 months starting October, 2019. It’s hard to see how Pacifica can come up with monthly payments of $21,000+, especially since KPFK is unlikely to be able to cover its own basic operating expenses going forward and will need help from the rest of the network, which has no help to give. There’s even less hope for paying off the $3.265 million balloon payment due March, 2021.
Those supporting the loan have made repeated claims that Pacifica can easily refinance for a better loan, that “a loan is not in default until a judge says it is,” and that the loan is secured by real estate only. This paragraph #4 from the Summary, however, shows this is false:
“[i]n addition [to the real property: buildings & land, three buildings housing radio stations KPFK, KPFA (Berkeley) and KPFT (Texas)], the Collateral includes accounts receivable, tangible goods, equipment, rental income, sales proceeds, contracts, intellectual property, furniture, cash and proceeds of insurance or sales — in short, virtually every real, tangible and intellectual property right in which Pacifica has an interest.”
This provision also includes the Pacifica Radio Archives. It’s much more than just real estate. Whatever the outcome of a potential default on the loan, lawyers will be involved — and Pacifica is required to pay legal fees for both sides.
It’s hard seeing a way to a refinance since Pacifica has not complied with requirements for the loan and has no way of paying the balloon payment in March, 2021 — unless they sell or swap one of the five licenses (which are under the jurisdiction of the FCC and cannot be used as collateral). The lender did not do its due diligence according to its own website. The mystery is: why did they lend to the obviously deadbeat Pacifica? The loan broker, Marc Hand, made at least $50,000 on the deal. Some speculate the loan has already been sold to a third party, see comment 3 of 3.
The idea of refinancing this loan they cannot pay back or pay the interest on, while adding more fees, interest, legal and brokers’ fees, seems like little more than a distraction to divert and delay the board from dealing with the realities of its insolvency and failing operations.
Some on the PNB imagined they could save money by outsourcing Pacifica’s accounting and not replacing the CFO. The new outsourced accountants have, as of this writing, produced nothing since their hire almost a year ago. Supposedly, an interim CFO was hired for three months in January but he produced nothing. The PNB just hired a new part-time interim CFO, an employee of the outsourced accountant firm. KPFK’s Finance Committee was told she was being paid “a small amount.” She was supposed to produce financial reports for the last two years by June but now it might be July.
Pacifica is also under investigation by the Department of Labor for violating ERISA laws, which has to do with pensions promised to employees of the five stations. This has been a problem for over two years and, as far as anyone in the public knows, is still unresolved and unpaid. Including penalties, this could amount to a large sum to be paid out.
Pacifica has been trying to catch up on its late audits since 2014 for which Pacifica has been under investigation by the CA Attorney General. The current auditor has been working to complete the FY2017 audit since last fall (originally estimated to take three weeks). It was due to the CA Registry of Charitable Trusts June, 2018. The auditor finally told the audit committee he’s only been able to get about 50% of the documentation he requested and suggested they stop searching for more. He will finish what he has but it will be “qualified” which is auditor-speak for: there are serious problems. In this case, he can only audit what he has and the rest is undocumented and unknown. The FY2018 audit, due June 2019, will miss this deadline and will also be “qualified” for the same reason. Two qualified audits that say your organization is too messed up to audit is not likely to persuade donors, foundation grantors or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to give funds to Pacifica. It’s unknown whether the CA Attorney General or the lender will accept them.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
There was some anticipation that Pacifica would get current on its audits by this June and would again be eligible for CPB grants. That is not to be as CPB’s deadline for qualification is June. When Pacifica last received those grants, in 2012, it received about $1 million a year. Pacifica needs to get current on its financial reporting and compliant with other CPB requirements in order to be eligible for the 2020 cycle in order to receive funds in 2021.
Why the secrecy and obfuscation? Why the complete lack of financial oversight and fiduciary responsibility? Is it only incompetence?
In my earlier article, I wrote about the KPFA Foundation, a shadow corporation formed for the purpose of taking over the assets of Pacifica. Before that, in 2009, there was another secret 501(c)(3) formed for the Pacifica Radio Archives, supposedly to raise money (which never happened) but rumored that “in case” something happened to Pacifica, i.e., bankruptcy, the Archives could be moved into this non-profit. It was created by former PNB Chair/Interim Executive Director Sherry Gendelman with Matthew Lasar as Secretary. Lasar, a Pacifica historian of sorts, has advocated for breaking up the Pacifica network in alliance with the KPFA Foundation people.
After that came another secret effort from Berkeley by then-KPFA LSB chair Carole Travis who had been soliciting celebrities to join the board of “Big Tent Radio,” a nonprofit she claimed to be starting to acquire Pacifica’s assets after it “collapsed.” Attempts were made to get her to resign as she was clearly working against the best interests of Pacifica but no bad deed goes unrewarded at Pacifica and she remained on the local board, soon to be on the PNB.
There is presently another plan to break up the network from Berkeley, reports of a similar plan from Los Angeles, plus a long-time plan from one faction in New York. None of the breakup and takeover plans seem particularly viable but the absence of any other plan or even a discussion on how to pay back the loan, or interest payments, seems puzzling considering Pacifica’s precarious financial situation. Are they waiting for a sudden “shocked” awareness of financial problems and an orchestrated rush to “reorganize,” creating the opportunity for the licenses going to current favored board members with waiting 501(c)(3)s?
