Pacifica & the Empire State Building: Clarification and What it Means…

From Ursula Ruedenberg; Pacifica Network Manager

I am writing to inform you about an event that has been a subject of discussion among some; the recent judgment against Pacifica in a New York court regarding unpaid transmitter site rental costs for WBAI. I am writing about this because there have been questions raised about Pacifica’s future. I was just recently at the Grassroots Radio Conference in Albany NY and was asked to make a public presentation for clarification, as well as to address concerns about the future of the Pacifica Affiliate Network.

Please visit the Pacifica Foundation website for the press release.

I want to relate the content of a lengthy and sober conversation I had with the Pacifica Executive Director, Bill Crosier about how this affects you. He was very clear that what is happening should not affect services to you as an affiliate, and as little as possible, the regular broadcasting of Pacifica stations.

“At this time, I and Pacifica management are committed to continuing and expanding the Pacifica Affiliate Network and are glad for every single station in the network.”

Event Summary

Last week, there was a judgment that Pacifica pay 2.5 million dollars in back-rent to the Empire State Building transmitter site and be bound by a lease for at least another 3 years. This would result in another 2 million dollars of additional costs. The transmitter site costs $60,000 – $70,000 a month (I know, as a station manager myself, it’s hard to wrap my brain around that).

Pacifica does have significant assets, but few liquid assets. The board is exploring hard options for paying off the debts, including the possible sale of buildings. They will be making decisions in the next few weeks. While Pacifica has other significant debts, the organization perceives, with this judgment, the urgency to protect its five radio licenses. Whatever measures are taken, they are not seen as ones that will interrupt services to you as an affiliate, but as measures for continuity, finding time to pay off debts, and to assure as little as possible disruption of all Pacifica operations.

If you have any questions, please contact me ( I am happy to tell you the full extent of what I know. As always, we are so appreciative of your affiliation in the network.