SaveKPFA‘s statements with UCR rebuttals

Statements & Rebuttals

UCR (United for Community Radio) comments on SaveKPFA‘s statement of principles:

SaveKPFA Statement:
Protect local control. In 2014, SaveKPFA led the effort that put KPFA back under the control of locally-hired management for the first time in 5 years — resulting in the recruitment of a talented General Manager, and a permanent Program Director hired by, and accountable to, KPFA’s elected local board.

UCR Rebuttal:
The Executive Director of Pacifica and sometimes the Pacifica National Board make the final decision on KPFA’s General Manager hires, out of a pool chosen by the Local Station Board. Pacifica is the parent organization of the 5 stations, holds the license and provides oversight. The paid staff, Save KPFA, and its previous incarnations like Concerned Listeners, have driven out most of KPFA’s General Managers for not agreeing with them 100%.

SaveKPFA Statement:
Ensure high-quality, progressive programming?. In 2010, Save KPFA campaigned to reverse Pacifica’s cancellation of KPFA’s most listened-to local program, The Morning Show; in 2012, we supported the launch of UpFront, restoring local programming to KPFA’s morning lineup.

UCR Rebuttal:
In 2010 Pacifica’s Executive Director had to step in because Concerned Listeners / Save KPFA were bankrupting the station by not cutting paid staff hours as all the 5 stations had been ordered to do 2-3 years before. Shortfalls in fundraising made these cuts necessary and obvious. Because most station expenses are fixed, wages are the only significant place to balance the budget. Morning Show staff were low on the seniority list and according to the union contract had to be laid off first. Save KPFA created a huge fuss on the airwaves, in e-mails and in complaints to the National Labor Relations Board. They lied to the listeners that the layoffs were politically motivated and talked hundreds of deceived listeners into hating Pacifica and opposing the layoffs.

When paid staff refused to replace the laid off Morning Show workers, volunteers stepped up to do the programming, creating the Morning Mix, much of it focused on local matters. Recently, the Save KPFA forces displaced these volunteers with their cronies.

SaveKPFA Statement:
Support staff and volunteers. SaveKPFA led the successful fight to reverse Pacifica’s 2011 hiring of the nation’s top union-busting law firm; SaveKPFA members have also raised money to update aging equipment in KPFA’s studios, and established a training fund for volunteer staff in KPFA’s budget.

UCR Rebuttal:
That firm was hired for its expertise dealing with a previous harassment lawsuit, not any labor issue. We run on listener support, not faction-related funding of their favorites. No one faction can claim credit for Fund Drive totals. Save KPFA does not value volunteers and trainees (unless they’re part of their faction), and pushes “professionalism” (paid staff). One of they most celebrated supporters, Larry Bensky, referred to volunteer programmers as “monkeys.” Years ago, this group destroyed union coverage for the unpaid staff by switching to CWA, a union which would not represent unpaid staff. The former union United Electrical Workers (UE) had covered unpaid staff as well for many years. They later attempted to destroy UPSO, the Unpaid Staff Organization, which the volunteer staff organized as a substitute. Most of KPFA’s programs and 70% or more of staff are unpaid volunteers.

SaveKPFA Statement:
Transparency and accountability from Pacifica?. SaveKPFA’s representatives on the Pacifica National Board are part of a new majority that has begun issuing regular financial statements for the first time in nearly three years, dramatically shrunk Pacifica’s deficit (from -$2.8 million in 2013 to a small surplus in the 12 months ending in June 2015), and rationalized (and lowered) the dues that stations like KPFA pay to Pacifica’s national office.

UCR Rebuttal:
This is an egregious lie. Save KPFA has proved incompetent at producing realistic income and expense figures for required yearly budgets and audits required by non-profit corporate law and CPB. Their gross incompetence seems a deliberate attempt to bankrupt KPFA and the Pacifica Network, as part of an attempt to grab the station for themselves. The “3 years” were 3 of their years in the majority on the KPFA board, with their incompetent financial officers and sabotage of the competent ones. Pacifica lost 2 million dollars in Corporation for Public funding because it did not keep up with required record keeping, among other things, and is being investigated by the state Attorney General for similar violations of non-profit requirements, possibly resulting in loss of non-profit status. Our auditors have refused to renew their contract with us KPFA.

