September 2007 PNB Meeting
& the WBAI Budget

Below is a collection of clips from the audio of the meeting of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) held September 28-30, 2007, in Berkeley, California. This meeting had originally been scheduled to be held in WBAI's signal area, but the PNB decided that the accommodations offered for a New York or New Jersey venue were too expensive.

All of these clips are edited. The PNB meeting spanned 3 days and the public sessions were all recorded, which amounts to about 16 hours of raw audio. All of the original audio files are available at The clips presented on this page amount to 33 minutes and 14 seconds of audio. There is a paragraph or two describing each audio clip, followed by a link to the audio file which also tells you the length of that clip. If that link doesn't stream there's an option to download the mp3 file right after it.

If you want to read some of the reports from this event you can view them here.

I'd like to thank Otis Maclay and Sirius for their hard work in recording these meetings and giving all of us who couldn't be there a permanent record of this PNB meeting. Their work is especially vital given that the PNB has not been publicly posting the minutes of its meetings for years.

If you listen to nothing else from the September 2007, PNB meeting listen to this 7 second clip of Pacifica's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Lonnie Hicks succinctly describing the state of the Pacifica Foundation's finances.  financial crisis 0:07 — download the mp3 file 

It was announced at this PNB meeting that former KPFA General Manager Nicole Sawaya has been hired to be Pacifica's new Executive Director starting November 12, 2007. Here is her short speech to the PNB and assembled others after that announcement.  Nicole Sawaya 0:55 — download the mp3 file 

WBAI interim General Manager Robert Scott Adams gives a short report. I think that the earlier report he refers to is this written one, which is directed to the WBAI LSB. I'd actually never seen it before. As of mid October it hasn't been delivered to the WBAI LSB.

Mr. Adams notes that more cuts to WBAI's skeleton Staff would be damaging to the radio station. He answers a question from a PNB member about WBAI's listener base and relevancy. He says that there will be radical program changes coming soon.  WBAI iGM report 5:00 — download the mp3 file 

CFO Lonnie Hicks delivers the first of his reports. He notes that the Pacifica Foundation is in a bad financial situation. He says that FY07 was one of the worst years Pacifica's had.  CFO report #1 1:02 — download the mp3 file 

The CFO points out that just cutting salaries isn't going to work, that there must be investment in things that will produce future revenues. He calls for an internal audit of Pacifica to see what can be done. He discusses membership and our difficulty in retaining members.  CFO report #2 4:10 — download the mp3 file 

The CFO lays out the problem succinctly. He gives as an example that the Pacifica National Office doesn't have enough money on hand to pay its payroll due in two weeks.  CFO on the National Office 0:57 — download the mp3 file 

The CFO notes that this has been one of the worst fiscal years for Pacifica in the last 17 years. The National Office had to borrow money from Pacifica's investment in order to pay its September payroll. He states what stations are “at risk.”  CFO on state of finances 1:17 — download the mp3 file 

Brian Edwards-Tiekert is the Treasurer of the KPFA LSB. He notes that WBAI's projected FY08 income from listener donations appears to be “optimistic,” and this could impact the National Office.  KPFA Treasurer on the National Office budget 1:27 — download the mp3 file 

The CFO discusses WBAI's FY08 budget. He notes that WBAI's projected income for FY08 is projected to be about $180,000 higher than in FY07. He says that WBAI will have only $9,000 in the bank at the end of FY07, the next day. This is better than some previous fiscal years but it will not be enough to meet October's expenses. He says that WBAI's monthly expenses average $280,000. WBAI has not been paying its debts to the National Office, and now owes the National Office $300,000. He says that the chances of WBAI remaining solvent through FY08 are 60/40.  The CFO discusses WBAI's proposed FY08 budget 5:04 — download the mp3 file 

WBAI interim General Manager Robert Scott Adams tells of his idea for a once a year on-air fundraiser that would raise $4,000,000 in 30 to 45 days of pitching. He says that cutting Staff is not a solution.  WBAI iGM on fundraising 1:44 — download the mp3 file 

PNB Chair Dave Adelson asks WBAI interim General Manager Robert Scott Adams to comment on WBAI's income projections for FY08. There are exchanges.  Chair and iGM on WBAI's projected income 2:24 — download the mp3 file 

One PNB member brings up a report that WBAI has used $300,000 in restricted grant money for general operations. The Chair says that the PNB will discuss this issue at length in executive session the next day, and the CFO seems to dismiss the idea.  Restricted funds question 1:01 — download the mp3 file 

Note: the original motion from the PNB on September 30, regarding WBAI's budget contained a stipulation that WBAI wouldn't use restricted grant income for any other purposes. The amendments by operatives of the faction currently in charge at WBAI deftly removed that language from the motion.

PNB member Lavarn Williams of KPFA, who is Chair of the National Finance Committee, reports on the WBAI FY08 budget proposal. She thinks that an outside non-profit Management team should be called in to figure out how to turn things around. She points out that the WBAI FY08 budget makes mathematically absurd projections about its income. She speaks against approving the WBAI FY08 budget.  Finance Committee Chair on WBAI's FY08 budget 3:10 — download the mp3 file 

PNB Chair Dave Adelson asks CFO Lonnie Hicks to outline the risks in WBAI's FY08 budget, and the CFO does so. The CFO says that WBAI was able to move its fulfillment rate to 83% a couple of years ago.  Risks in WBAI's FY08 budget 1:52 — download the mp3 file 

Note: financial documents showing WBAI's fulfillment rates over the years do not support the statement that the station has previously moved its fulfillment rate to 83%.

In the Public Comment section of the meeting WBAI LSB member Carolyn Birden calls for the PNB to make sure that WBAI comes into compliance with the PNB motions and rules passed by the PNB. She calls for a forensic audit of WBAI.  Public comment #1 2:25 — download the mp3 file 

A 40 plus year KPFA listener says that the PNB needs training in budgeting and finance.  Public comment #2 0:39 — download the mp3 file 

And, finally, a short bit of historical perspective. Below are the audited end of year net assets of WBAI.

WBAI Audited End of Fiscal Year Net Assets
Fiscal YearWBAI net assets
2006 ($7,333)

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