Sustainable Budget Wins Broad Support

KPFA’s unionized staff, represented by the Communications Workers of America Local 9415, have drafted what they call the Sustainable KPFA Budget to meet the shortfall, aiming to preserve programming and on-air fundraising capacities.

Their proposals include cutting more than $110,000 in expenses for meetings of the Pacifica National Board, spreading out KPFA’s repayment of back-dues to Pacifica, and charging Pacifica rent for the KPFA-owned building it occupies. Individual staff members have also offered to save KPFA money by switching to less-expensive health plans.

On October 16, KPFA’s local station board endorsed those staff proposals. KPFA’s local management also supported the changes.

On October 19, Pacifica’s national finance committee rejected the budget proposals put forth by KPFA’s staff and local board, as reported by the KPFA Evening News the following day.

“The plan we supported would have saved jobs and preserved important station resources, not least of which is the listenership,” said Pamela Drake, a SaveKPFA listener member of the local board. “If we cut our best fundraisers and programmers, we’re going to lose listeners, and that’s a vicious circle that ends up killing the station.”

The Pacifica Radio network is an independent, non-profit organization that operates five radio stations, including KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York City, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington, DC.

KPFA has already cut nearly a fifth of its workforce over the course of the past year. Without any of the Sustainable KPFA Budget measures in place, the station would be forced to cut up to 25% more, while paying Pacifica an unprecedented $752,000 in the current fiscal year. That’s 21.3% of KPFA’S projected $3.5 million in revenues.

“KPFA’s generating enough income to pay the costs of running the radio station,” said Mal Burnstein, top-vote getter in the local board election last month. “But it’s not generating enough to also pay $752,000 toward Pacifica’s national bureaucracy. We think it’s clear that Pacifica’s bloated budget needs to be cut first.” Pacifica national office salaries are much higher than KPFA’s, particularly for managers.

SPEAK UP: write a note to Pacifica management here.