KPFA elections coming: make sure you get a ballot!

kpfabumperstickerThe Pacifica network is poised to hold its first board elections in three years. SaveKPFA has put together a full slate of wonderful candidates, who will bring fresh perspectives onto KPFA’s board.

But to get them elected, we’ll need your vote, and that means you’ll need a ballot.

To be eligible to vote, you have to have given at least $25 to KPFA in the year ending this Tuesday, July 14.

Not sure whether your last donation was recent enough? The best way to make sure you get a ballot is to donate right now at https://secure.kpfa.org/support/

We’ve made great progress, but we need your help to keep it up

SaveKPFA came together as an organization devoted to supporting KPFA’s paid and unpaid staff, securing local control of our radio station, winning accountability and transparency from Pacifica (the nonprofit corporation that owns KPFA), and getting terrific programming onto the air.

bannerWe won control of KPFA’s Local Board the same year that Pacifica’s then-leadership sidelined KPFA’s listeners and local management by canceling KPFA’s much-loved Morning Show, and attempting to purge its staff.

Since then, we’ve changed the leadership at Pacifica, helped repair KPFA’s morning lineup, recruited permanent, stable management for KPFA, and started to stabilize Pacifica’s financial problems. Check out our history at saveKPFA.org.

That work has finally resulted in real progress at KPFA: our station launched a spiffy new website this spring that’s optimized for use on mobile devices (where larger and larger numbers of people are getting their media). Management freed up space for new voices by piloting 20 hours of new programming on its second signal, KPFB. And, finally, KPFA has started to shrink the length of its fund drives. (Just last week, KPFA General Manager Quincy McCoy announced we’re able to cancel KPFA’s Summer Fund Drive–for the first time in 15 years!)

Everything we’ve achieved over the past several years has been made possible by thousands of mobilized listeners like you: who turned out at demonstrations to win back control of KPFA, who dug deep during fund drives when KPFA was on the brink, and who delivered landslide victories to SaveKPFA in successive listener elections.
If you support that progress — and you’d like to see more — show your support and secure your ballot by donating NOW at https://secure.kpfa.org/support.

  

Ralph Nader and Amy Goodman urge support for Pacifica network

KPFA graphic

New KPFA web graphics.

Thanks to all who donated so generously to the station’s winter fund drive, which ended today with $335,000 pledged. That’s only $25,000 short of the goal.

Please consider making an end-of-the-year, tax deductible gift to help put KPFA over the top. You can pledge securely online at KPFA.org, and while you are there, have a look at the colorful new graphics that are enlivening the station’s webspace.

Meanwhile, supporters of all five Pacifica stations are receiving this letter from Ralph Nader urging them to help the network “remain a vibrant and sustainable source of information that serves the public interest and our diverse communities.”  Among other things, Nader cites Pacifica’s “eclectic mix of programming that educates and empowers for change.”

Also endorsing the call for support is Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, who is quoted on the letter’s envelope: “The Pacifica Network is a vital cornerstone of our independent media landscape that depends on your financial support. Please donate today to safeguard the future of listener-powered community radio.”

 

KPFA’s new program director: Laura Prives

Laura Prives

Laura Prives

After a year-long search for a program director initiated by KPFA’s elected Local Station Board, KPFA general manager Quincy McCoy has announced he’s promoting long-time KPFA producer Laura Prives to the position

Prives began volunteering in KPFA’s News Department in 2003, on the day the US began bombing Iraq. Later, she moved to the Morning Show, where she worked her way up to executive producer. She helped launch two of KPFA’s most successful new programs: Letters and Politics with Mitch Jeserich, and UpFront with Brian Edwards-Tiekert. Currently, she’s working as a producer on both of those programs and Hard Knock Radio. Previously, she had worked as a DJ at KALX, and a researcher at the Federal Reserve.

“Laura has been one of KPFA’s unsung heroes for years,” said local board treasurer, Barbara Whipperman, a member of SaveKPFA. “Everyone she has worked with knows her incredible work ethic, sharp ear for good radio, and cool head under pressure — which is exactly what KPFA needs right now.”

According to an all-staff memo, Prives will assume her new duties on November 2. KPFA has been without a permanent program director for nearly 15 years.

“When we won elections for KPFA’s Local Station Board, we hoped to help bring competent, stable leadership to the station,” said Whipperman.  KPFA completed the long-delayed hire of a general manager in June, when it hired Quincy McCoy.

Meanwhile, KPFA’s FALL FUND DRIVE is underway, raising desperately needed funds. This drive has an additional goal of “refreshing” KPFA by raising money to overhaul KPFA’s website and make it a better tool for distributing programs and raising money off-air.  Please show your support now by pledging at www.kpfa.org.

Mark your calendars: LSB meeting & KPFA Crafts Fair

kpfa crafts fairAll are welcome at the next KPFA Local Station Board meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 18 from 11am to 4 pm at 100 Oak Street in Oakland (that’s the SEIU Local 1021 office). You can find details, including an agenda here.

