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KPFA's firing of morning hosts questioned

Aaron Glantz, an editor at New America Media, has written an opinion piece for Huffington Post questioning the wisdom of KPFA’s decision to ax both hosts of its morning show, Aimee Allison and Brian Edwards Tiekert, and producer Laura Prives.

“If your non-profit radio network is facing a financial crisis, it’s best not to kill your most successful program,” Glantz wrote. Allison and Tiekert have been replaced with programming being piped in from Los Angeles.

“It’s unclear why Pacifica’s Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt would make such a move, which is guaranteed to lose the network’s flagship station both listeners and dollars, while simultaneously undercutting its very reason for existence,” Glantz said.

He points out that the firings occurred the same day the staff of the station filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board for multiple violations of the workers’ union contract.

Glantz said that Engelhardt isn’t answering questions about the move, and that a YouTube video (above) has been posted that shows her refusing to give out her salary.

Of course, nonprofits must file IRS Form 990 each year in which the are required to disclose the salaries of the five highest compensated employees. But Engelhardt’s salary isn’t currently available because she was hired in 2009 and the 990 for that year hasn’t yet been released.

The most recent 990 available for KPFA’s license holder, the Pacifica Foundation, is for the year 2008, and it shows the highest compensated employee was Lonnie Hicks, then the CFO, who received $84,948 in wages and 25,377 in other non-cash compensation.

In 2007, the highest-paid employee listed in the 990 was News Director Verna Avery-Brown, who earned $77,818 in wages and $18,914 in a deferred compensation plan.

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