by Arlene Engelhardt, Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation
I’m sure you share my fervent hope that the only radio network in the country, since Air America went bankrupt, bringing progressive programming not only to our five sister stations in New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, but also to more than 140 community and college radio stations across the country can be brought back to financial health again. KPFA and the Pacifica network are sorely needed in these times.
Unfortunately, KPFA and Pacifica have suffered greatly in the current recession. Since 2007, KPFA has lost more than $1.4 million and has used all the station reserves. Listener support has declined by almost 30 percent over the past five years from $4 million in 2005 to a low of $2.8 million in the fiscal year that just ended. Our Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding has also been cut, partly due to the decline in listener support.
This situation, coupled with losses at other Pacifica stations, puts the whole Pacifica network in serious financial peril. Emergency steps were necessary to prevent the financial collapse of the station and the network.
Two years ago layoffs were carried out across the entire Pacifica network – except at KPFA. The station continued to operate with minimal cuts, while depleting its million-dollar reserve fund. This year layoffs at KPFA could no longer be postponed when in September KPFA could not meet its payroll and we had to negotiate an emergency loan.
We were able to reduce the number of involuntary layoffs by offering employees incentives to voluntarily resign. Seven voluntary resignations cut our staff by the equivalent of four and three-quarter fulltime positions. Unfortunately those voluntary resignations were not sufficient to address the necessity for a balanced budget this year.
We have done our best to carry out the additional layoffs with due consideration to the need to fulfill KPFA’s programming mission and to comply with the union contract provisions to layoff according to seniority, coupled with skill, ability, knowledge and job performance. Thanks to the people who voluntarily resigned, we only had to lay off two people – the hosts of the Morning Show. However, a new one-hour locally produced Morning Show will return to the airwaves soon, bringing you local news, events and culture.
There are no reserves left anywhere in the Pacifica Network to help carry KPFA through. These are hard financial times for everyone.
We cannot do this without you. KPFA needs all of us — listeners, paid and unpaid staff, management and our board — to pull together to help KPFA and the network pull through this crisis. If you would like a summary of the financial situation, please email Christine@pacifica.org and she will send it to you.
The station cannot continue without your generous support. We have scheduled a fund drive Dec. 13 through 17. Kindly consider doubling your contribution to KPFA this year.
Thank you for your support all these years. We must keep the flagship listener-sponsored radio station, KPFA, on the air! Only you can make that possible!