Campaign Launched By Donors to Save Pacifica Radio
Network Faces Plummeting Audience, Increasing Deficits, and Potential Insolvency
(SF, CA) The Pacifica Safety Net (PSN), a California non-profit organization, formed by Pacifica radio listeners, volunteers, and donors officially launched a website and posted a five-minute videotaped statement by actor and author Peter Coyote. Lack of competent leadership has resulted in Pacifica’s significant loss of multiple sources of income, the imminent loss of its assets, and has left Pacifica radio in danger of insolvency. PSN’s launch today follows the bombshell announcement on Monday that Pacifica network directors were being sued for malfeasance and mismanagement.
The Pacifica Radio Foundation, the nation’s oldest nonprofit Public Radio network, reaches over 60 million people worldwide. Pacifica has been a venue for progressive ideas and culture for over 70 years. Yet today, there are only about 40,000 members of the network, compared to well over 120,000 prior to 2000. Pacifica’s New York station WBAI, in the largest media market in the U.S. with a potential audience of 20 million has less than 7,000 donors.
“Pacifica is hemorrhaging resources, while airing programs on some stations filled with conspiracy theories, hate speech, snake oil and infomercials to raise money,” said Christina Huggins, litigant and KPFA Local Station Board Chair. “We, and many others, have been trying for years to correct these issues but it has only gotten worse. The intervention of the California AG division of charitable trusts, or a court appointed receiver, appears to be the only way to remedy a situation that is rapidly spiraling out of control.”
PSN’s mission is to protect Pacifica from misfeasance, malfeasance, negligent management, and unlawful conduct by members of its national board of directors. PSN is raising money for a “safety net” of funds outside of the purview of Pacifica management to protect the stations – legally, operationally or otherwise. This action is a necessary response to Pacifica’s current dysfunctional and conflicted national board of directors.
“If we fail to reform Pacifica, we will lose this irreplaceable resource, with stations likely falling into the hands of expanding right wing or evangelical Christian radio networks,” said President of the board, Sherry Gendelman, in announcing formation of the PSN. “I call upon Pacifica members to rally together at this dangerous moment to protect the only progressive radio network we have in this country.”
The Pacifica Foundation launched the first listener supported broadcast station in the United States and pioneered the concept of member support which is the pillar of public broadcasting today. Pacifica owns and manages five non-commercial FM radio stations in 5 of the top 10 radio markets, reaching over 60 million potential listeners: KPFA in the SF Bay area (founded in 1949); KPFK Los Angeles (1959); WBAI New York City (1960); KPFT Houston (1970); and WPFW in Washington, D.C. (1977) and an affiliate distribution network of 200+ stations. The Pacifica Radio Archives is an irreplaceable record of U.S. history over the last 70+ years. Pacifica is currently supported by over 40,000 donors, over 65% of them California residents.
For more info see: Pacificasafetynet.org