North Coast
North Coast
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

Tom’s personal view from inside today’s Pacifica National Board

by Tom Voorhees
KPFA and Pacifica radio stations members vote on democratic control of management. At steak is the detreating quality of news and public affairs' with a replacement set of bylaws election happening now in June.
Tom’s personal view from inside today’s Pacifica National Board and listening to KPFA from 1954.

Most news programing has been relegated to the entertainment divisions of all three corporate national networks, dis-empowering us citizens to vote with complete factual and science based information. With democracy under attack throughout the globe the Pacifica Radio Network is also under attack, mostly from within, with an un-democratic top down re-organization vote in June.

The Pacifica radio network is asset rich and cash poor, to the tune of over 100 million dollars invested in five full power FCC broadcast licenses and associated real-estate. Being asset rich has attracted takeover attempts, six in the past five years, all of which have failed.

The current attempt, the seventh, at top down governance, calling itself New Day Pacifica, is again proposed by some of the same, more conservative mindset, KPFA longer-term staff and Local Station Board (LSB) members.

Through the years these staff members have done everything possible to make our originally intended, democratically controlled network subservient to their programming control.

Content control and the resulting membership decline started in 1971 with the firing of long time ace national news and public affairs director, Elsa Knight Thompson. Why was she fired just after successfully contributing to Pacifica stations’ significant influence in ending the Vietnam War, with our own WBAI reporter stationed in North Vietnam, earning Pacifica multiple yearly national news awards? Pacifica’s Vietnam reporter was the first to report that the war had spilled over into neighboring countries. To date a national news director has never been rehired. WHY NOT?

The next blow to democratic program content control came in 1992 with the cancellation of the independent commentary hour that followed the daily evening news. This freed all host programmers to filter guests per their own political views without contradiction from the guest experts on the independent commentary hour, who provided comprehensive worldwide analysis.

For Pacifica stations to come back strong in discouraging never-ending wars and systemic racial discrimination, and also to accelerate viable solutions to the in-progress climate change disaster, the independent commentary hour and an ace national news director are badly needed NOW. That is not on New Day’s agenda.

Today’s Pacifica National Board (PNB) is badly misrepresented as being dysfunctional by the New Day takeover conspiracy. That was true in the past, courtesy of some of those same New Day conspirators. It is no longer the case. Today’s PNB majority is bringing our network back on track, starting with all PNB committees meeting regularly again towards rebuilding a healthy Pacifica network.

After New Day is defeated, we can’t wait around again for the 8th takeover attempt. Starting on June first we need to recruit fresh new young LSB candidates with established organizing skills, capable of refreshing the Pacifica spirit towards establishing a sane world. As mentioned above, what’s badly needed for Pacifica to shine brightly again is an ace national news director supported by a renewed independent commentary hour with a roster of international analysis experts.

Generally, just continuing to report mostly after-the-fact on political damage takes Pacifica nowhere. Pacifica still has in place some 220 affiliate stations capable of regional news gathering with local news airing capabilities. It’s either get going with what’s badly needed or Pacifica remains a manipulable tool for vested political interests. Pacifica still has the network power in place to influence peaceful leadership change throughout the globe.

PLEASE VOTE NO on the proposed New Day bylaws and support today’s PNB majority rebuilding a democratic healthy Pacifica network.
Tom Voorhees, PNB member from KPFA.

HOW TO VOTE: For currently paid up Pacifica members. Voting instructions were e-mailed or snail mailed the evening of June 6th from the Pacifica's National Election Supervisor, with instructions on how to vote online. If not found please check your spam file. More information at
As the chair of the Local Station Board at KPFK, I can say that KPFK is an example of the failure of the "professionalization" paradigm promoted by New Day. The professionals they brought in eliminated our local newscast and news department, put in nationally strip programming with paid programmers, and succeeded only in reducing our membership dramatically, and being forced to spend more than half the year in fund drives to try to cover the resulting expensive payroll. Don't let the same thing happen to the rest of Pacifica. The professional manager at KPFT just banished almost all the locally produced public affairs shows by people of color to the HD channel in Houston, which has fewer listeners than the FM signal. New Day is all about this kind of censorship and segregation. Vote NO!
by Repost
Dear friends and supporters of Pacifica Radio, and all its stations, KPFA, KPFK, KPFT, WBAI, and WPFW
Twenty years ago the Pacifica radio network was facing a crisis. The Board and Executive leadership had joined the mainstream in moving to the right and was attempting a takeover of the Pacifica Foundation. It appeared that their goal was to neutralize the message of radical critical analysis that Pacifica had offered for the previous 50 years. They posed such a threat to the network that many listeners and staff were unable to stand by and watch this happen, myself included. Several listener activist groups sprang to action around the country as well. Three lawsuits were filed to oust members of that Board and to protect the Foundation.

