Proposal: Emergency Expansion of Pacifica’s Program Sharing Network

Carol Wolfley

Carol Wolfley

By Carol Wolfley

As Pacifica is struggling for survival, expanding the news and public affairs network is a strategy for sustainability at a time when people urgently want dependable information from independent sources. This idea has developed among a group of KPFA Community Advisory Board members, Local Station Board directors and supporters from other stations and affiliates nationally. This proposal may be used in conjunction with financial and governance planning and incorporated into proposals from stations not able to meet basic expenses or having programming challenges.

The idea is to expand Pacifica’s news, public affairs and cultural program distribution network by identifying additional programs to be syndicated and for the posting of audio and video broadcast specials (i.e. conventions, demonstrations, etc.) through a centralized system. Communications about available programs and segments could be coordinated among programmers, staff and community journalists from all five Pacifica stations and 200+ affiliates. Program sharing could reduce production and salary costs and give stations the necessary time to reorganize, do outreach and build membership while continuing to operate.

Fortunately, the base technology for this project is already available through Pacifica’s Audio Port system and the “Pacifica Announce” email list. A number of stations currently share news and public affairs programming. Ursula Ruedenberg, the Pacifica Affiliates Coordinator, is presently involved with the existing program-sharing hub—Audio Port and is aware of interest in expanding its’ use.

from the blog "Moving at the Speed of Creativity" See below for link.

from the blog “Moving at the Speed of Creativity,”  website link below.

In considering this project, some preliminary questions include how to:

  • Organize communication for network-wide planning— connecting through emails and phone conferences with interested parties and at national independent radio conferences
  • Plan collaboration on national election coverage
  • Invite community journalists to share audio and video segments with the Pacifica Network through identified social media platforms
  • Promote existing syndicated Pacifica programming within and beyond the Pacifica Network
  • Identify additional independent, cost-effective sources for national and international news and decrease purchase of pro-corporate perspective sources (i.e. AP and FSN)
  • Support production and sharing of additional news and public affairs programs in Spanish and other languages

At this crucial time, this proposal may provide impetus for protecting the Pacifica network and mission. Portions of it may be implemented immediately by helping stations to post and share programs through the Audio Port as other aspects of sustainability plans are developed.   Please place this item on the next PNB agenda for careful consideration.

Carol Wolfley is a UCR candidate for the KPFA Local Station Board election 2016. She is a member of the KPFA Community Advisory Board and the {CAB} News and Public Affairs Task Force.

Graphic from Moving at the Speed of Creativity.




Beholden to Nobody but the Listeners

By: Susan da Silva

To me the most important plank of the United for Community Radio (UCR) platform is the one that will preserve Pacifica as an independent entity where free speech is valued.  I’m referring to this part of the platform: Refuse corporate underwriting or advertising.  

These are desperate times at Pacifica.  Many people say: “There simply is not enough money, so why not take advertisements?”   The answer is that taking corporate money will change Pacifica and KPFA in ways that are unacceptable. 

Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life - photo credit below

Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life – photo credit below

At this point, at most Pacifica stations, there is no outside entity beyond the FCC who has any say about what is on the air.  Sometimes what goes out is not polished, sometimes it’s not politically correct, sometimes it causes us to protest. All that is good in my opinion.  That’s what makes us trustworthy.  We are accountable to each other and to the listeners, no one else.  Each person who speaks, speaks for themselves. With corporate underwriting would come outright censorship and self-censorship.  We might as well be NPR! Those who say that they never feel pressured by their advertisers, are not being totally honest, in my opinion.  They don’t even realize that they are self-censoring.

In this world ruled by corporations, Pacifica is a unique network, a place where no outside corporation can tell us what to say or feel or think.

Bring The People In - photo credit below

Connect with the People – photo credit below

So how do we get the money we need?  We do it with programming that connects to many parts of the community, programming listeners really want.  We do it by bringing new voices to the air.  We do it by reminding the listeners that we don’t take corporate money, and that we listen to them and allow them to vote for board members. We do it by being fiscally responsible enough to not leave millions of CPB dollars on the table.  (Pacifica has not received CPB money for several years because of their inability to complete an audit.)

