Petition Closed
Petitioning Pacifica National Board and 2 others
This petition will be delivered to:
Pacifica National Board
Pacifica Interim Executive Director
Summer Reese
WBAI General Manager
Berthold Reimers

Pacifica National Board: Stop Mass Layoffs at WBAI

In the past several years, WBAI and Pacifica have faced serious difficulties and instability that have cost both listener money and morale. Changes in the economy have caused many non-profits to struggle for survival. The station has accumulated very large debts, and the main response has been ever-increasing on-air fund drives.

Now the entire paid staff has received layoff notices effective July 15, and SAG-AFTRA members expect the final outcome will be the termination of about three-fourths of those workers.

While the station must again become self-sustaining, Pacifica should avoid the usual capitalist practice of taking aim at workers first and instead seek to share internal resources. The Pacifica National Board has called for the local board and staff to provide multi-year sustainability plans by August 15. If layoffs occur on July 15, then most of the staff would not be around to participate in the plan.


Letter to
Pacifica National Board
Pacifica Interim Executive Director Summer Reese
WBAI General Manager Berthold Reimers
Stop Mass Layoffs at WBAI

I am writing to express my deep concern about the situation at WBAI.

In the past several years, WBAI and Pacifica have faced serious difficulties and instability that have cost both listener money and morale. Changes in the economy have caused many non-profits to struggle for survival. The station has accumulated very large debts, and the main response has been ever-increasing on-air fund drives.

Now the entire paid staff has received layoff notices effective July 15, and SAG-AFTRA members expect the final outcome will be the termination of about three-fourths of those workers.

While the station must again become self-sustaining, Pacifica should avoid the usual capitalist practice of taking aim at workers first and instead seek to share internal resources. The Pacifica National Board has called for the local board and staff to provide multi-year sustainability plans by August 15. If layoffs occur on July 15, then most of the staff would not be around to participate in the plan.

There are avenues that have not been fully utilized and others not yet explored.

Unique among Pacifica stations is WBAI’s steep transmitter rent of $50,000 per month at the Empire State Building. Just as all stations participate in annual fundraising for our treasured archives, and just as was done for BAI after Hurricane Sandy forced the evacuation of Wall Street, for the next 2-3 years, a day can be chosen when all stations pitch for WBAI in recognition of the value and the cost of maintaining a Pacifica presence in the middle of New York’s commercial radio dial.

Other Pacifica and affiliate stations can be asked to “lend” money by paying ahead; major donors can be approached for no-interest, medium-term loans as well as gifts; increasing the membership by ethical outreach into the diverse populations served by our programming and a thoughtful examination of program changes; an accomplished fundraising professional can be hired by Pacifica to help coordinate a variety of tried-and-true fundraising methods, starting at WBAI.

Whether I turn to WBAI for news, analysis, activism, or music, I hear producers hard at work and think that before the axe is taken to them, they and we deserve a real chance to survive as a local station and to participate in necessary, organized change with real input.

Therefore, I am joining the demand for:
1. No mass layoffs of paid staff, including paid producers and hosts.
2. Immediate implementation of creative on-air and serious off-air fundraising strategies.
3. A freeze on program changes except as needed for vacation, illness, pressing news developments, etc., until a person to temporarily serve as Program Director is hired after proper vetting by the local board and station staff.