The lawsuits succeeded beyond our dreams. The Court allowed the listeners, and/or their representatives, to write new by-laws for the Foundation. We began that task with the intention of crafting by-laws that would (hopefully) ensure that Pacifica could withstand future attempts at a takeover. We thought that the best way to protect Pacifica from any type of political or corporate interference was to write by-laws that incorporated the ideas of a Foundation run by super democracy. I am saddened to report that the exact opposite has occurred. The by-laws have resulted in nearly self-perpetuating boards, with the same people and their chosen successors reelected in factional slates year after year since 2003. The Foundation has been on the brink of financial collapse for several years due to mismanagement and self-serving and/or incompetent board members who just keep kicking the can down the road.

Pacifica, a desperately needed resource for these chaotic times, has lost its way. Our listenership has fallen drastically across the network, as much of our programming is not reaching or inspiring enough people to support and maintain the stations, while the Board has been unable and/or unwilling to address the need for cutting edge, incisive, inspiring and uplifting programming to meet the challenges we face locally, nationally, and around the world.

In our zeal to replace the old Board of Directors that ignored the history and purposes of the Foundation and the wishes of the membership in 2003 we created what we thought to be a truly democratic method for choosing a new board. Instead, a Frankenstein Board has emerged. We mistakenly believed that by including the element of single transferable voting in electing local and national Board members that the resulting Board(s) would be able to resolve the differing interests of various factions through dialogue and mutual commitment to the best interests of the membership and the Foundation. However, what has happened instead is that this entire governance system has been hijacked by competing factions consisting of some self-interested individuals, in league with small splinter groups, who have gamed the system to ensure that they control portions of the local station boards. The factions have passed control of the national Board of Directors back and forth like a ping-pong ball for years, with resulting chaos and decline of the network. What nonprofit corporation can survive 16 executive directors in 10 years? That is the track record of Pacifica.

A critical gap in the by-laws I helped to write was the failure to require any qualifications to serve on the board of directors. Consequently, the Boards, for the last 20 years, have lacked experience in either media, radio or financial oversight and controls. According to the most recent (2018) independent audit, the Foundation as a whole has lost over $12 million dollars in net worth since 2007, with a current total current net worth that is NEGATIVE -$4.6 million dollars. (KPFA is currently the only station in the network with a positive net worth of $2.5 million dollars, although KPFA too lost $2 million over that time period.)

In addition, listener support donations have fallen about 34% since 2007 (from about $12.5 million/year to about $8.3 million/year network-wide.) Yet no systematic analysis of the causes of this drop in listener support and membership has been undertaken to attempt to formulate a plan for reducing and turning around this disastrous trend.

This brings us to our current crisis that I believe will soon end in either the sale of more of Pacifica’s assets, or bankruptcy, or both. (The National Office Building in Berkeley was sold in 2018 for about $1 million to help pay off accumulated network debts.) Also, in 2018, the Foundation took out a $3.25 million loan secured by the KPFA, KPFK and KPFT buildings to pay off a court judgment for unpaid rent against WBAI and to fund moving WBAI to less expensive leased premises.

Pacifica currently has no financial reserves, and four of its five stations, except for KPFA, are failing to produce adequate revenues to fund their own expenses, and to pay their fair share of the network’s expenses. This has recently resulted in the layoff of the entire news staff of KPFK, our Los Angeles station. The Foundation has had almost three years to develop a well thought out plan to repay the $3.25 million loan the Board authorized 2-1/2 years ago to “rescue” the New York station. But the Boards for the past 2-1/2 years have ignored their fiduciary duty to protect the assets of the Foundation, in this instance by their failure to adopt a loan repayment plan. The loan is due in [October 2022]. This fact alone, coupled with the loss of listener support and programming that listeners want support, is sufficient grounds for us to totally rethink how Pacifica is currently being undermined and mismanaged.

I support efforts to rewrite the by-laws, hopefully crafting ones that genuinely protect the Foundation from its current, catastrophic management system.
Carol Spooner
by Marina Delgado
Carol Spooner has not served on a Pacifica board for 16 years. When she did serve, she paved the way for the disastrous Empire State Realty contract which Pacifica is still paying for, which was signed about 90 days after she resigned as the Foundation treasurer, apparently having done nothing to prevent the oncoming catastrophe.

Pacifica needed *more* oversight in 2004-2005, not less.

Listen to Voorhees and Novick, who have been doing the work to salvage Pacifica from the mistakes of Spooner.

And vote NO on the New Day bylaws.
KPFA and Pacifica paid up members be sure to vote for freedom of press with a NO vote for a new day fascist like take over of network.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$70.00 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