Somewhere along the line Pacifica stopped taking budgets and audits seriously.  That nonchalance has brought us to the brink of losing our network.  I believe that hard fiscal decisions need to be made immediately.  I believe that once we get our financial house in order, we can go forth with the support of the listeners and that we will not need corporate funds to do so.

If you don’t want corporate underwriting and advertising on your Pacifica station, please vote for the UCR candidates.

“Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life.” – photo by Brooke Anderson from “Our Power Festival” in Richmond, CA.

“Connect with the People.” photo by Brooke Anderson from “Our Power Festival” in Richmond, CA.

Does the $400K Bequest Belong to KPFA?


By Janet Kobren,

In mid-October 2015 after numerous inquiries from KPFA members regarding the two large bequests made to KPFA amounting to a total of $958,000, I decided to perform a director’s inspection at KPFA to look into the bequest documents.LastWill

Note that the bequests had been reported at the April 2015 KPFA Local Station Board meeting. SaveKPFA’s LSB member Margy Wilkinson was serving as PNB chair and interim Executive Director at the time. KPFA General Manager Quincy McCoy’s April and May 2015 General Manager’s Report reflected these bequests (see “A Partial Financial Landscape of KPFA”.)

As a result of my director’s inspection I learned, among other things, that:

1)   The will of the Hall Trust listed $400,000 to be distributed to PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO*,

2)   The estate’s check was made out for this amount to pay to the order of PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO and was deposited in KPFA’s bank account (albeit one of Pacifica Foundation’s DBA’s** is KPFA), and

3)   There was no reference to KPFA in the will or on the check.

I also learned that the check for the other bequest was specifically written to KPFA for $558,000 and correctly deposited in KPFA’s bank account.

This discrepancy caused me to explore the Hall Trust further, discovering some gaps in information with regards to how the Hall Trust bequest had been handled internally. The bequest that had been spelled out in the bequest document and the check to go to PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO, rather than going to or through a Pacifica Foundation bank account, was deposited directly into KPFA’s bank account.

I meticulously chronicled this matter with substantial source documentation that included references to and actions by individual employees and which also revealed other individuals and organizations named in the bequest documents, all of which would have precluded this matter from being addressed in an open session. I had suspected there was more to be learned regarding this matter, but absent any other documentation provided even after requesting additional information that would have filled in some of the gaps, I was motivated by my fiduciary duties as a Pacifica National Board Director to bring the matter to the PNB as soon as possible. There was some back and forth within the PNB by email but no additional documentation was provided. So I presented the chronology/analysis that I had prepared to the PNB prior to its October 29, 2015 PNB closed session meeting and made the following motion during the meeting:

That by the end of day November 4, 2015 the KPFA GM and the interim Controller:


  1. Produce an accounting with documentation to the PNB of how the Hall Trust bequest has been allocated and spent to date, including what KPFA transferred to Pacifica units – KPFT, KPFK, PRA, WBAI and election deposit shortages and the remaining balance, if any; and
  2. If a remaining balance exists, transfer it to the PNO unit or other Pacifica units as appropriate; and
  3. Based on the accounting, revise the plan to repay KPFA; and
  4. Based on the accounting, revise the KPFA and PNO budgets accordingly.

This is how the vote went:

Voting YES: Teresa Allen (KPFT), Rodrigo Argueta (KPFK), Lydia Brazon (KPFK), Jim Brown (WPFW), Stephen Brown (WBAI), Adriana Casenave (KPFT), Janet Coleman (WBAI), Benito Diaz (WPFW), Janet Kobren (KPFA), Janis Lane-Ewart (KFAI Affiliate), Lawrence Reyes (KPFK)

Voting NO: Brian Edwards-Tiekert (KPFA), George Reiter (KPFT), Cerene Roberts (WBAI), Pete Tucker (WPFW), Margy Wilkinson (KPFA)


PRESENT NOT VOTING: Robert Mark (KPFT), Tony Norman (WPFW)

The tally came to: 11-YES, 5-NO, 0 ABSTENSIONS, 2-PRESENT NOT VOTING

The motion passed handily and was included in the report-out of the executive session.

