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DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB Berkeley meeting info
iPNB chair report on Democracy Now!

The Democracy Now!/Pacifica agreement

Presented at the iPNB meeting in Berkeley June 21 - 23, 2002

REPORT ON STATUS OF DEMOCRACY NOW! - submitted by Leslie Cagan

I'm pleased to report that all of the outstanding issues with Democracy Now! have been resolved.

As you may recall, the board voted in our first meeting on December 29, 2001 to restore Democracy Now! to all 5 Pacifica stations, and to meet Democracy Now!'s two conditions for returning: payment of their salaries for the months they worked while "in exile," and that I, as representative of the board, negotiate and sign a contract for the independent production of Democracy Now!.

In addition, that resolution stated that DN would not begin on air fund raising until the contract was finalized, the fired and banned were returned to WBAI and the PNN stringers' strike was settled. I am very pleased to report that Democracy Now! did not wait for all of these conditions to be met before making a major contribution to on air fund raising, instead they jumped right in and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The DN staff has also been very understanding of the financial difficulties we inherited and have continued to produce the show even though we are still in the process of paying the staff of Democracy Now! their backpay.

We have just signed an agreement providing for the independent production of Democracy Now! As part of the negotiation process, we were able to resolve all other outstanding grievances in a manner which, in my opinion, is very favorable to Pacifica. DN! made a number of concessions out of respect for Pacifica's financial condition, which is saving Pacifica tens of thousands of dollars. The key points of the settlement include:

  • DN! will pay their entire production expenses (such as telephone bills, rent, equipment, etc.) during the 'exile period' (from August to January) from their own fundraising. Pacifica will pay the outstanding production expenses from January 7, when DN! was restored to the airwaves of all 5 stations, to now.
  • The DN staff has dropped their request for payment for over 400 collective hours of overtime that they worked in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
  • The DN staff has dropped their request for Pacifica to pay the salary and benefits for an extra producer that they hired after September 11, when they expanded from a one to two hour program.

The agreement we signed does not change Democracy Now!'s status as Pacifica's flagship program. Democracy Now! will continue to fundraise on all 5 Pacifica stations as they have in the past, and the DN staff has made very clear that they are always ready and willing to participate in any way.

The main idea of the contract is to shift the bureaucratic burden for the show from Pacifica to Democracy Now! Instead of paying the staff's salaries and production expenses, Pacifica will pay Democracy Now! a quarterly or monthly sum of money and let Democracy Now! handle the administration. Democracy Now! wanted this because it gives them more control over their resources and staffing, and provides them with protection from any future political attack. This is good for Pacifica because it will reduce our costs and administrative burdens, and allow Democracy Now! to take on projects we won't be able to for awhile. Here are some of the key points:

Fees and fundraising: Democracy Now! has raised over $1 million in pledges for Pacifica since January and is expected to raise over $2 million for the year. Pacifica will pay Democracy Now! $400,000 per year, with yearly increases to be negotiated, in return for producing the show and fundraising on all Pacifica stations. This sum is 35% less than Democracy Now! estimated they need to produce the show.

Affiliates: Pacifica's relationship with our affiliates will remain the same. Democracy Now! plans to start an outreach program for new affiliates, and will try to bring them into Pacifica's network. If a station does not want to affiliate with Pacifica, DN! has the right to distribute the show to them directly.

Archives: Democracy Now! will set up a toll-free number where listeners can order copies of the program. As before, the Pacifica archives will receive all orders for cassette sales as well as their proceeds. DN! will receive proceeds from other merchandise.

Copies of the contract will be given to the Board when we meet in Berkeley.

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