Things are not looking good for the future of the Pacifica. Interim Executive Director Tom Livingston exits the organization at the end of September. Rumor has it that Pacifica has offered the Executive Director job to someone but there is no word whether the person has accepted the job.
According to a recording of Pacifica’s September 21st National Board meeting, internal acrimony came to the surface as soon as the meeting started. Three minutes into the meeting the organization’s Secretary (who is not identified in the recording) announced that she was resigning, effective immediately. She said the reason was the Board’s refusal to deal with Pacifica’s many problems, particularly its dire financial situation:
In March, Pacifica took on a $3.2 million loan to pay off a $1.8 million debt. And I tried to do my fiduciary duty as an officer to get this body focused on finances. Yet, after almost 6 months into that 36-month loan there is no action on a repayment plan.
You can download and listen to the recording at this link:
During the remainder of the hour, the Board provided a case study of dysfunction. Though the reason for the meeting was to plan Pacifica’s future and prepare for a new Executive Director, the assembled group discussed other unrelated matters.
For example, one of the Board members introduced a resolution for Pacifica to pledging its solidarity with Julian Assange. The discussion of the Assange resolution lasted almost 25-minutes, including a ten-minute roll call that would be hilarious if it wasn’t so clueless. You need to hear the recording to believe it.
The bottom line is that the Pacifica National Board probably doesn’t have the knowledge, the experience or even care what will become of the organization and its stations.
In his interim role, Livingston brought a brief period of calm and progress to Pacifica. However, no changes were made in Pacifica’s toxic system of governance. The system is described as “democratic” but is actually a way to delay decisions and avoid the consequences.
When/if there is a new Executive Director hired, we hope that person will succeed. But we recommend not holding your breath while you wait for solutions.
Pacifica’s Secretary ending her remarks with a warning:
I am no longer able – in all-good conscience – to subscribe to the decisions of this Board. And so I am bowing out. I am submitting my resignation from being secretary immediately. I am leaving the conference call when I am done with this statement. Perhaps you will comes to your senses. Goodbye.
Then see walked out of the room.
COMMENT ONE: “AMERICA ON THE LINE” NEEDS TO GET SERIOUS
Last Friday [link] we featured Jonathan Capehart’s new pre-election weeknight talk show America on the Line (AOTL), produced by WNYC. Though we praised some aspects of the program, we suggested they improve some of the basic production elements of the show. Reader Fred Fletcher-Pierro, Morning Edition Host and Producer at KRPS, Pittsburg, Kansas agrees:
FLETCHER-PIERRO: I was waiting for you to write about AOTL. I was a big fan of Indivisible, I listened every night and I'm enjoying America On the Line as I picked it up for my station, 89. 9 KRPS.
I wish that AOTL would use a billboard., but not change the fact that of being non-newscast compatible. I feel that the show rushes into getting its guests on the air. Even if the first 5-minutes of AOTL were Capehart laying out the news, that leaves the other 15-minutes in the first segment for guests and callers.
Also, I know that Kavanaug’s nomination is the big story right now but it was covered every night last week on AOTL. What I didn't hear was coverage of governors races in Kansas, Oklahoma or Arkansas..
Pop-up shows like AOTL have a very limited reach. For instance in Kansas, as far as I can tell, KRPS is the only station carrying AOTL. And St. Louis Public Radio appears to be the only station in Missouri carrying it. Neither KOSU or KGOU are carrying it in Oklahoma.
Overall, it's a good show and I'm looking forward to hearing it improve as election season moves along.
KEN SAYS: Someone from management at WNYC needs to step in provide a reality-check for the people behind America on the Line before it damages WNYC’s reputation as a syndicated program distributor. BTW – I like the phrase “pop-up shows.”
COMMENT TWO: WHEN APPLYING FOR A JOB, READ THE DIRECTIONS
Yesterday we featured Tanya Ott’s tips for creating an audio sample as part of an application for a job in a public radio station newsroom. Duncan Lively, Director of Programming and Operations, sent addition advice for job seekers:
LIVELY: One more note from this PD who is also a hiring manager -- pay close attention to how support materials -- CV, audio samples, etc -- should be submitted.
Many of us in public radio have to manage our searches through institutional Human Resources departments which have very specific, legal counsel-mandated protocols for how support materials are received, logged and forwarded.
Also, quite honestly, when someone does not follow submission guidelines, the first thing I wonder is whether the applicant has difficulty following directions -- not a good footing to be on in a first encounter with a prospective employer.