July 2012 – Former Pacifica ED Dan Coughlin (2003-2005) submits a secret bid for a lease management agreement for WBAI’s signal between Pacifica and Manhattan Neighborhood Network, the NY PEG channel he directs. The LMA proposal contains no independent facility for WBAI and would fold Pacifica’s NY operation entirely into Coughlin’s organization.
August 2013 – Pacifica opens up a formal RFP for a WBAI lease management agreement. There are six proposals in addition to Coughlin’s. The board talks about it for a long time, but never makes a decision.
September 2013 – KPFA-affiliated board member Margy Wilkinson and former corporate counsel Dan Siegel secretly incorporate the “KPFA Foundation” to scoop up KPFA’s license and maybe some others should they become loosened from Pacifica.
Berkeley-The March 17th meeting of the Pacifica National Board was marked by virulent conflicts between members of the Siegel/Brazon majority as the philosophy of “organzational darwinism” begins to play out within the network. The majority members found solidarity in their determination to maximize their number of votes on the national board, but dissolved into bitter arguments about the network’s fiscal woes. Continue reading Playing Organizational Darwinism→
The public comment session from KPFK’s March 20th local station board meeting. The primary speaker is general manager Leslie Radford’s roommate and the station’s new volunteer coordinator Adam Rice, who is addressing the board during public comment. The final speaker is Safe Harbor host Chrisanne Eastwood who explains that motherfuckers is a vernacular term that means “you guys” or “dude” and is not meant to be derogatory.
Pacifica’s LA station KPFK’s intended coverage of a community meeting on suspicious activity reports was a hot mess with over ten minutes of chaos broadcast from Santa Barbara to Tijuana with apparently no oversight from anyone. In this 10 minute 45 second clip, Michael Jackson music blasts over the speakers, a fundraising cart runs right over the event the program is trying to cover and a recording of Dave Zirin’s Edge of Sports is broadcast simultaneously with two feeds going out over the air at the same time. The debacle is indicative of the station’s decline since Leslie Radford took over as GM in June of 2015. The station does not appear to have enough money to get through April with Radford reporting a bank account balance of only $85,000 less than a month after the station ended a 30-day fund drive with pledges of $602,000.
This is a highlights reel from the Pacifica national board meeting of 3/17. It’s a bit lengthy, but easier to absorb than the full 3 hour meeting.
It begins with the board mandating an “email election” to resolve the mess caused by the board’s determination to seat the last place finisher from an election 3 and a half years ago on WBAI’s local board. The board’s interference gives the Siegel/Brazon majority a 50% plurality by refusing the seat the independent candidate who won the seat in the 2015 election.
Independent rep Bill Crosier observes he was disconnected and kept off the call for a 14 minute interval despite calling in 4 times for reinstatement. Crosier finally emailed a public list-serv protesting he was being kept off the call to force his re-admission to the conference call.
The board passed the “WBAI email election” initiative.
Humorously, the board secretary then tried to announce the results of another “email election” done for a national committee and could only produce one winner for the two seats available (the one from the Siegel/Brazon faction). Not a good testimony to the efficacy of “email elections”.
Then the board turned to the financial crisis and the dissolution motions passed on Tuesday at the National finance committee. The meeting broke into dissension with Siegel/Brazonite Jose Luis Fuentes breaking with board treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert over Pacifica’s failures to complete audited financial statements and attempting to send the dissolution motions and all the draft budgets back to the finance committee. He almost succeeded, losing due to one vote changed at the last minute.
Fuentes and chair Tony Norman then got into a conflict over whether Pacifica’s management letters from their auditors are confidential or not. (They always have been considered so and since the board has now decided they are not, they may be publicly released in short order).
Finally the clip contains the votes to a) refer the dissolution motions and budgets back to committee (i.e. reject them), which was narrowly defeated and b) the motion to require a plan for the DC station including liquidation or sale, which passed narrowly on a 6-5 vote with multiple abstentions.
Berkeley-Pacifica’s new CFO Sam Agarwal reported to Pacifica’s national finance committee he anticipated a recommendation in a period of 60 days for the liquidation of Washington DC’s WPFW-FM and the sale, liquidation or lease of NY’s WBAI-FM. Agarwal stated that WPFW was three months behind in central service payments and two months behind in health insurance premium payments and WBAI-FM was two months behind in central service payments and one month behind in health insurance payments. Continue reading CFO Proposes Liquidating DC and NY In 60 Days→
Berkeley-The Pacifica National Board, which met on March 3rd for the first time in a month after two consecutive disrupted meetings on January 28th and February 4th, doubled down on their disenfranchisement of WBAI-FM. The board again prevented 4 NY directors elected on January 26th from participating in the meeting and insisted on their authority to seat the last place finisher from the 2012 election in the NY local board’s vacant seat, instead of the first runner-up from the recently completed election. The national board’s interference has brought NY to a halt as the national board attempts to undo the 13-11 independent majority elected by the voters in order to deliver the Siegel/Brazon faction a 12-12 tie.
In a particularly absurd twist, the national board spent more than half an hour elaborately constructing a rationale to give participation and voting rights to the 2015 Siegel/Brazon faction NY representative Cerene Roberts, while continuing to eliminate participation and voting rights for all of the 2015 and the 2016 WBAI representatives from the independent group that holds the majority on the WBAI local station board. Continue reading Only One Faction Votes In New York→
KPFK Local board member Myla Reson videotaped the treasurer’s report from the KPFK local station board meeting, after a brief interruption when bookkeeper and gadfly Bella De Soto tried to knock the camera out of her hand.
The videotape includes treasurer Fred Blair’s report and follow-up comments by former treasurer Kim Kaufman. which are trenchant, on-point and very worth your time to listen to.
KPFA’s local station board meeting 2-27: the first speaker is Save Kpfa member William Campisi who proposes that national voting rights should be stripped from stations that fall behind on central service payments and then that Pacifica should go into voluntary bankruptcy if it isn’t willing to cede national control to KPFA.
Campisi apparently doesn’t realize that under his plan, his own station KPFA, would have had “its” voting rights stripped from October 2015 to February 2016 when it failed to pay central services due to financial troubles – and for two a half years from January of 2010 to June of 2012 when KPFA was slowly paying back $250,000 in unpaid central service payments to Pacifica in installments.
The second speaker is Save KPFA member and national director Jose-Luis Fuentes who says the other stations in Washington, LA and New York are eyeing KPFA’s fund drive receipts to “subsidize their standard of living”.
Fuentes appears to be unaware that in order to restore CPB funding, Pacifica would have to produce not one, but two, annual audits in the next 88 days, as the FY 2015 audit would be due at the end of June 2016. The $150,000 he quotes for the FY 2014 audit is roughly twice the estimate and twice what an audit for an organization of Pacifica’s size should cost.
The third speaker is UCR-affiliated unpaid staff rep Frank Sterling, who speaks with heart and intelligence and in addition to acknowledging that all of the stations are equally important, brings up the issue of shell corporations being set up to “catch” Pacifica’s assets .