A letter from Arlene Engelhardt
by Arlene Engelhardt
Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation
December 11, 2010
From KPFA's 59,000-watt transmitter atop Grizzly Peak, KPFA's provocative--sometimes even revolutionary--programs reach most of Northern and Central California. Spread the word: Millions of people should know about and use this powerful voice to liberate our communities. Listen in at 94.1 FM and www.kpfa.org. And support this great radio station. Don't let it die!
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 [at] 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!
ARLENE ENGELHARDT can be reached at Arlene [at] pacifica.org or (510) 849-2590, ext. 208. Make your donation now at www.kpfa.org.
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Dear Friends of KPFA,
Thanks for writing to me with your concerns and support for KPFA. The station has fallen on hard times in recent years and had reached the point where layoffs were urgently necessary as KPFA could no longer meet its payroll.
KPFA regretfully is reducing its paid workforce from 44 to 35 full- and part-time employees, in order to balance income with expenditures for the fiscal year. During Fiscal Year 2009, the station spent almost $575,000 more than it took in. In the fiscal year that ended September 30, KPFA spent $480,000 more than it took in.
Seven employees volunteered to take a layoff package, but it was unfortunately necessary to lay off two employees, the hosts of the Morning Show. The involuntary layoffs were carried out under the seniority provisions of the labor-management contract Pacifica Foundation has with its union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), with consideration given to crucial positions and special skills.
Reducing KPFA's workforce from approximately 29.75 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to approximately 25.3 FTEs will cut station personnel expenses by about $320,000 over the remainder of this fiscal year, resulting in a balanced budget.
KPFA will continue to offer a locally produced Morning Show, and its new line-up will be announced shortly. The Morning Show's focus on local community news and cultural affairs will continue.
Pacifica's policy is to negotiate employment disagreements amicably and as the law requires, in good faith. Pacifica hopes that KPFA can come together and focus on its mission to foster peace and social justice and to provide progressive news during these distressing political and economic times.
Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation.
1925 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94704-1037