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Laurence Shoup Analyzes KPFA LSB Election
Laurence Shoup is a candidate for KPFA’s Local Station Board. He is a member of the United for Community Radio slate.
Here is my basic analysis of the election and what is to be done. The overall context is a community radio station (not a big corporation) struggling to survive in our commodity driven world. Funding is down, creating pressure on everyone involved. There are five key players in this ongoing drama.
First, Pacifica is the owner of the license, a 501c3 and non-commercial FCC licensee. Pacifica is now a completely different organization than it was in 1999 when many of us strongly protested their actions (I was arrested for non-violently protesting at that time). It has a board elected by the KPFA and the Local Station Boards of other affiliates.
The paid staff is a small group (about 40 people) in a self-protective craft union and feeling stressed (and in some ways this is quite understandable as their wages and benefits are at stake). The third group is unpaid staff, about 235 people who do much more work at the station than the paid staff (doing hosting or producing segments for shows, they do 80% of the total work at the station I am told) but who have no real say in the operation of the station (this is an obvious ongoing problem and injustice).
The fourth group are people like you who listen and subscribe (about 20,000 people I understand). The final group is the 100,000-200,000 people who listen but do not subscribe. One central task for the future is to locate and work with this last group and the already paid subscribers to bring in more funding. My own idea is to organize a sustainer campaign based on direct contact on a personal, one to one basis, with the aim of gaining 5,000 new subscribers at $5 a month or more within the next six months.
As you can gather from what I have written above, we of United for Community Radio want democracy, we want to put the people´s/ progressive movement´s interests first, to represent everyone, including the listeners and unpaid staff in a community radio setting. The other side is self-interested, it mainly wants to represent the small number of paid staff (and they make it sound like an epic labor battle, like they are going up against a major for profit corporation, not a small community radio station. And a key fact is that most workers at KPFA are not allowed union representation. In contrast, I believe in one big union for ALL KPFA workers, not just some, but getting there is, of course, difficult). The bottom line is that we need more cooperation among all parties, so United for Community Radio has put forward a positive program, without attacks on the other side, to try to get where we need to be to help KPFA survive and thrive. I wish that I could say that the other side is going forward with only a positive program, you can be your own judge, just look at their mailer, which contains untruths and attacks on us. Kindly look at our candidates and our United for Community Radio endorsers, you can then decide for yourself if their attacks are warranted.
It is important that our entire slate wins, this is how we can have a real impact for our key values, for our radio station and the entire community. KPFA is a beautiful local resource that belongs to our community, all of us. It is a solid building block for our collective future. So help it survive and thrive by voting for our entire slate of 10 candidates, ranking them 1 to 10 in your own order of preference.
LAURENCE SHOUP is the author "Rulers and Rebels: A People's History of Early California, 1769-1901" & other books. He's a Green Party stalwart, Longtime community and people's movement activist
The rest of the United for Community Radio candidates are, in alphabetical order by last name:
Long time KPFA activist, former radio programmer
Oakland Green Party, Occupy Oakland Activist, writer on birth health and family Staff Candidates
Ramsés Téon Nichols
Organizing Committee Chair of Local SEIU 1021 and member of SF Green Party
Environmental and community activist, writer and editor
Incumbent board member, community activist, teacher, Copwatch founder
Community & Labor activist, former KPFA Local Election Supervisor
JD, vegetarian occupier, permaculturist and writer
Incumbent board member, community activist, Green Party stalwart
Labor organizer, delegate SF Labor Council, Haiti Action Committee, Occupy Oakland occupier