Public Comment

What's Happening at KFPA

By Tracy Rosenberg
KPFA Local Station Board/Pacifica National Board
Monday January 31, 2011 - 09:09:00 PM

Matthew Hallinan knows perfectly well that KPFA lost over half a million dollars in 2008-2009. And lost another half a million in 2009-2010. He himself voted, not once, but twice – for budgets that called for hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary reductions at KPFA. What did he expect to happen after he did that? 

He is pretending way too many things. Pretending Pacifica’s joint services fee is 24% when the real amount is 19.8% (actually 17% for Pacifica and 2.8% for the network archives). He is pretending the budget proposal he references balanced the budget when it barely addressed half the annual deficit. He is pretending the local board didn’t discuss the budget for 3 hours on October 15th. He is pretending the on-air hosts with the least seniority weren’t those who hosted the old Morning Show and Letters and Politics and the contract says “in the event of layoffs for financial necessity, seniority must prevail”. He’s also pretending the Berkeley City Council supported a resolution condemning Pacifica’s actions. They didn’t. 

KPFA’s listener support dropped 30% from 2007-2010, 3 consecutive annual 10% decreases. It’s understandable – the economy is terrible. But because layoffs were delayed for 2 years, KPFA spent its entire ¾ of a million cash reserve and fell behind another $300,000 in bills. That is why the executive director acted. It’s not about $60,000. It is about a million dollars that left the building in two years of foolish overspending. 

I’m pretty sure the listeners don’t want KPFA to go into bankruptcy. What that means is supporting the foundation’s efforts to instill financial responsibility in a place that wasn’t exercising any. 

There’s a lot to be excited about. Broadcasting Al Jazeera’s English news broadcast at 6am is a great service to the Bay Area. And Project Censored bringing their journalistic critique to Thursday mornings is an asset to the Bay Area media landscape. More will come. But in a financially responsible manner that keeps us out of a pile of red ink. That’s the only way to another 60 years.