SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

East Bay | Indymedia

The Confusion of Save KPFA
by George Allen
Monday Nov 26th, 2012 12:33 AM
Tonight's KPFA Board Election Forums were striking for the level of hostility, combativeness and shameless lying exhibited by the Save KPFA candidates, as well as their total lack of anything meaningful to say about how KPFA needs to improve
The slate that calls itself Save KPFA put on an exhibition tonight of their total callowness and inability to come up with one productive thing to do to improve the working conditions and news coverage provided by the Bay Area's (and the nation's) oldest community radio station. Totally abandoning any responsibility whatsoever for KPFA's overspending that resulted in two back to back $500,000 dollar operating deficits, the squandering of an almost $900,00 cash reserve in less than 24 months, and indebtness of more than $250,000, every 3rd word out of their mouths was "it's Pacifica's fault".

Nothing about the stagnant programming, technological backwardness, paid-unpaid staff tensions, and notorious closed-door attitude that has marked KPFA for much of the last decade and caused many to tune out in despair, resulting in the loss of 25% of the membership between 2005 and 2010.

Attorney Dan Siegel, relishing his current bout of amnesia, forgot to disclose his service as corporate counsel for Pacifica from 2005-2009, where he enthusiastically encouraged the board to sign leases at Wall Street and the Empire State Building that caused the NY station to take on the expenses that it could not afford. He thinks their challenging financial situation is someone else's fault? Look in the mirror, my friend.

No mention of the embarrassing on-air reading of unedited wire copy by the KPFA news department which has caused thinking progressives to turn off in droves, the stunning lack of new programming, the pathetic website held in place by stubborn employees who won't get with the times and insist it is impossible to make Drupal accept segmented archives with tag words (don't think so) and the same old tired union-busting charges that have been refuted 6,000 times.

Where is the imagination? Where is the youth? Where is the humor? Is this all we have to look forward to --- another year of complaints, accusations, failed recalls and whining?

Pacifica Radio never lost a cent. The stations lost money. All of them, KPFA, KPFK, WPFW, WBAI and KPFT. And they lost money because they need to creatively, imaginatively and joyfully find ways to do more with less - as we all do in this time of economic turmoil. And that's never going to happen with these cranky malcontents at the helm.

What are they going to do with their local control? Lose a million dollars they don't have again?

KPFA deserves better. Vote United for Community Radio. Please. The blame game ran out years ago.

http://www.votecommunityradio.org

by Vote United for Community Radio
Monday Nov 26th, 2012 8:12 AM
You can hear more candidates tonight, 11/26/12 from 7 to 10 p.m. and 11/27/12, 7 to 8:30 p.m. The sessions are an hour and a half; they should be one hour. There are four candidates are in each session, 2 from each slate. You can hear the entire 11/25/12 session at:
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/86458
Please vote United for Community Radio. Read the entire website at
http://www.votecommunityradio.org/

I would like to add my thoughts.
1. We do not want to hear about the stupid Morning Show again. I love the Morning Mix, especially the Labor Show on Monday Morning and Project Censored on Friday Morning. The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday shows are necessary too. The moderator needs to steer the conversation away from the Morning Show discussion. That is long over. The audience lives full lives; we can handle changes in programming. Most radio and TV stations constantly change their programs. KPFA has programs that have been sitting there for 30-40 years which is very boring. I think it was refreshing that the Morning Show finally disappeared, but of course, not entirely, as you now have Up Front.

2. What was not mentioned except in passing last night was the Republican Party client in a lawsuit against Pacifica, Brian Edwards Tiekert, had bumping rights which union contracts provide; that is, they can take over the job of a fellow worker if they have seniority, so Tiekert bumped his fellow worker on the evening news show, who in turn kept his job because another worker gave up some paid hours. Then Tiekert set up a new Morning Show called Up Front at 7 a.m., moving the first hearing of Democracy Now back to 6 a.m. where it was, eliminating the Al Jazeera show at 6 a .m. Anything in the morning raises money because unlike this writer, lots of people like to hear the horrors of the world when they get up in the morning while I continue to listen to my beloved classical music on another station. By 8 a.m., I can tolerate some political discussion and by 9 a.m. I am walking to work, so I can tolerate Democracy Now, if it does not promote the Democratic Party, which it often does.

