Category Archives: News/Updates

56% Vote Yes to Save Pacifica in Democratic Vote for Change, but Pacifica wrongly declares bylaws lost

Thanks to the 6820 members (both listeners and staff) who voted Yes to save Pacifica.

We won this referendum by a solid and democratic majority of listeners and staff—despite Pacifica management’s announcement to the contrary.

Vote Yes-New Day Pacifica will work through the various legal and political channels available to us with your support to appeal and reverse this wrong-headed decision which allows those individuals responsible for Pacifica’s financial and organizational crisis to stay in charge at Pacifica. Pacifica needs to immediately recognize the membership’s decision to approve and implement the New Day Pacifica bylaws proposals so we can save Pacifica and all five radio stations, archives and affiliates.

NDP Bylaws Referendum Results

Pacifica is using a “staff veto” theory to justify declaring that Vote Yes lost. Pacifica posits that since the New Day proposals affect the staff, if the staff reject the proposals the vote of the overall membership is irrelevant and the proposals fail. The irony of Pacifica’s management professing concern for the opinion of Pacifica’s staff while overseeing the gutting of Pacifica staff’s benefits should not be lost on anyone. (Pacifica recently eliminated employer-paid family health insurance at KPFK and is planning to gut existing severance language protections to facilitate laying off long-term staff at KPFK.)

Question: is a “staff veto” of bylaws proposals ever permitted under the Pacifica bylaws and California non-profit law?

Yes, but only in the most extreme circumstances where the bylaws proposals would “materially and adversely affect the rights” of the staff “as to voting or transfer in a manner different than” such action affects the listener-members. (See the Pacifica Bylaws, Article 17, sections 1B-3 and 1B-4). The New Day Pacifica proposals do not “materially and adversely” affect Pacifica staff’s rights, so the membership’s majority decision (which includes both listeners and staff) should determine that Vote Yes won the referendum.

Question: doesn’t Pacifica staff support Vote Yes-New Day Pacifica?

Yes! Staff at KPFA, KPFK and KPFT overwhelmingly support Vote Yes-New Day Pacifica to save Pacifica, all five stations, the archives and affiliates. Vote Yes-New Day Pacifica also has some staff support at WBAI and WPFW. However, Pacifica management at WBAI (GM and PD) and WPFW (PD) used their positions at Pacifica management to coerce staff into voting No after they publicly endorsed Vote No this year. Last year WBAI management was even caught ordering staff to produce vote No receipts to prove they were loyal staff members!

Question: so how will New Day appeal/overturn the bylaws decision?

New Day yesterday requested arbitration as per our December 4 agreement with Pacifica to use arbitration to resolve election issues to “avoid litigation and expense to the Pacifica Foundation.” Even given this agreement, Pacifica has already hired another expensive law firm to prepare for a court fight, clearly hoping to bankrupt New Day Pacifica due to court costs.

Donations still essential:

Please donate $5 to $500 for legal costs to ensure the membership’s Vote Yes decision to save Pacifica is respected. We have $10,000 remaining in donations from you, but estimate we need to raise another $40,000 to win in court. Thanks to the more than 800 members who have donated so far to support New Day Pacifica’s efforts to save Pacifica.

Pacifica Has Started Selling Its Buildings: KPFT First

KPFT building for sale.
Pacifica confirmed yesterday that they are selling the KPFT building in Houston to pay down a small portion of Pacifica’s $3.2 million loan that is due October 2022. KPFT is being forced to trade a fully paid off property that they own for monthly rent at a new property.

KPFA and KPFK Buildings Also in Jeopardy of Sale or Lease
Pacifica just announced plans for “the lease or sale of certain properties” (more than just KPFT building) “to provide sufficient cash flows to properly service the debt and provide sufficient working capital to satisfy ongoing operation expenditures and related commitments (such as payroll and related benefits)” (Pacifica audit for FYE 9-2020 filed June 30 2021, page 28).

In other words, Pacifica will be selling or leasing the KPFA and/or KPFK buildings to pay its ongoing expenses including payroll and help pay off the $3.2 million loan.

Time Is Running Out for Us on the Left

By Sharon Kyle, New Day candidate for Transition National Chair of Pacifica and Co-Founder of the Left Coast Forum and LA Progressive
Sharon Kyle
For over 50 years, the right has stomped all over the left in its unfettered domination of the media. A few decades ago, it would have been unthinkable to turn on televised news and hear some of the outlandish assertions made on Fox News today. What we now refer to as mainstream media showed itself to be in the pockets of the war profiteers after 9/11. One need only look at which outlets posed serious questions to George W. Bush as he marched us into Iraq and Afghanistan.
Authoritarian regimes are on the rise globally with half the population of the United States demonstrating a willingness to support authoritarianism by backing Trump in the last election. The right’s control of the narrative through its network of media outlets in both television and radio have helped to make this possible.
Time is running out for the left. We don’t have the luxury of stumbling on with barely funded media, internal squabbles, financial kerfuffles and radio programs no one listens to.
For 20 years, Pacifica has operated under a governance structure that has proven itself to be ineffective. The time for change has never been more urgent. Vote YES for New Day Pacifica.