Now we have discovered that members of the SaveKPFA faction have secretly set up a shadow corporation, the “KPFA Foundation”, which they say is to “catch” KPFA in case of bankruptcy – which they are seemingly trying to achieve in any way and as fast as possible!

This is why we urgently need you to vote them out now!

SaveKPFA Statement: Experiment with new shows; expand into new platforms. Under SaveKPFA leadership, KPFA budgeted for, and carried out, a re-design of its website that makes it more accessible on mobile devices–which is where more and more radio listeners are turning to get their favorite shows. KPFA has also started using its second signal, KPFB, to pilot 20 hours of programming per week from new, energetic producers.

UCR Rebuttal: The website was vastly neglected for years, under Save KPFA’s watch. Save KPFA disempowered the former democratically representative Program Council, which chose new programming and evaluated all programming. They choose new programs by hiring their cronies. They have spoken out against and even censored local, radical, youth, Black, and investigative programming, while claiming the Local Station Board has no role in in programming (but see the Bylaws, Section 7, Article 3, Item G - below). The new programming at KPFB was created by one staff member and the many apprentices and former apprentices who produce programming there.

SaveKPFA Statement: Reform Pacifica’s Byzantine Governance System. We believe Pacifica’s acrimonious boards have generated many of its problems. SaveKPFA participated in cross-factional dialogue talks this year, and now endorses the Pacifica Unity Pledge, which commits us to participating in a network-wide consensus-building process with the goal of making Pacifica’s governance system simpler, effective, smaller, and calmer.

UCR Rebuttal: The “acrimonious board” meetings are a result of Save KPFA’s blocking of any governance and positive change by the Local Station Boards. Their actions show they believe that boards have no right to govern, only the paid staff, as they have often said. The “acrimony” is the slim minority of United for Community Radio forces fighting to strengthen the station, network, and democratic governance. Democratic governance may be imperfect but it’s our only hope for real community programming and a range of left opinions on the air.

(Note: The Save KPFA faction has maintained that the Local Station Board’s main or even sole function is fund raising – which may be true of corporate boards of directors, but not that of a democratically run Pacifica.)

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Voting period: Oct. 15th - Dec.4th Vote online or by paper ballot

Local Station Board Election 2015

Please vote for all of these UCR (United for Community Radio) candidates:

Scott Olsen -- Iraq Veterans Against the War board member, ex-Marine, survivor of police raid on Occupy, licensed radio operator.

Virginia Browning -- current LSB member, Pacifica Governance and Programming Committees; health care researcher, down-winder, longtime KPFA activist.

Janet Kobren -- Incumbent LSB member, Pacifica National Board Director and Secretary, 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla passenger.

T.M. Scruggs -- Executive Producer at; ethnomusicologist, Professor Emeritus, University of Iowa; volunteer for community radio stations in U.S., Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Marilla Argüelles -- former President of home care workers' chapter SEIU, Local 616; editor of "Extracts from Pelican Bay," former KPFA Labor Collective member,

Jeremy Miller -- Idris Shelley Foundation program director, S.F. No-Taser Task Force, host of Heterotopia on Mutiny Radio, independent journalist with S.F. Bayview newspaper.

G. Mario Fernandez -- recent SF State political psychology graduate, former Napa Community College Student Body President, former Occupy Oakland volunteer.

Sharon Adams -- Attorney, past vice-president of National Lawyers Guild, Bay Area; instrumental in protecting undocumented persons from civil ICE detentions in Berkeley jails.

Don Macleay -- 5 years working for the Sandinistas, 19-year school volunteer, Green Party activist, former union organizer and shop steward Oakland.

UCR also supports Listener candidates Tom Voorhees and Richard Hart:

Tom Voorhees -- early-on KPFA volunteer transmitter engineer; 2014 volunteer of the year, National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

Richard Hart -- former natural foods store owner, Berkeley progressive activist, longtime (Pacifica) WBAI supporter.

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for updates, reports & essays on KPFA/Pacifica, please visit these websites:





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KPFA 94.1 FM is one of five stations of the Pacifica radio network which are located in major cities across the country. The other stations are WBAI 99.5 in New York, WPFW 89.3 in Washington DC, KPFT 90.1 in Houston, and KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles. There are also about 160 affiliate stations.

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