Cost of democratic safeguards is steep, Pacifica discovers

Pacifica’s transition to a listener-elected board of directors carried an unexpectedly high price tag, and network executives are exploring cheaper alternatives. Last year the radio network enshrined its democratic principles in bylaws that empowered its staff and members of stations to elect Local Station Boards. Those boards in turn vote for the network’s national board. The bylaws were a crowning achievement to activists who spent years wresting Pacifica from an unpopular board, which had begun appointing its own members and installed a top-down governance style. But the additional governance costs have shocked some Pacifica leaders, who ask whether the cash-strapped network can sustain them.