UPDATE The Pacifica Foundation recently reached a settlement with Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) that releases WBAI-FM, New York City, from paying outstanding tower lease payments and penalties.
ESRT sued Pacifica for close to $2 million in back tower lease payments in February 2017. In October 2017, a New York Supreme Court awarded ESRT a judgement of $1.8 million. The settlement, announced by the Pacifica National Board last week, also relieves the broadcaster from additional rent and penalties accrued since the judgement was issued, and any remaining financial obligations that would have kicked-in after May 31.
Pacifica got a loan from non-profit lender FJC; it includes a reserve amount that frees Pacifica from making payments for the first 18 months of the loan and interest payments only for the following 18 months, before the loan matures after three years.
The non-profit broadcaster is in the process of negotiating a new transmission site for WBAI from the shared tower site at 4 Times Square. The pending agreement will include the purchase and installation of a new transmitter to replace WBAI’s failing 28-year-old unit. The new transmission site landlord will provide an undisclosed amount of capital for the new transmitter, with the total cost amortized over the life of the agreement.
Pacifica National Board Chair Nancy Sorden, said all the actions the broadcaster is taking will give Pacifica, “time to recover, stabilize and improve our operations.” Pacifica is currently led by Interim Executive Director Tom Livingston; the board has begun the search for a new permanent executive director.