Despite Declining KPFA Membership, UCR Stays Strong and Steady

United for Community Radio and all the candidates say “THANK YOU” to all our supporters!  UCR candidates Scott Olsen and Sharon Adams were elected to the KPFA Local Station Board.

Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams

Scott Olsen

Scott Olsen

tmT.M. Scruggs was the first runner-up and will replace Andrea Pritchett at the first meeting of the new KPFA Local Station Board, scheduled for January 23, at 11 a.m., at the North Berkeley Senior Center.  This means that UCR will have 4 new representatives on the LSB.

United for Community Radio candidates won 3 seats, and so-called “Save KPFA” candidates won 6.  Although SK candidates won more seats, we at UCR believe that the election results show that UCR is moving in the right direction.  And we believe that UCR can obtain a majority of the LSB seats in the next election, currently scheduled for later in 2016.

 

UCR’s message is resonating with the KPFA members. 

UCR maintained its support, despite a large decrease in voter turnout and a decrease in overall KPFA membership. This is good news for UCR, as it means we have a chance to WIN the next election.

The number of listener-members of KPFA has been decreasing over the last 10 years:
YEAR—–Listener-Members
2005  —–  24,000
2006  —–  22,000
2010  —–  20,000
2012  —–  18,000
2015  —–  16,0000

 

Likewise, the number of voters has been decreasing, although not as much as the decrease in members; reflecting the fact that the people who continue to contribute to KPFA are massively committed to the well-being of the station.

Despite the decline in members and in voters, UCR has maintained a steady base of approximately 1000 votes.  This means that support for UCR is growing within the KPFA community!  This is great news for UCR and means that we are on the right track.   In contrast, SK has been losing voters as the membership has declined.

Election Year Total Voters SK Votes UCR Votes
2010 3,457 ~ 2,400 ~ 1,000
2012 3,257 ~ 2,200 ~ 1,000
2015 2,300 ~ 1,300 ~ 1,000

For more details click here.

Notice:  Some may recall that Janet Kobren ran on the UCR slate.  By mutual consent, Janet Kobren is no longer affiliated with United for Community Radio.

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Beleaguered KPFK Workers Need Support in Election; Union Member Says, “Vote UCR”

BY ANTHONY FESTvote-661888_1280

NOVEMBER 30, 2015: KPFA subscribers have five more days to vote in the election for KPFA’s governing body, the Local Station Board.
 

Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is hearing multiple grievances from unionized staff members at KPFA’s Southern California sister station KPFK, grievances prompted by the actions of KPFK’s recently-appointed manager. The KPFK workers say management has violated their union contract, cut their hours, and failed to pay thousands of dollars in pension contributions and union dues.

Is there a connection?
Indeed there is, and KPFA voters should take heed:
Leslie Radford, the KPFK general manager responsible for the workers’ grievances and the widespread listener complaints, was appointed by none other than KPFA board member Margy Wilkinson. And Wilkinson is now running for re-election to the KPFA board.

What’s Going On?
KPFA and KPFK are two members of the five-station Pacifica Foundation network. Each of the five stations elects a Local Station Board; then the five local boards each send four members to the Pacifica National Board (PNB), the legal “board of directors” of Pacifica. The network and its stations are supposed to be overseen by a full-time Executive Director, hired by the PNB, but the current PNB seems unable to keep an ED on the job; two have departed after short stints in the post. In the absence of an ED, the Chair of the PNB is acting ED. It was in that role that PNB Chair Margy Wilkinson appointed Radford as manager of KPFK this past June. Incredibly, Wilkinson installed Radford in the KPFK job one day before a newly-hired ED began work. Evidently, Wilkinson didn’t want to leave the hiring of a station manager in the hands of someone with actual radio experience. And Radford’s apparent qualification for the general-manager job was being a member of the KPFK board faction that’s allied with Wilkinson’s “Save KPFA.”

In only four months on the job, Radford has so alienated KPFK workers and listeners that a no-confidence petition on Change.org has garnered 250 signatures. The signatories include listeners, present and former KPFK staff, former KPFA staff members Esther Manilla and John Hamilton, and Uprising host Sonali Kolhatkar, whose program is heard on both stations. The no-confidence statement cites labor-contract violations, fundraising blunders, “disastrous programming decisions,” and other problems. It concludes, “ We believe Radford is a liability to KPFK and will lead the station to bankruptcy and/or numerous lawsuits until KPFK is no more.”
 
