Sat, Jul

Saving Pacifica Radio - An Insider’s View


FINANCIAL STRUGGLE--With the demise of Air America, Current TV, and Al Jazeera America it looks like only Pacifica Radio is still standing. Here in Los Angeles many rely on KPFK 90.7 fm for information they just won't hear anywhere else. KPFK is one of the five Pacifica stations. 

Many have lamented the perpetual dysfunction and drama surrounding Pacifica. But Pacifica has somehow endured for almost 70 years. It's time to fix it. Actually, it's past time to fix it. The need for revitalization is urgent. All five stations are struggling financially but financial shortfalls at two of the stations are so severe that they are threatening the survival of the entire network. 

Also, Pacifica is currently being investigated by the California Attorney General, has lost its Corporation for Public Broadcast funding two years in a row (about $2 million lost so far) because of poor financial reporting and will probably lose CPB funding for the next fiscal year. It is also not up to date on other financial reporting to federal and state agencies. 

Pacifica's radio signal licenses are estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. It would be tragic if they were lost. Progressive advocacy groups need media to project their messages. They court, beg and cajole mainstream media with mediocre results. Meanwhile, here is Pacifica, the naughty step child of the left, mostly abandoned by the groups and movements that could save it and build a powerful media force and, at the same time, increase their own clout. 

Here's a quote from the Pacifica Bylaws: "The Foundation is committed to peace and social justice, and seeks to involve in its governance and operations individuals committed to these principles."  

Let me say loud and clear that you are formally invited to join Pacifica governance. Yes, I mean YOU. What does that entail? Let me explain. 

Pacifica has democratically elected local boards that, in turn, elect members of the Pacifica National Board, which controls all its stations and assets. If competent and committed people are elected to these local boards there is a good chance that Pacifica could be fixed. 

Pacifica has been mismanaged and misgoverned. The Pacifica National Board has the ability to change the management of the Foundation for the better. If the Local and National boards were improved they could make the bold management changes needed and Pacifica could probably be repaired. It wouldn't be easy, but it could be done. There are elections for local boards at each of the 5 Pacifica stations. These elections began on June 1st. The local boards each elect 4 people to the Pacifica National Board. The first step is to elect competent people to the local boards who then elect their most qualified members to the National Board. It's as simple as that. 

There is a very short window for nominations to these boards. The nomination period has already started and ends on June 30th is scheduled to open on June 1st and only lasts for one month. It's extremely important that competent, committed people be elected to these boards. Elections are held every two out of three years. As there was an election in 2015, after this current election there won't be another one for 2 years. That means this election is crucial to the survival of Pacifica Radio! 

If you want further information, please don't hesitate to email me at [email protected]. Or you can go to Elections.Pacifica.org or to CandidateSlate.org.


(Grace Aaron is a Pacifica National Board Member (2008, 2009 and 2016, interim Exec Dir 2009.) The opinions expressed in this article are entirely her own and do not represent Pacifica Radio, or any faction, group or entity related or unrelated to Pacifica.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.