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Letter from KPFA General Manager to Our Listening Community
by Lemlem Rijio (via list)
Tuesday Dec 15th, 2009 6:06 PM
We have been mandated by our parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation and the Pacifica National Board, to make deep cuts to our budget. We have made all the cost reductions we can from non-staff expenses, but we had no choice but to eliminate a number of staff positions and cut the hours of many others.
Dear Friends and KPFA Family,

These are very hard times for our listeners, for the media, and for non-profits around the country. The residents of Northern California have been hit hard by the recession and so have we. In our recent fund drives, our listeners have been supporting us consistently, but have only been able to afford to give smaller donations, which has resulted in a significant decline in our revenue. We have been mandated by our parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation and the Pacifica National Board, to make deep cuts to our budget. We have made all the cost reductions we can from non-staff expenses, but we had no choice but to eliminate a number of staff positions and cut the hours of many others. Managers at the station, including myself, have also taken a pay reduction.

Each department at the station – Programming, Operations, Development, and Administration – is being cut by 20 percent. All public affairs programs are being cut across the board and reductions have been made to bring each show's cost into line with its income. All cuts have been in compliance with the union contract of the paid staff, Communication Workers of America. These cuts to KPFA staff have been the most difficult thing I have had to do during my tenure at station manager.

The good news is because of the generosity of our listeners, KPFA is going to survive this difficult financial crisis. The bad news is in order to survive KPFA will be continuing to cut cost across the board over the next three to six months. These cuts will impact all programs and operations at KPFA.

If you are able to give a little extra to KPFA this winter, it would be much appreciated. We truly operate on a shoestring here and are grateful to every donation. Thank you for your continued support of KPFA and the work we do, going to where the silence is and reporting on the stories that the mainstream media willfully ignores.

Respectfully,

Lemlem Rijio
general manager

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by $
Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009 6:59 AM
This stinking little beauty queen, Lemlem Rijio, teaching us again that pretty is as pretty does, is LYING when she says the cuts to KPFA, in particular Flashpoints which raises lots of money for KPFA, are mandatory. Please see
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/13/18632464.php
for various leaflets documenting that Nora Barrows-Friedman, an award-winning journalist whose main beat is exposing the horrors of US-Israeli imperialism in Palestine, has more seniority than 12-15 people at the station yet her hours were cut in HALF, and Flashpoints led by Dennis Bernstein, one of the best if not THE BEST FUNDRAISERS AT KPFA, had its technical person ELIMINATED, as well as having Nora's hours cut in HALF.

As Dennis says "This is not an across the board 20% cut as management claims, but clearly a move to kill Flashpoints. Our personnel budget has been slashed 45-50% under current management. No other show has come close to these kinds of cuts and this kind of treatment."

THE NEW LOCAL STATION BOARD MUST FIRE LEMLEM RIJIO IMMEDIATELY, AND NO LATER THAN THEIR JANUARY 9, 2010 MEETING AND they must restore Nora's hours to 40 hours a week and restore their technical person. THEY ALSO SHOULD RESTORE ROBERT KNIGHT'S NEWS BRIEFS ON FLASHPOINTS.

As you can see from the leaflets, Hard Knock Radio, the workingclass youth program heard daily at 4 p.m., and Guns & Butter, the 9/11 Truth program heard Wednesdays at 1 p.m., are also being cut.

Call Lemlem Rijio at 510.848.6767 X203 NOW to save Flashpoints. You can also Email her at gm [at] kpfa.org. Tell her you want Flashpoints fully restored as above and that you are not giving one thin dime to KPFA until she is fired.
by Brendan
Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009 10:49 AM
I agree with the essence of the previous post . The official line that ''Pain is being felt equally '' blah blah is bullshit .
But cut out the ''stinking little beauty queen '' rhetoric ! One's physical appearance is revelant for people hooking up but not for a political accessment of crisis at Pacifica .
Stick to the issues please.
by April Hurley, MD
Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009 4:49 PM
Dear Lemlem Rigio,

Gutting Flashpoints is a very unwise move. Please try to explain; what are you thinking?
Why would anyone promote the travel expense for unremarkable “Letters from Washington” or minimize local reporting by combining KPFA and KPFK news? Why send Brian Edwards-Tiekert, of all people, to Copenhagen for a useless front row seat using precious grant money? On your watch, Evening News and segmants through the day echo mainstream media’s talking points. Your Morning Show spends a good deal of its 2 hour time pitching books, little info of critical importance. During prime captive audience commute time, prime listener recruitment and pledging opportunities, no less!