WBAI in Financial Crisis

WBAI Checklist
WBAI Unpaid Bills as of May 19, 2021* (at least 90 days overdue)
Accrued Pension $104,114.58
Health Care Bill Back $91,009.60
Pacifica National Office $512,443.62
Pacifica Radio Archives $214,384.50
Payroll Expenses $170,452.79
TOTAL $1,091,905.09

WBAI Monthly deficit: $26,693.87* (average monthly deficit October 2020-April 2021)
*WBAI Treasurer’s Report, June 9, 2021 R. Paul Martin, WBAI Local Station Board Treasurer
Join Pacifica Staff in Voting Yes

Pacifica Fails Another Audit – Join Staff Voting YES to Save Pacifica

Pacifica just failed another financial audit (FYE 9-30-2020)
For the sixth year in a row, Pacifica’s independent auditors determined that there is “substantial doubt about the organization’s ability to continue as a going concern” (pages 2, 27-30), which is auditor language for failing an audit.

Some of the main points in the audit:
* Pacifica owes over $665,000 in unpaid pension costs, including $547,000 in late filing penalties, assessments and interest (page 24).
* Pacifica’s current deficit is $1.7 million, which does NOT include the $3 million balloon payment due October 2021 (page 27).
* Pacifica received a much-needed $1.2 million grant under the federal CARES Act, which prevented the deficit from being even more significant (page 17).

KPFA, KPFK and KPFT buildings in jeopardy of sale or lease

In the audit, Pacifica announced plans for “the lease or sale of certain properties” to provide sufficient cash flows to properly service the debt and provide sufficient working capital to satisfy ongoing operation expenditures and related commitments (such as payroll and related benefits)” (page 28).
The national board’s recent decision to sell the KPFT building was discussed at the June 15th KPFT Budget/Finance Committee meeting.
Pacifica only has 3 properties, the KPFA, KPFK and KPFT buildings.

West Coast vs. East Coast Stations?

Myth: The four Vote Yes-New Day officers from the West Coast and Texas will be able to do anything they want, including selling WBAI and WPFW.
Fact: The 4 officers along with 5 locally elected station directors (one each from each station, democratically elected by each Local Station Board within nine days of the election certification and one director elected by the affiliates take office together within 15 days of the election results. The national officers are always part of a larger national Board that will also include two national staff directors and three at-large “expert” directors.
Fact: Under our present system there are over 120 Local board members and 22 National Board Members many of whom try to micromanage the network and each station. With astonishing incompetence Pacifica’s national board has fired or forced out 17 executive directors in 18 years. That in a nutshell is why Pacifica is in a downward spiral: there has been no one steadily at the helm for almost 20 years. No one steadily in charge of station management, fundraising, outreach –or anything!
Pacifica’s audiences are minuscule compared to their potential listenership. Many of Pacifica’s once fiercely loyal long-term listenership is long gone. An active and enthusiastic fan base once embraced the network’s news reporting and commentary, music and culture and grassroots activism. Our job is to win them back and connect with thousands of others who will appreciate Pacifica’s progressive perspective.
For more than a half-century, Pacifica broadcast news, opinion and in-depth analysis that could not be aired anywhere else in America. Its broad, loyal, thoughtful listenership brought real clout to the political spectrum. The incredible range of progressive, cultural and spiritual voices it carried was a source of pride at a well-run network with powerful signals in major media markets. The Pacifica flagship stations and its many affiliates were proudly appreciated by serious seekers and activists everywhere. THIS is what New Day Pacifica is hoping to bring back to Pacifica.
In the alternative, are snake oil infomercials the way out of Pacifica’s problems?
Myth: Pacifica is in decent shape already, so no major changes are needed.
Fact: Three of the five stations are in financial crisis, which unless turned around will sink the network. The biggest threat to the network is not the New Day Bylaws—it is refusing to change the present ones which have led to this crises.
Myth: The New Day Leaders are corporatist “power grabbers” who don’t care about the individual stations.
Fact: The New Day Leaders are a multi-racial (Black, White, Asian & Jewish) group of progressive activists and fierce supporters of Pacifica who are committed to uniting and revitalizing all five stations. As a group, their “street cred” includes Anti War Activists fighting to end the Vietnam war, Iraq, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan wars and engagements; civil rights, civil liberties and Black Lives Matter activists.
Sharon Kyle: Co-Founder of the Left Coast Forum and LA Progressive, featuring such writers as Richard Wolfe, and Bill Fletcher, Jr. Candidate for the Pacifica Transition National Chair.
Jan Goodman: President of the National Lawyer’s Guild’s LA Chapter, Co-Founder of the Paul Robeson Community Center in South Central LA. Candidate for the Pacifica Transition National Co-chair.
Akio Tanaka: County Councilor and Treasurer–Green Party of Alameda County. Candidate for the Pacifica Transition National Secretary.
Lynden Foley: Involved in Texas protests including the encampment outside George W. Bush’s ranch and Indivisible Houston’s weekly protests outside Senator Cornyn’s office after Trump was elected. Candidate for Pacifica Transition National Treasurer.
Myth: Vote Yes-New Day have no plans to solve Pacifica’s financial and listenership problems.
Fact: Vote Yes-New Day Pacifica’s Ten Point Plan is an initial blueprint to addressing Pacifica’s financial, organizational and leadership problems. The cornerstone of the plan is to hire and support a media-experienced executive director dedicated to the Pacifica mission.

