Submitted by Sheldon Rampton on
Now that community radio advocates have regained control of the Pacifica Radio Network, they are discovering that the outgoing Pacifica managers "treated the network like a trough," in the words of current acting executive director Dan Coughlin. In addition to racking up huge personal expense bills and handing themselves "golden parachute" severance packages, the former managers ran up millions of dollars on attorneys and PR firms. "One firm, for instance, has billed Pacifica more than $500,000 for a few months work," Coughlin says. "Most alarmingly, I also want to report to you and the entire Pacifica community that the former administration apparently committed hundreds of thousands of listener dollars on an undercover intelligence operation targeting Pacifica staffers and listeners. Secret dossiers were apparently created on programmers, like Amy Goodman, on board members like Leslie Cagan, and on listener activists. Undercover agents were reportedly dispatched to spy on Local Advisory Board meetings and on community events. Internet newsgroups and web sites were closely monitored and liaisons were established with local police forces." As a result, Coughlin says, "The Pacifica Radio network is in far worse financial shape than any of us have imagined ... on the brink of financial collapse." facing a "$1.5 million budget gap for this calendar year and a $5 million working capital deficit." The Save Pacifica Campaign is seeking donations.