3. ALL CANDIDATES SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO STATE HOW THEY EARN A LIVING OR IF RETIRED, HOW THEY USED TO EARN A LIVING. Carole Travis went into great detail on her factory work but never mentioned the fact that she was an attorney which is why she has served on many boards as this is what attorneys do, which is fine, and there is nothing wrong with being an attorney. It is stated on her slate card and at the candidate biographies at
http://elections.pacifica.org/candstmt/cand_page.php?id=492

You can see she was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1990, at:
http://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=324536768

You can read all the biographies at
http://www.kpfa.org/kpfa-lsb-election-candidates

4. Dan Siegel whined that he has been sued many times while a board member. That begs the question: What evil has he perpetrated? It was almost hilarious to hear him whine about being sued. He was sued about his thuggery and about his promotion of an illegal fundraising scheme while a board member. All of this is covered on this website, on the Media page, and at
http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/ and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBqU7F_m9s

This 56 plus year listener to KPFA (since I was too young to remember) who does not have anything to do with all of the meetings but does keep up by reading what is publicly available, was horrified at the concerted steamroller thuggery routine of the "SaveKPFA" Hate Pacifica Gang, all lying by omisson or commission, and all promoting the destruction of Pacifica, which holds the license, with their mantra of "local control" as there is no KPFA without Pacifica. Dan Siegel led the pack with his too loud proclamations, rather than reasoned discussion. Before a microphone in a radio station, you are not speaking in an auditorium so we can hear you very well if you just speak in a normal speaking voice like you do on the telephone. His strident behavior was sufficient cause to eliminate SaveKPFA candidates from your list and vote only for United for Community Radio.

Please vote today. The ballots are due in New York on December 11, which means the effective deadline is December 4. Since it snows in New York, any storm could delay in the mail.
by Brendan
Tuesday Nov 27th, 2012 2:15 PM
Thursday Nov. 29 7pm
ALL CANDIDATES FROM BOTH SLATES INVITED !
3375 Port Chicago Highway
Round Table Pizza ( No That's not a typo ! They gave us a large back room free )
Concord Ca
For more info call 925-798-3698
This is the first (and last ! ) Public KPFA Candidates forum . We anticipate a lively discussion and debate . PLease attend
by sally s
Sunday Dec 2nd, 2012 9:57 AM
Here’s SaveKPFA‘s statement of principles for the November 2012 KPFA elections. See our endorsers list, and here’s guidance about how to rank your votes at http://www.SaveKPFA.org

• Restore local control at KPFA
KPFA is an invaluable resource, sustained for decades by our diverse, local communities. As in the fight to save KPFA and the network in 1999, we oppose the Pacifica National Board imposing its own agenda on the station. Pacifica should respect each station’s right to select its own station manager, set its own budget, and determine its own programming. Funds raised from our listeners should support KPFA, not an overblown Pacifica bureaucracy.

• Ensure high quality, progressive programming
Quality programming attracts and keeps listeners. KPFA is world-renowned for its cogent and listenable news, commentary and public affairs broadcasts, as well as its groundbreaking music and cultural programming. Programming changes should be based on evidence gathered by regular listener surveys, community outreach, consideration of the media environment in KPFA’s listening area, and other fair and honest methods. Program changes should have broad appeal, especially during AM and PM drive time, and should help KPFA compete for new audiences to widen the reach of alternative news and culture. We also believe that movements have many voices. KPFA serves as a forum for discussion on the left and is a voice of all those in struggle.

Respect KPFA’s listeners
• KPFA’s listeners’ contributions have sustained the station since it was founded in 1949. Thousands of listeners objected to top-down programming decisions when Pacifica cancelled the popular and financially successful Morning Show, and local managers threatened to axe the 9AM Democracy Now! and arts programming. Pacifica should respond to such listener activism with gratitude and careful assessment. Managers should not “fire” an existing audience without a solid and workable plan to replace it with a bigger one. Fundraising work done by listeners — such as the over $63,000 in pledges raised by SaveKPFA — should be welcomed, not attacked. When KPFA’s listeners democratically petition under the network’s bylaws to vote on an issue, Pacifica must not delay the vote or manipulate the process to benefit its political allies. Even the appearance of such behavior is detrimental to KPFA and the network.

