Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Why the Pacifica National Office intervened at WBAI

by Akio Tanaka
Pacifica have a directorship that somehow believes you can VOTE reality out of existence.
Recently, as I was reading an exchange between Bill Crosier, KPFT Director, and Tracy Rosenberg, former KPFA Director, regarding the crisis at WBAI, it seemed that they were talking past each other. So, I asked a fellow board member Darlene Pagano, who sits on the Audit Committee, for her take on the exchange. I want to share her response.

Akio Tanaka

Hello Akio,

I joined the PNB Audit committee, having been on the non-profit org side of many an audit in my time, and what I can say is that NETA is pulling Pacifica out of a lot of stinking muck and mud and we should be as thrilled with them as we can possibly be. NETA has been sounding the alarm on the Pacifica financial DISASTER since about day 3 of working with us.

I do think that there was NO money to further give to WBAI, and the fact that no one said NO to their GM earlier (and then dealt with the consequences) was an incredible lapse of Fiduciary responsibility at the very top of our governance structure.

John Vernile did do what an Executive Director should do, and that is make hard choices and prioritize the PACIFICA FOUNDATION needs, even if is a terrible shock to one station. Triage.!!

The NFC meetings affirm to me that NETA (a professional, "dis-interested" financial specialty firm) is the best thing that has happened to Pacifica recently. The financial documents they produce can be relied upon and will give the iED and all the GM's a great deal of help in making some hard decisions and possible direction in planning.

Major donors and lenders will be helped by this level of verified information as well. Perhaps even our CA Attorney General who has made repeated warnings about revoking our Incorporation due to the lack of (legally required) audited financials. (Why is THAT not item #1 at every National Board meeting? That is the shut-down/take-over/destroy Pacifica/”breaker” THREAT the Foundation is facing.)

We have a directorship that somehow believes you can VOTE reality out of existence. Why face the financial reports when you can vote that they don’t show what they show??

I absolutely believe that Pacifica has no real $$$ in its coffers right now. Pacifica is in disastrous financial shape, and may have actually gone past the tipping point and is in free-fall. Really. Not kidding.

I concur with Bill's reporting that Pacifica could not keep paying WBAI's payroll and other expenses. Though, I didn't hear it from Bill in order to come to that opinion but from our iCFO and our NFC.

Asking me about Tracy, I am really perplexed. She argues as if our COLLECTIVE poor financial situation as well as the individual stations downward (mostly) numbers means that WBAI cannot be recognized as a financially failed station. As if everyone doing poorly precludes recognizing that one station is operating disastrously.

Regarding our language about WBAI. I want us all to stop making this crisis an assignment of BLAME to the station. The failure of many iterations of our PNB to understand what was developing and then not take useful action through the ED is where much responsibility lies. Our PNB structure is a detriment to the Foundation. The consequences that WBAI now face were often created elsewhere, and we need to carefully "follow the money". Blame and Shame needs to stop. It's not a useful tool for recovery.

AND I am absolutely NOT interested in any conspiracy theory of any sort from any faction from any location. The terrifying financial reality of the situation Pacifica is in completely surpasses any paranoia brewing in the fervid imaginations of our fellow members.

by Tracy Rosenberg
While I can't help what some people want to believe, it is really sad to see people on the board of a community radio network being so oblivious to what their mission actually is: to operate local community radio stations. The mission of a nonprofit is not a joke. It's the purpose of its existence. And nobody ever said it was going to be financially easy.

Pacifica's national office is bleeding money right and left, due to poor supervision by the board. Plain and simple. The numbers are right in front of our faces. Anyone who chooses not to look at them is simply complicit in a blame game that is focused on dangling WBAI and its very lucrative broadcast license as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Look at these crazy numbers for a supposedly poor national office that claims it is on the verge of collapse due to a payroll loan of $35,000 for a week.

A national office payroll of $1.026 million dollars over the past two years.

National office consulting contracts totaling $399,417 over the past two years.

National office legal bills totaling $607,785 over the past two years.

National office contracted accountants totaling $321,933 in the past year. (The NETA folks).

National office corporate travel totaling $61,000 in the past year or more than $5,000 a month.

More than $2.0 million dollars received in major donor income and how much used to pay back a loan due in 2021 that holds real estate assets including the three production studios in Berkeley, LA and Houston?

Answer: $100,000 or 5% of the total.

Get real.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$20.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network