The Pacifica Foundation's head office has notified the network's five local radio stations, including KPFK here, to prepare for deep cuts in budgets and staffing, says public media news site Current.org. The latest alarms at the perennially strapped stations were apparently prompted by an audit of the books that concluded there is “substantial doubt” that Pacifica can "continue as a going concern.” From the story, which focuses on a communication to the Pacifica stations by foundation executive director Arlene Engelhardt:
The audit, which examined the foundation’s finances for fiscal year 2011, was the second consecutive report questioning Pacifica’s financial viability. Although Engelhardt disputed the auditors’ warnings — “We can always take to the air and raise money,” she said — she directed the stations to make cuts of at least $1 million from their collective budgets. The reductions were to be made immediately, but at Current’s deadline, decisions being made at local stations could not be confirmed.
While Pacifica has made substantial progress in reducing its operating deficit from $2.7 million in fiscal 2009 to $564,000 in 2011, “we still have not made inroads on the debt,” Engelhardt said in a telephone interview. “We have to tighten the belt in order to make sure that Pacifica will continue to be around.”
The auditors’ report showed liabilities including $1.635 million in accounts payable. In an accompanying note, the auditors expressed concern over a working capital deficit of $1.034 million as of Sept. 30, 2011.
“Although management has taken recent action to increase revenues, as of the date of this report there is a Board-approved but not fully implemented financial plan in place ... to restore adequate working capital within the current year,” the auditors’ note said. They expressed doubts that Pacifica had enough working capital to meet its financial obligations.
The financial issues are especially acute at Pacifica stations in New York and Washington, the story says, but the report adds that KPFK needs a new transmitter.