Some of the KPFK staff members have also created a Facebook page to publicize their issues; Facebook users can find it here.

Throw the Bum(s) Out?
Under Pacifica’s bylaws, the KPFK LSB could begin the process of firing Radford, although the ultimate authority is the Pacifica National Board. This month’s election could swing the balance of power on the local boards and thus the National Board. Therefore, KPFA voters should consider this advice from long-time KPFK staffer and union member Ali Lexa:

As a current SAG-AFTRA member, I can tell you the union busting at KPFK going on right now is real, and Margy Wilkinson is no friend of our union. If we don’t get the Pacifica National Board into better hands immediately, our station in LA which is the biggest non-commercial radio signal west of the Mississippi River and the most important free speech voice in Southern California, is done. So please vote UCR. It’s the pro-labor vote.

United-for-Community-Radio (UCR) is supporting a well-qualified team of nine candidates for the nine KPFA LSB seats to be filled by KPFA subscriber votes. The UCR team includes a union leader for home care workers (Marilla Argüelles), and a former organizer and shop steward (Don Macleay); they’re part of a diverse group of individuals advocating for peace and social justice.
 

To support both KPFA and KPFK, please vote for the nine UCR candidates! To be sure of meeting the voting deadline of Friday, December 4, KPFA subscribers should vote online using the access codes that came with their paper ballots.

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PAST: United For Community Radio Postcard 2015

pc_photos

 

 

 

United for Community Radio Candidates.

 

Make Your Voice Heard

Vote in the KPFA Local Station Board election!!!

 

Paper ballots have been mailed, so if you haven’t received one, please contact the KPFA election supervisor,  kpfa-les (at) pacifica.org

 

 

 

Some of the many endorsers of UCR Candidates:  postcard2

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Pacifica National Board Already Decided — Bequest Should Have Been Sent to Pacifica!

By:  UCR Candidate Sharon Adams

Our opponents have been claiming that United For Community Radio “cost KPFA $400,000“, implying that KPFA was actually entitled to a $400,000 bequest.  Of course, that is the exact issue — KPFA was not entitled to the $400,000 bequest — the Pacifica Foundation was entitled to this bequest.  Our opponents inappropriately decided, WITHOUT CONSULTING PACIFICA, that this bequest was intended solely for KPFA.  The reason we know that KPFA was not entitled to the $400,000 bequest is because the Pacifica National Board (PNB) has determined that the bequest was actually supposed to go to Pacifica.
Bequest_Check

The PNB’s decision is supported by the evidence.  First and foremost, both the bequest and the check were specifically made out to “Pacifica Foundation Radio”.  There was no mention of KPFA in the bequest documents.

Pacifica LogoAnd, even assuming there was ambiguity in the identification of Pacifica Foundation Radio, the proper response would have been to contact the PNB to mutually discuss and decide how to deal with the bequest.  It was our opponents failure to ask Pacifica that is at the heart of this matter.   To the extent that our opponents felt there *was* ambiguity, they should have checked with the Pacifica National Board.

Interim Executive Director (and SaveKPFA candidate) Margy Wilkinson later apologized for this failure to disclose — after the fact and when the bequest funds were already comfortably residing in the KPFA bank account.  It really would not have been that difficult to send this information to Pacifica prior to depositing the check in the KPFA bank account.

FBOKPFA

~Screen shot of kpfa.org website

As the image above shows, it is quite easy to make a bequest that is for KPFA, and the KPFA website provides clear instructions on how to do this.  Of course, Pacifica must be mentioned in the bequest instructions because Pacifica is the parent organization of KPFA.  Significantly, the KPFA website makes clear that the phrase “for the benefit of KPFA” or “fbo KPFA” must be added.  This is not difficult to do, and is standard operating procedure for attorneys working in estate planning who are trained to make clear and unambiguous bequests.

Now that our opponents have been exposed, they start the mudslinging, with personal attacks on UCR candidate Janet Kobren who found the documents showing that the bequest was intended for the Pacifica Foundation.  However, Janet Kobren was simply doing her duty as a board member and secretary of the PNB.  This is in stark contrast to other KPFA members on the PNB, Brian Edwards-Tieckert and Margy Wilkinson.  They have shown that they are willing to “Save” KPFA — at the expense of the entire Pacifica network.

United for Community Radio is not into assigning blame.  UCR wants to ensure that the entire Pacifica network remains strong, including KPFA and its sister stations.  UCR’s opponents must stop cannibalizing Pacifica to allegedly “Save” KPFA.

