Secret Plot Revealed to Hijack Pacifica’s Broadcast Licenses & Assets

Documents registered with the California Secretary of State for a private “foundation” called the “KPFA Foundation seem to be part of a conspiracy by “SaveKPFA” insiders to gain total control of KPFA (under the guise of protecting KPFA) and to “capture” its license in the event of Pacifica’s dissolution. Further, it appears to be an attempt to privatize the Pacifica Foundation for the benefit of a few instead of the many. These documents were recently uncovered by Pacifica’s National Board (PNB) Secretary Janet Kobren, a United for Community Radio (UCR) candidate and whistleblower.KPFA_Foundation

Here’s what was revealed:
In September 2013, PNB director, former PNB chair/interim Executive Director (iED) Margy Wilkinson registered the above named shadow corporation with the California Secretary of State at the address of Siegel & Yee, the law firm of former PNB director and current Pacifica legal counsel Dan Siegel. They kept this information hidden from the KPFA listeners, the Local Station Board (LSB) and the Pacifica National Board (PNB) until its discovery only recently.

In addition to usurping Pacifica’s trademarked “KPFA” call letters, this shadow corporation also adopted Pacifica’s Articles of Incorporation that includes its Mission Statement. When asked to explain, Siegel and Wilkinson admitted that they created this shadow corporation to acquire the licenses and assets of Pacifica (estimated to be worth more than $100 million) in case Pacifica went bankrupt and/or was taken over by creditors or the government.

The establishment of this covert “KPFA Foundation” raises the question of whether some of the decisions Wilkinson made when overseeing Pacifica’s finances during her tenure as interim ED contributed to the current disastrous financial state of the Pacifica Foundation and its stations. What might be considered gross ineptitude was so systematic that it appears to be an intentional attempt to bankrupt Pacifica and its stations, in order to gain control of KPFA from Pacifica via the “KPFA Foundation”  At the very least, this constitutes a severe conflict of interest and ethical violation by Wilkinson and Siegel.

How does this relate to the KPFA Local Station Board election?

Your Vote Matters (photo credit below)

Your Vote Matters (photo credit below)

As a KPFA member, your vote will elect members to the KPFA LSB. This board not only sets policy for KPFA, it also selects four of its members to sit on Pacifica’s National Board. Right now, the Siegel-Wilkinson “Save KPFA” faction has a majority of KPFA’s seats on this board. This election can overturn the “Save KPFA” majority of seats on the board and enable the new local and national boards to block their plan to hijack Pacifica’s licenses. “Save KPFA’s” Brian Edwards-Tiekert’s recent motion to get the KPFA LSB to overstep its powers and ratify the creation of thesecret “KPFA Foundation” was stopped by UCR LSB members. But it could still be approved if the LSB majority stays the same in this election.
The United for Community Radio (UCR) candidates are committed to doing everything in their power to block “Save KPFA” from dismantling KPFA and Pacifica and walking away with KPFA’s licenses and assets.



“Your Vote Matters” photo by Brooke Anderson from a rally for the Right to a Roof / El Derecho al Techo in Santa Rosa, California, Summer 2015.


Tom Voorhees

Tom Voorhees

Tom Voorhees

2014 Volunteer of the Year from the National Association of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) membership, National/International engineer
for community stations,  early KPFA unpaid staff

I am Tom Voorhees, a member of and a candidate for the KPFA local station board (LSB).

I will work to restore the former high level of KPFA’s news and public affairs programming necessary for all of us listeners to understand critical issues requiring our attention and action. KPFA’s longstanding policy has been to sponsor vigorous debate from all viewpoints, on controversial issues.  Current management policy, by contrast, appears to avoid controversial issues via censorship.  It has refused to air at least one program because of content.  I am very concerned about the dumbing down of my hometown radio station by existing KPFA management and the current local station board majority.

An example of KPFA’s dumbing down is the partial replacement of FSRN grassroots national and international news by Feature Story News, a provider of mainstream news to commercial radio stations.  Recently KPFA management and the LSB majority have chosen not to identify on air the source of news dispatches from FSN and other commercial news networks.  The KPFA program council, representing listeners of all colors and local community interests, was eliminated.  The program council needs to be reestablished for KPFA to be truly responsive to the overall Bay Area listener community.

