I’ve been a KPFA Weekend News reporter for 10 years. I also work in online media, publishing in the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch, Consortium News, and elsewhere.
I’d like to see KPFA and Pacifica radically reimagined, but I’m also realistic about how slowly an organization this size can move.
As a staff rep on the KPFA LSB, I would have three priorities:
1) Restoring the Program Council. We need a Program Council that reviews proposals for new programming, as well as management proposals to cancel existing programming. I am particularly concerned that Counterspin, Discreet Music, Guns and Butter, Twit Wit Radio, and Discreet Music were summarily canceled, and Settin’ the Standard its 5-6 am hour, all without any staff or community process.
A Program Council that reviews locally-produced programming is the “community” in community radio. Without one, KPFA is listener-sponsored radio, but not community radio. Management should work together with staff and community representatives on programming, instead of claiming that power entirely for itself.
It’s often said that “professionals” should be trusted with all programming authority. But Rachel Maddow is a professional. So are Sean Hannity, Chris Hayes, Jake Tapper, Tucker Carlson, Thomas Friedman, and any number of other warmongering voices of the corporate media. In contrast, KPFA’s mission is to be peace-and-justice radio, and to sustain an active, collaborative relationship with the community that supports the station. And let’s remember that some of KPFA’s most important programs were put on the air by a Program Council: Bay Native Circle, Womens’ Magazine, Full Circle, Pusing Limits, Voices of the Middle East, and more.
2) Resisting schemes to break up the Pacifica Network. I am opposed to breaking up the network for many reasons, but most of all because the Pacifica brand is what holds the 200+ affiliate stations together. I explained that in this piece I wrote for the Black Agenda Report: www.blackagendareport.com/pacifica-grassroots-radio-lifeline-lets-keep-it-together
3) Respectful treatment of unpaid staff by management. Unpaid staff are the vast majority of staff, but we lack an organization that represents us in the way that the Communication Workers of America represents paid staff. The Unpaid Staff Organization has no power, so management can simply ignore it. The CWA has a legally binding contract. We too need a contract, or other means of establishing and enforcing basic rights for unpaid staff.
As well as the above three goals, I would like the LSB to be a sounding board for the community. The Local Station Board needs to conduct community town hall meetings twice a year, as required by the Pacifica Bylaws. We should listen to our listeners.
I thank you for your support and your vote. Please also vote for Steve Zeltzer, the host of KPFA’s labor show Work Week Radio.