We have had two of our recent posts go viral. Our story about the “shrinking” of Public Radio International (PRI) has gotten a couple of thousand page-views [link]. We seem to have struck a chord with many people who were thinking the same thing about the “merger.”
Let’s not forget that over the years, PRI (and before that APR) made many positive contributions to public media. PRI’s legacy makes us proud to have been associated with them.
Regarding the Pacifica Foundation’s hiring of Maxie Jackson as their new Executive Director [link], we were surprised that we broke the story. We heard about the hire about a week before publishing the story.
TOPIC ONE: “PRI eventually had no “must have” programs and PRX completely changed the game for our small station”
The quote above came from the manager of smaller station. Most of comments expressed the same thoughts about PRX’s acquisition of PRI – that PRI was vulnerable and PRX took action.
We did receive a comment that added important context about Monitor Radio’s exit from public radio. It came from someone using the screen name “Wilkins” who once worked for the Christian Science Monitor.
“WILKINS” WROTE: An interesting article! However, having been a Monitor Radio engineer at the time it ceased to exist, I take exception to your assertion that Monitor Radio decided to go out of business rather than compete with The World.
Perhaps you are familiar with the shrinking of the Christian Science news empire? The failure of its cable TV channel, the closing of Monitor’s short-wave stations, the demise of the print edition of their newspaper and the end of Monitor Radio’s three daily public radio newsmagazines were not caused by any single event.
KEN SAYS: Actually we are both correct. Closing Monitor Radio did not happen in a vacuum but the timing of the decision was hastened by PRI’s decision to create the program that became The World.
You've got to know when to hold them,and know when to fold them
The demise of the Christian Science Monitor’s journalism efforts reflects the changing media landscape and the decline in popularity of the Christian Science church. Like other churches created in the 1800s, Christian Science had some flaws in its dogma such as advising parents to pray rather than get medical help for themselves or their families.
However, the Christian Science Monitor was once one of the world’s [no pun intended] best news organizations. Maybe someday someone will tell the true story of the paper’s deep involvement with the CIA in the 1950s and 60s.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE CHANGING DISTRIBUTION OF PRI’S PROGRAMS BY PRX
On the right is an edited version of a memo from PRX to PRI affiliates we received from two station programmers. It details the transition of PRI’s programs to PRX.
It led one programmer to ask:
One big question lingers: will PRI’s departure from the file transfer function of Content Depot meaningfully alter the economics of the PRSS? Although I’m inferring that PRI plans to retain its full-time PRSS channel, for the time being anyway, I can’t imagine this doesn’t represent the loss of a significant client for PRSS.
TOPIC TWO: THE FUTURE OF PACIFICA
An anonymous reader wrote:
You got a scoop! Pacifica hasn’t even had the courtesy to announce the arrival of the latest Executive Director within Pacifica or release even a basic press release for the public.
Here is an audio clip [link] of the treatment Pacifica’s national board accorded to Maxie Jackson when he was scheduled to be introduced to the organization at their last meeting.
I have no idea what problems you think Livingston solved. He left Pacifica with a $3.2 million loan he signed, which is already in default.
There is virtually a total collapse of Pacifica’s ability to do any financial reporting. The IRS 990 Livingston recently signed was, to put it politely, very problematic.
The problem of governance of Pacifica is not one any Executive Director can fix. Good luck, Maxie!
KEN SAYS: The audio clip of the Board meeting is very disturbing. At the start of the conference call the person in charge asks if Jackson is on the line for the meeting. Jackson says: Yes I am. Then he is ignored for the remainder of the meeting and isn’t allowed to say another word.
This is what Pacifica is really, really like. The Golden Rule doesn’t apply there. The Greater Good is irrelevant. Through their rude behavior, members of the Pacifica board actually hurt the causes they say they believe in. But they say they are destroying Pacifica in order to save it.
We’ve heard reports that people within Pacifica are undoing positive changes that Tom Livingston initiated. Livingston set up consolidation of the organization’s finances and accounting systems at NETA, a trusted vendor. Now some insiders aren’t cooperating with NETA just for spite.
Maxie Jackson is Pacifica’s best and last hope. He should be accorded the respect and ability to do the right thing.