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WBAI in Financial Crisis

This is a brief overview. Hope to post better information soon.

WBAI is currently in a financial crisis due to decreased income from listener contributions and increased expenses, primarily in the form of wages/benefits for paid station staff. The Fall 2003 fund drive fell well short of it's goal.

There were meetings held this week by the WBAI local advisory board, paid staff and unpaid staff as well a well attended general staff meeting on Thursday evening. The Thursday meeting included presentations and statements regarding the WBAI's financial crisis by WBAI general manager Don Rojas, Pacifica executive director Dan Coughlin and Pacifica chief financial officer Lonnie Hicks.

Most of the WBAI staff have not attended interim Pacifica national board meetings where Hicks has made reports and explained Pacifica/WBAI finances. After this weeks meeting staffers should have a much more direct understanding of the sobering details of the current financial crisis, which not only affects WBAI, but all of Pacifica as well.

Budgeting based on over optimistic income projections coupled with the failure of the recent fund drive is the basic analysis as to how the crisis came about. At the LAB and staff meetings this week there was much analysis regarding the drop in listenership and fund drive failure. The possibility that WBAI's direction in programming being a factor was not generally discussed.

It's been determined that it is necessary, at least for now, to trim the paid staff down to an essential core, restructure the stations operations and cut back on supplies and other spending. The general manager also plans to take a more direct hand in programming matters. Pacifica national has not been collecting the 20% levy from WBAI for a few months now and is adjusting their budget as well.

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