KPFA: from candidate Laurence Shoup

Laurence Shoup was recently elected to KPFA’s Local Station Board. He is a member of the United for Community Radio slate.

November 28, 2012

Here is my basic analysis of the election and what is to be done. The overall context is a community radio station (not a big corporation) struggling to survive in our commodity driven world. Funding is down, creating pressure on everyone involved. There are five key players in this ongoing drama.

First, Pacifica is the owner of the license, a 501c3 and non-commercial FCC licensee. Pacifica is now a completely different organization than it was in 1999 when many of us strongly protested their actions (I was arrested for non-violently protesting at that time). It has a board elected by the KPFA and the Local Station Boards of four other affiliates.

The paid staff is a small group (less than 40 people) in a self-protective craft union and feeling stressed (and this is quite understandable as their wages and benefits are at stake). The third group is unpaid staff, about 235 people who do much more work at the station than the paid staff (doing hosting or producing segments for shows, I understand that they do 80% of the total work at the station) but who have no real say in the operation of the station (this is an obvious ongoing problem and injustice).

The fourth group are people who listen and subscribe (now a little less than 20,000 people). The final group is the 100,000-200,000 people who listen but do not subscribe. One central task for the future is to locate and work with this last group and the already paid subscribers to bring in more funding. My own idea is to organize a sustainer campaign based on direct contact on a personal, one to one basis, with the aim of gaining 5,000 new subscribers at $5 a month or more within the next six months. This leads to our United for Community Radio position that we need to have regular community forums to involve more listeners.

As you can gather from what I have written above, we of
United for Community Radio
want democracy, we want to put the
people´s/ progressive movement´s interests first, to represent everyone, including the listeners and both the paid and unpaid staff in a community radio setting. The other side is self-interested, it mainly wants to represent the small number of paid staff (and they make it sound like an epic labor battle, like they are going up against a major for profit corporation, not a small community radio station. And a key fact is that most workers at KPFA are not allowed union representation. In contrast, I believe in one big union for ALL KPFA workers, not just some, but getting there is, of course, difficult). The bottom line is that we need more cooperation among all parties, so United for Community Radio has put forward a positive program, without attacks on the other side, to try to get where we need to be to help KPFA survive and thrive. I wish that I could say that the other side is going forward with only a positive program, you can be your own judge, just look at their mailer, which contains untruths and attacks on us. Kindly look at our candidates and our United for Community Radio endorsers, you can then decide for yourself if their attacks are warranted.

It is important that our entire slate wins, this is how we can have a real impact for our key values, for our radio station and the entire community. KPFA is a beautiful local resource that belongs to our community, all of us. It is a solid building block for our collective future. So help it survive and thrive by voting for our entire slate of 10 candidates, ranking them 1 to 10 in your own order of preference. Please mail your ballot in very soon, as it has to go to Sandy impacted New York. So it should leave here by December 3 at the latest.

Larry Shoup

LAURENCE SHOUP is the author "
Rulers and Rebels: A People's History of Early California, 1769-1901" & other books. He's a Green Party stalwart, Longtime community and people's movement activist

The rest of the United for Community Radio candidates are, in alphabetical order by last name:

Virginia Browning
Long time KPFA activist, former radio programmer

Samsarah Morgan
Oakland Green Party, Occupy Oakland Activist, writer on birth health and family Staff Candidates

Ramsés Téon Nichols
Organizing Committee Chair of Local SEIU 1021 and member of SF Green Party

Karen Pickett
Environmental and community activist, writer and editor

Andrea Prichett
Incumbent board member, community activist, teacher, Copwatch founder

Oriana Saportas
Community & Labor activist, former KPFA Local Election Supervisor

Beth Seligman
JD, vegetarian occupier, permaculturist and writer

Kate Tanaka
Incumbent board member, community activist, Green Party stalwart

David Welsh
Labor organizer, delegate SF Labor Council, Haiti Action Committee, Occupy Oakland occupier

For more about the KPFA election
please see articles at this website, and also at
United for Community Radio

The CANDIDATE DEBATES of Nov 2012 are archived both at and at
(Note: some of these began with up to half an hour of filler music)

At Indybay all 4 forums can be heard at:
KPFA Local Station Board 2012 Candidates Forums

These 4 forums are also archived at KPFA, as follows:

Sunday, November 25th
7 p.m.: Virginia Browning, Kate Tanaka, Carole Travis, Burton White;
9 p.m.: Ramses Teon-Nichols, Karen Pickett, Dan Siegel, Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman

Monday, November 26th, 7 p.m.:
Laurence Shoup, Andrea Prichett, Barbara Whipperman, Craig Alderson

Tuesday, November 27th 7p.m.:
Dave Welch, Oriana Saportas, Beth Seligman, Kate Gowen

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Updates, reports & essays about KPFA & Pacifica Foundation Radio at

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.