Pacifica demanding $1 million from stations to fix network’s financial problems

While KPFA’s fund drive came in a little low, the station’s overall budget remains balanced — the station is on track to have a small surplus. Not so with Pacifica, the corporation that owns KPFA as well as KPFK (Los Angeles), WPFW (Washington), WBAI (New York City) and KPFT (Houston).

Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg told KPFA’s local board on June 2 that Pacifica is demanding $1 million from all member five stations to balance its budget, and that cuts will likely come as staff layoffs. Rosenberg said KPFA would be responsible for a larger part of the cut since its budget is bigger than those of the other four stations.

“Pacifica is in crisis due to its own financial mismanagement,” said one board member.  Each station already pays 19.5% of its income to Pacifica for “central services” such as accounting, insurance, and common programming expenses. Pacifica has granted a 50% discount in those fees to WBAI, which has been operating with a huge deficit and an expensive Wall Street lease for years. In March, KPFA’s local treasurer and business manager reported serious problems with Pacifica’s taking more of KPFA’s money than it was owed — at that time, up to $154,000.

Listeners and staff are asking why KPFA and the other stations should continue to foot the bill. At June’s LSB meeting, several local board members questioned why KPFA would be asked to lay off staff to come up with $300,000 for Pacifica. “What is Pacifica doing about looking at ways in which WBAI can seriously cut their costs?” asked board member Sasha Futran, adding: “WBAI is taking the network down, potentially.” | LISTEN to an exchange between Futran & Rosenberg (3-min audio) or to the entire LSB meeting here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.