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Reports on the end of "Free Speech Radio News," and radiosurvivor.com reports a Federal Communications Commissioner is trying to stabilize AM radio, and FCC schedules an Oct. 3 webinar about how non-profit organizations can apply for low-power FM radio licenses.
Produced by Tom Roe at Wave Farm's WGXC in New York. Two stories include reporting from radiosurvivor.com.
"Free Speech Radio News," a show that included freelance audio journalism from around the world, will air its final show Fri., Sept. 27. The show ends because of a financial struggle. "Our major funder Pacifica has not been able to pay us and its past-due balance to FSRN is about $198,000," the show's board of directors said in a letter (printed in full below). "Our production currently costs about $36,000 per month. Until recently, your dollars supplemented a $25,000 per month contract with our major donor, the Pacifica Foundation. But our current contract is for just $10,000 per month, which is not enough to sustain daily production at current levels." The show emerged, in January, 2000, according to Wikipedia, as freelance reporters for the former Pacifica Network News engaged in a strike over censorship by Pacifica's then Executive Director and Board. The strike ended in March, 2002 when the board was replaced and "Free Speech Radio News," since then, received major financial support from Pacifica. The New York Times recently reported Pacifica owes more than $2 million in broadcast fees to “Democracy Now!.”
Dear FSRN listeners,
We write to you with some extremely sad news. Last Friday, FSRN’s Board of Directors issued a two-week layoff notice to all staff, with our last daily program scheduled for Friday, September 27th.
Our Board took this action because as of September 13th, FSRN had $32,000 in the bank. We project that in order to close up shop and meet our financial and legal responsibilities, it will cost $29,000.
FSRN is currently carrying just over $200,000 in accounts receivable. For much of the year, our major funder Pacifica has not been able to pay us and its past-due balance to FSRN is about $198,000.
Many of you have supported FSRN during our struggles to make ends meet. Over the years we have made significant cutbacks to respond to a shrinking budget and weathered several financial crises that nearly brought us to the brink of closure. Most recently, funds ran dangerously low this past Spring, but with your help, we raised more than $100,000 from more than 1300 people like you to keep FSRN on the air.
Today, we once again find ourselves in crisis.
For those of you unfamiliar with FSRN’s operating costs and revenue, we’d like to share a few details. Your grassroots support has been vital to FSRN. Our production currently costs about $36,000 per month. Until recently, your dollars supplemented a $25,000 per month contract with our major donor, the Pacifica Foundation. But our current contract is for just $10,000 per month, which is not enough to sustain daily production at current levels.
If we receive a payment from Pacifica, FSRN’s Board will decide how the organization will proceed. Depending on the size of the payment, we may have several options. We are discussing the possibility of transforming FSRN into something new, more digitally-centered and financially sustainable, but still focused on bringing under-represented issues and voices about peace and social justice issues to a global audience. We are currently working hard to develop a sustainable business plan that will take FSRN into the next phase and we hope we can count on you for your support when the time is right.
Together with hundreds of reporters in communities around the globe, we have brought you more than 3,400 programs and specials, featuring 20,000+ reporter headlines & features. On more than 100 stations across the US, you have heard stories documenting wrongdoing, repression and corruption, and highlighting the individuals, campaigns and movements that work everyday to bring about a more just and equitable society. We know this work has educated and inspired countless people, and contributed to a growing trend of media outlets that focus on news that serves the public interest.
We are so grateful to all of our supporters, past and present, for all your contributions. We will keep you informed on FSRN’s future and how you can play a role in any potential transformation. And if you know of any major donors who would be interested in investing in FSRN’s future, please let us know.