Changes on the horizon at Pacifica, as a financial crisis
threatens KPFA and the rest of the network
KPFA listeners and staff are deeply concerned about the worsening financial and governance crisis at the 5-station Pacifica network, including the mortgaging of KPFA’s building in Berkeley to pay off the debts of New York station WBAI.

The Los Angeles Times has just published an investigative article by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Hiltzik , which looks into Pacifica’s financial and governance problems.

A recent audit shows Pacifica with an operating deficit of $4.6 million, writes Hiltzik, who adds that “the chief drain on Pacifica’s resources has been WBAI,” including a $1.8 million debt for its unpaid antenna rent.

The national board has refused to deal with WBAI’s financial problems, instead voting in 2018 to mortgage KPFA’s building and other property for an ill-advised $3.25 million loan.

KPFA’s studios were built by donations from Bay Area members, who did not intend them to bail out a failing New York station. Payments on that $3.25 million loan are now coming due, and threaten to tank station budgets. A balloon payment for the balance is due in April 2021.

When WBAI could not meet its payroll multiple times last fall, Pacifica’s then-interim executive director John Vernile sounded the alarm. But after making changes at the station to reach more listeners and save money, a dysfunctional Pacifica National Board ousted him and put WBAI back into the hands of those who have mismanaged it for years.

Structural change? Court orders Pacifica bylaws vote

An Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered Pacifica to put bylaws changes proposed by a group of KPFA & KPFT members to a network-wide vote.

Details are at , including a news blog about developments. If approved, the proposed bylaws would put in place a transitional board of well-known radio professionals and community leaders, among other changes. Here’s a comparison of the current and proposed bylaws.

KPFA has posted a timeline of the vote. Ballots are due to be sent on February 18 to all members. Stay tuned for more information.

Support KPFA’s work

The staff at KPFA came together for live coverage of the historic impeachment hearings last week. Please take a moment to thank them by renewing your membership or making a donation .

Or attend an upcoming KPFA benefit talk, such as journalist E.J. Dionne (February
27), economist Richard Wolff (February 28), and SUNY professor Gretchen Sorin
(March 11). See all upcoming events at KPFA’s website .
QUESTIONS? Please email us at

This communication has not been paid for by KPFA, the KPFA Local Station Board, or the Pacifica Foundation. It is distributed by SaveKPFA, an independent community organization. Otherwise, it has no affiliation with or endorsement by KPFA, the KPFA LSB or the Pacifica Foundation.
SaveKPFA |