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Worst Fund Drive at KPFA in a Decade - Save KPFA Shows Crevasse
KPFA, the venerable Bay Area community radio station, posted its worst fund drive results in a decade, with collapsing support focused on its daily news programs.
With fund drive results coming in at $640,000 after a painful 25-day long spring fund drive, KPFA needs to take stock. Year over year comparisons with the May 2011 drive reveal the following startling statistics:
The Pacifica Evening News: 31% loss in support
Letters and Politics: 25% loss in support
Against the Grain/Living Room: 22% loss in support
Concerned Listeners/Save KPFA, a wellstone democratic club-based support group for some of the stations long-term staff, hailed the return of Brian Edwards-Tiekert to an AM slot as the saving of the station.
Unfortunately, that's not what happened. The station raised less than it ever has and the gaudy numbers bragged about came at the expense of other programs, out-of-signal-area donations from LA that KPFA can't keep, and a disastrous fall in Democracy Now's numbers after being ejected summarily from drive time to 6:00am.
The decline in support for Democracy Now from year to year: 66%
The overall AM lineup from 6am to 9am - 13% less than last spring.
One fact to note is the only daily programs that did not have an 20%+ drop in support were Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio which maintained consistent levels of support from May of 2011 - within 2%. Their donors were apparently impervious to emails begging for all donations to be made at 7:00am.
What can we learn from this?
In the same 25-day period, the sister station in LA raised over $900,000. The sister station in New York, troubled as it is, raised over $800,000. KPFA's $640,000 is not the result of economic conditions. It is a direct result of internal attacks being waged on the station from some of its staff and their supporters, who have demonstrated no ability to control the station's budget, adapt to new media technologies, or bring in creative and innovative programming from new community sources.
55% of total revenues, over $350,000 was raised for KPFA by unpaid staff during this drive, who listen to their work described as "amateurish" on a constant basis by some of their fellow workers. Only $211,000 was raised by CWA staff (less if you exclude the Flashpoints and Hard Knock staffs who do not subscribe to the Save KPFA point of view).
This is at a station that has 1.85 million dollars in direct salary and benefit costs annually.
Doesn't add up.
What can you do? A few things....
1) Call out the foolish recall attempt against KPFA LSB member Tracy Rosenberg, whose dire crime was to point out the obvious problems. This quixotic kill-the-messenger campaign is costing KPFA tens of thousands of dollars.
-- Vote NO or don't vote at all
-- Go to stopthekpfarecall.org and post a note of support for telling the truth and working on the real problems
2) Send in a donation, small or large as you can afford, online at http://www.kpfa.org and add a note that you are donating to support real community radio not save-kpfa-radio.
3) Think about running or finding a good candidate to run in the upcoming board elections with the pro-community radio slate. This can be turned around with the talent and energy of the Bay Area, but not without your help.
You can keep in touch via http://www.supportkpfa.org
Media is power, but only if it is used well. When it is subverted to maintaining a failed status quo, then you see the fighting over a dying carcass.
Demand better. We can do better. People's media is real. So are 59,00 watt transmitters. It belongs to us.