Thursday, February 25, 2016

Financial fermentation continues at PNB

Further observations by 'Indigopirate'...

"We have a little list... What's his name again...?"

Sam Agarwal, Pacifica’s CFO, has, as spokesperson of the ‘leadership team’, called for two signal items – with very considerable urgency:

1) ‘WBAI and WPFW are deemed to provide full access of their accounts and finances to [the] CFO for close supervision and guidance.’

Translation: WBAI and WPFW are to pass financial control and decision-making to the CFO and the ‘leadership team’. ‘Supervision and guidance’ is the standard language in financial-legal-speak for ‘control’. ‘Close supervision and guidance’ is standard financial-legal-speak for complete control and authority.

2)  ‘CFO in consultation with the leadership team to propose alternate sources of revenue stream for board’s consideration and quick action.’

Translation: It has been decided by the ‘leadership team’ that Pacifica as it presently exists cannot survive and the ‘leadership team’ will present a radical redefinition, re-purposing, and restructuring in a desperate effort to survive – no details, nor executive summary, are offered or available.

In effect, what we have here is very simple – and I emphasize that I mean this literally, not as mere personal interpretation or as hyperbole:

All financial control and decision-making is to be centralized in the persons of the ‘leadership team’, which control and decision-making is to then be formally approved and ratified by Pacficia National Board.

The conclusion has been reached by the ‘leadership team’ that the existing modes, model, and structure of Pacifica are to be replaced.

~ ‘indigopirate’

ps: Most of the meetings referred to are ‘executive sessions’, and steps are to be taken to alter procedures for future ‘open’ meetings to make it impossible for dissenters to ‘interrupt’ and ‘obstruct’.

Excerpts from the PNB Coordinating Committee meeting, February 24, 2016.


  1. I am concerned that they're making big decisions with only a rump board. There is no representation from WBAI at the moment although I notice Cerene is on the committee call even though she technically is not a director. There is no word on a resolution at the LSB and John Riley claimed to hear RPM say they may not meet at all this year. Even if true, somehow I doubt they will just not meet.

    I support the CFO's proposals regarding the East Coast station. Our GM won't use the network software which would be unacceptable in any other organization and WPFW seems to be ignoring the CFO's requests. Each station's budget is not isolated. They affect each other and he needs to know what's going on.

    I support the idea of alternate sources of revenue but this board should not be making any major decisions without full representation and I don't just mean WBAI. The affiliates are not represented by the current bogus affiliate directors. The WBAI factions have got to grow up and start talking to each other instead of blaming each other. Besides, if they can work it out, they'll get a tour of the property Lydia wants to mortgage at the next in person meeting Berkeley.

  2. All very quiet about KPFK. The budget Lydia, Treasurer Novick and GM Radford created has at least a $400,000 deficit - most of it coming in the second half of the year. It's a budget made by people who don't expect to be in business past April.

    1. Thank you, Kim. The observation with which you end your post makes a lot of sense in a scenario that doesn't.

  3. It looks like WPFW could be a test case for underwriting. According to Pacifica in Exile, at the 2-23 PNB finance committee, WPFW’s general manager announced that his station is “on the precipice of major underwriting” and that WPFW has changed its motto from “listener-supported radio” to accommodate support from business organizations.

    I support the idea in principle but there are many issues regarding underwriting which need to be addressed first. I also wonder about the wisdom of one Pacifica unit going their own way on an issue of this nature.

    1. Before he gave WBAI to Pacifica, Lou Schweitzer ran it as a commercial station, but he was very selective when it came to accepting advertisements. He wanted to maintain a level of prestige, so Steinway Piano received his nod, Coca Cola didn't. Of course, he could afford to be choosy and FM was still mostly ignored by Madison Avenue.

      A New York City newspaper strike changed that, driving advertisers to other outlets, such as WBAI. This is what sparked Lou's decision to give the station to a Foundation that was dedicated to free speech and to providing an intelligent alternative to commercial broadcasting.

      I don't see today's pulverized Pacifica selecting underwriters with any other criterion than money.

  4. Simply put, if Pacifica needs to find alternate revenue streams, it's an admission that their programming appeals to such a small group of listeners that can't even sustain a small network whose operating costs are actually very low.