Tuesday, December 19, 2017


The Pacifica Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns five FM stations in the nation’s biggest markets, is on the verge of financial collapse. The irony of the situation is that they did it to themselves – sort of “suicide by stupidity.”

Bill Closier
According to an internal memo from Pacifica’s interim Executive Director, Bill Closier, Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) has begun the process of seizing Pacifica’s assets. Last fall ESRT won a court judgment against Pacifica for an estimated $2.4 million. WBAI hasn't paid the rent for its transmitter atop the Empire State Building for several years. Pacifica's totally debt, including ESRT, is reportedly over $9 million.

ESRT has filed the paperwork in California to collect the money ESRT is owed. The Pacifica Foundation is chartered in the state of California. ESRT can start seizing Pacifica’s assets such as bank accountants, real estate, equipment and even office equipment beginning January 12, 2018.

ESRT has also filed to seize Pacifica’s assets in Texas. Similar actions are also expected in New York and the District of Columbia.

Meanwhile, according to Crosier, Pacifica’s National Board of Directors continues to dither and Board members are fighting among themselves.

WBAI’s transmissions atop the Empire State
Building reaches a potential audience of
18.2 million. But WBAI draws too few listeners
to be sustainable.
In his memo, Crosier said he asked Julianne Mossler, Deputy Attorney General for California’s Office of Charitable Trusts to speak via telephone to the Board about their fiduciary duties. 

Several Board members reportedly didn’t know what the term “fiduciary” means.

To make matters even worse, WBAI was off the air for over a day this past weekend. 

I predict a year from now WBAI, 99.5 FM with maximum power from the Empire State Building will be airing EMF’s K-Love.


NPR’s estimated US Monthly Podcast Audience (think of it as “monthly cume”) was up 5% in November, compared to October. Podtrac makes available two monthly charts: Podcast publishers and rankings of individual podcasts. The publisher’s estimates come with stats.

iHeartMedia was a new entry on Podtrac’s publishers chart in October. It looks like iHeart added a lot of US Monthly Audience in November but this is likely an illusion. 

In October iHeart said they had 525 active podcasts in circulation. In November iHeart claimed they had 603 active podcasts. The increase in US Monthly Audience may be due to the bigger number of podcasts in distribution.

This anomaly also points out a weakness in Podtrac’s publisher’s chart. Using Podtrac’s numbers, iHearts’ average amount of US Monthly Audience per podcast is around 26,000. 

NPR’s average per podcast is around 415,000. And, This American Life’s (TAL) cluster of three podcasts deliver an average of almost 1.8 million per podcast.

Podtrac’s charts are often used by ad agencies to determine where to spend ad dollars to reach the largest number of listeners at the best price. It is no wonder why public media’s TAL and NPR are the leading choices for podcast ads.

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