Vote for the entire UCR slate in the KPFA Local Station Board election.

RESCUE KPFA from Save KPFA

gears-820980_640

For another perspective on the bequest, read Frank Sterling’s article here about how We Are All One!
Frank Sterling is KPFA’s Technical Director of First Voice Media program.

 

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Beholden to Nobody but the Listeners

By: Susan da Silva

To me the most important plank of the United for Community Radio (UCR) platform is the one that will preserve Pacifica as an independent entity where free speech is valued.  I’m referring to this part of the platform: Refuse corporate underwriting or advertising.  

These are desperate times at Pacifica.  Many people say: “There simply is not enough money, so why not take advertisements?”   The answer is that taking corporate money will change Pacifica and KPFA in ways that are unacceptable. 

Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life - photo credit below

Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life – photo credit below

At this point, at most Pacifica stations, there is no outside entity beyond the FCC who has any say about what is on the air.  Sometimes what goes out is not polished, sometimes it’s not politically correct, sometimes it causes us to protest. All that is good in my opinion.  That’s what makes us trustworthy.  We are accountable to each other and to the listeners, no one else.  Each person who speaks, speaks for themselves. With corporate underwriting would come outright censorship and self-censorship.  We might as well be NPR! Those who say that they never feel pressured by their advertisers, are not being totally honest, in my opinion.  They don’t even realize that they are self-censoring.

In this world ruled by corporations, Pacifica is a unique network, a place where no outside corporation can tell us what to say or feel or think.

Bring The People In - photo credit below

Connect with the People – photo credit below

So how do we get the money we need?  We do it with programming that connects to many parts of the community, programming listeners really want.  We do it by bringing new voices to the air.  We do it by reminding the listeners that we don’t take corporate money, and that we listen to them and allow them to vote for board members. We do it by being fiscally responsible enough to not leave millions of CPB dollars on the table.  (Pacifica has not received CPB money for several years because of their inability to complete an audit.)

Somewhere along the line Pacifica stopped taking budgets and audits seriously.  That nonchalance has brought us to the brink of losing our network.  I believe that hard fiscal decisions need to be made immediately.  I believe that once we get our financial house in order, we can go forth with the support of the listeners and that we will not need corporate funds to do so.

If you don’t want corporate underwriting and advertising on your Pacifica station, please vote for the UCR candidates.

“Keep Corporations Out of Our Daily Life.” – photo by Brooke Anderson from “Our Power Festival” in Richmond, CA.

“Connect with the People.” photo by Brooke Anderson from “Our Power Festival” in Richmond, CA.

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Democracy Now! on KPFA — UCR wanted Dem Now! aired at 7 a.m., when most people listen

 

By:  Mara Rivera DN
Save KPFA is apparently claiming that United for Community Radio (UCR) wanted to eliminate the show — this is UNTRUE. United for Community Radio has always wanted Democracy Now! to air at 7 a.m. on KPFA.

 

At the time in 2011 (and as it is now) KPFA airs Democracy Now two times each morning, at 6 a.m. and again at 9 a.m.  UCR wanted Democracy Now to be on the airwaves one time in the morning, at 7 a.m.  As Richard Phelps says, you put your most listened to program at the most listened to time. Therefore, UCR wanted Democracy Now to have one slot in the program line-up, at 7 a.m.  This would open the 9 a.m. slot for additional local programming.

 

The Save KPFA forces wanted to keep drive time for the paid staff, apparently so that paid staff can claim that their programs are the biggest fundraisers for the station. More information can be found here, in an article written at the time these events were happening.

 

The article, written in 2011 by Marc Sapir states:

[T]he governments of Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and massive non-violent uprisings are occurring throughout North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, all this widely covered daily on KPFA which recently became the only national network carrying Al Jazeera-English. In addition, the staff of the program Voices of Middle East and North Africa put together extended shows that aired in prime time with fantastic commentary from experts and activists rarely heard anywhere in U.S. media. At the same time Amy Goodman’s Senior Producer, SA Kouddous, an Egyptian-American, traveled to Egypt where he was on the scene daily reporting from Tahrir square as well. Through the good sense of Pacifica ED, Arlene Engelhardt, Goodman’s show, Democracy Now (KPFA’s most listened to program) is now running in the 7 a.m. drive time slot, complemented by a diverse and local Morning Mix show at 8-9 a.m. which has also brought to KPFA airwaves many new voices and perspectives.

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