The main argument against my motion, chiefly by those directors who have a vested interest in KPFA, included a claim that since the snail mail address of an individual whose name was similar to but not the same as the name spelled out in the Hall Trust documents, someone who had donated a total of $1,745 between 1990 and 2014 (which by the way was way less than 1% of $400K) was in the North Bay and within the KPFA “signal area”, it was the “intent” of the donor to bequeath the $400K to KPFA, and not the Pacifica Foundation, even though the will and the check had spelled out PACIFICA FOUNDATION RADIO on both, with no reference to KPFA.

Janet Kobren at a protest at the San Leandro Walmart, 2013

Janet Kobren (with green hand) at a protest at the San Leandro Walmart, 2013

To me this was an attempt by some within Pacifica to interpret the intent of the donor, and there is no way, short of a seance, to determine the donor’s intent beyond that specified in her will.

Many questions remain, among which are the following: Was SaveKPFA’s influence through the then PNB chair/iED Margy Wilkinson used to make the interest of the Pacifica Foundation network to solely benefit SaveKPFA? 

To what extent does a financially weakened Pacifica Foundation, possibly intentionally starved to facilitate its bankruptcy, benefit a private entity, the now not-so-secret KPFA Foundation?

And, how far will Brian Edwards-Tiekert, the SaveKPFA, KPFA LSB member, PNB Director and chair of the PNB National Finance Committee (aka the PNB treasurer) go through motion after motion to attempt to get proposals passed to “capture” KPFA’s license for the benefit of an undemocratic, private entity?

KPFA has transferred approximately $310,000 of the two bequests to various Pacifica units to compensate for network-wide shortages at WBAI, KPFT, KPFK, WPFW, PRA, and PNO (see the KPFA General Manager’s April and May 2015 Report here),


* Between February 26, 2013 and January 20, 2015, the “Pacifica Foundation” name had been captured by an entity in New York during which Pacifica used the name “Pacifica Foundation Radio” until recapturing the “Pacifica Foundation” name back on April 9, 2015.

** DBA = Doing Business As.  A DBA is also sometimes referred to as a fictitious business name. In the case of the Pacifica Foundation, it is the Pacifica Foundation, not the fictitious name, that is the entity conducting any business in the name of a DBA.




November 3, 2015

Democracy Now! on KPFA — UCR wanted Dem Now! aired at 7 a.m., when most people listen


By:  Mara Rivera DN
Save KPFA is apparently claiming that United for Community Radio (UCR) wanted to eliminate the show — this is UNTRUE. United for Community Radio has always wanted Democracy Now! to air at 7 a.m. on KPFA.


At the time in 2011 (and as it is now) KPFA airs Democracy Now two times each morning, at 6 a.m. and again at 9 a.m.  UCR wanted Democracy Now to be on the airwaves one time in the morning, at 7 a.m.  As Richard Phelps says, you put your most listened to program at the most listened to time. Therefore, UCR wanted Democracy Now to have one slot in the program line-up, at 7 a.m.  This would open the 9 a.m. slot for additional local programming.


The Save KPFA forces wanted to keep drive time for the paid staff, apparently so that paid staff can claim that their programs are the biggest fundraisers for the station. More information can be found here, in an article written at the time these events were happening.


The article, written in 2011 by Marc Sapir states:

[T]he governments of Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and massive non-violent uprisings are occurring throughout North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, all this widely covered daily on KPFA which recently became the only national network carrying Al Jazeera-English. In addition, the staff of the program Voices of Middle East and North Africa put together extended shows that aired in prime time with fantastic commentary from experts and activists rarely heard anywhere in U.S. media. At the same time Amy Goodman’s Senior Producer, SA Kouddous, an Egyptian-American, traveled to Egypt where he was on the scene daily reporting from Tahrir square as well. Through the good sense of Pacifica ED, Arlene Engelhardt, Goodman’s show, Democracy Now (KPFA’s most listened to program) is now running in the 7 a.m. drive time slot, complemented by a diverse and local Morning Mix show at 8-9 a.m. which has also brought to KPFA airwaves many new voices and perspectives.

