Idriss Stelley Foundation program director, San Francisco No-Taser Task Force member, host of Heterotopia on Mutiny Radio, independent journalist with S.F. Bay View newspaper.
My name is Jeremy Miller and I am running for KPFA’s Local Station Board as a listener candidate. Radio is the reason I am campaigning. Steve Martin once said, “Being a comedian is like being a rock star… only without the sex or the money.” Radio shares an analogous place. Generally inside a studio (I have been an independent San Francisco broadcaster for the better part of a decade) there are one or two people, with collective shows rarely having more than 3 or 4 hosts. Guests notwithstanding, it is a lonely place, populated by lonely people who speak to and with the world. Ironically however, this lonely endeavor is still the most popular medium of expression in the country and KPFA is (outside of corporate control) its flagship. I believe that community radio speaks to collective forms of loneliness i.e. feeling politically alienated, economically marginalized, racially or sexually disregarded, suffering from immune-rejection of Top 40 Corporate drivel etc., and that the honesty of this humility can reinforce and regenerate existing worlds as well as inspire new ones.
Then there’s the business. Sad to say KPFA has declining listenership. I believe that there are two main causes of this decline. First, despite quite an array of programming, there is room for more diversity and this impulse is sometimes quashed in favor of entrenchment of the Same. In short KPFA must remain vital. As an LSB member I would push for the “de-centralizing” of programming decisions. Second, remembering that KPFA is listener funded, there has been an increase in fundraising pitches in recent years with a corresponding decline in money. I believe that the budgetary situation at the station needs critical attention, while also respecting the listeners by not badgering them for money too extensively.
We need to be more creative with the resources we have thanks to all of the listener supporters and let our creation inspire new members to join as opposed to the creation of short-sighted new pitch structures to squeeze a few more drops out of the existing pool. Finally, KPFA has a paid staff, and a volunteer (unpaid staff) army, who through hard work, deliver the amazing radio that we love. As an LSB member I would put my shoulder towards increasing solidarity amongst the Pacifica affiliates, supporting stronger collective bargaining agreements, and working towards greater representation and compensation for KPFA’s unpaid staff.
Photo by Daniel Arauz
Oh Yes — me. I’m an independent journalist and radio producer. I’ve hosted “Heterotopia” on Mutiny Radio (formerly on Pirate Cat Radio) for eight years. I write for the SF BAYVIEW NEWSPAPER and POOR NEWS NETWORK. I am also Program Director of the IDRISS STELLEY FOUNDATION, which provides direct services for victims, and families of victims, of Police/State Violence.
I am running on the United for Community Radio slate and my candidacy’s been endorsed by Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report), Michael Parenti (author), Laura Wells (Green Party), and Willie and Mary Ratcliffe (S.F. Bayview/Former LSB). Please vote for me and the entire United for Community Radio team!
OFFICIAL Q & A
1. In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?
KPFA is moving in a positive direction with more diverse cultural voices being given airtime. Africa Today, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, Bay Native Circle, Hard Knock Radio, and APEX Express are some of my favorite programs on the station. In my vision of a community radio station, as many voices as possible will be heard. There should not be a monopoly on communication in any form (even if it is a tried and true “progressive” formula). No representation will ever supplant the truth in a human voice. Therefore I believe strongly in a plurality of voices, radio self-determination, and would encourage the expansion of this to include more historically marginalized voices, and more multilingual programming.
2. In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?
KPFA has in recent years become fiscally unsound. This is very disturbing for a station that loudly proclaims it is listener sponsored. I would work towards fiscal accountability and more creative use of limited resources. There have been several acrimonious controversies over the last few years that have both taxed the public trust for the station as well as belied some latent structurally embedded prejudices. Specifically, I am referring to the cancellation of the Morning Mix, the questionable termination of certain employees and questionable hiring/promotion of others, the dismissal of historically held minimal rights/privileges of KPFA’s unpaid staff and speaking of unpaid staff, perhaps most importantly, the brutal beating of Nadra Foster and the station’s inglorious response. My background is in social justice work. I carry that wherever I go and will fight like a dog for KPFA to live up to its own proclaimed commitments.
3. What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission?
What am I bringing to the table? I have twenty years of experience in the music industry as a performer, retailer, consumer, listener, and writer. I have been a radio DJ/producer for Pirate Cat and then Mutiny Radio for close to a decade. I am a seasoned community organizer, currently Program Director for the Idriss Stelley Foundation (an organization that provides direct services for victims and families of victims of Police and State violence). I am a broadcast and print media journalist. I have previously been in many board meetings of various natures, and have served as a founding director on the board of the now defunct organization “Education not Incarceration.” In short I am equally comfortable behind the soundboard, at the board meeting, and in the street. I am also a lifelong Bay Area resident and longtime supporter of KPFA.
4. What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?
KPFA’s current financial challenges preclude the possibility of a short answer. Expenses need to be audited. Listenership and membership need to increase WITHOUT abusing the current listenership with more frequent pitches. I support the strengthening of collective bargaining agreements and greater solidarity among Pacifica affiliates. Accountability is a must. I believe that it is possible for KPFA to be fiscally sound without draconian cuts, but it is going to take some creativity, fresh thinking, and a lot of work. What I will bring to this matter is a level head, a creative disposition, and ample experience in grassroots fundraising, as well as in generating listenership with absolutely no budget.