For two years management has neglected to apply for millions of dollars in CPB grants, resulting in severe financial stress and degraded news content.  I will work to restore the proper financial auditing so this funding can be regained.

I intend to restore KPFA and Pacifica’s important role in ending self perpetuating endless wars around the world.

I started in community radio through journalism and radio shop at El Cerrito High School.  I was an engineering volunteer at KPFA in the 1960s.  In the 1970s I assisted the startup of the Ink Works movement printers’ collective in Oakland.  In the 1980s I was an engineering consultant to the Sandinista civil infrastructure for radio broadcasting and hydroelectric power in Nicaragua.  In 1999 I was one of the organizers of the first independent media center as part of the WTO resistance in Seattle. Independent media centers now exist all over the world.

Tom Voorhees works on KDPI tower

Tom Voorhees works on KDPI tower

In recent years as an engineering volunteer, I have assisted many new community radio stations to get on air, with most becoming Pacifica affiliates. Recent on-air successes include KFFR in Colorado, KRFP, KDPI and KRBX in Idaho, WVQR on Vieques and Culebra islands in Puerto Rico, KHOI in Iowa, and KSJU in Washington State. As a result I was voted 2014 volunteer of the year by the National Association of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) membership.

Having been a community radio and alternative media startup activist most of my life, I promise to find a way to make KPFA and all five Pacifica stations financially viable again.

Endorsements (among many):

Michael Parenti, author
Joe Wanzala, former LSB/PNB member.
Veterans for Peace, East Bay Chapter #162
Marilyn Langlois, Richmond Planning Commissioner
Bruce Dixon, managing editor at Black Agenda Report

Official Q & A

1. In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?

The all-volunteer weekend news with real live local reporting of labor and antiwar demonstration events is a good starting point. The paid staff weekday KPFA news should follow the lead of the weekend news and should not rely on unidentified mainstream commercial news services as they have recently started doing.  The weekend news also has an expert Africa reporter with on-the-ground Africa experience of whom the weekday news could make much better use.

2.  In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?

Tom Voorhees (top) WVQR Stub tower STL repeater dishes going up! Vieques in Puerto Rico, 2013.

Tom Voorhees (top) WVQR Stub tower STL repeater dishes going up! Vieques in Puerto Rico, 2013.

Bring back the morning mix featuring local critical issues and discussion of effective solutions.Restore the full FlashPoints investigative budget for critical world issues.  Improve union news reporting on Bay Area and national grassroots organizing efforts.  Greatly increase coverage of antiwar organizing efforts as was the founding purpose of KPFA in 1949.  Provide detailed information on the predicted recurrence of the 2008 financial collapse, as nothing has been done to prevent it happening all over again in the very near future.  Also some additional consumer financial protections have been removed or watered down which KPFA could do much better at reporting.

3. What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission?
I have fifty years of connections and cooperation with key antiwar and grassroots organizers.  Together we have worked to provide communication in support of project organizing efforts.  For example, we pioneered the concept of the Independent Media Centers and then created the infrastructure to allow worldwide communication about the 1999 Seattle WTO demonstrations on world wide RFPI short wave radio broadcasts and satellite uplinked video and audio receivable around the world for local rebroadcast.   I have a lifelong background in radio engineering, including estimating project costs, contract administration & compliance, contractor supervision, and quality control, all of which I will use to assure that KPFA and Pacifica have the best infrastructure possible at the lowest possible cost.
4.  What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?
photo by Daniel Arauz

photo by Daniel Arauz

I do not support the selling off of some Pacifica stations to solve the problems caused by mismanagement of CPB block grant applications by KPFA and Pacifica management. I will work to dissolve the unauthorized clandestine KPFA Foundation, which is a word-for-word copy of the Pacifica foundation incorporation.

On August 6, 2015 the majority of the Pacifica board refused to discuss the secret corporation to acquire the KPFA broadcast license. In the eyes of the FCC and with some additional perfection the shell KPFA foundation could become partially eligible on September 24, 2015 to receive all five Pacifica station licenses.

If KPFA and Pacifica can demonstrate a renewed interest in challenging the military industrial complex and its constant war efforts there will be no need for the above takeover plan as listener financial support will return in much the same way as Bernie’s support is taking off