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Unpacific Pacifica

WBAI facing Empire State Building TX eviction among many problems roiling the noncom broadcaster

Pacifica’s WBAI(FM) in New York is holding a rent party at its studios on July 5. All proceeds will go to help the station pay its rent to The Commons, a “movement-building space,” according to WBAI.

But whatever funds are collected are also likely to go towards a new transmission space. That’s because WBAI is being evicted from its Empire State Building site, according to a report from Pacifica Foundation Radio Interim Executive Director Bernard Duncan to the Pacifica board.

Duncan says rental payments for May and June on the Empire transmission facility were paid, but then returned, “indicating an imminent eviction. We are working on alternatives,” he tells the board. He tells the board Pacifica’s national staff is working with the New York station to move its transmission facilities to Four Times Square, which would end up saving Pacifica almost two-thirds of its current costs, without getting into details.

Another Pacifica outlet, WPFW(FM), Washington may also need to move. The station is having problems paying its rent and facing union issues and legal issues related to the previous GM, according to Duncan. The station has found new studio space on K Street which would be slightly higher than the station’s current L Street location ($13,690 per month vs. $12,000) but almost $3,000 less than its previous location for roughly the same amount of space.

KPFT(FM), Houston, is working with Pacifica’s FCC attorney on station license renewal and translator license issues; the station is operating under an STA and can’t ask the agency to drop that until it replaces its transmitter.

Not only is July 5 the fundraiser for WBAI, but that’s also the date that Duncan intends to step down. Current chair Margy Wilkinson is slated to replace Duncan, according to the Daily Californian.