Questions about Pacifica losing federal funding, failing audits, having no reserves for upcoming $3.2M loan payment, Pacifica’s lack of stable staff leadership? See our Background Report 3/27/21

As of 3/27/2021

Questions about Pacifica losing federal funding, failing audits, having no reserves for upcoming $3.2M loan payment, Pacifica’s lack of stable staff leadership? See our Background Report 3/27/21.”

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.

More on Differences between the PRP and NDP Bylaws Proposals

The New Day Pacifica (NDP) bylaws proposal is completely different than last year’s losing PRP proposal.

Differences include the role of the Local Station Boards, whether or not to have staff on the National Board, and whether or not the majority of the National Board would be elected listeners and staff (New Day) or appointed experts (PRP).

Role of the Local Station Board: Last year’s PRP Bylaws would have eliminated the Local Station Board structure. New Day Pacifica refocuses the duties of the LSBs on community outreach, fundraising and supporting the stations rather than counterproductive micromanagement.

Whether or not staff represented on the Pacifica National Board: PRP eliminated staff representation on the National Board. With New Day, staff for the first time will directly elect their National Board directors.

Composition of the majority of the new National Board: With PRP the majority of the National Board would be appointed experts, not elected listeners and staff. With New Day, the majority of the 15-member National Board will continue to be elected listeners and staff, with three appointed experts.)

For more information, see the Detailed Description of the NDP Bylaws.

Also see more about the relationship between the March 2020 (PRP) Bylaws and the New Day Pacifica version

Updates On Pacifica Member Election For Critically-Needed NDP Bylaws

Details have been finalized regarding when various steps happen in the New Day Pacifica (NDP) Bylaws election/referendum process. These are pursuant to an agreement between Pacifica and NDP:

  • March 8 to April 7: on-air announcements three times daily at each station describing the main elements of the NDP proposal, the election date and the April 7 voter eligibility deadline.
  • April 7 to May 17: The Pacifica National Board and the five Local Station Boards/Delegates will separately discuss and decide whether or not to recommend a YES vote on the New Day Pacifica bylaws. We expect the National Board to recommend a No Vote, continuing the PNB majority’s on-going resistance to big changes in governance at Pacifica. We expect some but not all of the Local Station Boards to recommend a YES vote on the changes.
  • June 7: Ballots sent out.
  • July 7: Ballots due back.

See the official Pacifica Bylaws election page for updates and more information.

KPFK Victory: Popular KPFK General Manager Anyel Fields Still at the Helm!

Due to overwhelming support from you, Pacifica listeners and staff for Anyel, Ian, Sonali and the KPFK staff, the KPFK Station Board voted on January 10 to NOT recommend Anyel’s termination. Hundreds of KPFK listeners and staff wrote support emails to the local and national boards and signed up to speak at local and national board meetings in support of Anyel and the staff. Thanks also to the KPFA and KPFT listeners and staff who wrote emails and spoke. This is a big victory for KPFK and Pacifica! Your involvement made the difference!

Update on KPFK financial shortfall

KPFK is still facing a huge financial shortfall this year due to a severe drop in listener donations during the Covid pandemic. Many listeners have lost their jobs or had their hours cut, or still face financial uncertainty and cannot donate right now. It’s critical for those of us who have been able to work from home or whose income was not affected by the pandemic to donate more than usual to support the listeners who just can’t donate right now.

Nearly $500,000 in cuts have been made at KPFK over the last several months to address the shortfall, but now it’s up to us the listeners to step in and make an extraordinary donation so KPFK can stabilize, rebuild, and avoid further cuts.

Right now is the most important moment in KPFK history to make an extraordinary donation if you can.

How You Can Help KPFK Keep The Lights On

  1. Help fund a challenge grant today! Make your donation here. (for the pledge message write “for a challenge grant.”) Your donations will be used for challenge grants in the upcoming fund drive: whatever you give now will be doubled during the fund drive! Any amount you can give counts, but if you can donate $250, $500 or more it would make a big difference. Our goal is to raise $12,500 by February 1. (If you are from another station, you can help fundraise for your station!)
  2. Get one friend to become a KPFK member. Tell them what KPFK means to you and what some of the programs they will enjoy are, and that the basic membership is just $25/year. They can go to KPFK.org and hit the DONATE button to become a member. Growing KPFK’s membership ensures the future survival of KPFK. (Note: if you are from another station, get one friend to join your station!)

P.S. If you are able to give a major gift to KPFK at this critical time, please contact Anyel Fields at Anyel@KPFK.org.

New Day Pacifica includes thousands of concerned Pacifica staff, listeners and board members whose mission is to keep all five Pacifica stations from crashing out of existence in 2021. We are proud to support Anyel and the KPFK staff as part of that effort. We plan on making big changes to Pacifica’s governance by passing a bylaws referendum this May/June so we can help stabilize finances, strengthen programming, and increase listenership and membership at each of the five stations.

E-mails Sent to Save Jobs of Anyel, Sonali, Ian

New Day Pacifica sent out an e-mail to its list today, Dec. 18, 2020, asking people to contact the KPFK LSB about saving the jobs of three critical KPFK staff. The three people are General Manager Anyel Fields, and two of the station’s journalists and most popular program hosts. Those programmers are Ian Masters (host of Background Briefing), and Sonali Kolhatkar (host of Rising Up with Sonali).

