99.5 New York

Pacifica & Empire State Building Reach Settlement To Avoid Asset Seizures; WBAI To Move

Pacifica Foundation’s 99.5 WBAI New York has reached a settlement with Empire State Realty Trust over the $1,819,687.52 in unpaid rent Pacifica was ordered to pay last October. Under the terms of the settlement, Pacifica states that it will be relieved of the judgment, additional rent and and penalties accrued since the judgement, and any remaining obligations that were to be incurred after May 31, 2018. No financial terms of the settlement were revealed but Pacifica states it will pay it off through a loan from FJC that allows the foundation to not make payments for the first 18 months of the loan and only on interest payments for the following 18 months. As part of the deal Pacifica will be freed from the final two years of its lease at the Empire State Building and move WBAI to a ...[Read More]

Pacifica Foundation Secures Emergency Loan To Stave Off ESRT Seizure

With the deadline allowing Empire State Realty Trust to begin to seize assets in order to claim the $1,819,687.52 in unpaid rent coming this week, the Pacifica Foundation has secured a $2 million bridge loan from supporters of 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles. Interim Executive Director Bill Crosier told the San Francisco Chronicle, “This would be a short-term loan to pay off the judgment, then the plans are to repay it with another, longer-term loan.” The Chronicle states that they are shopping for an additional $3 million loan to pay off the first bridge loan, additional accrued tower rent, and pension payments. Pacifica is $8 million in debt between its five stations, has failed to fund its pension pool, has multiple properties with tax liens, and has been under investigation by the Californ...[Read More]

WBAI Off The Air; But Not Due To Empire State Judgment (Yet)

The ongoing drama surrounding the Pacifica Foundation and its 99.5 WBAI New York has taken another turn as the station went off-the-air on Saturday due to transmitter failure. The station remains off today and Pacifica Interim Executive Director Bill Crosier states it may be until the middle of the week at the earliest for them to resume broadcasting. Crosier stated in an e-mail forum that the station first went off due to a Verizon related STL outage but then returned briefly before the transmitter “malfunctioned and shut down”. They are awaiting new parts to be delivered or for a backup transmitter to be delivered from 89.3 WPFW Washington DC. Meanwhile Pacifica continue struggle along as it tries to figure out how to pay the $1,819,687.52 (and growing) debt owed to Empire St...[Read More]

Empire State Building Wins Summary Judgment Against WBAI In Rent Dispute

Judge Gerald Lebovits has ruled with a summary judgment in favor of the Empire State Realty Trust in its lawsuit against Pacifica Foundation’s 99.5 WBAI New York for unpaid rent in the amount of $1,819,687.52. WBAI had sought to continue to pay the $12,000 a month as opposed to the nearly $45-$53,000 per month its lease was for on the argument that they had an oral agreement, but the judge ruled that there was no written agreement to go along with it. In a statement on WBAI.org, Pacifica lawyer Sam Himmelstein stated “This was about as bad a result as we could have expected.” Pacifica must pay the money due immediately. In an audio clip on WBAI’s page, General Manager Berthold Reimers made the argument that WBAI or any station should not have to pay any money for a ...[Read More]

FCC Report 8/6: WRAX Issued Hearing Designation For Lack Of Operation

The FCC has designated Radioactive LLC's 98.9 WRAX Lake Isabella MI for a license renewal hearing. WRAX, licensed to operate with 250w/15m, has operated on a series of Silent STA's for the past seven years and signing on for just parts of one day per year to keep the license active. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is using the WRAX case to initiate a streamlined procedure to evaluate license renewals for stations that have been off the air for long periods of time via a "paper hearing" as opposed to through an Administrative Law Judge. Instead Radioactive will have 60 days to file a written statement up to 25 pages why WRAX should have its license renewed.

Pacifica Names New Executive Director

Pacifica Radio Network has named William Crosier as its new Executive Director. Crosier served on the Pacifica Board of Directors in 2010-2012 and again since last year representing 90.1 KPFT Houston. He supplants Interim Executive Director Lydia Brazon who has led the organization since October 2015. Pacifica has been on the brink of financial ruin for the past several years. 99.5 WBAI New York is currently being sued for $1,357,429.71 by the Empire State Building over unpaid rent. The group as a whole is being investigated by the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts over delinquent financial audits. In addition to KPFT and WBAI, Pacifica owns 94.1 KPFA and 89.3 KPFB Berkeley/San Francisco, 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles and 89.3 WPFW Washington. The five-station Pacif...[Read More]