Support KPFA’s staff
• Support all staff and volunteers, without whom KPFA could not exist. Workers who give their time and talent should not have to worry about management intimidation when they organize or speak their minds. Pacifica should not be hiring union-busting lawyers with listeners’ funds, diverting staff retirement funds to pay bills, or putting gag rules on station staff. SaveKPFA led the successful fight to reverse Pacifica’s hiring of the nation’s top union-busting law firm. All staff should have a voice in the station, as well as training opportunities, a supportive and safe workplace, and the tools to do their jobs well.

Require transparency and accountability from Pacifica
• Too many Pacifica meetings are held in closed “executive session.” SaveKPFA’s representatives have steadfastly opposed a growing culture of secrecy in Pacifica, and have protected KPFA’s funds from being taken by Pacifica without accountability. Listeners and staff are entitled to understand how KPFA’s money is being spent and how our representatives vote.

For real change, vote for ALL 9 of SaveKPFA’s candidates. Read their statements here: Craig Alderson | Paula Errkila | Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman | Kate Gowen | Mark Hernandez | Dan Siegel | Carole Travis | Barbara Whipperman | Burton White
by Lady
Sunday Dec 2nd, 2012 9:58 AM
KPFA is in dire financial straits now because Pacifica, as the parent corporation, dipped into KPFA’s bank accounts and took money to pay corporate bills. For many years KPFA has been the “cash cow” for the rest of the Pacifica stations and units, including the Pacifica National Office. KPFA “loaned” Pacifica $1.5 million at the conclusion of the lawsuits in 1999-2002 era. Since then, KPFA frequently helped other units to make payroll or for other expenses—most recently paying $18,000 for payroll at WPFW in September. Pacifica National has also frozen $150,000 of KPFA’s investments as collateral for a Line of Credit that Pacifica has done nothing to pay off, and witheld KPFA’s last three payments from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The Pacifica national office operates rent-free out of a property KPFA paid for and continues to maintain. KPFA also pays for the satellite link that Pacifica uses. KPFA’s current cash crunch largely comes from the fact that Pacifica is not paying off what it owes KPFA – even as it demands KPFA make catch-up payments to Pacifica. The network still owes KPFA $1.4 million, even as it dips into KPFA’s funding without accountability.

Is there financial accountability at KPFA and Pacifica?
In late 2008, KPFA and Pacifica both received $375,000 checks from the same donor. These were endowment gifts, meaning KPFA and Pacifica were allowed to spend the interest, but not the principal. Shortly thereafter, Pacifica spent its principal — all $375,000 of it. Meanwhile, KPFA’s check went stale during a window when nearly all the financial staff at KPFA and Pacifica turned over. The donor was happy to cut a new check — until they found out what Pacifica had done. They then put the endowment fund into the care of the San Francisco Foundation, which will manage the investments and cut KPFA checks for the interest.

Pacifica is billing its five stations (including KPFA) $25,000 per year each to replenish the endowment it spent down. But it does not appear to be depositing the money it collects in that endowment account. In other words: Pacifica’s taking a pot of money it was never supposed to spend, spending it twice, and making the stations pay for it.

We believe that Pacifica is also currently trying to get the San Francisco Foundation to release all or part of the $375,000 endowment it is holding for KPFA’s benefit, so Pacifica can spend that too. Pacifica has witheld all the paperwork on the San Francisco Foundation account from KPFA’s Business Office, keeping KPFA in the dark about how its endowment is performing. It wasn’t until KPFA’s new local board treasurer requested to see the paperwork that KPFA had any information at all about how its money was being managed.

