Pacifica’s audited financial statements for the years ending September 2010 and 2011 have finally been released. You can download the reports at Pacifica’s website. The independent auditor raises “substantial doubt” that Pacifica can continue as a “going concern” without making changes in the way it operates.
The audit shows that of the network’s five stations, KPFA is the wealthiest, with net assets of $3.2 million. KPFK in Los Angeles is the only other station in the black. The rest are underwater. Worst of all is WBAI in New York, which has been operating under Pacifica-installed management for nearly four years. WBAI has a current net worth of NEGATIVE $3.3 million — with a deficit of $750,000 in 2011 alone.
You can also see from these audits that Pacifica’s National Office raises very little of its own funds. The lion’s share of Pacifica’s budget — $2,001,298 — comes from imposing a “levy” on the 5 stations (KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, WPFW and WBAI), of which KPFA pays roughly one quarter.
Where’d Pacifica’s $2 million go? The National Office doesn’t produce any programming of its own, but it carries personnel costs of about $1.1 million — mostly in management-level salaries. And it’s been spending increasing amounts on “legal fees.” In 2010, legal fees came to $328,433. In 2011, they grew to an astonishing $538,417. Some of it has been spent on expensive lawyers fighting legal actions sparked by Pacifica’s heavy-handed tactics at its member stations. In addition, SaveKPFA’s review of legal bills reveals that Pacifica has paid attorneys up to $500 per hour to come up with legal strategies for obstructing the KPFA recall election currently underway, and blocking dissident board members’ legal right to inspect records (such as legal bills).
Since 1999, the costs of supporting Pacifica’s national bureaucracy has grown from 9% to 20% of the network’s total income. To give some perspective, the National Office’s budget is twice the size of either KPFT or WPFW, and it’s nearly the same size as each of the other three stations (KPFA, KPFK and WBAI). Pacifica was meant to be a coordinating body to provide support and reduce costs, but it has become the opposite of that. It produces no radio programs, but spends huge sums on executive salaries and costly, unproductive board meetings. KPFA could operate much more easily if it did not have to pay 20% of its listener contributions to Pacifica.
PLEASE JOIN US AT THE BOARD MEETING SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 7/21 — that’s when we expect the board to have open sessions and take public comment. Come then and you’ll meet up with KPFA staffers like Letters and Politics host Mitch Jeserich, Against the Grain co-host Sasha Lilley, KPFA News anchor John Hamilton, and many other SaveKPFA supporters who will be at the meeting.
There is also an OPEN RECEPTION for the board at the station Friday night, 7/20 from 7-10pm. (Address: KPFA, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley) Please attend if you can – you’ll be able to talk directly with PNB members there!
For background, read Brian Edwards-Tiekert‘s open letter on layoffs and our report on Pacifica’s demand for $1 million in cuts at the stations.