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Board members at Sacramento NPR affiliate CapRadio resign

The aggrieved members accused license holder CSU Sacramento of not working with it to resolve financial issues.

The aggrieved members accused license holder CSU Sacramento of not working with it to resolve financial issues.

More than a dozen board members at Sacramento’s main NPR member station resigned this week following a scathing financial audit disclosed by the public university that holds its broadcast license.

Among the 14 now-former board members to resign from CapRadio were Chairperson Andrea Clark, Vice Chair Cornelious Burke and Secretary Christopher Russell.

In a letter obtained by The Desk on Thursday, the aggrieved board members accused the California State University (CSU) in Sacramento of failing to “engage with the board in good faith to resolve CapRadio’s financial issues.”

Those financial issues were fully disclosed last month in a shocking audit that revealed CapRadio executives for years made equipment purchases and executed loan agreements without the approval of the board as required, among other things.

Officials at CSU Sacramento have appointed an interim administrator to oversee the public radio network, which operates a news channel at KXJZ (90.9 FM), a classical radio station at KXPR (89.9 FM) and around a half-dozen terrestrial repeaters throughout Northern California.

That administrator, CSU Sacramento Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Bowman, raised concerns about financial issues at CapRadio back in 2021. In the letter sent on Wednesday, board members said no one at the university — including Bowman — fully disclosed the depth of the broadcaster’s “financial inconsistencies” with the board.

“Had they been, we could and would have acted immediately to avoid the current financial crisis,” the now-former board members wrote in their letter.

The letter went on to complain that various members of the board have tried to reach out to CSU Sacramento President Luke Wood in the days since the audit has been released, to no avail.

“The dynamic has now shifted in a direction that we do not understand structurally and that we disagree with strategically,” the letter says. “Our only recourse at this point is to step down.”

The board members who resigned this week are:

  • Bena Arao (Senior Director, CSU Sacramento)
  • Lisa Bader (Founder & President, Birthday Butler)
  • Katherine Bardis-Miry (Co-Founder, Bardis Homes)
  • Cornelious Burke (VP of Legislative Affairs, California Building Industry Association)
  • Andrea Clark (Partner, Downey Brand)
  • Richard Cummings (Manager, KPMG)
  • Roger Dreyer (Partner & Attorney, Dreyer/Babich/Buccola/Wood/Campora)
  • Kelly Freitas (VP of Marketing Shared Services, VSP Global)
  • Mónica Nainsztein (Executive, Localipsum)
  • Christopher Russell (Partner & Attorney, Stoel Rives)
  • Kim Silvers (President, Silvers HR)
  • Marjorie Solomon (Professor of Psychiatry, UC Davis)
  • Douglas Wagemann (Owner, Wagemann Holdings)
  • Steven Weiss (President, The Weiss Group)

Wood accepted the resignations by letter on Thursday.

The exodus leave CapRadio with a board consisting of just nine members. Of those, seven work or have worked for the California State University system.

It also comes at a time when CSU Sacramento is trying to take a more hands-on approach toward overseeing the administrative functions of the public radio network in an effort to prevent the broadcaster from falling into insolvency.

Earlier this week, university officials warned the financial mismanagement at CapRadio was so severe that the broadcaster could be completely broke in less than three months. By virtue of its auxiliary status with CSU Sacramento, CapRadio can’t file for bankruptcy on its own — and opening up additional pipelines of revenue or securing new lines of credit could be extremely difficult without a full and active board of directors in place.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).