KPFA Local Station Board majority endorse the Pacifica bylaws amendment

After an extensive investigation, the majority of the KPFA Local Station Board announce their endorsement of the proposed Pacifica Bylaws Amendment. We urge all KPFA listener and staff members to vote YES on the amendment: Christina Huggins, Carol Wolfley, Sharon Adams, Susan da Silva, Andrea Turner, Aki Tanaka, Philip Maldari, Tim Lynch, Darlene Pagano, Shirah Dedman, Don Goldmacher, Ahmad Anderson, and Mark Van Landuyt

We are concerned that the Pacifica network and KPFA are threatened by mismanagement by the Pacifica National Board, which is controlled by multi-millionaires and their allies who undermine democratic processes to maintain control. The network governance system is way too large with the majority of directors and board members having little experience in broadcasting, media, or finances, and with most PNB directors coming from small stations with lower listenership.

Those who control Pacifica’s decision-making have recently authorized the PNB to have direct access to KPFA’s bank accounts. It seems likely that the PNB will use this access in ways that are detrimental to KPFA, and to pay off WBAI’s debts. KPFA’s internationally recognized staff face lay-offs once KPFA’s accounts are depleted.

PNB dysfunction put KPFA’s building at risk for auction for unpaid taxes because Pacifica officers failed to take action to clean up the paperwork to protect KPFA’s charitable trust tax exemption after two corporate name changes. Now finally the network appears to be taking action to resolve that problem with the help of KPFA management.

KPFA has the only fully functioning news department in the network and is the most technologically advanced station with the highest membership and listener support. PNB allies publicly attack KPFA’s diverse award winning management, staff, and quality programming addressing accelerating political chaos, environmental emergency, and social justice issues. A handful of PNB directors and self serving producers from Pacifica stations WBAI and KPFK want to shift broadcasting away from Pacifica’s historic progressive mission to become a high priced vitamin and beauty product shopping premium network as has been done at their own financially unstable stations. There are also efforts that threaten the network’s non-commercial status with proposals for broadcasting professional football and commercial underwriting.

When WBAI failed to pay its transmitter rental fees resulting in a judgment against them, PNB directors orchestrated two loans borrowing $3.7 million without a workable repayment plan. They are using KPFA’s, KPFK’s and KPFT’s buildings as collateral for the loan. They fired Executive Director John Vernile who was in the process of addressing urgently needed programming changes and accounting irregularities at WBAI, and was attempting to stop the on-going $30,000/month operating deficit at WBAI. Vernile was also working on national news and climate emergency coverage for all Pacifica stations.

After a careful review of recent court and financial documents and actions of the Pacifica National Board, the majority of KPFA LSB members are mobilizing to support KPFA’s amazing management and staff. We want to let the listeners know about the urgently needed bylaws amendment that will create a smaller functional Board of Directors with progressive at-large directors and representatives from each station. Local station board members will transition to Community Advisory Boards working on outreach efforts across the signal range and there is a proposal for staff to be represented by a national programming director.

Information about the bylaws amendment is available at

Here are some recent articles on the current challenges facing Pacifica and KPFA:

Berkeley-based KPFA radio station building scheduled for auction because of unpaid taxes (Daily Cal)

Crisis at Pacifica, KPFK (Los Angeles Times)

KPFA’s building set to be auctioned off for non-payment of taxes (Berkeleyside)

Can KPFK find its way? (Spark News)

Voting information

Please look for your ballot from the Pacifica Foundation sent February 18 and vote YES in support of the Pacifica Bylaws Amendments.

The “ballots” for the bylaws amendment petition were sent to most Pacifica’s members on Feb 18, 2020. Ballots must be received before 11:59PM EST on March 19th in order to be counted. All members who donated a minimum of $25 or who volunteered a minimum of 3 hours between Jan. 03, 2019 and Jan. 02, 2020 are eligible to vote.

If you did not receive a ballot, you can fill out a request form at this link:

Please make sure to check your SPAM folder and safe-list and

If you need more help you are welcome to write to

KPFA local board, staff object to Pacifica’s removal of station manager

Original KPFA radio dial, circa 1949
Original KPFA radio dial, circa 1949

Pacifica’s top official moved to oust KPFA’s interim general manager, Andrew Phillips in a phone call on April 12th. Phillips told KPFA’s elected Local Station Board (LSB) on April 13 that interim Pacifica executive director Summer Reese told him to vacate his office within a week. Here’s a report that ran on the Pacifica Evening News.

The LSB passed two measures in response. The first states: “The KPFA Local Station Board opposes any move by Pacifica to remove or replace a KPFA manager without the meaningful participation of KPFA’s elected Local Station Board and consultation with KPFA’s paid and unpaid staff.” This resolution passed with a vote of 15 yes, 1 no, and 4 abstentions.

The second states: “Based on the information we have as of this date, the KPFA Local Station Board supports continuing the tenure of Andrew Phillips as interim general manager until the process of hiring a permanent general manager is complete.”  The vote for this one was 14 yes, 0 no and 3 abstentions.  Several members crossed factional lines to vote for (or abstain on) these resolutions.

Phillips was given the job in early 2011 by then-executive director Arlene Engelhart, and he faced widespread criticism – including a vote of “no confidence” by the local board in September 2011. Subsequently, Engelhardt rejected the LSB’s recommended pool of applicants for the permanent GM job.

By most accounts, Phillips had grown on the job and won support from many quarters. But the issue isn’t only about him.  It’s about local control at KPFA, Pacifica overstepping its authority, and a fair, legal and democratic process for hiring and firing.  | WRITE Pacifica via this pageSIGN petition, LISTEN to the KPFA LSB meeting: part 1 (manager’s report followed by discussion starts at 23:30), part 2

Several in-person meetings of KPFA’s paid and volunteer staff have overwhelmingly supported the essence of these resolutions, and over 60 workers have signed a public statement (page 1 | page 2) insisting on a full investigation before any action is taken.

The Pacifica National Board met on April 25 behind closed doors and presumably discussed the situation at KPFA. On May 2, Pacifica suddenly put Phillips “on leave” and installed a new interim manager. | REPORT on the Pacifica Evening News

Phillips was given the job in early 2011 by then-executive director Arlene Engelhart, and he faced widespread criticism, including a vote of “no confidence” by the local board in September 2011. Shortly afterward, Engelhardt rejected the LSB’s recommended candidates for the permanent GM job.

KPFA wraps up successful winter fund drive

UpFront's Sonali Kolhatkar interviewing actor Jack Black about the KPFK Hero Awards

On March 6, KPFA’s winter fund drive wrapped up, finishing two days earlier than 2012’s winter fund drive — and raising $100,000 more. Thanks to all of you in KPFA-land who pledged, and a special thanks to those who helped out in the phone room. If you didn’t get a chance to, you can give to KPFA anytime online.

KPFA’s fund drives are still running longer than before Pacifica killed KPFA’s top fundraiser, the Morning Show — but the trend has started to reverse. The 7AM weekday program UpFront, co-hosted by former Morning Show staffer Brian Edwards-Tiekert and KPFK’s Sonali Kolhatkar, has become the station’s top fundraiser. Since UpFront‘s launch last May, KPFA’s fund drives have started consistently beating their goals. And now, they’re getting shorter.