The Pacifica Radio Crisis

The Pacifica network faces unprecedented financial and management crises with willful disregard. Here are some recent reports in national media:

To cover Pacifica’s operating costs, the network has drained most of its accounts, hobbling the organization and raising the doomsday scenario in which it would have to sell WBAI’s broadcast license. - The New York Times, August 20, 2013

Owed nearly $200,000 in back payments by the California-based Pacifica Foundation, FSRN’s board of directors decided Sept. 13 to shutter the program, holding out hope that FSRN could be revived under a different production model.

“Our fortunes have always been closely linked to Pacifica’s fortunes,” said Russell Gragg, managing editor. “So when Pacifica hits problems, its troubles trickle down to us as well. And we just hit a point where there’s not enough money in the bank to produce the show past Sept. 27.” -, September 30, 2013

There are several cases for sun setting the Pacifica Foundation, which owns the licenses to five listener supported radio stations in the United States. The first is that the organization finds itself in a potentially irreparable state of financial crisis. According to the network’s latest audit, over the last four years the non-profit has lost over five and a half million dollars. That’s roughly half of what Pacifica collects in listener subscriber donations in a typical September-to-September fiscal period. Its working capital has declined from positive $2,835,309 in 2007 to negative $1,034,153 as of September 30, 2011. -, August 5, 2012

What Pacifica has done, she went on, is put out a request for proposals seeking a potential partner to either lease the signal from WBAI or swap frequencies with the station. Under the agreement, Pacifica would retain the station's license and provide some programming. The partner would pay the bills, and supply much of its own programming, too. - Village Voice, October 25, 2013

A board session earlier this month at the People's College of Law near MacArthur Park got off to a rocky start when one board member, wielding handcuffs, reportedly threatened to arrest another. A woman representing the law school became frightened and called the LAPD, which detained the board member briefly before letting him join the meeting. - Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2010

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