Thoughts on Our Campaign

and remembering Les Radke

by Adrienne Lauby
December 14, 2012

As I worked on this campaign I often remembered Les Radke who died last April.

We built this campaign with groundwork Les helped lay: bringing people together, building a community around the Coalition for a democratic Pacifica, and the years he put into Pacifica's election procedures and culture. And, our toughest challenges this year at KPFA -- the lack of an election committee, the late forums, the problems with ballots and replacement ballots -- are problems Les would have handled. All these things (and more) would have been so much better if Les had been alive.

That's as it should be. Someone like Les, with his principles, his ability to talk to everyone, his dedication and work, should be missed. He should leave a big hole -- and he did. We'll have to struggle to fill it in the coming years.

For me, this campaign became serious in the last week of August, three and a half months ago. My work came in three waves -- the website, the postcard and the staff campaign. Sometimes the waves overlapped and the waters got quite choppy. Some days I worked in a fog or in isolation. Some days I was thrilled by the events of the campaign and inspired by what I saw others accomplish.

Fourteen weeks. That's a long time. It deserves some thought.

The best thing we did, in my opinion, was run a successful and necessary outreach campaign. Beginning with the candidate search and on through the endorsers, donors and voters, we talked to people about KPFA. We had the website, flyers and other materials for basic credibility. Then, we spoke adult-to-adult, with respect for people's time and energy, calling attention to the problems and raising practical solutions. And, people responded. First and foremost, those who agreed to run as candidates brought their skills, credentials and life experience -- offering these valuable parts of themselves to help strengthen and oversee KPFA.

For three months, we've talked about KPFA with people who are many ages; many shades of black, brown and white; poor, working class and middle class; people whose heart is in the movements which address labor, environmental, occupy, disability, preventing cop violence, third party and so many others. We talked about how KPFA serves these movements, brings them together and shows their strengths. We've said the station could do this even better and told folks how.

If we had been planning an outreach campaign, it couldn't have been better. We got 25 staff endorsers, 135 listener endorsers and 8 group endorsements. These are respectable numbers but the quality that comes with the numbers is even more impressive. I look at these names and the pictures of endorsers we put on our Facebook page, and I feel humbled. So many incredible people are willing to stand behind us, trust us, and believe in what we stand for.

This work is the work of community building.

I wasn't in the room when we chose our name, but
United for Community Radio worked well for me.

United: When I was disheartened, I would remember that we were born from three groups and many individuals, that this was our first time to do a campaign together. I would notice that, while we didn't always agree, most of the time we managed to get out of each other's way and let the work continue. Our major decisions were made collaboratively and people were heard when they objected. I saw changes made because of criticisms, sometimes even from those at the edges of the campaign.

Community: We put together the kind of community group that we have imagined running KPFA. The candidates, endorsers and donors are, so many of them, deeply passionate decades-long community builders -- fighters against the greedy and shortsighted. This is a group who could run a great community radio station and I hope we get a chance to do it.

There were some mistakes; some things need improvement. We have another campaign season in 6 months and, between now and then, we'll need to do a solid critique.

No doubt, the number of seats we win or lose will color our memory of this campaign. . . which is why I am writing this now. I want everyone to remember that, win or lose, we kept our coalition together and ran a very strong campaign. We didn't make huge missteps or end up with large divisions. We aren't facing a major effort to get mud off our face or egg off our windshields. We only have to recuperate and then to gather our energy to do it again, making some tweaks and improvements as we go.

That's pretty remarkable. Les would have been proud.

Thank you all.


United for Community Radio