National Public Radio officials warned member stations yesterday that substantial rebuilding might be needed despite a loan agree Tuesday with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that solves the radio network's immediate financial problems.
"We have gotten breathing room but we have a way to go," said Ronald Bornstein, NPR's interim chief operating officer, as he announced the successful completion of the agreement.
Shortly before midnight Tuesday, officials at NPR, the country's largest public radio network, and CPB, the independent agency that provides federal money to public broadcasting, signed a three-year loan agreement. The arrangement includes a line of credit from CPB for up to $8.5 millioe-member trusteeship for the ownership of NPR's satellite equipment and a lease renting the equipment back to NPR.
The lengthy agreement also calls for CPB to forgive a $600,000 loan made to NPR in June. Thaalong with $1.6 million pledged recently by member stations to help the financial crisis, is now being appliede of the satellite equipment. A majority of the stations have agreed to guarantee the repayment, if NPR defauled all the stations to vote officially to forgive the $600,000 loan and to transfer the $1.6 million.
To solve the dispute overf the satellite equipment, which almost wrecked negotiations over the loan, NPR proposed a public trustee grouucer and former CPB board member Virginia Duncan, attorney Elliot Richardson and attorney Henry Geller. Their majority approval of the stations. The trustees insisted they would not be liable for any NPR debts.
CPB hact fiscal oversight at NPR, ranging from periodic budget reports to grant approval. Edward Pfister, CPB presidon has "diminishing approval over grants above certain levels, meaning CPB will have slightly greater oversigh 1985, 1986." Pfister added, "There is not unnecessary intrusion." NPR retains management of the system and prOn Tuesday night the two parties exchanged three checks: $6.5 million, representing the line of credit; $512,0 monthly federal payment from CPB to NPR; and $30, the rent for the lease of the equipment. The financial arra its projected $9.1 million deficit for fiscal 1983.
The agreement was announced on the last day of a natiorive. Nearly 100 stations are participating and had raised more than $2 million by last night. NPR has agreed tations keep the money they have pledged to NPR first, then divide the rest between the network and the statio described as "complex and numerous" and CPB and NPR refused to spell out the details of the agreement or prov
"We still regard this as a private matter," said Pfister. "We are not being evasive. CPB and NPR have reacgun to put NPR into solvency. For me to discuss it today would be imprudent."
The documents, however, were d today.
The future of NPR, said Bornstein and Donald Mullally, interim chairman of the NPR board, would see some internal processes revaroblems are not behind us," said Mullally. He suggested several broad areas for the board's and members' consitrol of the cash flow, independence of the programming department from financial problems, delivery of serviced clarification of the roles of CPB and NPR.
"We will work on efficiency, making it a lean and efficient system, " Mullally added.