Thanks to those of you who have already filled out our survey, and keep reading to see some of the many comments and suggestions we have received so far, from Pacifica supporters. We’d like to add yours, too, so be sure to fill out the survey today!
We are looking to you, Pacifica supporters, to help us learn what’s important to you. The early pioneers of aviation found they had to learn and adapt in order to be successful. YOU can help us learn what Pacifica needs, so we won’t be stuck on the ground, or crashing every time we try to fly. Help us soar and reach to the sky!
Update – July 2019 – A list of problems with Pacifica’s Bylaws/governance/boards, and suggested solutions, have been compiled and made publicly available here. These were complied from submissions sent in response to requests to both the PNB Governance Committee and to several unofficial Pacifica e-mail lists. Thanks to all of you for your submissions.
Thanks to those of you who have already filled out our first survey on the Pacifica Bylaws and what changes are needed to ensure that Pacifica can not just survive, but pay its bills, get more listeners, and become a more powerful influence in current political discussions.
Please share on social media and e-mail your friends about the survey.
Representative comments and suggestions we have received so far:
To the survey question “Other comments or suggestions about the Pacifica Bylaws“, here are some responses:
- Major Bylaws changes are needed to ensure we have smaller, competent boards. Our governance should help with fund raising and ensure our debts are paid. It should represent the interests of our members rather than of tiny groups who have learned how to take advantage of flaws in the Bylaws to drive away competent board members and get themselves and their friends installed on the boards.
- Bylaws should require better, “state of the art,” uniformly specified and applied financial organization with required follow through by staff and PNB. Balanced Budgets must be required for all stations and departments. Not only should the bylaws require that stations programming be community based, but more programming must be setup to facilitate and use the nation wide/ world wide network.
- Stations with 17000 members need more PNB representatives that stations with 7000 members. It needs to be representational.
- The bylaws were written by groups of traumatized people across the network who were hell-bent on assuring that the pains they endured in the struggle to save Pacifica would never happen to us again; and in effect they created a prison which has kept us trapped for over 15 years and prevented Pacifica from being the change-making, truth-telling information disseminator and platform of communication we have needed this entire time.
- Keep it as simple and easy as possible. “Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy” ― Isaac Newton
- Sortition, sortition, sortition. SORTITION. This is the only way I can see to salvage the bitter factionalism and self-interest created by the LSB and PNB elections.
- Do not keep the democracy. It never worked.
- i will suggest that Pacifica Members vote for Pacifica Directors from a slate of candidates provided from a nominating committee and the elected PNB members run the entire Pacifica network. No more LSBs
- It may be the personalities involved, but local and national meetings seem to be manipulated by parliamentary engineering. You cannot expect donors to continue to support this.
- The bylaws should be reviewed on an annual basis. There should be more input from station members. Outside review of bylaws and rules should be considered.
- much to say..too often all these board members don’t know shit about broadcasting or if they are staff..are wedded to the present system and use all sorts of ideological bullshit to justify nothing being done.
- Short as possible. Board hire and fire management and let management mange. Or Amicable divorce.
- Full rewrite, eliminating all that is covered by statute.
- should be re-written reducing the power of the boards and it’s members
- Simple bylaws are all that are needed. Bylaws set the governance structure, not govenance policies and should not be used to try to set policy. The bylaws should make it clear that the ED is in charge, and that the CFO, Secretary, and GMs report to him or her. The current confusion as to whether station managers are responsible to the ED or their local board needs to end. The GMs must be accountable to the ED, and hired and fired by the ED, without the LSB’s having the power or authority to get in the way or confuse the situation.
- The framers of the Bylaws were overgenerous with the Foundations time and resources. The notice requirements for LSB meetings have rarely been followed fully. Having elections two out of every three years is ridiculous. Four in-person meetings a year is absurdly costly. This is what happens when activist-ideologues with no broadcasting or management experience are handed a blank slate and allowed to devise rules for an organization.
