Financial results: KPFA beating budget, Pacifica lagging

KPFA’s most recent fund drive turnaround seems to have had a big impact on the station’s bottom line. On February 23, Pacifica distributed first-quarter income statements for the network. Brian Edwards-Tiekert (now serving as KPFA’s staff rep on the Pacifica National Board) reported the statements “show KPFA outperforming its budget to the tune of $115,000 in just three months. The main driver is KPFA’s fund drives — the statements show that KPFA brought in $154,348 more listener support than budgeted” before the most recent drive even started.

“The bad news,” said Edwards-Tiekert, “is that KPFA appears to be the only part of Pacifica doing well. First, a caveat: there appear to be some accuracy problems with the numbers that the Pacifica National Office distributed. As things stand, however, every other station in the network appears to be racking up deficits right now. The worst losses are coming from the Pacifica National Office, which appears to be over-spending its budget by roughly $80,000 per month. Pacifica’s current management has not made clear what is driving the over-spending.”

Late last year, Pacifica’s board allowed the contracts of then-executive director Arlene Engelhardt and then-CFO LaVarn Williams to expire. The chair of that board, Summer Reese, is currently also acting as the network’s interim executive director.

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YouTube clip of Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on FSRN
Democracy Now! in support of FSRN

Pacifica has apparently put those who provide the network’s national programming at the bottom of its list of bills to pay. It owes Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News (FSRN) more than $1 million. While Democracy Now! has enough resources to cushion the blow, Pacifica’s unpaid bills to Free Speech Radio News threaten its very existence.

FSRN was founded by freelance reporters protesting censorship at Pacifica the last time the network went off the rails. What started as a “strike cast” during the 1999-2001 Pacifica crisis later became an independent, worker-run collective producing news for Pacifica for over a decade.

“The idea that Pacifica will let this valuable news program die is shameful at best,” one FSRN correspondent told us. FSRN urgently needs to raise $40,000 this month to pay its contributors and stay on the air. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation at FSRN’s website.

We also encourage you to VIEW AND CIRCULATE this special video message supporting FSRN from Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now!