A Partial Financial Landscape of KPFA

Compiled by Janet Kobren, including notes by Kobren interspersed 
This article is supplemental to Does the $400K Bequest Belong to KPFA


FY2015 KPFA budget (Approved LSB: 10/18/14; Approved NFC: 10/23/14)



Kobren notes the following:

The KPFA GM is responsible for preparing and managing the KPFA budget while the KPFA LSB is responsible for approving the KPFA budget. What would also be useful would be to have the listener membership numbers over this same time period.

No Coal in Oakland Rally. Photo by Brooke Anderson

“Speaking to the Crowd” ~No Coal in Oakland Rally~ Photo by Brooke Anderson

Below are KPFA LSB approved budget figures from FY2013 – FY2016:

Budgeted Fund Drive Days (Assumptions)
FY2013 = 89 days

FY2014 = 79 days
FY2015 = 89 days (actual was 65 days because 24 days — April 15 and April 27-May 19 fund drive days were cancelled)
FY2016 = 71 days

Projected (Budgeted) Listener Support Money
FY2013 = $2,680,476

FY2014 = $2,705,000 (up 1%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $2,741,378 (up 1%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $2,655,003 (down 3%+ from FY2015 budget)

Actual Listener Support reported in the following year’s budget (varies depending on what report one looks at)
FY2012 = $2,539,180 (as reported in FY2015 budget as audited amount)
FY2013 = $2,552,174 (as reported in FY2016 budget; note: up 1%+ from FY2012 budget)
FY2014 = $2,529,196 (as reported in FY2016 budget; down 1%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $2,607,297 (up 1%+ from FY2014 budget)

Total Budgeted Revenue
FY2013 = $3,652,756

FY2014 = $3,461,764 (down 5%+ from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,486,708 (up .5%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $3,337,510 (down 4%+ from FY2015 budget)

Actual Total Revenue (varies depending on what report one looks at)
FY2013 = $3,652,756
FY2014 = $3,461,764 (down 1%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,486,708 (up 1%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $3,337,510 (down 1%- from FY2015 budget)

Total Budgeted Operating Expenses
FY2013 = $3,060,229 (Note: FY2013 Audit indicated $2,811,334, which is $3,295,986 minus $484,652 for Central Services)

FY2014 = $2,929,063 (down 4%+ from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,486,708 (up 19%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $2,862,049 (down 17%+ from FY2015 budget)

Total Budgeted Expenses
FY2013 = $3,582,922 (Note: FY2013 Audit lists $3,295,986)

FY2014 = $3,457,903 (down 4%- from FY2013 budget)
FY2015 = $3,409,836 (down 1%+ from FY2014 budget)
FY2016 = $3,333,505 (down 2%+ from FY2015 budget)

Net Income
FY2013 = $69,834 (based on 8/3/12 email attachment from KPFA LSB Treasurer Whipperman)

FY2014 = $3,861
FY2015 = $76,872
FY2016 = $4,005

Surplus (Deficit)
FY2013 = $69,834 (based on 8/3/12 email attachment from KPFA LSB Treasurer Whipperman)

FY2014 = $ 3,861
FY2015 = $50,496
FY2016 = $ 4,005

Some additional notes by Kobren:income

Net Income and Surplus (Deficit), otherwise know as Reserves, budget numbers have fluctuated, with FY2016 being the worst yet regarding having reserves.

Also note that the KPFA LSB is the only LSB that has no Finance Committee which means that the KPFA Business Manager (with input by the KPFA GM) with input from the KPFA LSB Treasurer (who gets perfunctory input from the LSB) has total control of the budget items that are provided to the LSB which is empowered by the bylaws to approve the budget. The other four stations have Finance Committees that allow input from committee members (LSB members, staff and the public) into the budget process and the final draft budget that is presented to the LSB for approval.

But also when it comes to KPFA, the LSB is only provided the version to be approved either in the middle of the night the night before the LSB meeting or at the LSB meeting itself, and never with formulas, providing little if no time for LSB members to independently and responsibly review what they are expected to vote on. What happens in the end is that the LSB gets snowed under with multiple types of related documents distributed during the meeting by the Business Manager who proceeds to explain them, with little if no opportunity for LSB members to thoroughly review and critique the documents.