Danny Glover Speaks Out

Breaking News: Danny Glover Never Endorsed Vote No
New Day Pacifica’s Jan Goodman talked with Danny Glover on Friday and was surprised to learn that Glover has not endorsed Vote No efforts this year, despite his name and picture being plastered all over the Vote No emails, websites and on-air commercials.
Last year Glover did oppose the very different bylaws referendum that lost, but has stayed neutral this year. It’s a classic campaign dirty trick. FYI, the small print on the Vote No website does show that the Glover interview was from last year (February 20, 2020).
Glover asked that his name and picture be removed from all Pacifica materials and commercials, saying “The most important thing to me is the survival of Pacifica. I know that there are good people on both sides of the bylaws issue, and I am confident that no matter what happens with the bylaws, the goal will be to save our precious Pacifica. P.S. Please take my name and likeness off any and all endorsement lists/statements. Danny Glover” (June 14, 2021 email sent by Glover’s Communications Director)

Tired of Snake Oil on WBAI? Vote YES on the Bylaws Proposals

Boku, Youthblast and Corrine’s Hot Plants.
WBAI has lots of unique amazing public affairs and cultural programs. But for three hours every day WBAI plays hour-long infomercials, preempting our favorite shows. These snake oil informercials drive WBAI’s loyal listenership away, resulting in a WBAI funding crisis that WBAI management has decided can only be addressed with more and more snake oil infomercials.

WBAI’s top fund-raising premiums are Boku, Youthblast and Hot Plants. The Boku premium is a one-month supply of superfood for $150. Youthblast is an anti-aging supplement and spray for $200. Hot Plants is a sex drive supplement for $80-150.

WBAI has a proud progressive history of supporting social justice movements and playing cutting edge music and cultural programs. Snake oil programming has no place on a Pacifica station.

Read former WBAI producer Doug Henwood’s story (Behind the News still airs on KPFA). He criticized the snake oil premiums years ago and WBAI management took his show off the air as a result.

Vote Yes on the bylaws to stop the infomercials and get WBAI back to its progressive roots and tradition.

New Day Pacifica 10-Point Plan to Save Pacifica

What do you mean the ship is sinking? My side keeps getting higher.
The current bylaws have failed Pacifica. Vote Yes to Save Pacifica.
* Pacifica has forfeited over seven million dollars in no-strings-attached CPB funding (Corporation for Public Broadcasting).
* Pacifica has failed every financial audit since 2013.
* Pacifica has a $3.2 million loan payment due October 2022—and no reserves to pay it.
* Pacifica has burned through 17 executive directors in 18 years, leaving Pacifica essentially leaderless for 18 years.
Pacifica needs a rescue plan to keep the ship from sinking.
New Day Pacifica 10-Point Plan to Save Pacifica
Overall goals:
* Reaffirm Pacifica’s educational, cultural and social justice mission and Pacifica’s commitment to diversity.
* Recommit to all five stations—KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, WBAI and WPFW and the unique identity and audience of each station.
* Recommit to great progressive shows and music reflecting Pacifica’s diversity.
* Recommit to independent radio, no corporate underwriting.

1. Hit the ground running. First meeting of new 10-person elected national board 10-15 days after the referendum. Full 15-member board including 2 staff directors and 3 at-large “experts” directors by third board meeting.

2. Hire a media-experienced Executive Director to captain the Pacifica ship, overseeing the day-to-day running of the five stations, archives and affiliate network and providing strategic guidance, planning for the Foundation and board. We need media-experienced staff leaders who know how to run a radio network, working with paid and volunteer staff, committed to independent media that is listener-supported.

