Originally posted May 7, 2015
Berkeley–Pacifica’s chief financial officer Raul Salvador suddenly resigned on May 6, 2015 at 10:00am. The resignation is effective May 15th, four days after new Executive Director John Proffitt begins work on May 11th. Salvador’s tenure at Pacifica was stormy, marked by the Board’s decision not to move ahead with his permanent hire in January of 2014. The decision was reversed by the new incoming board a month later, leading to the departure of most of the national office accounting staff.
Since then, the fiscal 2013 audit took an astonishing 8+ months to complete, the fiscal 2014 audit has not begun, and Pacifica missed Corporation for Public Broadcasting filing deadlines in both 2014 and 2015 for public media funding. The California Attorney General launched a correspondence audit of Pacifica in December of 2014.
Pacifica’s board has not announced Salvador’s departure formally on their website or anywhere else, but are expected to mention it at this evening’s Internet-streamed board meeting session.
Salvador’s abrupt resignation comes a week after the board majority expelled former KPFK local board treasurer Kim Kaufman from their ranks, after Kaufman submitted documents independently to California’s Attorney General and notified the board she had done so. Kaufmana was expelled for the alleged crime of supposedly releasing financial data Pacifica sent to California’s Attorney General to former board members in response to the investigation. A petition objecting to her removal by a narrow 14-person vote on the 22-member board can be found here.
More inquiries into unauthorized purchases made on company credit cards have been launched.
Outgoing interim executive director and board chair Margy Wilkinson does not seem to be willing to let her successor, John Proffitt, a nonprofit radio manager for 28 years, make any decisons, making a last-minute crony hire of former Pacifica board member Leslie Radford as the new permanent general manager of LA station KPFK, less than 9 office hours before Proffitt begins work on Monday.
Radford has no apparent credentials for the KPFK general manager position. She teaches introductory community college classes and has no managerial or media experience. Her public Linked In profile can be seen here. Radford is a member of the dominant Siegel-Brazon faction to which Wilkinson belongs. The incoming permanently hired executive director expected to interview the candidates and make the hire on his arrival in Berkeley, but has been pre-empted by interim Wilkinson’s nepotism hire .
The network’s five stations have begun their Spring on-air fund drives, which will run for most of May. Early results out of California are disappointing, with both KPFA and KPFK posting receipts at 75% of their daily goals, even after substantially reducing those goals from previously budgeted amounts. (KPFK’s budgeted goal of $750,000 for the Spring fund drive was reduced to $612,000 and KPFA’s budgeted goal of $733,000 for the Spring fund drive was reduced to $580,000). Results from Texas station KPFT, Washington station WPFW and NY station WBAI are not available yet.
A controversy has broken out at Berkeley’s KPFA, where popular show Guns and Butter was reported on Facebook to have had programming related to California’s childhood vaccination debate censored. The email appeal, which appears to have gotten around widely, says:
“Today Gary Null was scheduled to appear on Bonnie Faulkner’s program Guns and Butter over the Pacifica Network’s flagship station KPFA in Berkeley CA. He was scheduled for the full hour to speak on vaccine efficacy and safety and address issues concerning the California vaccine bills. The station censored her from doing the broadcast. The first time G&B been censored in 11 years. The program is syndicated and airs on other land stations around the nation, and is particularly popular in California. KPFA and other Pacifica stations pride themselves in being the last bastion of free-speech, commercial free broadcasting in the nation. However, it has become increasingly controlled by ideologues with political agendas trumping the public interests it claims to champion. Anyone who wishes to file complaints to KPFA management and express the station’s disservice to California residents may do so by sending a brief email to either the general manager Quincy McCoy firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet the station manager Laura Prives who was responsible for banning the broadcast email@example.com.”
Guns and Butter frequently covers heated topics and has consistently posted some of the most robust fundraising totals on the Berkeley station’s 1-3pm afternoon strip. The replacement show G&B aired on Wednesday raised $2,814 in the 1-2pm hour, the highest total in the 11am to 10pm period of the 2 1/2 day fund drive so far.
Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 Radio 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-supported radio.