FY2015 KPFA budget with Financial Crisis Management provisos and as amended (Approved PNB:1/8/15)


FY2015 KPFA – Financial Crisis Management provisos (Approved NFC: 1/5/15; Approved PNB: 1/8/15)

For the next six months, KPFA Management shall require approval from either Pacifica’s CFO or interim Executive Director prior to making any disbursement or incurring any expense greater than $1,000 for other than for rent, utilities, payroll, and other regular, recurring expenses.

The PNB directs the interim Executive Director to direct Management at KPFA to prepare within 30 days a plan for reducing expenses by at at least $250,000 per year in order to bring KPFA’s operating deficit under control.” (Passed without objection)

FY2015 KPFA budget amendment (Approved PNB: 1/8/15)

Before any union and line staff reduction in force occurs, a formula for concurrent management cuts must be approved by the PNB



Dated: January 29, 2015


“The PNB Resolution:

The PNB has requested that the KPFA management create a plan to make $250 thousand dollars in cuts, which would include a formula for reduction in management salaries”. . .

“The management team has met with the union and proposed a cut to our benefits package, with a change in co-pay from $10 to $20. That would be a yearly savings of $42 thousand dollars a year. Since this would alter the contract, the union must have a secret ballot vote on the proposal.”



Save East 12th St Rally. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

Save East 12th St Rally. Photo by Brooke Anderson.

Kobren notes the following:

There apparently had been leaks from within KPFA and/or the national office regarding the two large bequests totaling $958,000 that had been in the pipeline, one since to 2012 and the other since 2014.

Once both bequests were probated, the checks were deposited in KPFA’s bank account in March 2015.



Kobren notes the following:

In KPFA GM McCoy’s April and May 2015 General Manager’s Report (also sent to the PNB for the June in-person meeting) he spelled out plans for spending the two bequests, as follows:

Of the total $958,000 (see chart below for reference),

$149,720 had already been spent on KPFA (96,400+38,070+9,000+6,250) — see column 1,

and an additional $9,000 was “committed” to be spent on KPFA — see column 2,

which comes to a total of $158,720 allocated.

Then there is a total of $233,396 that went towards KPFA’s Central Services ($198,979 to PNO/$34,417 to PRA) — see column 1,

which comes to a total of $392,116 allocated.

And then you have $118,976 that “KPFA” loaned to WBAI and KPFT (100,000+18,976) — see column 1 and column 2,

which comes to a total of $511,092 allocated.

Which leaves a balance of $446,908 from the total $958,000.

This was back in June.

But $350,000 had also been “reserved” for KPFA salaries — see column 1. Is that still in reserve or has that been spent?

If spent, that would leave a balance of $96,908 of the total $958,000.

There might have been more expenditures on that balance since June as well.

Note that part of the two bequests was being applied as “reserves” (at least to paid staff salaries thus the decision to forego the 2015 Spring fund drive), however it is not clear if the two-month salary reserves have already been exhausted, i.e., are there still any reserves? But since KPFA left itself dependent on the two bequests, it is not known what the financial situation within KPFA currently is or will be once the October 29, 2015 motion passed by the PNB is executed.



Quincy Chart


KPFA issues pale before dire state of Pacifica

By Ann Garrison

This morning I resolved to write something about a plank that I lobbied to have added to the United for Community Radio/Rescue KPFA platform in KPFA’s Local Station Board election: “Updating KPFA technology so that KPFA reporters can generate news headlines and stories that challenge corporate media’s dominant narratives on the Worldwide Web.” It seems strange that I need to explain something that seems so basic to the new media universe, but I promised to give it a try.

If you are saying something that radically departs from corporate news, you want people to find it in Google Search or whatever Web browser they may use.  Last week when the Blue Angels Air Show returned to San Francisco, I felt, as I do every year, that someone had to object to this grotesque celebration of war and militarism. The corporate press did nothing but applaud until a few sports reporters joked that the Blue Angels F-18 fighter bomber jets roaring over the Oakland Coliseum might have caused the Oakland Raiders quarterback to muff a pass and lose to the Denver Broncos

So I wrote a  piece for the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, The Blue Angels Air Show: San Francisco’s Choice. It got over 11,500 hits, a lot for the SF Bay View, and appeared prominently in Google Search for “Blue Angels San Francisco 2015” throughout the air show and after, so I felt I’d fulfilled my moral obligation to object.

