Pacifica-appointed managers oversee second disastrous fund drive, loss of listenership

KPFA interim general manager Andrew Philips and interim program director Carrie Core — both brought to KPFA without community input by Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt — have presided over another calamitous fund drive. KPFA’s Summer Fund Drive came up about $44,000 short of its $300,000 goal, another indication of listener dissatisfaction with the removal of the Morning Show. | SEE BELOW FOR HOW YOU CAN HELP


During the just-completed Summer Drive, the Morning Mix replacement raised a meager $1500 on good days. On other days, it brought in only $650 an hour in pledges. Before it was canceled by Engelhardt, the KPFA Morning Show regularly averaged $5000 an hour in pledges during fund drives.

The last two KPFA fund drives were the worst planned in memory. “Planning usually starts at least 6 weeks out, but Phillips and Core only met with programming staff the Friday before the drive started,” one worker told SaveKPFA. “The managers then repeated programming that had failed to raise money, and even allocated several hours of air-time for Phillips’ own 30-year-old documentary that he produced in the early 1980s.”

Listeners appear to be voting with their donations and sending a clear message, one that is confirmed by Arbitron, the company which surveys radio listeners nationally. Recent data shows a drop in over 10% of KPFA’s audience — or 13,000 listeners — since the Morning Show was taken off the air.

So for all the talk of expanding KPFA’s audience, Pacifica and KPFA management have done just the opposite: they’ve presided over its contraction. But instead of taking responsibility for these decisions, Phillips told station workers “there may have to be staff cuts,” as he announced a meeting for staff and listeners this Tuesday, August 16 at 6pm in KPFA’s Performance Studio (1929 MLK Way, Berkeley).


We must change KPFA’s destructive management before we lose our historic and beloved station. Here’s how you can help:

1) SIGN the recall petition against Tracy Rosenberg, a key person who put Engelhardt, Phillips & Core in power. (Here’s the actual petition:

2) DEMAND the resignation of the managers who are destroying KPFA: Arlene Engelhardt (salary $90,000), Andrew Phillips (salary $70,000) and Carrie Core (salary $50,000).  TOTAL: $210,000. This is the management team that has:

* refused $63,000 in listener pledges to restore the Morning Show
* spent $70,000 on anti-union consultants
* issued multiple gag orders against KPFA workers who have tried to inform listeners about developments at the station
* overseen 2 disastrous fund drives
* decreed programming changes that will cost over $500,000
* ignored listeners’ desires, and removed KPFA’s excellent programs to put their friends on the air, essentially “firing the listeners” and reducing KPFA’s audience

Why should listeners pay $210,000 dollars for these 3 managers’ salaries, when their incompetence is destroying KPFA? CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL to these 3 managers, with a cc to members of KPFA’s and Pacifica’s elected boards. Tell them that KPFA needs excellent programming, not wasteful bureaucrats. Use our sample letter or write your own, but please voice your outrage!

Is there now censorship at KPFA?

David Gans, host of Dead to the World

Station management inflicted another serious wound to KPFA’s goal of honest, free speech radio last week when it dropped a disciplinary letter and gag order on unpaid music programmer David Gans.

Gans made brief comments during his August 10 show that were critical of management, eliciting a written warning from interim program director Carrie Core not to discuss “internal issues.” Gans published his comments and Core’s letter on his blog, calling the incident “another salvo in an ongoing battle for the soul of KPFA,” and urging listeners to sign the recall petition against Tracy Rosenberg, a key supporter of management.

“Managers freely broadcast their own anti-union positions and Pacifica’s,” noted, “but slap ‘disciplinary actions’ or gag rules on KPFA’s workers when they speak their minds about the radio network they have labored to build over decades.” Disciplinary letters have also been sent in recent months by Core to paid staffers Mitch Jeserich, John Hamilton and Mark Mericle for reporting on layoffs at the station.

Sonali Kolkathar, host of Uprising

Core also said she’s going to remove the popular Saturday morning program Uprising, hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar. A veteran Pacifica journalist working out of KPFK in Los Angeles, Kolhatkar has made several on-air statements of solidarity with KPFA’s workers.

What would replace Uprising? A “labor show” by management ally Steve Zeltzer. As KPFAWorker notes, “the same managers who supported paying over $70,000 to fight the station’s union workers” put Zeltzer forward to replace respected KPFA producer David Bacon.” Like most unpaid staff at the station, Bacon has refused to cooperate with management’s replacement of union staffers.