Who ordered the Morning Show removed? Why cut the station’s biggest fundraiser?
Pacifica’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, without consulting local KPFA management, laid off the Morning Show’s staff on November 9 and told them not to continue broadcasting even though they were being paid through December 8. She cancelled all unpaid staff Morning Show segments too, and cancelled the November fund drive. She then ordered piped-in shows from sister station KPFK in Los Angeles, the hosts of which declared their solidarity with KPFA’s Morning Show staff. The current regime at Pacifica National has declared war against KPFA’s workers and listeners by eliminating good programming, ignoring demands for local control, and engaging in financial mismanagement, including paying over $115,000 (at last count) for anti-union consultants.

Why are you trying to recall Pacifica treasurer Tracy Rosenberg?
Rosenberg has been Engelhardt’s most ardent public defender. She drew up the secret layoff list that got the Morning Show cancelled, has been the driving force behind Pacifica’s illegal moves to prevent SaveKPFA-affiliated reps from taking their seats on the national board, and was censured by KPFA’s local board for her misappropriation of KPFA subscribers’ emails. Removing her is our best chance of changing the balance of power on the Pacifica National Board. For more, read our Frequently Asked Questions on the recall of KPFA’s Tracy Rosenberg.

What has replaced the Morning Show?
On December 20, Engelhardt appointed a crew of unpaid staff to host a new 8 AM show, nearly all of them affiliated with the board faction that supports Pacifica management, and moved Democracy Now! to 7 AM. Some guests have boycotted the 8 AM replacement show, as have many unpaid staff (see for instance, these letters from David Bacon and Ramsey Kanaan, as well as other statements). Web audience statistics — which are, generally speaking, a good analogue of total audience — show the listenership has plummeted to about a third of the level it was before November 9. The new programming amounts to a loss of $8000 a day, which KPFA has had to make up by extending on air fundraising by a total of 3 weeks in 2011.

Why didn’t KPFA make cuts earlier?
Beginning in Fall 2008, KPFA’s management and Local Station Board began proposing budgets that provided for orderly staff reductions in the face of the economic crisis sweeping the country, and the accompanying drop-off in listener donations However, Grace Aaron, then-Pacifica chair and acting executive director, blocked those reductions, forcing KPFA to spend down its reserves.

Was KPFA doing anything to address its financial situation before these layoffs were imposed?
Yes, over the past year, KPFA management has closed open positions, every department at KPFA has cut its budget, and most paid workers have taken hours cuts. In cooperation with local managers, KPFA’s union helped those who reduced their hours participate in an innovative “Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program,” established by the state legislature that pays benefits to individuals whose hours have been reduced, helping employers avoid layoffs. In 2010, those measures had already reduced KPFA’s personnel spending by 20%. KPFA also created an incentive package for voluntary layoffs, under which seven employees left the station’s payroll altogether. When Pacifica came in, it cut only two people: Aimee Allison and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, both of whom were already part-time employees (and Pacifica was forced to reinstate Edwards-Tiekert with full back pay). So the only “savings” from the Morning Show cancellation was one part-time staff salary.

How much does KPFA pay to the national Pacifica network?
Since 1999, the costs of supporting the Pacifica administration has grown for 9% to over 20% of the network’s total income. Pacifica was meant to be a coordinating body to provide support and reduce costs but it has become the opposite of that. It produces no radio programs, but spends huge sums on high executive salaries and costly, unproductive national meetings. KPFA could operate with a balanced budget if it did not have to pay almost 24% of its listener contributions to Pacifica. During these hard times, we need to preserve quality radio and reduce administration and overhead.

Who represents the KPFA staff?
Paid staff at KPFA are represented by the Communications Workers of America, Local 9415. While unpaid staff at KPFA do not have collective bargaining rights under existing labor law, many are strong supporters of labor rights for themselves and coworkers, and are working in solidarity to save KPFA (see this short labor history of KPFA for details). Both paid and unpaid staff are voting members of the Pacifica Foundation, and together elect 6 representatives to their 24-member local station board. Four Bay Area labor councils have passed resolutions in support of KPFA’s staff. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution in support, as has Berkeley’s Labor Commission. The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to support mediation of the conflict, but Pacifica has been unwilling.