You can hear PNB Director Donald Goldmacher in this clip at a recent Strategic Planning Committee meeting suggesting selling off Pacifica’s assets (possibly to him and his allies around the network). He was recently re-elected to the KPFA LSB and is a long-time member of the Berkeley faction which created the KPFA Foundation, above.
Thus the sale of the Berkeley buildings and elimination of the Pacifica National Office and its accounting staff, which become unnecessary if the organization is going to dissolve, or privatize, itself into board members’ hands, and makes complete sense in this context. There’s no need for a permanent in-house CFO if there’s no intention of Pacifica continuing as a network. Further evidence of short-term planning: the outsourced accountants have a two-year contract.
The Previous Election
Pacifica just had another election for the LSB which ended in March. Those running for re-election were micro-managing their own election. It was delayed, disorganized, over-budget, and the public and members were not properly informed. A 10% quorum of membership is required and KPFK had an 11% quorum — but 9% of the ballots were blank ballots. There was a quiet campaign advising voters that if they didn’t want to vote or if they didn’t know who to vote for, to send in a blank ballot to help reach a pseudo quorum. Those who were asking the membership for election or reelection received so few votes that they amounted to a vote of no confidence. They did not earn even the 10% required votes from the membership.
But like Trump losing the popular vote or George Bush, arguably never legitimately elected either time, that will not stop these illegitimately seated LSB members from acting as if they have a mandate. They are planning a big rewrite of the bylaws. The Pacifica bylaws are terrible, complicated and, in places, contradictory. They were written by a “listeners” after the lawsuits of 1999–2002 were settled. A rewrite by another group of “listeners” will not be better. The problem is not the bylaws, or Robert’s Rules of Order, the problem is electing “listeners” without skills or knowledge of broadcasting, basic finance, management or anything related, and no record of success in anything except getting elected and becoming board members of a multi-million dollar media organization which has only shown consistent decline for the last 20 years under their stewardship. Some of these people have been in and out of Pacifica’s governance for two decades or more. Due to Pacifica’s current structure, it’s impossible to replace them in favor of competent people. Bylaws rewritten by them will only entrench them further.
To establish a Foundation organized and operated exclusively for educational purposes no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member of the Foundation.
Insiders love to toss the Mission Statement around but never remember that first sentence. The reason the federal government mandates that non-profits have outside, independent boards, and also why they’re under the jurisdiction of Attorneys General is that they are funded by public money. Boards are supposed to make sure the public’s money goes where donors think it goes. The main job of a board is to report to the public about its financial operations. Pacifica’s board cannot or simply will not do that. The idea of public service appears long forgotten within Pacifica. One might assume this is just run of the mill incompetence, but it seems way past the time we can blame the chaos only on that.
It’s no wonder the members of KPFK’s Finance Committee refuse to answer awkward questions dealing with the financial realities of the operations. The board members paint rosy pictures of how well they’re doing to “save Pacifica” but, in reality, KPFK is in extremely bad shape and declining. You can hear it in the increasing fund drive days which are not bringing in enough to cover their expenses. Nor is Pacifica, as a whole, faring any better under the present PNB than it was under the previous PNB.
Instead of focusing on finances and complying with federal and state regulatory agencies the favored subject of discussion by board members has always been programming. The ultimate prize for aggressive board members is to be able to control programming to suit their tastes and ideologies — from expected old guard Trotskyism/Marxism/Revolutionary Communist Party/anarchism (etc.) to Scientology with a few progressive Democrats and black or Latino nationalists in the mix. The boards hire weak managers who they can then micromanage and work to create their own patronage system by giving program slots or jobs to their friends and allies. The resulting mediocrity and lack of cohesion of the program grid is the result. It obviously drives away listeners and extends fund drive which only turn off more listeners. Now those PNB members making decisions are actually proposing programs for the sole purpose of enticing funders. This shows a lack of imagination and any pretense of journalistic integrity. This is only the latest of ideas thought up by amateurs who have done little more than master the byzantine governance system of Pacifica to get themselves into these undeserved positions of authority. Look for sketchy health programs, celebrities and other unimaginative pandering unlikely to excite funders or listeners.
Anyone Still Interested in Running For the Board of this Experiment in Democracy?
For anyone still considering running for KPFK’s board, or any of the other stations, these are some of the bigger problems KPFK and Pacifica are facing. You will need to be a fighter with an independent mind because the entrenched board members of both factions are not really open to questions or open discussions, especially about financial matters.
The election information is here and the nominating deadline is June 30. If you have skills, Pacifica needs you. But Pacifica doesn’t have a history of treating talented people well.
The sad irony is that just at the time this country needs a vibrant non-corporate media, Pacifica continues to make itself even more insolvent, unlistenable and irrelevant.
You all know I am no fan of that “poor little State- and Church- begotten weed, marriage,” but I do love angry conservatives, and happy queer people, so today qualifies as a good one.
But as a general rule, if you want to find opinions I agree with, you are more likely to hear them voiced by someone shouting interruptions at a politician giving a speech than in a supreme court decision. Let’s keep fighting for all the LGBTQ folks whose problems aren’t solved by access to marriage.
I’m pretty much down with that. This week’s marriage equality news from the US is a great sign that compassion and reason are both winning the battle at a rate of knots. It opens up opportunities for numerous families who’ve been waiting for acknowledgment, and bodes well for a near-future where same-sex relationships are sufficiently normalised that…