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Contact James Sagurton
Listener Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board
WBAI and Pacifica face existential crises at this time. Declines in audience across the radio industry have effected all Pacifica stations. Membership and fundraising are down.

When Pacifica was created 75 years ago it invented listener sponsored free speech broadcasting. We now need to reinvent our use of radio and adapt it to the way people use radio today while expanding further into the digital age.

As other media platforms have succumbed to corporate control and censorship, WBAI must remain a beacon of diverse, free speech.

Unfortunately, Pacifica and WBAI largely missed the transition to the digital age. That is where today's audiences are so, we must be there, too. Just moving our shows to YouTube with talking heads and voiced over video or even slides would multiply our audience.

However, we see that internet platforms are also subject to increasing censorship and corporate control. Our broadcast radio station can be our insurance against corporate cendorship on the internet.

To survive our current financial crises we have to immediately innovate our format and programming to increase our market share. At all Pacifica stations market share is well under 1%. At WBAI we have hovered at about 0.1 to 0.2%. There is a lot of room to grow there and grow we must to survive.

We need more "magazine" style shows featuring shorter segments and broader appeal.

Too many elsewhere in the network believe Pacifica can not survive in our present format without liquidating a major asset like the WBAI signal to continue to pay for it. I believe those now controlling the Pacifica National Board with a supermajority obtained through violations of the Bylaws have exactly that in mind.

There is a narrative used by our national opposition that WBAI does not pay its way. We have struggled but we got no credit for a $500,000 bequest to Pacifica from a WBAI listener. A $200,000 bequest to WBAI from the same donor was used to pay our Central Services in 2022. Ironically, at the same time at KPFA, the home station for many of our detractors who call themselves KPFA Protectors, no Central Services were paid for an entire two years straight. KPFA was financially able to pay and they reported them as paid but they were not.

This was at a time when two years of audits went undone with a resulting loss of grants, an election was postponed, essential employees were let go, the KPFK building was put up for sale, etc., etc.

This is just one example of how Pacifica has devolved into warring camps that struggle over diminishing resources.

I am a 50+ year listener. Since 2014: I began as a volunteer picking up and delivering 'thank you gifts,' WBAI Finance Committee, Committee of Inclusion, Community Advisory Board. Nationally, I was the Pacifica National Board Treasurer by virtue of chairing the National Finance Committee. Other national committees and task forces I have served on are: Governance, Stratigic Planning, Coordinating, Technology and Programming.

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