Pacifica Names New Executive Director

Over a year after firing Summer Reese as Executive Director, The Pacifica Foundation has named former 88.7 KUHF Houston General Manager/CEO John Proffitt as her replacement effective Monday, May 11 and will be based at Pacifica’s Berkeley, CA headquarters. Proffitt spent over twenty-five years at Houston’s NPR affiliate prior to his exit in 2011. Since then he has volunteered as a host and fundraiser at Pacifica’s 90.1 KPFT. In addition to Houston’s KPFT, Pacifica owns 99.5 WBAI New York, 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles, 94.1 KPFA and 89.3 KPFB Berkeley/San Francisco, and 89.3 WPFW Washington DC. The foundation is currently under investigation by the State of California Attorney General’s Office over failures to comply with California law governing nonprofit foundations...[Read More]

California Attorney General Launches Investigation Into Pacifica Foundation

The Attorney Generals Office of the State of California has launched an audit of the Pacifica Foundation over failures to comply with California law governing nonprofit foundations. Pacifica, the non-commercial operator of 99.5 WBAI New York, 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles, 94.1 KPFA and 89.3 KFPB Berkeley/San Francisco, 90.1 KPFT Houston, 89.3 WPFW Washington, DC and six translators, is being requested to send over 23 documents regarding financial operations dating back to January 1, 2010 within thirty days of the letter being sent on December 17. Operations of Pacifica is very factionalized with two groups usually battling back and forth for operational control over the Foundation. The most recent salvo took place in March when Executive Director Summer Reese was fired. Pacifica has had grants fr...[Read More]

WBAI To Be Evicted From Empire State Building

Update 6/24: Pacifica has filed its application with the FCC to relocate WBAI off of the Empire State Building over to 4 Times Square. The filing proposes a power output of 10kW at 297 meters to retain similar coverage to what the station has now with its 4.3kW at 415 meter signal at Empire State. It will also retain its pre-existing grandfathered short-spacing overlaps with nearby signals including 99.5 WJBR-FM Wilmington DE. Original Report 6/20: The continuing soap opera that is Pacifica Radio has taken another turn. In a report to Pacifica’s National Board, Interim Executive Director Bernard Duncan writes: Payments of May and June rental on the transmission facility on the Empire State Building have been paid, but returned indicating an imminent eviction. We are working on altern...[Read More]

Pacifica Fires Executive Director

Moments after submitting a press release praising the Pacifica Foundation for reaching the funds needed to pay the severance due to staffers laid off from 99.5 WBAI New York last August, Summer Reese was dismissed as Executive Director of the nonprofit group. Reese served as Interim Executive Director for eighteen months and was granted the position permanently just last month. In an e-mail reporting the move, outgoing Treasurer Tracy Rosenberg stated that the firing came without any human resource or legal counsel present despite requests for it by some members of Pacifica’s National Board. Rosenberg states that Reese is obligated to $315,000 as part of a buy-out in her contract. This is just the latest phase of turmoil facing Pacifca. WBAI has seen one Program Director quit and ano...[Read More]

Pacifica Seeking To Lease WBAI New York

Update 10/16: Pacifica has published its RFP for potential PSOA suitors. Pacifica is searching for a partner willing to comply to the following terms: Pacifica must retain ultimate control over WBAI’s program policies and be able to preempt or reject programming in order to prevent a violation of FCC rules or to address an issue of local or national interest Pacifica must continue to employ two WBAI employees, one of whom has managerial responsibilities and who reports solely to Pacifica Pacifica will be reimbursed the costs of the two WBAI salaries, antenna and transmitter rent on the Empire State Building, and costs incurred in maintaining the main studio All proposals should seek to preserve Pacifica’s eligibility to receive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcastin...[Read More]

WBAI Lays Off Staff

Update 8/9: In an on-air program discussing the state of WBAI, Pacifica Interim Executive Director Summer Reese announced that most staff members including the entire news department will be laid off as of Monday, August 12 as the station does not have the funds to meet payroll. Among other notes mentioned by Reese on the program: WBAI has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the past decade. The station has to choose between paying back payroll or transmitter rent next week. The station’s emergency transmitter fund will be used to meet unpaid payrolls after using another station’s money last week. The Pacifica National Office is broke from paying WBAI and other stations. Station GM Berthold Reimers, and interim development director, Andrea Katz, will remain. And...[Read More]

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