And don’t miss KPFA’s legendary Crafts Fair scheduled for the weekend of December 20-21. The fair is returning to the East Bay after 20 years in San Francisco, to the stunning Craneway Pavilion on the Richmond waterfront. Be there!

Fund drive success at KPFA: Uprising brings in the bucks

Sonali Kolkathar

Sonali Kolkathar

KPFA’s recent fund drive ended ahead of schedule, and exceeded its goal by more than $20,000.

The station’s biggest fundraising totals came from its newest show:  Uprising with Sonali Kolhatkar, which airs at 8 am.  Following an ambitious off-air fundraising campaign, Kolhatkar is set to follow in the footsteps of Democracy Now! by launching her show as a national television program on Free Speech TV.

KPFA’s new general manager Quincy McCoy has announced to staff an ambitious campaign to shrink the length of KPFA’s next fund drive, scheduled to begin in October — listen for details in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, check out KPFA’s newest book talks by Diane Ackerman, Naomi Klein, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Reese Erlich, Vandana Shiva, Molly Antopol and others here.

Fixing Pacifica

Margy Wilkinson

Margy Wilkinson

Pacifica is the nonprofit that owns KPFA and 4 other radio stations across the country. When this summer started, it was in chaos. Recently-terminated executive Summer Reese had barricaded herself in Pacifica’s offices, blocking elected board members’ access to Pacifica financial records. Her supporters were suing to reinstate her and throw some elected members off Pacifica’s board. And vendors whose bills Reese had left unpaid for more than a year were starting to file lawsuits to collect.

SaveKPFA‘s members and representatives have been hard at work to put things to rights. In May, long-time civil rights attorney (and SaveKPFA member) Dan Siegel took on Pacifica’s legal woes, winning a court decision that rejected each and argument by Reese’s supporters, and securing a court order that forced her to leave the building.

By late June, Pacifica’s chief financial officer, Raul Salvador, whom Reese had also locked out, had re-secured access to all of Pacifica’s accounts and electronic records. In July, Pacifica Board Chair (and SaveKPFA member) Margy Wilkinson became Pacifica’s de facto executive director, a job she’s doing on a volunteer basis while she works to get a permanent replacement into that position.

In a recent report, Wilkinson described an office left in complete disarray. “The staff in the national office is working hard. They are 5 (plus me) at this point – trying to locate files, reconstruct financial records, getting papers in their proper places, fielding calls from anxious vendors and trying to get a fix on how much money we owe and how many bills we can pay.”

The silver lining: by volunteering her time, leaving some recently-vacated positions unfilled, and whittling away at unnecessary bills, Wilkinson has already made significant cuts to spending at Pacifica’s national office. Wilkinson also reports progress resolving union/management conflicts at WPFW in Washington DC, and on making major reductions in the rental costs for the antenna of WBAI in New York, Pacifica’s most financially-distressed station.

Financial committee chair reports

pacifica logoThe new chair of Pacifica’s national finance committee, KPFA staff representative (and SaveKPFA member) Brian Edwards-Tiekert, has issued a report on the state of Pacifica’s books. “Most of Pacifica’s cash transactions (deposits and wire transfers, especially transfers between Pacifica’s stations and the national office) have not been recorded in its accounting system since the beginning of the fiscal year (October 2013). Beginning with the National Office takeover in March 2014, all payrolls went unrecorded. There is some evidence that inappropriate and unauthorized payments were made during this time.”

“Meanwhile,” Edwards-Tiekert’s report continued, “it appears few spending controls were in place at Pacifica: during a period when the Pacifica National Office was adding staff and raising salaries, it was also racking up large unpaid bills with vendors, attorneys, and consulting firms — the folks now working in the national office have discovered unpaid bills going back to last year that were never disclosed to the board, many of which were never recorded in Pacifica’s accounting system either. The poor state of the books makes it difficult to determine which past-due bills need to be prioritized. Two vendors have filed lawsuits against Pacifica to collect on what’s owed to them.”

But, Edwards-Tiekert added, he has confidence in the people working to clean things up. Their top priorities: completing a long-overdue audit to help secure the release of Pacifica’s Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants, and publishing long-overdue financial statements for the current fiscal year so that Pacifica can take stock of what it needs to do to bring its budget into balance and start catching up on unpaid bills.

RELATED STORIES:  Pacifica: putting the pieces back together (includes financial report) | Lawyer representing board minority jumps ship | Finally, local control at KPFA

Finally: local control at KPFA

Former Pacifica executive Summer Reese had also stalled the hire of a permanent general manager for KPFA, which has had a series of interim appointments since early 2010. (The difference: “permanent” managers are hired with participation of KPFA’s elected board, which also gets a say in whether they’re terminated. “Interim” managers are installed and removed at the whim of Pacifica — making it much more difficult for them to protect the interests of the station.)

