Monday, October 8, 2018


Maxie Jackson
Long-time public media manager and programmer Maxie Jackson has been hired by the Pacifica Foundation to be its new Executive Director. 

Jackson replaces Tom Livingston, who served as interim ED since January.

Jackson brings 25 years of management and programming experience to the top job at Pacifica. 

Most recently Jackson was Station Manager at News/Talk WCPN in Cleveland. 

Before that he was Senior Director of Program Development at News/Talk WNYC, PD at Classical WETA and GM at Jazz station WEAA in Baltimore.

Jackson is joining Pacifica at the time when the organization needs a strong and visionary leader. Pacifica, which owns stations in New York, Los Angeles, the Bay area, Houston and Washington, DC, remains millions of dollars in debt and has no plan for the future.

During his eight-month tenure, Livingston solved some of Pacifica’s immediate problems but made no changes in Pacifica’s mind-numbing system of governances. Pacifica has a reputation for being ungovernable and it has been marred by years of infighting. Livingston calmed the turf wars for a short time but it will be up to Jackson to change the trajectory of Pacifica.

In some ways, Jackson encountered a similar situation when he was President and CEO of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) from January 2010, through March 2013. Like Pacifica, NFCB has also dealt with internal disputes and a lack of unified direction.

According to news reports, Jackson’s tenure at NFCB started with high expectations but soon was mired in disputes. NFCB’s Board of Directors fired Jackson on March 4, 2013. The only reason that was stated publically was that the Board had “style issues” with Jackson.

After Jackson left, NFCB went into a tailspin of debt and rancor that threatened to end the organization. Things changed for the better in 2014 when Sally Kane became President and CEO of NFCB. Under Kane’s leadership, NFCB has re-emerged as a constructive force for community media. We hope a similar turn-around will happen for Jackson and Pacifica.


Today we are introducing a new way to look at Nielsen Audio PPM data: Three month trend lines. Nielsen publishes data for 13 “months” each year. The extra month is the “holiday book” covering Christmas and the weeks before the end of the year. We do not report on the “holiday book” because it isn’t relevant to public radio stations.

Spark News will use Quarterly PPM tabulations to compare station performance over time. Please let us know if you see corrections that need to be made, comments, requests or questions. Thanks.

In New York, WNYC-FM lost some ground in September from the previous two months.  Estimated weekly listeners and AQH were both down.

Also in the Big Apple Jazz music WBGO continues a downward trend we’ve been seeing for over a year.


WNYC-FM is second in AQH share and third in estimated weekly listeners in NYC.

As usual, all-news WINS-AM leads the market in both metrics in September with a 4.2 AQH share and 1,704,700 weekly listeners. 

WNYC-FM has a higher AQH share than all-news WCBS-AM (2.6%) but leads WNYC-FM in weekly listeners. WNYC-FM leads legendary talk station WOR-AM in both metrics.

There hasn’t been music change in listening patterns in Los Angeles over the past three months. In September Classical KUSC had its best “book” in a hile. Jazz KKJZ is also up a bit.


KPCC is in third place in both metrics behind all-Talk KFI-AM (3.7 914,500) and all-News KNX-AM (3.0 1,520,400).

In the nation’s capital, de facto NPR News flagship WAMU is gaining ground in AQH share but estimated weekly listeners continues to lag behind the months around the 2016 election.

All-News WTOP AM/FM remains in control in this extremely valuable market (9.4 1,114,300). However, WAMU has a wide lead over rightwing all-Talk WMAL AM/FM (4.5 366,800).


  1. Ratings trends are good stuff but three-month trends can be misleading unless you also factor in year-to-year trends. A three-month analysis can be skewed by, for example, the simple issue that most pubradio outlets do poorly over the summer as their core audience tends to be on vacation outside of their listening area. A year to year analysis can serve as a "check" on that trend line and see if it's something that's happened before and that a rise in the fall is likely.

  2. LOL. You got a scoop! Pacifica hasn't even had the courtesy to announce the arrival of the latest ED within Pacifica or release even a basic press release for the public. Here's a clip of the treatment the national board accorded their new Ed at the last meeting:

    I have no idea what problems you think Livingston solved. He leaves 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 990 he recently signed was, to put it politely, very problematic. The problem of governance is not one an ED can fix. It's for the board to do that and they have no intention of doing anything to diminish their own grandiose self importance or their incompetent micro-managing. Good luck to Maxie.

  3. Thank you, Ken, for all you do to keep us up to dat. FYI:

  4. Does anyone know why Mr Jackson is no longer at Pacifica?