letter to KPFA Mgr. Quincy McCoy

An open letter
to KPFA General Manager Quincy McCoy

Dear KPFA General Manager Quincy McCoy,

During Q & A following your manager report on May 16th, I asked about communication, how we could contact you? I told you that I and others had emailed you on numerous occasions but received no response. One example was this spring when the seven years of unpaid property tax was discovered, and I emailed you asking what actions you were taking to preserve our KPFA building. The only response from your office was an automatic email saying you were out of town and would not be returning for ten days.

There was also the letter which I and eight others sent you on April 8th, but received no reply. Nor did you respond to the petition asking you to return "Work Week Radio" to KPFA's airwaves; it was signed by about 500 KPFA listeners.

The matter still on many people's minds is the time in August 2018 when you took "Guns and Butter" off the air and erased 17 years of "Guns and Butter" archives. Although the show was controversial, you banished it without transparent process, thereby offending listeners on both sides of the issue. A solution, repeatedly offered, was to resurrect the Program Council to evaluate old, new and proposed programs. But you gave us no public response, other than to continue to take down shows that presumably are not to your liking.

It was then, in 2018, that I ran for KPFA's board, and many people asked me what I would do. I told them, "I will ask questions."

This is quite in accord with Pacifica Bylaws, Article Seven which describes the duties of the LSB.
Section G reads: "To work with station management to ensure that station programming fulfills the purposes of the Foundation and is responsive to the diverse needs of the listeners (demographic) and communities (geographic) served by the station, and that station policies and procedures for making programming decisions and for program evaluation are working in a fair, collaborative and respectful manner to provide quality programming."

In the LSB election of that winter, KPFA listeners elected me, and I'm on the board to ask questions. This is an important part of what we board members are there for.

So, at the meeting (on Zoom) of May 16th I asked you how can we communicate with you, that is, get through to you and get a response, and you replied that I could email you. Then, almost in the same breath, you added that you don't respond to people yelling or shouting at you. "I don't deserve to be yelled at!" you said. Yelling at you? Maybe you feel that people are angry with you and perhaps they are. But I wasn't yelling. The emails and petition I mentioned were assertive, but courteous. The petition with 500 signatures was also courteous in tone, but you told us you did not look at it.

Dismissing questions, letters, and petitions as "yelling" is not the best way to work with people. It's not even professional.

Perhaps criticism really does sound to you like "yelling." If so, that's unfortunate, because criticism can be quite helpful, and it is very much a part of democracy. KPFA and the Pacifica radio network are intended to be governed by a system we call "radio democracy." This democracy was reaffirmed in the recent referendum by an overwhelming 2/3rds across the Pacifica network. And by the way, result of that election should've been broadcast on KPFA. airwaves. Why wasn't it? That's one more question I need to ask.

So, let me ask you. In the spirit of radio democracy, can we communicate respectfully and work together for the furtherance of the station?

Daniel Borgström
Member of the KPFA Local Station Board

June 3, 2020

***** ***** *****

In an earlier version of this letter I wrote that the station's property taxes had not been paid for "eight years". That raised loud objections from GM Quincy McCoy's supporters who said the taxes were unpaid for only six years. Only six years? Yes, it was originally reported to be six years, though it was later reported to be seven years. I incorrectly wrote "eight" years and in the above version I have corrected it to seven. The simple unchanged fact is that for many years the property taxes remained unpaid and when the County of Alameda tax office finally sent a notice warning that they were going to auction off KPFA's building, that notice was ignored until a whistleblower sounded the alarm.

And I should add that KPFA's General Manager Quincy McCoy did not respond to the above open letter.