On the surface, things appear strangely quiet at the Pacifica Foundation. Since Tom Livingston was hired as interim Executive Director on January 23, 2018, there has been no announcement about how Pacifica will move forward to solve its existential financial and governance challenges.
Folks working at Pacifica keep waiting for Livingston to step forward with a plan that Pacifica’s national board will approve. This is important because only the national board can approve the sweeping changes that will be necessary to save Pacifica and it’s five owned and operated stations.
Unverified reports say that Livingston has met frequently with the national board but details have not been released.
Meanwhile, life grinds on and Pacifica still looks like it is headed for a cataclysmic fall.
|R. Paul Martin|
WBAI’s Treasurer, R. Paul Martin, released a report on WBAI and Pacifica’s finances on March 14, 2018, that paints a grim picture. I don’t know how (or if) Martin's analysis is credible because he is not on the national board. However, it appears that Martin's data is the real deal.
Martin: WBAI’s finances continue to deteriorate. Pacifica is facing a huge set of expenses. I am told that the final decision by a referee regarding the ESRT [Empire State Building owner] claims has been postponed until the end of March. If the referee gives the ESRT what they want the bill could be $2,500,000 or more.
The [past due] crucial audits will cost a great deal more money. No one has notified [me] of any plan to pay back the loans that were secured to pay off the ESRT judgment, and I do not think that Pacifica’s current cash flow will be able to pay the loan off.
Pacifica has been living on borrowed time, and plans to live on borrowed money. I am hoping that Pacifica can survive, and that WBAI can survive. I think that some drastic action will need to occur in the future in order for both Pacifica and WBAI to survive.
Another factor is the ongoing campaign by the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) to take over WBAI via a Public Service Operating Agreement (PSOA). We covered MNN in early February [link].
MNN is headed by Dan Coughlin, the former WBAI manager who approved the onerous transfer of Democracy Now! to Amy Goodman for free. Coughlin’s motives and methods should come under closer scrutiny.
On Couglin’s website Save WBAI [link], he claims MNN is 99% supported by “contributions” but they actually aren’t “contributions” from listeners and viewers.
MNN is funded almost 100% by fees paid by cable TV subscribers. The FY 2014 IRS 990 filing (avoe) shows that the income came from four big cable companies.
Plus, MNN’s campaign includes a cringe-worthy moment. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.
Coughlin recently recruited a group of people to demonstrate at an internal WBAI meeting to promote the MNN deal.
The protest was captured on a YouTube video that says a lot about his supporters and the contrived "groundswell" campaign. Judge for yourself: