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Worst Fund Drive at KPFA in a Decade - Save KPFA Shows Crevasse
by Accountant
Saturday Jun 9th, 2012 3:10 PM
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.

by With Tracy
Saturday Jun 9th, 2012 3:48 PM
Don't vote at all?
If you manage to cancel elections, Tracy, that will take care of that.

If anyone doubted your anti-democratic tendencies, Tracy, this should prove beyond all doubt.

Disgusting. Where's our recall ballots?
by Accountant
Saturday Jun 9th, 2012 5:53 PM
It bears repeating: and *thats* the problem.

"Save KPFA has 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"

The problems KPFA is suffering from have nothing to do with a paucity of ballots.

While you're busying yourselves electing people, recalling people, name-calling and angling for all 4 seats on the national board by any means necessary, the patient is dying.

Deal with the numbers.

Save KPFA can't save KPFA. Proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
by Stop Hate Pacifica Gang
Saturday Jun 9th, 2012 7:11 PM
When there are insufficient funds for the first thing that must be paid, payroll, then the payroll must be cut. The news department's paid staff needs to be laid off NOW. As we have seen from the many budget listings on this website, the paid staff receive 50% to 66% of the funds in wages and benefits. A small, poor charity, nonprofit radio station like KPFA does not need ANY paid news staff; the volunteer weekend news half hour format is also sufficient for weekdays. The other half hour can be Al Jazeera or new volunteer programs. WE ALSO WANT DEMOCRACY NOW RESTORED TO 7 A.M. AND AL JAZEERA AT 6 A.M. as the finances are better if Democracy Now is at 7 a.m., as stated above, and so long as Al Jazeera is not allowed on Comcast, Pacifica must have Al Jazeera.

As to candidates for office, I am only voting for people who are not only opponents of the recall of Tracy Rosenberg, but also opponents of ALL RECALLS and will REPEAL ALL RECALL PROVISIONS from the bylaws upon being elected. We have expensive almost annual Local Station Board elections so there is never any reason for any expensive recall. Whoever thought of this recall stupidity clearly has no concept of who gives to KPFA and why. KPFA is not the federal, state or local government. It is a poverty stricken charity radio station whose supporters have very little discretionary income and most of us have no discretionary income upon retiring. Considering the largest single group of listeners appears to be the now retiring Baby Boomers, born in the 1940s and 1950s, this expensive recall garbage needs to be repealed IMMEDIATELY.

I viewed the new Morning Show, Tiekert's Up Front bull session, as simply spreading the cancer of the Hate Pacifica's Gang's agenda of destroying KPFA and Pacifica and the above report appears to verify this belief.
by Ann Garrison
Saturday Jun 9th, 2012 7:24 PM
I listened to the LSB meeting where the #s were recounted, then argued over, and thought OMG, this Local Station Board can't even agree about the meaning of the #s.

I'd like to see a post of all the 2012 spring #s contrasted to all the 2011 spring #s, without interpretation.
by Margy Wilkinson
Sunday Jun 10th, 2012 10:33 AM
SaveKPFA programming? I guess that means UpFront at 7:00 AM. Curious. UpFront started half way through the fund drive and was on the air for a total of 7 hours. It raised nearly $40,000 with an hourly average of just under $6,000. Tracy extrapolates from the figures that UpFront "took" money from other popular shows. That's pure speculation. Just a bit of speculation of my own: I was in the phone room a good deal during this past fund drive and more than once during the time UpFront was on the air every single phone line was in use -- from that I feel free to extrapolate that UpFront would have raised several thousand dollars more if callers had been able to get through. And here's nothing but hearsay -- I am happy to share that during the time UpFront was airing a larger than usual (in my experience) number of people said they were first time contributors. Comparing KPFA figures to fund raising at KPFK and WBAI, I want to say hooray for KPFK -- that's great. Let's ask them how they did it. As for WBAI -- that station has a potential listenership 3 times that of KPFA -- they SHOULD be raising more money. Finally -- is KPFA in trouble financially? You bet it is. And we need to figure out what to do collectively and in a big hurry. I am pretty sure that pointing fingers and inventing blame is not the answer.
Margy Wilkinson
by Accountant
Sunday Jun 10th, 2012 11:40 AM
Stop battling with the mirage of Ms. Rosenberg. That is not who you are talking to.

Certainly you understand that you are the chair of the local board and not a phone room volunteer?

The Concerned Listeners/Save KPFA slate presided over the loss of KPFA's entire $1,000,000 reserve in less than two years, approving repeated budgets with disastrous half million dollar shortfalls that greatly exaggerated listener support and did nothing to curb expenses.

When the bottom fell out, Save KPFA came up with exactly 2 ideas:

1) Launch an expensive, quixotic and sure-to-fail revenge campaign to cost KPFA even more money

2) Campaign to restore Brian Edwards-Tiekert to a morning host position.

Now that you have accomplished those two things, KPFA has posted the worst fund drive results in a decade.

That is what happens when there is a paucity of good ideas and a pointless focus on personalities instead of substance.

It's obvious there is a fiscal crisis. There has been since 2008 and Concerned Listeners/Save KPFA caused it.

I see nothing in your post but a deluded fantasy that the same old crap will fix it.

Highly unlikely.


Margy Wilkinson is one of the leaders of the "donate to us campaign" that competed with KPFA fund drives so they could raise money to extort the station to put back on the old Morning Show. They have clearly demonstrated that they put their group first over KPFA (classic sectarianism, since they have the "correct line" they know what is best for KPFA, and everything else ).

These are the same folks that boycotted the Morining Mix with their Morning News people never promoting the Morning Mix when it was coming up next, contrary to basic radio practices. (But they are the "professionals")

These are the same people that filed numerous complaints with the NLRB that were all rejected as was Aimee Allison's Arbitration. (She didn't even testify??). This disloyal and disruptive conduct cost the station over $100,000.00.

These are the same folks that voted UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST having the budget implemented according to the union contract, since they didn't want to lose their ability to apply patronage and cronyism control over hirings and layoffs. And then they have the nerve to call others anti-union!!!

Given their prior disloyal fund drive sectarian activity it is quite likely that they urged their followers to put all their money into the new BET 7 am show to make it look good.

Unfortunately the iGM finally conceded to CL pressure and the sectarian control of KPFA has once again advanced.

The CL folks want total control of KPFA for their Wellstone political strategy, to achieve this they have lied, distorted truth, fixed elections, harassed managers and staff , held competing fund drives, organized frivolous Recalls and violated Pacifica's Mission and democratic bylaws whenever it was necessary to gain or retain power.
by long-time listener
Sunday Jun 10th, 2012 10:25 PM
Pacifica is demanding $1 million from its stations to fix the network’s financial problems.

While KPFA’s fund drive came in a little low, the station’s overall budget remains relatively balanced. Not so with Pacifica, the corporation that owns KPFA as well as KPFK (Los Angeles), WPFW (Washington), WBAI (New York City) and KPFT (Houston).

Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg told KPFA’s local board on June 2 that Pacifica is demanding $1 million from all member five stations to balance its budget, and that cuts will likely come as staff layoffs. Rosenberg said KPFA would be responsible for a larger part of the cut since its budget is bigger than those of the other four stations.

“Pacifica is in crisis due to its own financial mismanagement,” said one board member. Each station already pays 19.5% of its income to Pacifica for “central services” such as accounting, insurance, and common programming expenses. Pacifica has granted a 50% discount in those fees to WBAI, which has been operating with a huge deficit and an expensive Wall Street lease for years.

Listeners and staff are asking why KPFA and the other stations should continue to foot the bill. At June’s LSB meeting, several local board members questioned why KPFA would be asked to lay off staff to come up with $300,000 for Pacifica. “What is Pacifica doing about looking at ways in which WBAI can seriously cut their costs?” asked board member Sasha Futran, adding: “WBAI is taking the network down, potentially.”

In March, KPFA’s local treasurer and business manager reported serious problems with Pacifica’s taking more of KPFA’s money than it was owed — at that time, up to $154,000.

http://www.savekpfa.org/financial-statements-show-that-kpfa-is-still-owed-1-4-million-by-pacifica
by Accountant
Sunday Jun 10th, 2012 11:03 PM
How can people say with a straight face that KPFA's budget is balanced when a fund drive with a $740,000 goal came in at $636,000?

This is the nonsense that Save KPFA specializes in and the magical thinking that resulted in not one but two, consecutive $550,000 annual deficits (for KPFA).

Pacifica is asking all of the stations to cut expenses because station expenses are too high for the revenue they've been able to generate. That's what nonprofits do. They can't raise taxes on the listeners.

Pacifica doesn't get any money from KPFA cutting expenses. They get the same percentage either way. KPFA gets money from cutting its expenses. Money to pay KPFA bills with, which total $3 million dollars every year - $1.85 million in staff salaries and benefits and $1.15 million in facilities, supplies and equipment.

Really, there is no excuse for such outrageous fear-mongering. There is nothing irresponsible about cutting expenses when revenue fails to meet projections. There is simply no other choice.

Unless you are Save KPFA, it seems....

by Virginia Browning
Monday Jun 11th, 2012 12:44 AM
Accountant is NOT me (I). I don't write this well and efficiently. Five hundred thousand million thank-yous to whoever wrote this piece. The vipers at the station (Save KPFA - the new co-opting version, not our original version in the 90s) are so brutal, I suppose there are good reasons for the anonymity of this article's author. Look at SK's insane campaign to rid the network of the hardest-working, most effective board member (Tracy Rosenberg) the network may ever have had. The "news" people who rule most policy at KPFA still, absent more listener awareness, are so shameless in their posturing as radical while edging things away from information we can use. Feeling empowered and authorized to air a "story" on this recall with no truth to it whatsoever and the only viewpoint one they have created. We do need to keep a list of stories. Example: the bias about the bogus tobacco tax measure (including guests allowed to rant at "stupid" voters who might simply have actually read the bill, something Alfandary apparently didn't do before assuming that just because big tobacco opposes it it's good. Ok, she might have needed to do a LITTLE research as well, such as informing herself about where cancer "screening" money doled out by chancellors and heads of corporations such as General Electric really goes. And remembering not to continue to bury the stories exposing the dangers of mamography for many women. I know she wouldn't bother to report on the 20% of the bill's money that would go to construction of new buildings (for what? other than the usual slush fund for conservative candidates such as Perata et al). Example: the stories on Africa, tiny bits of fact, massive swathes of deception selling U.S. resource-grabbing policy. (Except for unpaid Ann Garrison who has determinedly investigated KPFA weekend news stories for the free-from-paid-gatekeeper ubersight by Mericle and Alfandary.

Woops - I am not focusing incisively as "Accountant" did do. But here's a SIMPLE idea for raising money at KPFA: unpaid staff subvert this one part of the policy the little benefited-gatekeepers apparently have hoked up to help bankrupt the network and thereby acquire it somehow -- start announcing 94.1 fm instead of only the Fresno numbers at the hour. Many new people flipping through have no idea where they are, as I'm sure has been part of the intention. It has nothing to do with time. Mary Berg (longtime unpaid host) timed it out. An extra 2 seconds or something to announce 94.1 fm...

Media independent of both corporate AND machine-party control (which is ultimately the same thing) is could go a long way towards supporting/cheering occupiers in resisting the madness.

Despite my tone, I don't doubt that some of the elitist "means justify endsers" truly believe they must narrowly hold the reins in this dangerous world. But without transparency, broad involvement and dialog, see where it leads. First one well-financed party machine that may even still think it has progressive roots stifles "little" voices; later a bigger fish swallows that machine. Be-ware!

http:danielborgstrom.com , http://www.stopthekpfarecall.org , http://www.supportkpfa.org
by Stop Hate Pacifica Gang
Monday Jun 11th, 2012 4:00 AM
Margy Wilkinson, Local Station Board Chair, and her fellow LSB members, ex-Communist Party members and friends, including but not limited to Conn and Matthew Hallinan, Jack Kurzweil and Malcolm Burnstein, as well as the rest of the Hate Pacifica Gang, commonly known as SaveKPFA/Concerned Listeners on the LSB, including but not limited to Pamela Drake of the Alameda Central Labor Council (See
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/04/05/18710849.php)
and Dan Siegel, an attorney currently doing pro bono work for the Occupy movement to hide his reactionary politics at KPFA and his lies about Pam Drake (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/04/05/18710849.php#18710942),
ALL LOOK TO FORMER KPFA PROGRAMMER, LARRY BENSKY, former editor of the CIA's Paris Review as their leading light proving their gang is a government operation to destroy Pacifica. See:
1. His attacks to callers on air:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/09/25/18659813.php

2. Supporters of Pat Scott Gang and union busters American Consulting:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/09/21/18659436.php

3. More horrors of supporting Concerned Listeners gang:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/10/22/18626386.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/15/18472757.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/10/29/18324348.php

4. His opposition to Peace & Freedom and Green Parties:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/27/18495315.php

5. His use of name lists in violation of Pacifica election rules:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/21/18462672.php

6. His opposition to the 9/11 Truth Movement
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/10/18459899.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/09/15/18311830.php

7. His anti-labor outlook on labor programming:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/04/14/18154241.php

8. His contempt for free speech:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2004/11/13/17051361.php

9. His attack on William Blum's book exposing the CIA and a reminder that Bensky was editor of the CIA front, the Paris Review, at
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2005/06/27/17498851.php

10. His ridicule of the fact of history that Nazis influenced the anti-Communist witchhunts of the 1940s-1950s as of course they were first and foremost anti-communist:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2004/04/05/16762211.php

by Ann Garrison
Monday Jun 11th, 2012 11:09 AM
I would still like to see the statistics, including Upfront's, presented on Indybay in a post without comment, because the interpretation is, I think, getting in the way of the #s.

But, so far as interpretation goes, this is the most plausible I've heard, sent by a friend of mine, whom I'm not quoting because I didn't ask for permission:

"Brian did bring in quite a bit of money, but the results confirm what some of us have been saying since the Morning Show was cut: morning receipts went down then because the crowd that loved it so shifted their donations to Mitch, ATG, and the News. Now we can see that process in reverse: a lot of them kicked in for Brian and therefore gave less to Mitch, ATG, and the News. The totals haven't been affected very much by the programming changes - they just keep going down."
by Accountant
Monday Jun 11th, 2012 12:06 PM
May 2011 Al Jazeera - $12,962
May 2012 Al Jazeera - $3,985
Lost Income: $8,977

May 2011 Democracy Now: $125,666
May 2012 Democracy Now: $73,606
Lost Income: $52,060

Total of Lost Income: $61,037

May 2011 Upfront - $0.00
May 2012 Upfront: $39.599
Gained Income: $39,599

Difference: -- $21,438

Upfront did nothing to generate additional income and did not offset the losses generated by punting Democracy Now out of drive time.

As for the rest of the schedule, the May 2011 fund drive ended with a net of $712,000 and an hourly pledge average of $1,479. (KPFA needs about $1,500 an hour to meet its current expense levels). The May 2012 fund drive ended with a net of $636,000 and an hourly pledge average of $1,226.

The three programs that netted the most severe losses in their hourly pledge averages were 1) Democracy Now 2) The Pacifica Evening News 3) Letters and Politics.



by wendy
Monday Jun 11th, 2012 7:58 PM
>As for the rest of the schedule, the May 2011 fund drive ended with a net of $712,000 and an hourly pledge average of $1,479. (KPFA needs about >$1,500 an hour to meet its current expense levels). The May 2012 fund drive ended with a net of $636,000 and an hourly pledge average of >$1,226.

Too soon to call this KPFA 2012 drive "net", I would think. Many of those dollars are monthly sustainers just starting and/or via pledge rather than credit card number. You guys could still knock those out if you piss off enough of the listeners with the Kill the Network thing. Most of us listeners think our strength is in five owned stations, over 150 affilliates all over the US and in African and other countries around the world, the Pacifica Radio Archive [history that is invaluable] and a combined membership and listenership that is waay down from its heyday but still substantial. Make it about the stations rather than particular people and we make it a true "net" that not only survives but concentrates on fulfilling the mission.
by Fact Check
Saturday Jun 16th, 2012 5:07 PM
For those posting pledge drive numbers: Up Front was on for only the last week of a (nearly) four-week fund drive. Your figures purport to be for the entire fund drive. If that's the case, you are using averages that are mostly from before when Up Front launched.

In fact, station management put on a new program to turn around a failing fund drive. But you've somehow managed blame the new program for the fact that the drive was failing in the first place!

If you actually wanted to shine some light on the issue, you might compare fund drive results before and after the Up Front! launch. Not only did Up Front immediately become the station's top fundraiser--the station's daily fundraising totals *also* increased after its launch.