Producer and host, KPFA’s “Weekend News.” Producer of “Project Censored Show,” “Afternoons with Andres Soto,” and “Poor News Network.”
I’m Anthony Fest, a staff candidate for the Local Station Board (LSB). Here are some of my thoughts about KPFA; if you agree with these ideas, I’d appreciate your vote!
First, my background: I’ve hosted Sunday-evening newscasts on KPFA since 1996. More recently, I was involved in producing and hosting the Morning Mix. I continue to do technical production for the Project Censored Show, El Show de Andres Soto, and the Poor News segment on Hard Knock.
It’s been an honor to be associated with the latter three programs, because each, in its own way, epitomizes what KPFA should be about. Project-Censored media scholars Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff seek out issues and individuals who need better coverage than corporate media is giving. Andres Soto is a natural broadcaster and one of the best additions to KPFA in many years; he brings in-depth knowledge of both local politics and the music world. Tiny, Muteado and the Poor News crew deliver the voices and issues of low-income and no-income people, unfiltered by the commercial-media spin that depicts poor people as a social problem, instead of individuals who deserve the same rights and respect as everyone else. PNN may well be the most educational 15 minutes on the radio!
Besides my programming background, I served two previous terms on the Local Station Board (LSB).
I’d like to go back to the LSB to attempt to address a couple of ongoing KPFA conundrums:
– We broadcast the voices of people fighting for democracy and equity in society, yet our own organization is sorely lacking in those qualities. We’re structured much like a commercial station, with all authority residing at the top. Reorganizing KPFA as a co-op would give all of us a role in the station’s direction; I don’t know if this is legally possible. However, we still can demand that our voices be heard and our concerns addressed.
– We report on social change, yet KPFA itself changes very little. The last real wave of innovation at KPFA was nearly fifteen years ago, in the post-crisis period when many new shows were introduced. Today, we still have only one hour a week dedicated to the Asian-American community, only half an hour for environmental programming, half an hour for labor, no programs for seniors, the LGBT community, etc. Surely we can do better than this.
I don’t pretend that these long-standing problems can be resolved only from a seat on the Local Station Board. In fact, the LSB is not a very strong institution, as it lacks the power to enforce its decisions. However, at a minimum, the LSB is a venue where staff concerns can be heard and amplified. As C.S. Soong says, “the important thing is not to stop questioning.” If elected to the LSB, I intend to ask lots of questions!
Official Q. & A.
4. What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?
We need more listeners and more subscribers. This is one aspect of KPFA operations where we should imitate what commercial stations do: advertise. A billboard, and /or bus ads, will make us known to thousands of potential listeners who may never have heard of KPFA before. Another option, less effective but also less costly, would be to run ads in community and college newspapers.