Google screen shot shows Ann's Blue Angel story as second option.

Google screen shot shows Ann’s Blue Angel story as second option.

 KPFA’s Project Censored, the KPFA Weekend News, and San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos were the only other dissident voices that surfaced on the Web, and the KPFA reports surfaced with their own headlines only because I made a point of posting the discrete audio segments to Indybay. 

It seems that KPFA, with its multimillion dollar budget, should be able to generate headlines on the Web at least as well as Indybay, which is all volunteer run, but it cannot, so I sometimes post KPFA reports to Indybay to generate headlines. I’ve often argued that KPFA should develop more of the technology required to generate headlines, or at least make better use of the technology that it already has, since KPFA so often claims – especially during fund drives – to bring us the news that no one else will.  That’s why I had asked that this be added to our station board listener candidates’ platform.

Dire news for KPFA and the Pacifica Network

That is all I’m going to say about that for now, however, because the news about KPFA and Pacifica itself is so dire. The Pacifica Network’s very infrastructure, the buildings and the broadcast licenses, could soon be gone.   Consider that:

1)  The Finance Committee of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) just voted down a motion that would have required all the stations to balance their budgets with reasonably projected revenues.

2) Pacifica’s KPFK-Los Angeles has been in meltdown ever since Margy Wilkinson, on her last day as interim executive director, appointed Leslie Radford, an unqualified political crony, as the station’s general manager. KPFK fund drive revenues immediately plummeted, staff resigned in droves, staff filed 20 complaints with KPFK’s union, SAG-AFTRA, and now staff are reporting that GM Leslie Radford’s assistant/body guard is packing heat inside the station.

3)  The PNB has been talking about taking out a high interest, non-collateralized loan to meet operating expenses, with no foreseeable means of paying it back.

 4)  The PNB has also been talking about taking out a line of credit collateralized by Pacifica property, also to meet operating expenses, and also with no foreseeable means of paying it back.
5)  Despite being in dire financial straits, Pacifica’s WBAI-NYC continues to pay roughly $650,000/yr. to rent a transmitter on the Empire State Building, instead of subletting it for its cost, as their Empire State contract allows, then renting less expensive transmission at 4 Times Square.  

6)  Pacifica has lost two million dollars in Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funds, a million dollars a year for two years in a row, because of its failure to complete audits resulting from its inability to maintain internal financial controls or follow basic accounting procedures.

7)  The California Attorney General is investigating Pacifica consequent to a complaint by former national directors that the current national board majority is financially reckless and irresponsible and that the fundamental record-keeping requirements of non-profit corporations are not being met. The Attorney General’s Office staff confirmed this by telephone.

8)  Despite the Attorney General’s investigation, which included a request for all KPFA Local Station Board meeting minutes, the board has not published minutes of any of this year’s meetings as of October 23, 2015. Why is all this happening? I can’t say for sure, I’m not a mind reader, but such bizarre decision-making looks a lot like controlled demolition. And, lo and behold, as things got worse and worse, it came out – in July this year – that former PNB member, legal counsel and executive director Dan Siegel and former interim executive director Margy Wilkinson had filed secret papers incorporating a secret “KPFA Foundation” with the State of California. This entity, if legally “perfected,” could be used to apply for KPFA’s license if the Attorney General and/or the FCC takes it away.

So forget the subversive Web strategy for now.  I’m so close to speechless every time I listen to KPFA Local Station Board or Pacifica National Board meetings that all I can say is “Rescue KPFA!” (And Pacifica, but this is, most of all, about the Local Station Board election at the station I know best, KPFA-Berkeley.) Please open your KPFA Local Station Board ballot and vote for Scott Olson and the UCR 9: Scott Olsen, Jeremy Miller, T.M. Scruggs, Janet Kobren, Don Macleay, Virginia Browning, Marilla Arguilles, G. Mario Fernandez, and Sharon Adams..