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Majority of employees laid off at Pacifica’s WBAI-FM

The logo of Pacifica Radio station WBAI-FM.
The logo of Pacifica Radio station WBAI-FM.

Struggling from financial and technical difficulties, Pacifica Radio’s WBAI-FM New York laid off most of its employees on Monday, including its entire editorial staff.

Summer Reese announced the layoffs Friday.

Listener-supported WBAI has operated at a loss since 2004, the New York Times reports. The station is $1 million in the red and owes $500,000 in rent on its transmitter.

The station’s problems were compounded last November when Hurricane Sandy forced the station to ditch its studios on Wall Street.

The station’s troubles, coupled with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s decision to suspend payments to WBAI, provoked station management to lay off 19 employees, or 66 percent of its staff.

If the station cannot cover operating costs soon, it may be forced to sell its broadcast license.

WBAI is one of several listener-supported stations in the greater New York City area, with others including WNYC and WFUV. WBAI’s programming is mostly categorized as “progressive.”

Pacifica Radio operates WBAI as well as KPFK Los Angeles, WPFW Washington, KPFT Houston and KPFA/KPFB Berkeley.

New York Times: WBAI lays off nearly entire staff
Democracy Now: Struggling Pacifica station slashes jobs

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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).