(Relatively) Short Pacifica Update

  • (Relatively) Short Pacifica Update
    So much is going on at the embattled Pacifica radio network and I really don’t want this topic to dominate the mediageek newsblog. Thus I’ll just post a bunch of short updates when a critical mass of news is gathered. For those who don’t want to wait for me to post, you can get things more directly from the Pacifica Campaign and Save Pacifica.

    In late Nov. the Pacifica Network’s national board reached an agreement to transfer power to an interim board which would work at democratizing the network and solving long-standing problems. Apparently that transition hasn’t been going so smoothly, and so plaintiffs in four different lawsuits lodged against the Pacifica national board are now set to have a “Mandatory Settlement Conference” with the pre-trial judge today, in the hope of mediating a solution. These suits were on the brink of resolution at the beginning of November when Pacifica backed out. Those lawsuits allege illegal and anti-democratic changing of Pacifica’s bylaws which made the national board completely self-elected, disenfranchising the five radio stations that make up the network, and their listeners which donate a large proportion of the network’s funds.

    As all this is happening, the most recent Arbitron ratings show that the audience at four out of five of the Pacifica stations is shrinking, which is ironic since the prevailing rationale for why Pacifica management is undertaking such radical changes is to increase audience ratings and attract more well-heeled listener/donors.

    And now, today, there are reports that Utrice Leid, the executive director of Pacifica, has resigned. Leid is best known for being the station manager at Pacifica’s NYC station WBAI where in Dec. 2000 she oversaw the firing of several long-time staffers and volunteers in what has become known as the Christmas Coup.

    Previously: I tried to lend some perspective to the corporatization trend in noncommercial radio that has caused so much suffering at Pacifica, in the not-so-subtly titled post Pacifica, pacifica, pathetica… and public radio.

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