01 October, 2008

Open Letter on New KPFA Leadership Attributes/Priorities

Below is an open letter offering points of recommendation for new leadership within KPFA and Pacifica. As you may know, a permanent KPFA general manager will soon be hired. With this statement we hope to bring about the best possible leadership to help steer the station and network in a more positive direction. This letter embraces our concerns about the future of KPFA and Pacifica.

It's been nearly ten years since the 1999 Lockout of KPFA Staff, a major turning point in our station's and network's history. After surviving an attempted authoritarian coup, the station began a new era of democratic decision-making and station Transformation. Many staff, including those from under-represented communities and their allies, did not want to re-enter the station with business as usual.

A new vision was reflected in the ten point Transformation Proposal adopted at a historic, broad based community/staff meeting at La Pena Cultural Center, which included "the expansion and transformation of KPFA's Program Council to include diverse non-paid staff and community representatives as voting members" and "a commitment to turning the 4-5 PM program slot into a dynamic, top-quality community/public affairs show (now known as "Hard Knock Radio") appealing especially to young people and people of color." Also demanded was the return of fired KPFA general manager Nicole Sawaya, who had become emblematic of creative, collaborative, and visionary station leadership. The push for new, more inclusive programming, as well as enduring changes in internal power relations, gained prominence during the Lockout.

Nine years later, some of these goals have yet to be realized. We are excited about the prospect of fresh leadership at KPFA as we enter 2009. Pacifica network is in a dismal financial state and moving KPFA forward through vision and strong leadership will result in a wider base of support among new listeners. Pacifica's move toward the digital/internet realm to reach a global community will help move the network into more equitable and sustainable financial streams. As KPFA has historically been a beacon within the network, a financially stable KPFA must be a role model for all of the Pacifica stations. In this context, we look forward to innovative management that embodies the following qualities listed below.

We, the undersigned members and supporters of Pacifica Radio Network and KPFA, offer the following points of recommendation for the fresh leadership that we would like to see within KPFA and Pacifica. These attributes reflect our common goals of shifting the culture of KPFA and Pacifica to one of collaboration, support and creative diversity. We wish to see leadership that:


Believes in the mission of Pacifica Radio Network and is committed to fulfilling the overarching preface to the historic Transformation Proposal made during the 1999 KPFA Lock-Out, which reads, "It is imperative that we take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves for transforming KPFA into an even more powerful and inclusive voice for social justice."


Supports and encourages the professional and organizational growth of Unpaid Staff, KPFA radio collectives, and the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. Maintains a respectful and collaborative spirit with regard to the historical struggles, internal operations, autonomy, freedom of speech in on- air content & programming, and self-organization of KPFA collectives and programs.


Is committed to achieving democracy within the radio station, including ensuring an active, empowered role for a Program Council, which includes Unpaid Staff, LSB and Listener Representatives in programming KPFA's air waves. Supports inclusive, fair and collaborative decision-making processes with respect to programming, which is enshrined in Pacifica's bylaws: "radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors." Understands that we can measure our success in meeting the needs of communities through our broadcasting with the active participation of community representatives on our decision-making bodies.


Is committed to shifting the current programming grid, and has the vision to integrate decentralized multi-media tools such as interactive web pages and digital radio bands to attract a new generation of listeners, to create space for new voices and talents to be fostered, and to move Pacifica forward in the 21st century. Understands that the listener base will grow through equitable participation and inclusion of the "first person" story, moving beyond basic reporting about these communities to letting the people speak for themselves, broadening listener-based support and interaction.


Understands the changing demographics of our listener base from a financial perspective. Recognizes that our subscriber base is an aging population, and because of this there is a need for younger listeners and attracting them will require new fund raising approaches that go beyond the traditional fund drive model, such as engaging in collaborative projects with organizations/individuals from new communities.


Within the station budget, supports the needs and growth of local producers and staff through funding for the recommendations of the Disability Access Report, staff training, reimbursements for station-related costs such as transportation, childcare, promotion, and production expenses and in-station support for grant and fellowship applications.


Will adhere to an equitable hiring process and rejects backdoor hiring. Is accessible to staff and community members, and can rise above factional disputes and can work successfully with a broad spectrum of people.


Shows due respect to under-served and under-represented communities by prioritizing annual ethnic specials (including heritage or history months, anniversaries, celebrations, and yearly specials) to be aired on the appropriate dates or months, adjusting for fund drive dates, and confirming awarded dates and timeslots with the producers and programmers concerned at the earliest possible time. Eliminates repeated bureaucratic problems in scheduling specials and is inclusive in the decision-making process in relation to programmers who produce annual specials and events for broadcast.