Your advisor, Brian E-T, makes ridiculous excuses for the precipitous drop in KPFA funding; but he’s so part of the problem! While Bush, Obama, and the Democratic Congress have trashed the world and unraveled our society, KPFA has been mostly white noise. Sabotaging the Local Station Board, dismissing the Unpaid Staff Organization, and eliminating the Program Council, to maintain a neutral format has been unconscionable during these endless, brutal eight years. I’ve withheld all but a pittance of the thousands of dollars I’ve donated yearly. I used to enjoy the Craft Fair too. I can no longer sponsor this shameful corruption of Lew Hill’s vision.

Managing a Pacifica Station and staff should be a labor of love; people feel frustrated for good reason. On your watch, policies have constrained station activism, disabled Pacifica’s Mission, and narrowed Lew Hill’s vision. Flashpoints is one of very few programs delivering compelling, essential, cutting edge information not available elsewhere. Listener-sponsors of KPFA demand this bang for their buck! Why are other programs so complacent during these critical times?

KPFA is a precious, radically independent station with untapped power and unlimited audience. Why keep archived treasures in mothballs? Why not allow debate, analysis, forums, provocative talks and hard questioning interviews on air? The Bay Area is teeming with independent journalist, researchers, volunteers and activists willing to assist on exceptional programs and contribute time and ideas you could use as general manager. But you have persisted with deaf ears and dead wood.

Have an epiphany, Lemlem! Do one thing wise; manage on your own for a change!!
Find the funds, restore staff to Flashpoints, and support the work of this team.
Lead KPFA to excellence or let someone with a conscience replace you as manager!

Sincerely,
April Hurley, MD
by maggie kaigler
Thursday Dec 17th, 2009 6:52 PM
HELP! KPFA is in a "Lack of Leadership" Crisis

I worked as a unpaid reporter for KPFA for 3 years (2005-2008). I attended staff meetings and listened to management reports, listener reports and overheard phone calls and quiet conversations between managers and staff. Gradually I began to observe the same things April mentioned, and more. Like a failure to address behaviors by some staff and management that created a hostile work environment. I found that the process for resolving grievances compromised by a management friendly human resources office, and that management only supported staff friendly to the pursuit white supremacy or the professional ambitions of station management. I saw several managers with attitudes rife with favoritism, racism, sexism, verbal threats, insults and intimidation.

Decisions by KPFA's present leadership has resulted in an in-house police action, public reports about false money raids by the station treasurer, ineffective programming decisions resulting in lower listenership and a GM void of vision or creative direction, capable of killing programs to punish producers who don't parrot the Lemlem line. Thus "Flashpoints" goes down the drain, "The World of Music" is twisting in the wind and "Womens Magazine" is forced to fight for air time. Be advised, that at the same time impending staff layoffs jeopardize even more beloved programs, favored staff is jetting off to Copenhagen on KPFA's dime or are given additional airtime to produce even more long winded, mediocre, boring shows. This avalanche of poor judgement, this landslide of retaliation passing as programming is killing KPFA. Listen to managements' "Report to the Listeners". You can hear the relief in KPFA GM Lemlem's voice when at the end , she sums it all up, "...well those are the things we are dealing with and...we will meet and review how to address them", she knows there is no accountability, and boy is she glad.

KPFA affords the community a chance to speak truth to power. Well here is my voice. HELP! KPFA is burning and Lemlem, Sasha Lilley, Aileen Alfandary and Brian Edwards-Tiekert are fiddling around.

Maggie Kaigler
by maggie kaigler
Friday Jan 1st, 2010 12:19 PM
"We have made all the cost reductions we can from ...deep cuts to our budget and eliminate staff positions...and cut the hours of others"
-from "A Letter to Our Listening Community from KPFA General Manager Lemlem Rijio

Brian Edwards Teikert reported this past December from Copenhagen. Is this trip a KPFA expenditure using precious grant money? If so it flies in the face of protestations to the contrary, as evidenced by the quotes above and below.

"The National Finance Committee began reviewing individual station budgets in August. Presenting the plan for KPFA, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, a staff member who also sits on the local board, called it a “break even budget” from which travel and most consultant costs had been eliminated. About $125,000 in staff reductions (about two and a half positions) were also being proposed, but “we may not be conservative enough.” The reason, he said, is that “fund drive revenue plateaued a year ago and is going down.”

From an article by Greg Guma in Maverick Radio

This is an arrogant show of power, a misuse of station funds, a slap in the face to "Our Listening Community", and an act of fiscal irresponsibility generated by an ego driven manager, centered in an agenda of self serving favoritism.