Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pacifica cancels elections so those IN Stay-In ? What happened?

excerpts reposted from 
 from August 16 2015

Pacifica’s latest set of financials (for the period ending June 30) show current fiscal year income at $10.071 million dollars with a surplus of $855,000, almost all tied to two unexpected bequest gifts to KPFA totaling $941,000. The surplus is mostly on paper as KPFA reported having less than $400,000 remaining in its bank account on July 11 and then canceled its summer fund drive. ED Proffitt had stated to the national board he did not forsee having sufficient financial resources for the month of August. 

Even with almost a million dollars in unexpected gifts, the network remains $375K short of projected revenues, meaning the actual shortfall between anticipated income developed in the budget process by management and the 2014 finance committee, has been more than $1.3 million so far.

The Foundation did not seem to have discussed having an online-only election or using nonprofit bulk mailing discounts to save money prior to pulling the plug on the election Thursday. The hope appears to be  fall fund drives scheduled to start in 4-5 weeks will be more successful in providing the needed revenue. ED John Proffitt has departed for a European vacation and will not return until after Labor Day weekend.

The delay comes as Pacifica’s elections received their first news coverage in about a decade, when the entry of Iraq war veteran and Occupy Oakland hero Scott Olsen into KPFA’s local board race garnered attention in local papers. 

Attorney Dan Siegel confirmed via e-mail that his and Margy Wilkinson’s purpose in secretly incorporating the “KPFA Foundation” in California in 2013 and headquartering the new organization at the Oakland office of Siegel’s law firm, was to acquire the KPFA broadcasting license in the event of  Pacifica dissolution. Siegel indicated he and Wilkinson had not pursued full 501c3 designation from the IRS or opened up a bank account for the new nonprofit. 

Siegel’s implication, that the clandestine nonprofit could not receive KPFA’s broadcasting license due to the failure to carry out those actions, is untrue as documented by this Catholic Radio Association Guide to acquiring a noncommercial educational radio broadcasting license. (p.3 “What is necessary to apply for a NCE FM? 2) The applicant must be a non-profit, educational entity. This can be as simple as two people being members of an unincorporated association).

LA station KPFK’s financial meltdown took some dramatic turns this week, with the summer “mini-drive” extended twice, now to a full month until August 21st. The drive is $300,000 short of goal after 24 days. The station abruptly fired its latest business manager. 

Former CFO Salvador selected and trained the new business manager to “fix” the breakdown in LA’s accounting records last fall. Salvador himself is the replacement and is now working as the KPFK business manager on a consulting contract, more than 3 months after his resignation as CFO. (PNB Chair Lydia Brazon’s note to Salvador after his January 2014 termination telling him “you’ll be back” can be seen here).

 The extent of the recordkeeping breakdown in LA continues to unfold, with statements issued by Salvador on January 29, 2015 showing $451,00 less in income and $402K less in expenses than financial statements issued 3 days ago, for the same period ending 9-30-2014. The scale of the missing entries indicates that 2014 financial statements issued to the board of directors and used for budgeting and financial reporting all that year, were fictional.

2014 IED Margy Wilkinson added to KPFK’s current cash crunch by raiding a restricted fund containing grant monies solicited for the renovation of the music studio. $30,000 was transferred out of the restricted bank account to Pacifica’s national office on June 27 and 30, 2014 and has not been replaced in the past 12 months.

 The transfers were undisclosed until uncovered by directors inspections by former PNB members Kim Kaufman and Richard Uzzell last fall. Music director/project manager Maggie LePique asked for the renovation funds to be replaced at the PNB meeting in June of 2015, a year after their removal, but with KPFK staff facing severe schedule reductions, if not layoffs, and new [KPFK] GM Radford’s statement that perhaps the music studio’s historic grand piano should be hocked to meet payroll, the project will likely have to be abandoned and the 100% restricted funds returned to the donor.

Among other questionable programming decisions at KPFK, new manager Radford put the struggling pledge drive on a “break” this weekend to air a 30-hour Afrikan Mental Liberation Marathon, an independently produced dawn to dusk black nationalist-oriented program . The program has disturbed queer-identified staff members and listeners with aggressively homophobic positions presented with little to no counterpoint.

A KPFK staffer provided this clip of an interview with psychiatrist Frances Cress Welsing in which she compares queer sex to human-dog mating, states that male semen is a dietary protein like sweet potatoes and greens, and homosexuality in Ancient Greece was caused by shock at the larger sizes of African genitals – among other bizarre statements deeply disrespectful towards LBGT people who are characterized as mentally ill. You can hear for yourself here. 

The program is presented at an ironic time, given the ascendance of the Black Lives Matter movement co-founded by an out black queer woman deeply interested in affirming the lives and  leadership of black queer and transgender people in the fight against white supremacy. Alicia Garza was the grand marshall at San Francisco’s 2015 Pride Parade in June saying “The way I want to live in the world is to be unafraid, unashamed, and to be who I am” .

Wilkinson appointed Radford, a community college drama and speech adjunct, who served on Pacifica national and local boards as a stalwart member of Wilkinson’s faction, as KPFK’s general manager on her last day, while her replacement John Proffitt, was in his car on the way to California.  57 of KPFK’s staffers objected to the hire. 

Athough elections may be postponed, electioneering is not and the Berkeley “Save KPFA” faction suffered an embarrassing foible on August 13th when they they had to remove an “endorsers” page from their 2015 election materials after listed “endorser” Diana Bohn noted that not only had she not endorsed the Save KPFA candidate slate, she was in fact working on the opposition UCR campaign, and another listener observed that two of the prominent 2015 endorsers had been deceased for more than two years.

Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at

Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI.

Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-supported radio.

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