3. Stop any further staffing cuts at each station if at all possible, stabilize programming at each station. When a popular radio hosts leave, our listenership suffers; it takes months to years to build listenership back up.

4. Emergency fundraising plan. Progressive funders, celebrities, and major donors care about Pacifica’s survival and want to help us.

5. Assess programming at each station. What shows have a listenership, which ones don’t, which ones are strategically important and need a plan to increase listenership. Critical guidance here by experienced staff leadership.

6. Build off of best practices in fundraising and programming already within the Foundation. Create a culture of solidarity and support between stations. End station rivalries.

7. Off-air membership drive led by thousands of Pacifica members to double our membership at each station.

8. Develop a detailed plan to win back Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding totaling one million dollars or more a year. Needs to be a step-by-step detailed plan with timeline and goals, not just an aspirational one.

9. Develop a detailed plan to address the $3.2 million debt that is now due October 2022–in just 14 months. Again this needs to be a step-by-step detailed plan with timeline and goals, not just an aspiration one.

10. Develop a Diversity and Inclusion plan.

Top 10 Reasons to Vote Yes

From NDP’s May 31, 2021 email:

Top 10 Reasons to Vote Yes

1. Pacifica staff you know and respect are voting Yes to change the Pacifica bylaws so we can save KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, WPFW, and WBAI.

Aileen Alfandary
Aileen Alfandary, KPFA News Director (also heard on KPFK): “The current bylaws structure has encouraged dismal mismanagement which threatens the continued existence of the nation’s only progressive radio network.”

Sonali Kolhatkar
Sonali Kolhatkar, Host of Rising Up with Sonali, heard on KPFK, KPFT, and KPFA: “I’ve been shocked year after year watching the local and national boards hamper the workings of stations, undermine worker rights, and generally stand in the way of the Pacifica network thriving.”

Egberto Willies
Egberto Willies, KPFT Host of Politics Done Right: “I am absolutely sure that everyone on both sides of the by-laws debate loves the Pacifica Network and what is best for it. I did not make up my mind to support the new by-laws until just recently, when I finally understood why the current dynamics were untenable. Insanity, doing the same thing and expecting a different result, will ensure Pacifica continues its death spiral. Direct democracy is an antidote to factions as we are learning now with our own national politics.”

Ian Masters
Ian Masters, KPFK Host of Background Briefing: “The Pacifica Foundation is run by a dysfunctional Board incapable of raising funds and in denial of its looming debt. Please do your part and sign the New Day Pacifica bylaws petition.”

2. Listeners want a solid professional radio network: well-run, without constant desperate fund drives and the fear of being shut down and sold off – with great progressive shows and music reflecting Pacifica’s diversity.

3. Current bylaws have led to organizational crisis and impending financial disaster.

4. New Day Transition Officers named in the new bylaws love and are devoted to saving Pacifica. They have stellar progressive activist bios and strong financial backgrounds. With a newly elected functional New Day Pacifica Board, Pacifica can finally hire a stable, long-term Executive Director with media management experience to return Pacifica to financial and organization health. They are neither corporatists, capitalists, dictators, or fascists as name-called in the Vote No literature.
5. Pacifica’s dysfunctional national board has burned through 17 Executive Directors in 18 years, leaving the Foundation essentially leadership for 18 years.

6. Vote Yes so we can save and strengthen all five stations, including WBAI and WPFW.

7. Pacifica has failed every financial audit since 2013. Independent auditors have encouraged Pacifica to consider bylaws revisions “to simplify and encourage more productive meetings… The Foundation and its several stations would benefit from changes designed to achieve a more productive governance process.”

8. Pacifica has forfeited over $7 million in federal grant money since 2013 due to organizational dysfunction. Pacifica was finally totally kicked out of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant program last year for not paying back a requested $137,000 overpayment that was 7 years overdue.

9. Pacifica does not have the reserves to pay the $3.2 million loan payment, now due October 2022. This tipping point for the financial cratering of the Foundation has luckily been put off 18 months, but without massive amounts of fundraising from progressive funders and celebrities and doubling our membership, Pacifica may not survive. The $2 million in Covid grant money went to payroll and other long-overdue debts, NOT toward the $3.2 million loan.

10. Reinvigorated, democratically elected Local Station Boards will actively support their stations with fundraising, community feedback on the station’s programming, and all-hands-on-deck efforts to help double the station’s membership. LSBs will “work with station management to ensure that station programming fulfills the purposes of the Foundation and its response to the diverse needs of the listeners (demographic) and communities (geographic) served by the station.” (NDP bylaws)