- Consider separating the stations into independent entities, which could still be affiliated through an umbrella organization, IF THEY CHOSE TO DO SO. In any case, each entity would have just one board and their own bylaws. Either there is one central board, or the stations become independent with their own boards. If the stations are independent, then the umbrella organization (Pacifica) is also independent, so it’s board is chosen independently, not from local members. Local stations can come and go from Pacifica at will, which will force Pacifica to be responsive to their needs. Independent Pacifica affiliates would pay a fee to be affiliates, but could decide to leave if they were not happy with the services provided.
- They should have a clearly-articulated process for: 1. Adding new stations to the organization, and 2. Spinning off stations to independent community-based nonprofits, if that’s what their membership wants, and 3. Liquidating stations whose debts and deficits pose a threat to the rest of the network
- I’m not sure that democracy has any place in governing a radio network.
- it is good you are thinking about this. now take some of that money that is spent on elections and hire someone like Miki Kashtan or someone with skills to help evaluate the problems and wholistic create solutions. by law changes are not enough nor does it get to the root of the problems.
- If these are not working lets switch to being an affiliate and use their bylaws or use them as a model if they are working for the affiliate being copied.
- The Bylaws should allow stations to leave Pacifica, if they want to.
- 1. If we’re going to have elections we have to find a way to get more people voting. 2. We also need to coordinate programming more nationally. We should be much more of a national presence than we are, with more professional national shows. Our numbers of listeners are abysmal. 3. Ask in the community what kind of programming potential listeners want to hear; not current listeners but non-listeners in our target audience, like political millennials. 4. And consider advertising on buses…relatively cheap for the return
- a two tier structure with a professional BOD and a member board would be preferable.
To the survey question “Besides changing the Bylaws to make Pacifica more functional, what other changes are needed to bring stability to Pacifica’s stations?“, here are some responses:
- The elections are a pain in the ass and the results are usually not good. The board should be TOLD that they need to be involved in fund raising, ideas for fund raising, maintaining the buildings, publicizing the station, and more. They should not be a police force or court that only enforces what they think is right.
- lsb members who are trying to promote their own businesses or their friends businesses or lsb members who think they govern what types of programming should be on the air waves should be addressed—-a member of the lsb might have good ideas for programming but a program director should be allowed to do his or her job
- Less crappy stupid programming. Less obsession with giving “voice to the community” and more to featuring people who know what they’re talking about and do it well.
- Have a politically responsible national board that selects itself after an initial board is chosen.
- Managers and boards should have a close relationship. LSBs, as they exist currently, are useless. If the local board could actually make decisions, then managers would be more likely to attend the meetings as non-voting members. Managers need the ability to change personnel at will, but they must explain their actions to the board, which then has the ability to hire and fire the manager.
- Evaluating programming on a regular basis and finding ways to continually raise money in a non-intrusive manner. Dedicated fundraisers every other month is not productive.
- Get rid of agenda based people
- Have clear cut skills defined for board seats. I would like prospective board members nominated and voted on or off by incumbents.
- Local management and finances MUST be accountable to the national ED and CFO, who should have unambiguous hiring and firing authority over them. OR — the five stations should become independent Pacifica Affiliates with their own local boards and authority and NO responsibility to or for Pacifica National at all. Pacifica National could then be an independent program distribution service that stations could choose to affiliate with or not. This would make the stations more responsive and accountable to their local communities, and less likely to blame someone else for their failures … thus, hopefully, the stations would be better managed and better governed.
- comprehensive Pacifica (top tier) budget with benchmarks and fallbacks.
- Financial control top to bottom. Run it like a truly accountable foundation.
