Three days after the story broke on April 22, Pacifica management is now saying that its New York City station, WBAI, received $10,000 from corporate finance giant Goldman Sachs (not corporate finance giant Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, as originally stated by WBAI’s general manager). The Pacifica network has a long-standing policy of not taking corporate underwriting.
The KPFA Weekend News ran a story April 24 about the funding, which included an interview with former Pacifica correspondent Larry Bensky (audio here) on the issues at stake. On April 25, Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt spoke to KPFA News (audio here), and called the money a “grant,” but said that she would not rule out underwriting in the future.
It’s still unclear what strings were attached to the gift — Pacifica managers have told various people that the gift was either unrestricted, or specifically for a series on the topic of hydro-fracking. No-strings-attached gifts are not, legally-speaking, “underwriting.” Donations to fund a particular program or series are. Engelhardt was unable to produce any documents related to the “grant.”