What is SaveKPFA?
SaveKPFA is a coalition of listeners and staff (both unpaid and paid) working to support the nation’s first listener-sponsored radio station, KPFA 94.1FM, based in Berkeley, California. We seek to rally progressive support for the station. A group of listener and staff candidates affiliated with SaveKPFA won two-thirds of the positions in the station’s 2010 local board elections. Find out more here.

Who supports SaveKPFA?
Many prominent left activists, academics, writers, artists, community activists and elected officials, as well as listeners and staff (both paid and unpaid) have endorsed SaveKPFA. Since management announced cutbacks at the station, SaveKPFA has received an outpouring of support from people who are extremely concerned about the future of KPFA, including listeners, elected officials and educators.

What are SaveKPFA’s goals?
As in the fight to save KPFA and the network in 1999, we oppose the Pacifica Board imposing its own agenda on KPFA. We have dedicated ourselves to building the station, raising funds and producing events. We are committed to seeking common ground with other listeners and staff who share our concerns about the state of the station. We need to save this precious resource.

Why did Nora Barrow-Friedman leave KPFA?
Nora’s hours were reduced at Flashpoints as part of an earlier round of budget cuts. She then decided to quit. When similar hour cuts hit other programs, like the Morning Show and Hard Knock, the staff members working on those programs chose to share the hours reduction so no one person took too large a hit. Single-staffed shows such as Living Room, also took hours reductions, while others, such as the KPFA Evening News took cuts by attrition (did not fill vacant positions). Against the Grain had its hours cut twice (the only show to be cut twice). See this piece for more details.

Are there currently legal actions against Pacifica?
There are currently no lawsuits related to the terminations on the Morning Show. However, after Pacifica illegally threw out the votes of three staff members in a bid to swing a recent election in favor of the board group it favors, three staff members — Brian Edwards Tiekert, Mitch Jeserich and Lewis Sawyer — filed a legal petition seeking to correct Pacifica’s violations of California state law. Pacifica’s vote-tampering happened after the initial vote count. Pacifica was able to do this because each ballot is printed with a numerical code identifying the voter — so much for the secret ballot!

Pacifica’s actions were a clear violation of state laws protecting the rights of members in membership organizations. Pacifica has no business spending listeners’ money defending such patently illegal actions. The aggrieved staff members spent three weeks trying to convince Pacifica to correct its actions without involving the court. They waited until the last possible moment — two days before new board members were to be seated — to file a legal petition. The judge issued a preliminary injunction in the workers’ favor, Pacifica conceded, and by court order, Lewis Sawyer was seated on the local advisory board. The attorney who represented KPFA’s workers was Peter Smith, a Democrat who works in a bipartisan law firm that specializes in elections law.

In March, 2012, news broke that Pacifica had hired Jackson Lewis, an anti-union legal firm which the AFL-CIO has called the nation’s “number one union-buster.” Pacifica claims that it has been “forced” to spend KPFA’s listener donations defending its employment actions.

Why are there many confusing websites for KPFA supporters?
SaveKPFA-affiliated representatives now constitute a new majority on the local station board, seated in December 2010. KPFAWorker.org is the site to go to for news from staff, both paid and unpaid. A group called Independents for Community Radio, which did not win a majority on the local board, has been purchasing dozens of similar web domain names in hopes of confusing the public, offering to sell those names back to SaveKPFA, which represents the majority. Likewise, the same group is pouring all sorts on information on the internet, but to paraphrase Daniel Moynihan, “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Did SaveKPFA “steal” its name, as is alleged by some on the internet?
No, this is a myth perpetruated by a handful of people who were part of a long-defunct early 1990s group. The words “save” and “KPFA” or “Pacifica” have been used by many activists over the last decades. Many of us organizing and supporting today’s SaveKPFA were centrally involved in these movements. We chose the name SaveKPFA with great respect for these broad collective efforts.