Matthew Abaya, Filmmaker, Educator, API Specials
Shahram Aghamir, Producer, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa.
Raquel Aguirre, Host of Musical Colors
Nick Alexander, KPFA Producer, Reporter
Naji Ali, Producer, Full Circle
Nora Barrows-Friedman, Producer, Flashpoints
Amanda Bellerby, Producer, Flashpoints
Donna Bellorado, Lead Segment Editor/Fellow in the First Voice program
Khalil Bendib, Producer & Co-host, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
Mary Berg, Music Programmer, Host of a Musical Offering
Rivian Berlin, Producer, Women's Magazine
Dennis Bernstein, Senior Producer, Flashpoints
Vanessa Bohm, Producer, La Raza Chronicles
Bonnie Bone, KPFA Engineer / Music Show Host / Apprenticeship Grad
Allison Bunder, First Voice Apprentice
Erica Bridgeman, Engineer, Co-Producer, The Radio Chronicles
Melody Brown, First Voice Apprentice
Dolma Chuteng, KPFA API Specials, Tibet Update
Afrikahn Jahmal Dayvs, Producer/Host, Music
Lisa Dettmer, KPFA Producer, Women's Magazine
Darren J. de Leon, Producer/Co-Host Radio 2050
Julius Dimanlig, API Specials, Bindlestiff
Doug Edwards, Programmer/Producer, Music of the World, Ear Thyme
Professor Samera Esmeir, Producer, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
Bonnie Faulkner, Host and Producer of Guns and Butter
Anthony Fest, News
Omar Flamenco Board Op/Producer/DJ, Apprenticeship Graduate
Leah Gardner, Producer, Pushing Limits
Rainjita Geesler-First Voice Co-Director, Co-Host Apex Express
Wendell Harper, Staff Reporter, KPFA News
Francisco Herrera, Co-host and Producer, Flashpoints, La Onda Bajita
Yvette Hochberg, Producer, Women's Magazine
I~los, Roots Kommunikations kru, API Specials
Minister of Information JR, POCC, Block Report Radio/Flashpoints
Kayumanggi' Kaloy (Klay), KPFA DJ & Producer, [Apprenticeship Grad'89]
Shuka Klanatari, Producer, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa.
Julieta Kusnir, Producer, La Raza Chronicles, Hard Knock Radio
Kevin Jefferson, Producer, Radio Chronciles
Rahul C. Lagura, KPFA API Specials, Smartmoves/East Oakland Boxing Association Youth Coach
Adrienne Lauby, Producer, Pushing Limits
Fabian Chavez Martinez, Live Music Engineer
Mickie Mayzes, Listener/Subscriber/Producer
Evelina Molina Assistant Producer / Roving Reporter for Flash Points & La Onda Bajita
Miguel Molina, Executive Producer, La Onda Bajita; Roving Producer, Flashpoints
Jill Montgomery, 32nd Generation of the First Voice Apprenticeship Program
Joy Moore, Producer, KPFA
Tony Moses, KPFA Reggae Programmer (Since 1974)
Safi Wai Nairobi, Producer, Women's Magazine
Daniel Nemser, Producer, Radio Zapatista collective of La Onda Bajita
Teresa Opaon-Ali, Filipina Women's Network, API Specials Translator/Contributor
Eddy Pay, Music Programmer and Board Op
Miguel Perez, Co-Producer, La Onda Bajita, Flashpoints en Espanol
Emmit Powell, DJ/Producer, The Gospel Experience
Kate Rafael, Producer, Women's Magazine
Malihe Razazan, Producer and Co-Host of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa
Michael B Reagan, News
Alejandro Reyes, Radio Zapatista collective (La Onda Bajita) / Flashpoints Mexico correspondent
Pedro Reyes, Co-Producer, La Onda Bajita
Raynelle Rino, DJ, Scientist, Educator
Taiye Robinson, Apprenticeship Graduate
Jan Santos, Producer, Pushing Limits
Art Sato, Host of In Your Ear
Doyle Saylor, Producer, Pushing Limits
Adália (Moncada) Selket, Apprenticeship Grad, Producer, Host Brazilian Music Show, Board Op/DJ
Nina Serrano, Co-producer La Raza Chronicles, Monthly Host/Producer, Open Book
Preeti Shekar, Producer, Women's Magazine
Ruthanne Shpiner, News Reporter, Producer/Pushing Limits
Jacob Simas, Full Circle
Frank Sterling, Full Circle Fellow
Tiny AKA Lisa Gray-Garcia- POOR NEWS
Kirsten Thomas, Board Op/Producer, Morning Show/Democracy Now! Apprentice Alumnus
Walter Turner, Producer, Host of Africa Today
Carla West, News, Apprenticeship Graduate
Simin Yahaghi, Women's Magazine
Ali Zadeh, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
Dr. Zeina Zaatari, Producer, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa

Elliott Axelson, Listener, Mill Valley
A. Gilman, WBAI & KPFA Listener/Supporter
Peter Kim, Listener/Supporter, Managing Director of Streetside Productions
Thelma Mondero, Listener, Santa Cruz
Ken Moshesh, Subscriber/Supporter, Commissioner, Berkeley Homeless Commission
Dave Room, Bay Localize
Eloise Rose-Lee - Listener/Supporter, Media Alliance
Elena Serrano, Listener/Supporter, EastSide Arts Alliance
Greg Stagi, Listener, San Francisco
Brian Stegner, Listener, Oakland
Eric Stegner, Listener, Santa Clara
Yvette Torres, KPFA Subscriber/API Community Organizer
Jahleah Valdez, Listener, San Francisco