All three have been targeted for political reasons and because they have resisted the push for more infomercial-type shows during the stations’s ever-growing fund drives.

Update: thanks to the help from so many of you who sent e-mails, the firing of Anyel Fields has been averted.

The letter sent to the NDP list follows:

Subject: Listen to Sonali and Ian clips: Help Stop the Firing of Popular KPFK GM!
From: Sonali Kolhatkar and Ian Masters
Reply To: info@NewDayPacifica.org

Help Stop the Firing of Popular KPFK-LA General Manager Anyel Fields

Listen to short clips of Sonali Kolhatkar and Ian Masters explaining what’s at stake.

As Sonali Kolhatkar said, “we are in a battle for the heart and soul of Pacifica…At stake is whether Pacifica represents the highest standards of journalistic integrity, or a mix of snake oil quackery and fake radicalism.” (Sonali’s Rising Up With Sonali is produced at KPFK and heard on KPFK, KPFA-Berkeley and KPFT-Houston five days a week)

Quoting Ian Masters: “With our steadfast Anyel gone, Sonali and I will be fired and off the air.” (Ian hosts Background Briefing on KPFK five days a week.)

Our goal: to encourage the LSB not to fire Anyel Fields, the KPFK General Manager this Sunday. After the public LSB meeting hears your Public Comment and ends at 2pm, the LSB will go into Closed Session and vote on whether or not to recommend Anyel’s termination.

All Pacifica stations will be affected if Anyel is fired. Listeners from ALL Pacifica stations are encouraged to support this effort because it will effect not only KPFK but the highest journalistic standards at all of the Pacifica stations.


What: Help Stop the Firing of KPFK General Manager Anyel Fields

Where: KPFK Local Station Board Zoom meeting Public Comments section

Date: Sunday, December 20, 2020

Time: 12:15 – 1:15 pm (we expect Public Comments some time between 12:15 and 1:15)

How: Please RSVP here to notify the LSB to add your name for Public Comment on Sunday.

If you have trouble joining the Zoom meeting or being heard, e-mail the LSB at LSBoard@kpfk.org and they can help you.

Please note: if your name is called during Public Comment, you can then decide whether or not to speak yourself or pass your time to the next speaker.

Zoom details: Zoom Link: (redacted)


Workers World Party and Pacifica Fightback

Workers World Party is a small political formation (small when compared to the Green Party or to Democratic Socialists of America). Over the last 15 years, associates of Workers World Party (WWP) have gotten elected to several seats on Pacifica’s Local Station Boards in NYC, LA and Houston. Currently there are also several associates of WWP on the 22-member Pacifica National Board. None of these individuals identify themselves as associated with Workers World Party. Instead they identify as part of the caucuses they helped organize at three Pacifica stations: Justice and Unity Coalition (JUC) at WBAI-NYC, Grassroots Community Radio Coalition (GCRC) at KPFK-Los Angeles and Stand4KPFT at KPFT-Houston. They also form the core of the Pacifica Fightback group that opposes the big changes to save Pacifica called for by New Day Pacifica bylaws.

New Day Pacifica wants to acknowledge that individually these associates of WWP may be involved in important organizing outside Pacifica. Our concerns come from problematic Pacifica-related organizing they are involved with, in this case encouraging the firing of KPFK’s GM because they want KPFK’s handful of full-time radio hosts like Ian and Sonali off the air.

Threats to KPFK staff from one WWP associate

WWP associate and KPFK Local Station Board Bella DeSoto recently threatened KPFK staff at a Pacifica Fightback public meeting, yet nothing has been done by Pacifica to ensure KPFK staff’s workplace safety. Watch to this shocking clip of DeSoto explain how to change programming at KPFK involving a “physical militia”. Her threats were witnessed by Pacifica National Board member Lawrence Reyes (another associate of WWP), who thanked her after her statement. If that YouTube link does not work for you or it’s taken down, here’s an audio recording of DeSoto’s comments.

We call on Pacifica’s Executive Director to immediately take steps to ensure KPFK staff’s workplace safety. (Note: before the video was recently posted on-line, DeSoto denied she made any threats and Pacifica took no action that we are aware of.)

April/May Bylaws Referendum; can you ask one friend to join Pacifica?

Can you make a personal commitment to convince one friend to join Pacifica by mid-February? This will directly help Pacifica survive, but the new member will also be able to vote YES in the April/May bylaws referendum so Pacifica can survive for future generations.

Reaching out to friends and family about how important Pacifica is to you is one important way you can support Pacifica. Tell them your favorite public affairs and music shows if they haven’t tuned in before.

And make sure to renew your own membership by mid-February to be eligible to vote in the referendum. Easiest to do this on-line with a credit card at KPFA.org, KPFK.org, KPFT.org, WBAI.org, WPFW.org. We recognize many listeners have been hit hard financially by the current recession and may not be able to renew.

Please join our squad of NDP phoners!

Help us make phone calls to New Day Pacifica supporters. It’s easy and fun and you end up connecting to others who care about Pacifica as much as you do. You can call when you want from home. 1-2 hours per week commitment requested if possible. Email us at info@NewDayPacifica.org if you can help.

For more information, email info@NewDayPacifica.org.

For NDP updates, check our website, www.NewDayPacifica.org.

So Pacifica can survive for future generations