The Berkeley-based radio network The Pacifica Foundation -- parent to KPFA, Berkeley’s beloved bastion of left-wing public affairs and eclectic cultural programming, as well as four other stations around the country -- expects to sign off on a $2 million dollar loan this week to pay off part of a larger debt.
Bill Crosier, KPFA's interim executive director, says the loan, offered by friends of the network, will help Pacifica to cover the $1.8 million it owes in back rent for its New York station, WBAI. The station is housed in the Empire State Building, where the rent on its space currently stands at $65,000 a month.
"The annual increase every year goes up about nine percent," Crosier says. "They just haven't been able to keep up with that."
New York City-based realtor Empire State Realty Trust, which owns the Empire State Building, won a lawsuit against Pacifica last October. The company could seize Pacifica’s assets, including those of KPFA, if the network doesn't meet its obligations.
The network’s total debt stands at around $8 million dollars. So longer term, Crosier says Pacifica's board is considering options like borrowing even more money and selling assets. Another option is to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.