KPFA financial status & layoffs

The below information about KPFA's current financial status, and an explanation about the layoffs, was prepared by Arlene Engelhardt, Pacifica Executive Director, and Carrie Core, KPFA interim Program Director.
March 7, 2011

KPFA Financial Information and Layoffs/Bumps

Over the past several months there has been a lot of contention about layoffs at KPFA. This is understandable. Nobody likes to lose their job, and nobody likes to make the hard decision to lay people off. Here are the facts:

The Financial Situation at KPFA

Over the past 6 years (from 10/1/04 through the fiscal year that ended 9/30/2010) KPFA's annual listener support dropped almost 30% -- from $4 million in 2005 to $2.8 million in 2010.

KPFA's total annual income dropped almost 26% over the same period -- from $4.3 million in FY 2005 to $3.6 million in FY 2010.

In the meanwhile, KPFA's total expenses were cut by only about $152k, including a reduction in salaries and related expenses of about $30k from FY 2005 to FY 2010.

The result was that KPFA has been operating at a deficit since 2007, and has lost a total of $1.5 million over the four years from October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2010.

KPFA's first quarter financial report for this fiscal year is encouraging (Oct 1 - Dec 31, 2010).

We were almost $335k over budgeted income, primarily due to a good response to our 5-day December mini-fund drive (line 20). We were almost $97k over budget on expenses (line 34), including about $29k over budget on salaries and related expenses and about $93k over budget on Central Services (shared network expenses which are charged as a percentage of listener support). We had an operating surplus for the first quarter of about $191k (line 35). KPFA did not pay its budgeted catch-up payment of last year's unpaid shared expenses to the National Office (line 49) or its share of repayment of restricted funds used in prior years to help cover deficit spending (line 48), so the report shows KPFA's capital expense are $52k under budget -- but those moneys are still due.

However encouraging our first quarter this year was, it's not yet a trend. We will need several good quarters to turn the corner at KPFA. Our current fund drive is almost on track to make our budgeted goal, but that still remains to be seen. A bad fund drive any time this year could easily take us back into deficit if we do not keep our expenses under control. Most of our expenses are fixed and cannot be reduced much further -- so salaries and related expenses must be reduced to balance the budget, payoff our debts, and to rebuild our rainy day reserves.

The Layoffs

This year's budget calls for a reduction in salaries and related expenses of about $521k over last year in order to balance the budget. To accomplish this goal, all staff were offered a voluntary termination package with 30 days' pay. Seven (mostly part time) staff members took the package, but that was not enough to meet the need. So, two part time staff members were laid off involuntarily -- the hosts of the Morning Show. The layoffs were conducted in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. That agreement includes a provision allowing laid off employees to "bump" less senior employees if they have the qualifications to perform the less senior employee's job. By "bumping", the laid off employee would take the place of the less senior employee, and the less senior employee replaces the more senior employee on layoff. Pacifica, the union and the two laid off employees met in late 2010 about identifying employees whom the laid off employees could bump. *The union agreed that Brian Edwards-Tiekert would bump a less senior employee in the News Department, John Hamilton (and told us that Brian agreed to that bump).*So that is what has happened, since KPFA does not have the funds for both positions.

Why the Former Morning Show Will Not Return to KPFA

Eliminating the Former Morning Show was the most cost-effective programming change we could make at KPFA. Three part-time positions were eliminated (two Hosts and one producer) or 2.3 full-time-equivalent positions, each with full benefits as all employees working at least half-time receive full health benefits. This saves KPFA approximately $147k per year in salaries, payroll taxes and health benefits.

What about the money raised by the former Morning Show? The 7-9 am time slot is the biggest fundraiser throughout public and listener-supported radio. Our experience with the December 5-day mini-fund-drive was that moving Democracy Now! to the 7 am slot increased the average daily pledges for that hour by about $2,600 per day. The new Morning Mix program was not yet on the air. But our premiums pitching for that hour raised almost exactly the same average hourly pledges as the old Morning Show did.

Overall, the December drive was very successful and the daily pledges received were higher than average. However, the results for the morning drive time are very encouraging, and suggest that the change in the morning line-up will not hurt our fundraising much, if at all, while saving KPFA almost $150k in salaries and related expenses over the course of a year.

We understand that programming changes are difficult both for our listeners and our staff. We have been getting both supportive feedback and complaints. But we hope our listeners will understand that our goal is to pull the station out of its dire financial situation so that we can remain on the air and bring you the best programming we can in the years to come. Your continued support during these hard times is crucial to the survival of KPFA.

Thank You,

Arlene Engelhardt, Pacifica Executive Director
Carrie Core, KPFA Interim Program Director

*** *** ***
*** *** ***

financial data

10 Years of KPFA Finances in TABLE FORMAT

and, presented as a GRAPH, the same data:
10 Years of KPFA Finances GRAPH

for more information and updates please visit Support KPFA at


Labels: , , ,