- Pacifica has evolved from a free speech network run mostly by volunteers, intellectuals and radio non-conformists to a leftist advocacy network in which non-leftists are mistrusted and unwelcome. As long as people assume that Pacifica has an established political line, and programming that deviates from that line is proscribed, stagnation will persist. LSB and PNB members seem uninterested in basic radio management and are more interested in political advocacy and running Pacifica itself as an experiment in egalitarian politics and a stage on which to perform sectarian debates and personal psychodramas that belong elsewhere. Some programmers act like they are the last line of defense for human civilization itself. Consequently, anyone who advocates programming change is subjected to protest, accusation and invective. Managers are too scared of the programmers and their governance allies to change anything substantive. Disruptive and disrespectful behavior that would get you fired anywhere else is tolerated in Pacifica. Such behavior is erroneously assumed to be “political” and “social justice-oriented” and is therefore untouchable. Pacifica has developed into a well-functioning politically correct blackmail system in which change and growth are impossible. Only strong leadership more interested in expanding listenership than in placating political constituencies and being liked would be capable of breaking through this deadlock. Can such leadership be found and would such leadership be supported by the Executive Director and the PNB? Doubtful. Eliminating elected boards will not solve these problems entirely, but the bad feeling, gridlock, noise, and waste generated by the LSBs can be ended quickly. People who want to shape and influence Pacifica would have to do so by contributing directly to the operation of the stations (volunteering in the phone room, volunteering to help programmers, creating new programs, engaging in outreach) rather than making speeches and passing motions in a pretend Congress.
- Continuing training for all levels and departments. Required evaluation of all personnel a minimum of annually. Required evaluation and change in programming; at all stations a minimum of annually. (2)
- a signal swap for WBA I and change of management
- Pay off our debt ASAP!
- management genuinely accountable to the president and board for satisfactory performance.
- A national program director with the power to make changes to any Pacifica schedules at all five stations.
- Negotiate a sale of WBAI in exchange for eliminating that debt–the albatross. The overwhelming debt deters new supporters–they did not create this situation.
- National Program Director, maybe.
- we need better meeting technology. not just audio.
- More volunteers, less paid staff.
- Wholesale sacking of the dead wood on the air ..that is the MAIN Problem
- Signal swap for WBAI. New GM at WBAI
- WBAI should be auctioned off to settle its debts before they swamp the rest of the stations, and any remaining proceeds should used to create a national programming endowment that can restore a national news service for use by Pacifica stations and affiliates, that can commission freelance work from station-based reporters.
- Sell WBAI.
- Professional broadcast and engineering standards
- Whatever its length, produce a gloss of the Bylaws that facilitates comprehension of them.
- Weak stations should not be allowed to steal the support of strong stations. The pretense that the 5 stations are the offspring of a parent network has to end. That’s not how the confederation known as “Pacifica” evolved.
- Share more programming between and among stations; foster more training and engagement with youth and POC communities; promote and market stations and programs; more effective and consistent use of social media for promotion/marketing; expand beyond radio to incorporate video/streaming more effectively; lessen on-air squabbling over “dirty laundry” and focus more on Pacifica’s mission to create more understanding and a peaceful world.
- Make boards smaller. Screen candidates better. Make sure there is no cheating on ballots. Have consequences for causing chaos at meetings. As they say, democrats are like herding cats. While, lefties, from my experience at the station and serving on the LSB, eat their own. Life is short. Set up stop and go signals so boards can function and accomplish something.
- Reevaluate Bankruptcy as recommended by the CFO Sam Agarwal and Bill Crosier, Peter Franck and reorganize with supervision of a judge.
- Sell WBAI, pay off that damn loan on time. Also have better ability to fire bad station managers. And end the stupid faction fighting. Perhaps by ability to recall reps on PNB.
- Student or under age 30 membership – $5, or 5 hour volunteer
- Some way to raise or generate more income.
- Use the stations’ websites and on-air promos to drive contributions in between fund drives.
- Return to Mission, require quality, abandon partisanship, program from archives
- Hire professional managers to run the stations, not friends of board members
- Term limit on GM. 5 years max.
- It is grossly unfair for one member station’s financial irresponsibility to endanger the financial security of a better-managed station, as is the case right now.