KPFA’s elected Local Station Board had submitted a pool of candidates for the position last fall — but Reese failed to hire from it, opting instead to keep the position filled by “interim” appointments until the end of her tenure.

At the end of June, KPFA finally announced the hire of a new permanent GM: veteran broadcaster and nonprofit manager Quincy McCoy. McCoy will be delivering his first report to KPFA’s Local Station Board this Saturday, which will be held at the SEIU Local 1021 hall, 155 Myrtle St., Oakland, from 11 am to 4 pm. The public is welcome. [Meeting recording is here.] Now that he’s in place, KPFA’s Local Station Board is moving forward with hiring a permanent Program Director — something the station hasn’t had for 15 years.

McCoy’s first email to KPFA’s membership went out this week — praising KPFA’s coverage of the war in Gaza, and appealing for financial support during the station’s summer fund drive.

SaveKPFA heartily supports that call: for the first time in years, Pacifica has leadership that is bringing transparency and accountability to its finances, and allowing KPFA’s elected board a meaningful role in choosing the station’s leadership. The financial mess left by previous management is daunting, but manageable — if KPFA and the other Pacifica stations can meet their fundraising goals. Please donate at www.kpfa.org.

KPFA listeners stick around for Uprising at 8AM

uprisingThe new 8AM lineup featuring award-winning Pacifica programmer Sonali Kolhatkar‘s Uprising Radio is doing well. Uprising follows Upfront with Brian Edwards-Tiekert at 7AM. Since the program began in late May,audience retention from the hours of 7 to 8 has improved.

KPFA’s interim general manager Richard Pirodsky said he put Kolhatkar’s show in the 8AM slot for just that reason — to solidly keep KPFA’s audience listening during peak drive time of 7 to 9AM, and it appears to be working. The previous morning hosts have been given airtime in the afternoon.

Pirodsky delivered a report to last Saturday’s LSB meeting describing his reasoning, and asking critics to take a step back and consider the needs of KPFA’s entire listening community. | LISTEN to iGM’s report, READ iGM’s report, LISTEN to LSB meeting: part a, part b, part c

Message from KPFA’s interim GM

KPFAclock[This message was sent to listeners on 5/24 from KPFA’s interim general manager Richard Pirodsky]

Dear KPFA Family,

KPFA’s Spring Fund Drive just ended. But if you missed it, there is still time to show your support.

Please, take 60 seconds to pledge online at www.kpfa.org

You rose up and did all you could to make this drive a success.  And so KPFA is rising to the challenge to offer you “Uprising,” a show new to the Bay Area hosted by “Up Front” co-host Sonali Kolhatkar.

During its trial run this week, it generated the most consistent support of any program during the drive.  You spoke and we listened.  By offering “Uprising” every weekday at 8am and presenting the Morning Mix hosts later in the day, we’ll be doing our part.

Please continue to do your part right now at www.kpfa.org.

We have dozens of amazing thank-you gifts on offer at kpfa.org – including the KPFA Spring Speech Pack, featuring fascinating talks, including some from the KPFA Events Series. The collection includes gifted individuals such as Jane Goodall,  Matt Taibbi, Nomi Prins, Ali Abunimah, Thomas Piketty, and Peter Dale Scott.

The Events Series is just one of the many services, from the KPFA Crafts Fair to the Apprentice Program to the website archive of every KPFA program, which only KPFA makes available to you.

Join the thousands of listeners who’ve already pledged to support the programs and services that KPFA and KPFA alone has to offer. The drive may have ended, but all the good work must continue –give now at www.kpfa.org.

Sincerely,

Richard Pirodsky
iGM KPFA
Pacifica Foundation Radio 94.1FM

KPFA’s winter fund drive on track to finish early — help now!

Music programmer David Gans and Luis Medina, KPFA's music director.

Music programmer David Gans and Luis Medina, KPFA’s music director.

The station’s winter fund drive is chugging along at a faster clip than expected, putting it on track to end in just two and a half weeks — nearly a week shorter than KPFA’s major drives last year. Big kudos to all of KPFA’s staff and listeners, particularly SaveKPFA‘s David Gans and Tim Lynch, whose annual Grateful Dead Marathon raised about $20,000 more than KPFA does on an average Saturday.

Success can bring problems, however: the increased number of calls coming in has at times overwhelmed the volunteers staffing KPFA’s phone room. Staff are reporting regular shortages during the early morning fundraising appeals for Democracy Now! and UpFront.

Three ways you can help out

1) Come volunteer at KPFA any time after 6:30 AM — the address is 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.

2) Give some money online! Making a pledge through www.kpfa.org doesn’t tie up a phone line, and it lets you shop around all the thank you gifts KPFA is offering.

3) Check out the fantastic KPFA events and attend one or more! Email them to your friends, post them on Facebook and Twitter!