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Is KPFA now Irrelevant ?
by thomas payne
Monday Dec 8th, 2014 3:09 AM
As riots erupt across the nation and in Berkeley the home of KPFA and is covered by every news outlet including MSNBC, CNN and the rest of the web but not on KPFA we need to ask is KPFA irrelevant ? KPFA seems unable to cover breaking news or be a station that truly represents our community , and instead seems more interested in creating the illusion of being a community radio station by hiring a new marketing service to sell the concept of community and authenticity. Where was KPFA when riots were erupting in Ferguson, NYC, Oakland and Berkeley ? Nowhere to be seen.
As riots erupt across the nation and in Berkeley the home of KPFA and is covered by every news outlet including MSNBC, CNN and the rest of the web but not on KPFA we need to ask is KPFA irrelevant ? KPFA seems unable to cover breaking news or be a station that truly represents our community , and instead seems more interested in creating the illusion of being a community radio station by hiring a new marketing service to sell the concept of community and authenticity. Where was KPFA when riots were erupting in Ferguson, NYC, Oakland ? Nowhere to be seen. With the exception of Flashpoints and Hardknock radio they were airing canned shows by journalists who are proud to say they are not activists and who have little real understanding of what is happening in the streets or our communities. Are you tired of hearing canned shows with tired hosts who spend 80 days a year hawking premiums rather than getting out of their cushy job for life and covering the news ? WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR STATION ? Seems like when KPFA became a station that was largely dominated by paid staff who are largely white and seem to have a job for life it lost its vitality and connection to what was happening on the ground and instead instituted a two tiered system where the journalists of color were pushed into the middle of the night, not paid, and treated as little more than slaves but are the ones who are producing 60% of the programming on the air, and most of the more vital programming and the white males who are not activists are all on prime time. So when Ferguson and Berkeley was burning what you heard on KPFA was pre-produced shows. Now KPFA is managed by a slick former MTV person who has more interest in spending our hard earned money hiring a marketing firm to improve the KPFA logo and image and is instead selling KPFA to us as "community radio" packaging the station as authentic rather than caring about producing cutting edge political journalism and creating a station that is truly the vision it is selling. KPFA's new GM seems to have no politics and only an interest in selling a new image to raise more money to pay the staid hosts with a job for life who have no real connection to activism or the community and instead proudly say they are not activists but journalists as if activism was some kind of dirty word except of course when they want your money. They we hear how we are suppose to support our community radio, the station that only wants to hear from us when we send a check. When unpaid staff members suggested KPFA have special live coverage of the riots or the march to block the Israeli ship docking in the Oakland port KPFA's GM went along with the news departments rejection of such a plan. Which is to be expected from journalists who have a job for life and who have been at KPFA for 40 years with a sweet heart contract so they don't need to be creative or involved in creating a more dynamic news coverage because they basically can't ever be fired. KPFA fund drive all the time expecting us to pay for these lifers with a union contract that makes it impossible to cut anyone even when they spend their time suing the station and creating a hostile place that they want to run for themselves and who seems to live in an alternative universe, the crazy world of Pacifica where they keep churning our the same old product, rarely taking calls from listeners, or covering community events or demonstrations and producing almost no live programming and certainly none that is taking place in the community or covering a march or demonstration which even CNN does better than KPFA or Pacifica, while at the same time selling us the community as their brand. KPFA's CWA union is so corrupt and the network so dysfunctional and yet they just keep asking us for more money rather than trying to fix themselves. And perhaps they can't fix themselves because like so many corrupt unions they are only interested in their paycheck and fundraising to keep getting that paycheck and have no real interest in the community. So now there is yet another fund drive at KPFA where they will once again try and sell themselves as "free speech radio" or "community radio" while they take our money and in return have no interest in hearing from us the rest of the time. KPFA is now becoming irrelevant as people turn to Democracy Now directly on the web and other news online that is more immediate, interesting, challenging and diverse. Kind of like the democratic party KPFA has become corrupt, and dominated by old white men who are only interested in getting their paychecks and keeping the status qou lead by an Obama like Manchurian Manager who is so slick he is so arrogant he doesn't see how transparent he is when he sells KPFA to us as representing us ! SO maybe instead of shelling out more money and keeping the status qou call into KPFA this fund drive and talk to their call center - replacing volunteers - and tell them you are no longer going to to subsidize KPFA until KPFA gets its act together, becomes what they preach, a transparent, activist, community involved open place that walks the talk.
by Laurel
Thursday Dec 11th, 2014 3:44 PM
Anthony Fest of KPFA's Weekend News covered the Berkeley march on Saturday. You can hear his report in the archives on kpfa.org.
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