Monday, July 18, 2016


WBAI’s Treasurer R. Paul Martin informed Pacifica’s National Finance Committee (NFC) on July 13th that the once influential organization “endures through pure momentum at this time.”

Martin’s report [which can be downloaded here] paints a grim picture of the financial reality faced by Pacifica and its five owned-and-operated stations.  The situation at WBIA is particularly dire. Most nonprofit organizations would have already closed the doors.

R. Paul Martin
In his 7/13 report, and related June report, Martin describes the situation:

• Revenue for all Pacifica stations and the national organization are down. They lurch from one fund drive to the next by moving money from one account to other accounts. When new money comes in, they pay some bills.  When the money runs our more bills become delinquent.

• It is doubtful if WBAI will be able to make its payroll or pay for other essential services such as rent for the transmitter at the Empire State building, health insurance for employees, payroll and even the phone bill.

[Note from Ken: Ironically, WBAI is a full-power FM station at 99.5 that blankets the nation’s number one media market.]

• Mandatory financial audits are way past due. Audits for FY 2014 and 2015 are not being completed because Pacifica owes the auditors tens of thousands of dollars. The auditors have refused to complete the audits until they are paid. The FY2014 audit was due on June 30, 2015.

• Because of the lack of current audited financial statements, revenue from foundations is drying up. Plus the organization is in violation of State of California corporate rules because of Pacifica’s failure to file.

• Things are so bad, Pacifica’s managers are being asked to solicit no-interest loans to save the organization.

• Pacifica has, according to Martin, no credible strategy to deal with the situation. Current management is in denial.

Mr. Martin seems to be the only adult in the room. Its too bad no one appears to be listening to him. Martin sums it up:

“If every station and unit of Pacifica is in deficit there will be no place to borrow money from. Pacifica and its stations endure through pure momentum at this time. But since all of Pacifica’s financial indicators are trending downward.”

We cannot cut our way into prosperity. In the absence of any tangible plan on the table [Pacifica] is forced into the default option of cost cuts.


Martin reports that KPFK, Los Angeles, will soon be dealing with massive new expenses caused by KPFK’s arbitration loss of disputes with union employees. KPFK will owe back wages and penalties that will make Pacifica’s financial situation even worse.

WPFW in Washington, DC has adopted a “deliberate strategy” of not repaying internal Pacifica loans that were used to keep the station on the air. WPFW has exhausted restricted grant money used to pay basic operating expenses. Martin says WPFW’s failure to make the payments is detrimental to the entire organization.

KPFA, Berkeley, has given notice to its employees union that it is experiencing financial difficulties and layoffs at KPFA are imminent.


Louisville Public Media’s WFPL (NPR News) and WUOL (Classical) were both up in a comparison of Nielsen Audio estimates for Spring 2016 with Spring 2015. Triple A WFPK was down a bit in the one-year trends. By the way, Louisville Public Media is looking for a new President and General Manager.  See more about the gig at [link].  

Apparently WWNO in New Orleans did not subscribe to Nielson Audio’s ratings for Spring 2016.  It is nice to see that WWOZ has ample weekly listeners again.  Arthur Cohen is doing a terrific job breathing new life into a public media gem. I miss Arthur at the PRPD.

It appears that not much changed in Oklahoma City from June 2015 to June 2016.  Both KGOU from Norman and KOSU from Stillwater have dual formats and are splitting the NPR News audience. It is sort of like when the Sooners play the Cowboys in football – either has a chance to win.

These data are provided for use by Nielsen subscribers ONLY,
in accordance with RRC's limited license with Nielsen Inc.

Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+

Data Copyright Nielsen Inc

 Format distinctions are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.

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