Left-Wing Pacifica Radio Network* is collapsing in a heap of drama, mismanagement, and financial incompetence. [Much like anything else that is run by doctrinaire leftists.] [*So far left they consider Obama a moderate centrist.]
First, the mismanagement and incompetence.
Pacifica has a long and storied history, and still features such leading liberals as Amy Goodman, the widely known host of Democracy Now! (on which journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill are frequent guests), but it has fallen on hard times of late. Listenership, according Reese, is “extraordinarily low.” During an average 15-minute period, just 700 people listen to its Los Angeles station, 90.7 FM KPFK, for at least five minutes, according to Nielsen Audio, which monitors radio ratings.
Pacifica’s New York station, WBAI, is even worse off, with too few listeners to register on the Arbitron rankings, and is all but bankrupt. Last year, most of the staff was laid off, including the entire news department.
Making matters worse, the federal government, via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is withholding Pacifica’s grant money, thanks to the network’s “failure to provide documentation” for a 2012 audit.
Then, the drama.
On March 13, after weeks of rumors, Pacifica Radio’s board of directors voted to fire its executive director, Summer Reese, during what was essentially a conference call. But nothing is as simple as all that in the oldest and oddest public radio network in the country.
Four days later, Reese sent an email to the entire Pacifica staff announcing that she was not recognizing the board’s authority: “I want to assure you that I am in possession of a signed and valid contract for three years of employment from the board of directors and that I fully intend to complete that contract.”
And so it was that Reese marched to the Pacifica national office in Berkeley on March 17, bolt cutters in hand, removed a padlock placed on the front doors over the weekend, and essentially occupied the building. When newly appointed interim executive director Margy Wilkinson showed up, Reese and 12 of her compatriots — including Reese’s mother, a longtime anti-war and civil rights activist — refused to let Wilkinson, her husband and two of her allies pass.
“You’re all going to be personally liable — and I’m going to enjoy your houses!” Reese shouted at them, according to former board member Sasha Futran, who backs Wilkinson.
And it just gets weirder after that.
Sadly, this is the exact same ideology and calibre of professionalism that typifies the people running the Executive Branch of the United States Government.