The Finance Committee of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) held a regular meeting on November 29, 2007. The issue of WBAI's finances was discussed at this meeting along with Pacifica-wide financial issues.
The bottom line of the bottom line is that things are not currently looking good for Pacifica. There has been a loss of CPB money, a loss of listeners and the Pacifica Foundation could end up as much as $850,000 short of its budgeted income by the end of September 2008.
At this meeting Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks also stated that if the financial situation at WBAI doesn't turn around soon that the station could be unable to meet payroll and other expenses by April of 2008.
Below are some excerpts of the audio record of this meeting. All of these excerpts are edited. This was a teleconference meeting and so all participants are on the telephone. As a result the audio levels are not all even. I have done what I can to make some of the harder to hear comments more audible. The audio of this entire meeting is available at kpftx.org.
I'd like to thank Otis Maclay and Sirius for their work in recording this meeting. Without their efforts we would have no record available to us of this important committee's work.
Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks says that Pacifica's revenue is flat. Play 0:02
Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks says that Pacifica may end FY08 with a shortfall of $850,000. Play 0:14
Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks announces that Pacifica has lost $159,000 in CPB funding. He says pacifica has lost audiance, and that some stations have not set up their Community Advisory Boards and that can result in a loss of CPB funding. Also, if listener support stays flat or goes down it causes a lessening of CPB funding. Play 1:34
Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks points out that budget shortfalls are cumulative. He says that 4 stations have a cash flow problem. He says that WBAI is in a critical situation and threatens Pacifica as a whole. Play 2:21
Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks says that WBAI Management has not followed Pacifica's directives regarding Paid Staff. He mentions some other financial issues for WBAI. Play 0:55
Pacifica Director and PNB Finance Committee Chair Lavarn Williams points out that WBAI is supposed to be a radio station. Play 0:38
Pacifica Director Terry Goodman on the need for WBAI to realize its potential. Play 0:37
This clip begins with Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Treasurer of the KPFA LSB, voicing his concern about WBAI's financial crisis. He asks when WBAI will not be able to make payroll, Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks says that with things the way they are it will be April. Hicks goes over the options, including receivership or reorganizing the station and going off the air for a while. Lavarn Williams asks WBAI Treasurer Baruti Bediako about this, he hasn't read the CFO report. Mr. Bediako then seems confused about the illegal 4% pay cut imposed by Management on the Paid Staff. The CFO points out again that WBAI has a standing debt of $300,000 and that there are several other vulnerabilities to WBAI's FY08 budget. Play 6:07
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