Station listener-membership to split the $67k FJC quarterly interest charge?

[I misunderstood the PNB Finance Cttee motion, mistaking “station membership” for listener-members only. I was misled by the discussion focusing on listeners, not members consisting in listeners plus staff. Apologies. However, my points are unaffected, as are the computations; the text has not been revised. The motion is given correctly by WBAI Treasurer R Paul Martin in his report: “The NFC recommends that the quarterly interest payments starting with December 2019, be apportioned by station membership as of December 1, 2019, and revised annually according to changes in membership” (page 4, link given below).]


Last night’s PNB Finance Cttee decided that station listener-membership alone should decide the split of the $67k going each quarter to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC. So, KPFA 31%, KPFK 29%, KPFT 8%, WPFW 14%, WBAI 18%. This was the Cttee’s recommendation to the Pacifica National Board about the $3.265m loan (46:52; the vote was 7-2-1, that is, 7 for (including KPFA listeners-delegate/Pacifica director/Finance Cttee Chair Chris Cory, & KPFK listeners-delegate/Treasurer Fred Blair), 2 against (KPFK staff-delegate/Pacifica director Mansoor Sabbagh, & WPFW listeners-delegate/Treasurer Nick Arena), 1 abstained (KPFA listeners-delegate/Treasurer Sharon Adams)). The PNB next meets Th19Sep.

These are the station charges, quarterly & monthly: KPFA $20 876, $6 959; KPFK $19 529, $6 510; KPFT $5 387, $1 796; WPFW $9 428, $3 143; WBAI $12 121, $4 040. FJC’s quarterly charge to Pacifica is $67 340, at the new interest rate since 1Aug2019 ($3.265m x 8.25% ÷ 4). (WBAI Treasurer R Paul Martin’s own calculation for WBAI gave $12 600 (page 5, he took the quarterly as a round $70k.) Station listener-membership was given in National Elections Supervisor Renee Penaloza’s 28Aug report (unpaginated p. 1):

How feasible is it that WPFW & WBAI, in particular, will make these contributions? Contributions due to FJC, contractually within five days, on 2Jan2020, 2Apr2020, 2July2020, 2Oct2020, 2Jan2021, & 2Apr2021? Contributions, at the current 8.25% annual interest rate, totalling $56 568 by WPFW & $72 726 by WBAI?

(section 8.1, p. 13, of the signed loan agreement,!PloCiSqJ!9rLejSkttE7gCVCCq3q86g?b0IBlaiR)

There are three obvious sets of facts indicating that they won’t make their contributions:

1) In June-July, neither WPFW nor WBAI could pay either payroll or health insurance (Interim Chief Financial Officer Tamra Swiderski, 32:19, Tu9July PNB Finance Cttee, She was ‘economical with the truth’: they both had to borrow from the Foundation’s national account.

2) WBAI forecast that FY2019 (so to 30Sep) will be a loss of $318k, & they’ve budgeted FY2020 as a $316k loss. Honest, one may say, but no less worrying for that. This info comes from today’s WBAI Treasurer’s report (p. 5).

3) The much trumpeted coming recession.

Intention & action are unavoidable in both PacificaWorld & RealWorld. But in PacificaWorld they tend to be more independent of the means at hand. But even in PacificaWorld there comes a time when RealWorld intrudes so much that the train hits the buffers: the state & the market discipline all, not least by the inevitable onset of capitalist slump.

In these urgent times, there’s more talk now in Pacifica public meetings of cost cutting, rather than just raising revenue. Reality is biting. The acute cashflow can only be alleviated temporarily by The Golden Corpses, the bequests. Because relentless are the costs of the living: workers, 53% of expenses (FY2016 auditor’s report, p. 5a,!6uwhAQIY!-QW2NXuAc6rRdWE5KbNb6w?mqw32KrI – FY2017’s financial statements are effectively worthless because their material accuracy wasn’t vouched for by the auditors due to insufficient auditable evidence; please see And the paid workers are mainly in California: KPFA, 30% of wage costs; KPFK 26%; KPFT 8%; WPFW 9%; WBAI 9%; with 5% at Radio Archives & 11% at National Office (FY2016 auditor’s report, p. 26; two percentage points lost by rounding).

So firings will be largely in California – fuelling both Californian station chauvinism & its correlate, Californian resentment. This affective dynamic splinters clear thinking, unleashing centrifugal forces, ripping at those ties that still hold the network together.

The core of the PNB majority has been counting on not having to make any fundamental decisions. It was hoping to muddle through, & then re-finance the FJC loan during summer 2020, relying on the three Pacifica buildings as collateral, & using as positive evidence the auditor’s reports of FY2017, FY2018, & FY2019. But RealWorld reality intruded, & I’m not talking about FY2006 being the last annual net income: the 2017 statements were rendered effectively worthless, & the auditor told the M19Aug PNB Audit Cttee (20:15) that the same fate beckons for the 2018 ones. Maybe the 2019 statements, the first with NETA either doing or supervising the bookkeeping, will earn an auditor’s unmodified opinion.; (notes 3(b) & 4)

External pressures will ensure that the bullet is bitten during the coming 12 months – even if it’s The Comedy of Terrors solution.


1) WBAI listeners-delegate/Pacifica director James Sagurton had asked at Tuesday’s PNB Finance Cttee if figures were available for ‘station revenue per member’ (42:53). None was at hand. Now they are.

The matter isn’t as transparent as it seems; for example, the FY2016 stations statement includes “[g]rants and contributed income” & “[o]ther revenue”. It’s not apparent how members are involved in these categories of fundraising. Given this, an obvious approximation is the ratio, for each station, between “[l]istener support and donations” & number of members (total of listeners & staff). Data are publicly available for FY2016, & one can use the 2016 LSB elections record date at 30June.

So to answer Mr Sagurton’s query, the figures vary from $128 to $176 per member (37.5% more), & harbour quite a surprise, the station in DC: KPFA $176.30 (2836208÷16087); KPFK $168.38 (2504410÷14874); KPFT $127.52 (753499÷5909); WPFW $169.32 (883693÷5219); WBAI $153.52 (1200676÷7821) – FY2016 auditor’s report, p. 25,!6uwhAQIY!-QW2NXuAc6rRdWE5KbNb6w?mqw32KrI; & NES Penaloza’s final report on the nominal 2018 pseudo-election, p. 19, p. 20 of the PDF,!fyAwGICZ!-4uWYMHZW3CHxt6yCOITu006SVZ4AyNPjT9bWw6csb0.

2) Ability to perform, a kind of capacity, is a socialist, humanist, rational criterion of expected just contribution to collective human endeavour. That a station raises money shows it has the ability to somewhat pay the network’s bills, & it’s a crude measure of this capacity. So, in 2016, the latest FY we have audited figures for, what proportion did each station contribute? KPFA 34.7% (2836208/8178486, the five-station total of ‘listener support & donations’ – see the above p. 25), KPFK 30.6%, KPFT 9.2%, WPFW 10.8%, WBAI 14.7%. These certainly share a PacificaWorld ballpark with the Finance Cttee’s 31-29-8-14-18 that use data three years later, those of the late Aug2019 membership. (That even now there is no evidence available to members & listeners that the membership records, & elector rolls, are materially accurate, we’ll leave to one side. And, given this, any assertion by NES Penaloza will be treated for what it is.)


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