The Pacifica Foundation is seeking another nonprofit organization to help operate WBAI, its financially struggling station in New York.
In a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued this week, the foundation specifies that it intends to retain ultimate control over WBAI programming under a Public Service Operating Agreement. It plans to employ two members of the station's staff, one of whom would have managerial responsibilities and report solely to Pacifica.
The RFP outlines costs that prospective co-operators would be expected to cover, including the two employees’ salaries, studio expenses and rent payments for its lease on the Empire State Building, where WBAI’s transmitter is located. Prospective co-operators must be willing to reimburse Pacifica for these expenses.
Pacifica aims to reserve some airtime for programs it would produce or select, and it will favor proposals covering a contract term of less than eight years. Responses are due by Nov. 6.
WBAI has been operating at a loss for more than a decade, and Pacifica lacks the funds to stabilize its finances and operations. In August the foundation laid off 19 of WBAI’s 29 employees.
In recent years, the station aired an eclectic slate of shows hosted by volunteers and paid staff. Though WBAI’s signal covers much of the New York metro region, it attracts a relatively small audience.