Current, the public broadcasting journal, reports on the agreement at the embattled Pacifica Network to nominate an interim board of directors to revise the network’s bylaws and (hopefully) reform long standing problems and abuses.
A major component of the plan is to bring back more democratic control over the network by its 5 network-owned radio stations and their listeners. Five members of the new 15-member interim board will be appointed by the local advisory boards of each station — one from each. Before this happens, the local advisory boards are themselves to be democratized by being elected by the stations’ members. Pacifica has member-funded noncommercial radio stations in Berkeley, CA, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, DC, and Houston, TX. For easy digestion, SavePacifica has this summary of the Pacifica National BoardÂ’s resolution to reconstitute itself.
Although I am cautiously optimistic and happy to see such an agreement come out of the more than five year long battle over the Pacifica Network, there is also a somewhat glaring omission in the list of planned changes — the affiliates. Part of the growth of the Pacifica Network can be attributed to the fifty-some community and public station affiliates that carried its programs like Pacifica Network News and Democracy Now. Unfortunately, many of those affiliates have left the network as many of the network’s problems trickled down. At my local community station, we had many simple “customer service” problems with the network, including a ridiculously difficult time negotiating an affiliation contract. It was Pacifica’s very refusal to negotiate in any manner of good faith that finally caused WEFT to sever ties.
It is reasonable and smart for Pacifica to focus on getting its own house in order as a first priority. But I hope that doesn’t cause the new regime to take the affiliates for granted, and I hope that effort is made to again treat these fellow community stations with the due respect they deserve.