Public Comment

Update regarding KPFA Budget Crisis and Staff Reductions

By Arlene Engelhardt, Executive Director, Pacifica Radio
Monday December 06, 2010 - 04:59:00 PM

We know that many KPFA listeners and staff have had questions about the financial crisis facing KPFA. Over the past five years KPFA has suffered a 27% drop in annual income -- including a 30% decline of more than a $1.2 million in annual listener support. Since 2007 KPFA has lost almost $1.5 million overall. 

KPFA cannot continue to operate with these deficits as the station's reserves are now exhausted. As a result, KPFA regretfully was forced to reduce its paid staff early last month by nine employees, or about 4.45 full-time-equivalents as many of our staff work part-time hours. Seven production, technical, administrative and management staff members took voluntary severance, and the two hosts of the Morning Show were laid off. This reduction in paid staff followed many months of discussions and was carried out in accordance with the terms of the union contract. The cuts were a difficult but necessary step toward financial stability.  

We also know that many of you have been disappointed by the temporary hiatus of the Morning Show while we sought ways to produce the show in our difficult financial circumstances. We expect to announce an exciting new live Morning Show lineup for the 8-9 am hour very soon.  

Beginning Monday, December 6th, we'll be airing Al-Jazeera English news at 6 am, Democracy Now! at 7 am, Uprising from KPFK at 8 am, and Democracy Now! will be rebroadcast at 9 am, followed by Letters From Washington at 10. 

While layoffs are painful and programming changes are difficult, we remain committed to the visionary founding mission of Pacifica – to provide news and information not commonly available elsewhere, to explore and understand the causes of conflict, to help bring about a lasting understanding between peoples of all races, creeds and nations, and to provide an outlet for the cultural expressions of our community.  


We cannot do this without you. KPFA needs all of us – listeners, staff and management – to pull together to help KPFA through this critical financial crisis. The station cannot continue without your generous support. We have scheduled a 4-day fund drive for mid-December. Kindly consider doubling your contribution to KPFA this year.  


Finally, a personal apology to Becky O'Malley of the Berkeley Daily Planet for my failure to return her phone calls. In the press of events, somehow I did not receive her phone messages.