Listeners deliver $61,200 in pledges to Pacifica, local board asks execs to cut their own pay

Some of the hundreds of listeners who pledged to restore the Morning Show

After Saturday’s Breakfast with the Morning Show, listeners took a giant check to KPFA with $61,200 in pledges — enough to restore the Morning Show through 2011. We hope you’ll take a moment to contact Pacifica’s executive director to urge her to accept the pledges. | EMAIL PACIFICA or PHONE 510-402-9880.

An unusually large number of listeners stayed for KPFA’s local station board (LSB) meeting later that morning. They came from around the greater Bay Area to address the board, such as long-time listener Bonnie Bell, from San Jose. “Every time there’s a fundraiser, I hear people say, ‘It’s your station. You contribute to it, it’s your station.’ But when the Morning Show was taken off, I didn’t feel it was my station at all.” | LISTEN TO AUDIO, more public commentary is linked at KPFA’s LSB page

GM resigns? What about KPFA’s $375,000?

As reported by, staff were told last week that the station’s new general manager, Amit Pendyal, had resigned effective immediately, but Pacifica later said he had taken a “personal leave.” Pendyal has been in the job one month. “Just to put this in context,” said board member Dan Siegel during the board’s discussion, “at the beginning of 2009, each of our five stations had a permanent general manager. By the end of 2009, none did, and this is a major problem with the network from the point of view of fundraising, programming. That’s a material result of the chaos in the network and a change that we’d like to help rectify as the majority of this LSB.” Seigel also addressed Pacifica’s attempt to remove him from the local and national boards. | LISTEN TO AUDIO

New KPFA local board treasurer Barbara Whipperman was asked by the local board’s chair to look into KPFA’s finances, such as the claim last September that the station “can’t meet payroll” and thus, layoffs were required. Whipperman found that in September 2010 KPFA borrowed $12,500 from KPFT to make its mid-month payroll, an amount that was paid back to KPFT by October 15. At the direction of Pacifica management, KPFA loaned WPFW $18,000 for its September 30 payroll, a loan which has no repayment plan. “KPFA did have trouble paying a payroll in September,” notes Whipperman, “but in fact, that loan was paid back in October, and KPFA has been in a position to loan money to other stations, even with the idea that they might not get it back.”

Whipperman also looked into a recent major gift by a Berkeley donor. Both Pacifica and KPFA received equal amounts from the donor of $375,000 to establish endowment accounts, requiring both KPFA and Pacifica to invest the principal and spend only the earnings from each investment. Pacifica’s CFO LaVarn Williams has already spent Pacifica’s portion in violation of the donor’s wishes, and the network is now taxing stations to repay the fund. KPFA’s $375,000 endowment was deposited by the donor with a philanthropic fund management company for safe-keeping, and is expected to produce a sizable grant, available for withdrawal this summer. Whipperman also reported that CFO Williams recently made inquiries about the availability of KPFA’s endowment fund. Pacifica has also tied up $150,000 of KPFA’s reserve money for the last 3 years by using it as a guarantee on a line of credit for the national office. | AUDIO OF COMPLETE TREASURER’S REPORT, or see REPORT AND FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

Noting that KPFA’s frontline staff have borne the brunt of cuts through layoffs and reductions in hours, the local board passed a resolution asking Pacifica’s executive director and chief financial officer to reduce their salaries by 10% for 12 months. The board also reaffirmed the sustainable budget it passed last year, which was overruled by Pacifica. The board sent it back to Pacifica’s national finance committee, and this time including expected income from the endowment and the $61,000 in pledges for restoration of the Morning Show.

The group of board members led by Tracy Rosenberg who call themselves “independents” failed to attend KPFA’s February board meeting, but at least five of them were spotted milling around outside the building while the meeting was in progress. You can find the unedited audio of the entire board meeting, minutes, and financial reports at the local station board’s webpage. [UPDATE: Pacifica has apparently removed the audio record of the LSB meeting, so we’ve given it a home here: KPFA LSB AUDIO part 1 | part 2 | part 3]