Does SaveKPFA support Democracy Now! and FSRN?
Yes. We believe Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News are among Pacifica’s most important programs. Both are now independently produced and Pacifica is supposed to pay for their content with money it draws from KPFA and the other Pacifica Stations. We believe both DN! and FSRN can be fully supported if Pacifica national trims its bureaucracy and high manager salaries, and conducts more effective fundraising campaigns, to ensure we have funding for national programming. Supporting DN! and FSRN should not come at the expense of KPFA’s locally-controlled news and public affairs programs. That’s what our opponents have proposed.
by solidarity forever
Sunday Dec 2nd, 2012 9:59 AM
The Morning Show was KPFA’s biggest fundraiser, raising three times what it cost to produce. So why, in November 2010, did Pacifica’s executive director kill KPFA’s most popular local programming?

First, the big picture. KPFA was hit by the global financial crisis just like everyone else. When the economy tanked, so did KPFA’s fundraising, pushing the station into six-figure deficits.

But KPFA had already addressed its deficit. In the months prior to cancelling the Morning Show, KPFA’s local managers cut roughly $500,000 in annual spending on personnel, through buy-outs, attrition, and hour reductions – all without controversy. Pacifica knew this. KPFA had sent charts detailing the financial situation to the entire Pacifica National Board five weeks prior to Pacifica’s sudden layoffs of Morning Show staff.

So, why did Pacifica kill The Morning Show?

• The financial crisis at Pacifica was (and continues to be) worse than KPFA’s . KPFA was able to use its reserves to stay current on bills, while it whittled away at expenses – during the same period, Pacifica racked up over $1.1 million dollars in unpaid bills (that number has since grown to over $1.6 million).

• Pacifica uses KPFA as a cash cow. Pacifica’s audited financial statements show the rest of the network owes KPFA $1.4 million. In 2010, Pacifica was using KPFA assets as collateral for a $100,000 line of credit. And it was pressuring KPFA to create a large surplus so it could pay Pacifica extra.

• KPFA staff were standing up to Pacifica. As a staff-elected representative on KPFA’s Local Station Board, Brian Edwards-Tiekert pushed back on attempts by Pacifica to seize station funds. The Morning Show invited Pacifica’s executives onto to the airwaves, and challenged them about how much they were taking from KPFA, and about Pacifica’s spending priorities. KPFA’s union picketed in front of Pacifica’s offices against proposed cuts.

Pacifica used KPFA’s finances as a pretext to eliminate its political enemies.
Of the three people Pacifica gave layoff notices to:

3 were outspoken critics of Pacifica.
2 were worker-elected representatives on KPFA’s Local Station Board
0 were the least-senior staff members at KPFA.

Pacifica chose to keep the Morning Show off the air.

• Pacifica had to rescind the layoff of Morning Show producer Laura Prives almost immediately – but assigned her to work on a different show.

• Pacifica had to reinstate Brian Edwards-Tiekert – with back pay – when it conceded his union
grievance, but it assigned him to work as a News Reporter, not a Morning Show Host/Producer.

• Pacifica rejected offers from KPFA listeners to pay the cost of reinstating all Morning Show staff, then paid an expensive anti-union law firm over $70,000 to defend the one layoff it prevailed on.

• When Pacifica gave the staff of The Morning Show the required 30 days’ notice of
their layoffs, they offered to keep producing the show, but Pacifica took them
off the air immediately, and rather than let them keep producing the Morning
Show, paid them to do nothing.

What’s happened since Pacifica killed The Morning Show?

• Plummeting pledges. During the four hours impacted by Pacifica’s changes – 6 to 10AM – fundraising dropped by over 50% – more than $8,000 per day.

• Lengthening fund drives. To make up for the drop, KPFA has had to add nearly three weeks to
its fundraising calendar – an increase of 30%

• KPFA has stayed afloat – despite Pacifica’s best efforts to blow all the station’s money on $400/hour attorneys. Because KPFA’s local management had made major spending cuts shortly before the Morning Show was killed, and because KPFA dramatically lengthened its fund drives after the Morning Show was killed, KPFA managed to nearly break even in 2011.

• Our station is in grave peril. Long pledge marathons drive away listeners; fewer listeners means fewer donations. KPFA’s already experienced diminishing returns from lengthened fund drives – the Winter 2012 fund drive was extended to a record 24 days, but still fell nearly $125,000 short of its goal.

http://www.SaveKPFA.org