Friday, July 19, 2019


Maxie Jackson
Statement by Grace Aaron, Chair of the Pacifica National Board to an open meeting on Thursday evening (7/18):
“Maxie Jackson III resigned from the position of Pacifica Executive Director effective July 5, 2019. The Foundation wishes him the very best in his future endeavors.”

“The Pacifica Foundation is in the process of hiring a highly qualified radio television and multimedia professional to hold the interim position of Executive Director. More information will be forthcoming. A formal search for permanent executive director is already in progress.”

“By California law the board chair automatically assumes the position of temporary Executive Director if no other Executive Director has been engaged.”

“Therefore, please direct pertinent correspondence to me [Grace Aaron] as I will be acting in the capacity of temporary executive director.”

Spark News will have full coverage on Monday (7/22).


  1. 1 of 2
    Thanks for reporting this so quickly.

    Pacifica power is now even more concentrated, with Grace Aaron becoming the executive director on Sa6July. As you report, Maxie Jackson resigned, according to Aaron’s statement, ‘Executive Director Transition’, which she read at last night's Pacifica National Board (13:18, Remarkably there was no discussion. It's important to note that no explanation has been given for him leaving, doing so only nine months after arriving. Obviously no-one on the current PNB feels that an explanation is deserved by the listeners, the staff, the vendors, possible grantors, & state agencies. That's the contempt they are all held in by the current directors.

    Committee meetings M8 & Tu9July had quietly disclosed, without using his name, that he had been disappeared. The Personnel Cttee’s delayed ED six-month evaluation, voted on in private, had stitched him up M1July; the next day’s private PNB gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse; & Ken ‘I-can’t-help-it-if-I-sound-like-an-associate-of-Jimmy-Hoffa’ Aaron did the rest.

    And being Pacifica, until over two weeks had passed, no public announcement of the dismissal. No press statement. No statement to staff. No statement to listeners. Nothing on the website, (except ‘Contact>Foundation’ had a change, “Interim Executive Director”, but it then gave “Bill Crosier”, which was true upto 23Jan2018 – & this is how it remains even today; no surprise, as the last item in the 'News' section is dated 15Jan2015).

    The Pacifica 'leadership' had a real opportunity with Maxie, but didn’t seem to recognise this, & now they have blown it. Despite their repeated words of receptivity, they actually couldn’t cope with the prospect of change, fundamental change.

    Pacifica’s inability to cope with an ED determined to bring industry norms to the network, comes on top of all five spring fund-drives failing, & cashflow becoming more chronic than usual in June. Unable to generate an annual net income since FY2006, & now with the added burden of the c. $300k annual FJC interest charge, Pacifica now finds itself descending into necro-economics: relying on rich corpses to offer up bequests.

  2. 2 of 2
    Pacifica, through its actions, & inactions, is faced with declining & ageing listenership, declining membership, declining listener-fundraising, & grants cut off through lack of listeners & audited financial statements (the FY2017 auditor made things worse Th27June by refusing to declare that the statements were materially accurate, having no alternative given the chronic lack of financial records). To cap it all, the PNB majority has now driven out a moderniser & technician, ED Maxie Jackson. He was behaving in a completely, not just un-Pacifican, but anti-Pacifican way: trying to raise standards, trying to lay the basis for Pacifica to improve its competencies, structures, & processes in broadcasting, programming, fundraising, bookkeeping & accounting, & governance.

    This was never going to end well. Being told home truths, & pushing for best practices rather than the same-olde-same-olde, just ruffled too many feathers, just upset too many people. The whiff of NPR-lite. The ED simply didn’t understand Pacifica. The ED simply had to go.

    So what’s the plan? As Aaron's statement says, “[t]he Pacifica Foundation is in the process of hiring a highly qualified radio, television, & multimedia professional to hold the interim position of executive director. More information will be forthcoming. A formal search for permanent executive director is already in progress” (‘Executive Director Transition’). Sounds reasonable. It’s the sort of thing a normal radio network would say. But what are the prospects?

    Consider the evidence. There were seven ED’s 2004-2009; since then, with Aaron, there have been another nine. So 16 in 15 years. Maxie lasted nine months. How many other outsiders, since 2009, have lasted longer than Maxie? One: Arlene Engelhardt, 2009-2012. Pacifica is so toxic for outsiders that there were only two others amongst these nine: John Proffitt, five months; Tom Livingston, eight months. Maxie was the second-choice: numero uno, at the last minute, decided to tune in to a PNB livestream. He immediately withdrew his application. Today, as yesterday, which media professional will risk their career with Pacifica?