Pacifica is in trouble, and desperately needs your help. Dysfunctional bylaws have made it impossible for Pacifica’s National Board, though well-intentioned, to function. The network’s financial decline and debt burden have worsened to a crisis point over the last ten years. The board, tangled up in unworkable bylaws, is unable to stabilize the situation or turn things around. This puts the future of an invaluable, irreplaceable progressive asset in grave peril.
Pacifica has forfeited millions of dollars in federal funding since 2013.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting stopped funding Pacifica in 2012 after Pacifica refused to pay back a $137,000 overpayment uncovered by a regular CPB audit. Pacifica only paid back the $137,000 last year after CPB announced it was dropping Pacifica from its grant program. Pacifica was way too late to be reinstated to the grant program; Pacifica now has to start over from the beginning with a totally new application to re-enter the CPB grant program (and Pacifica does NOT currently meet CPB’s minimum qualifications). See CPB’s May 22, 2020 letter to Pacifica.
The Pacifica Board has forfeited over seven million dollars in CPB grant funding since 2012. This annual million dollars was divided among the five stations to help pay expenses and fund new programs.
Pacifica has failed every financial audit since 2015.
Auditors since 2015 have said they have “substantial doubt about the organization’s ability to continue as a going concern”. That’s the language Auditors use to say an organization is in extremely bad shape. Review Pacifica’s audits.
Pacifica has no reserves to pay a $3.2 million dollar loan payment. Despite the FJC lender’s written offer in October to extend the $3.2 million loan payoff one year, the National Board apparently still hasn’t nailed down a formal extension of the loan due April 2 2021. The National Board has known for at least two years that it would not be able to put aside $3.2 million, and that loan default meant losing station buildings at KPFA, KPFK and/or KPFT. While New Day Pacifica is very hopeful that Pacifica will be able to get an extension from the lender based on FJC’s October offer to Pacifica, the fact that the Pacifica Board still hasn’t nailed down the details reflects the profound dysfunction generated by Pacifica’s current governance structure and bylaws. (At their February 25 meeting the National Board was still discussing whether or not they should ask the lender for an extension. We understand that since that time the Board has decided to ask for a loan extension.)
Pacifica’s Executive Directors are constantly changing, with 17 EDs both permanent and interim in 18 years. This means there has been no stable leadership at Pacifica in 18 years.
One of the National Board’s central roles is to hire and support an Executive Director with media management experience to run the network, fundraise and supervise the stations. The National Board has chased out or fired every experienced ED they have hired during this time because the Board micromanages ED decisions. As a result, the ED position has largely been filled by current or former National Board members (sometimes paid, sometimes volunteer)in long-term “interim” positions. None of these Interim Executive Directors have had media management experience.