KPFA Crafts Fair returns to the East Bay this weekend

kpfa crafts fairAmazing crafts, artwork and edibles are available at this weekend’s KPFA Crafts Fair, a 44-year-long  tradition, and the station’s largest off-air fundraiser.

This weekend, the KPFA Crafts Fair returns to the East Bay after two decades in San Francisco. It will take place in the stunning Craneway Pavilion on the Richmond waterfront on December 20-21 from 10am to 5pm daily. Tickets are $10 general, $5 senior, and free for disabled and under 17. Directions for public transit or driving (parking is free and plentiful) are here.

The KPFA Crafts Fair is the largest weekend holiday fair of its kind in Northern California, chock full of professional exhibitors who handcraft ceramics, jewelry, textiles, wood, food and all manner of art and craft.  Please come and show you support for KPFA and for the artisans who add beauty to our lives.

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.”

 

Mark your calendars for talks and films in the new year

Bob Baldock in Cuba, 1958

Bob Baldock (right), Fidel Castro and Bill McIver (left) in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra mountains in 1958.

From economics professor Richard Wolff, to philosopher Cornel West portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, KPFA has begun announcing its 2015 line-up of talks and events. Check ’em out.

And with Cuba in the news, the fascinating photo at right surfaced of KPFA’s own unsung hero Bob Baldock, who has produced KPFA events for over two decades. Learn more about Bob’s remarkable life in this 2011 interview he did with Sasha Lilley on KPFA’s Against the Grain.

 

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!

Pacifica: putting the pieces back together

pacifica logoLast month, we reported on the dire state of the books at Pacifica, the nonprofit that owns KPFA. Pacifica’s new CFO Raul Salvador and board chair Margy Wilkinson (a member of SaveKPFA) found an operation in disarray, after being locked out of the network’s National Office next door to KPFA for two months by ousted executive Summer Reese. Bookkeeping entries had not been made for nine months, and there were unpaid bills lying in large, unorganized stacks, some of which were slated to be shredded until Wilkinson intervened.

After weeks spent reconstructing financial data, Pacifica’s new staff have now issued the most complete network financial statements since Pacifica’s 2012 audit.

Stiffing pension to pay consultants

moneyThere was massive overspending at the National Office, which, according to a report from Pacifica National Finance Committee chair Brian Edwards-Tiekert “produced the largest loss the Pacifica National Office has posted since the height of Pacifica’s civil war in 2001.”

Adding injury to injury: while last year’s leadership was running up large bills with temp agencies, consultants, and law firms, they were skipping payments to the pension fund for Pacifica workers, and holding on to payroll taxes that were supposed to go to the IRS.

The good news: the overspending and deficits appear to have leveled out. So far this year, the network is basically breaking even, and there are more savings on the horizon. If Pacifica is able to restore its eligibility for Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding, it should run a healthy surplus. (CPB funding was suspended in 2013 over compliance issues, cutting the network’s revenues by over $1 million per year). | READ financial report, Excel financial spreadsheets (balance sheets, income statements, consolidated monthly sheet)

Crisis management

The biggest challenge facing Pacifica’s new leadership are the angry creditors they have inherited from the Reese era — several of which have initiated lawsuits.

But there is progress on this front as well: new interim executive director Margy Wilkinson negotiated a 21-month interest-free payment plan with an attorney who had been suing Pacifica over unpaid bills. And in early September, the Pacifica National Board voted to approve a 0% interest loan of $156,000 to cover an unpaid tax bill it inherited and head off further penalties. The loan comes from Aris Anagnos, co-founder of the Los Angeles Peace Center and the Humanitarian Law Project, as well as a long-time supporter of Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles. (You can learn more about Anagnos by listening to this interview with him on KPFK). Anagnos had asked that the discussion of the loan and his name both be made public — to inspire other major supporters to join him in helping Pacifica through its current difficulties.

Now that Pacifica’s financial records are getting cleaned up, Wilkinson reports that it’s getting easier to push back on some claims by creditors. Recently, she talked down a vendor threatening to sue over money Pacifica had already paid.

Still unresolved is the money owed to Pacifica’s pension fund, and lawsuits over unpaid bills, including one from a temp agency Pacifica used heavily last year, and another from Free Speech Radio News, which was forced off the air in mid-2013 after Pacifica stopped making payments for its daily newscast.

RELATED STORIES:  Fixing Pacifica (includes financial report) | Lawyer representing board minority jumps ship | Finally, local control at KPFA

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

Pacifica broadcaster Sonali Kolhatkar joins AM up; KPFA pledge drive over the top!

sonali_pub_shotKPFA announced today that award-winning Pacifica programmer Sonali Kolhatkar will bring her Uprising Radio to our station each week day from 8-9am. Kolhatkar is co-host of KPFA’s 7 a.m. drive-time program UpFront, with Brian Edwards-Tiekert. She also produces Uprising Radio on KPFA’s sister station KPFK in Los Angeles.

In a statement sent widely to listeners, interim general manager of KPFA and KPFK, Richard Pirodsky said, “This week’s broadcast of Uprising Radio on KPFA and KPFK during our spring on-air fund drive has produced spectacular results. We’re pleased to bring Sonali’s smart, progressive program to KPFA’s airwaves – and to know that listeners will respond during our fund drive.”

Kolkathar also welcomed the move, saying in the statement that she was “thrilled that Uprising is expanding to KPFA and will strive to live up to the high standards that Pacifica listeners expect from their beloved station!”

Kolhatkar program is also expanding to national television via Free Speech TV, starting in July. KPFA’s statement reads: “The broadcast of Uprising Radio on KPFA is but the latest collaboration between the Pacifica ‘Left Coast’ stations KPFA-Berkeley and KPFK-Los Angeles. The popular Letters and Politics produced at KPFA by Mitch Jeserich airs on KPFK and the News Departments at KPFA, KPFK and KFCF Fresno collaborate to
produce the Pacifica Evening News.” | READ KPFA’s ANNOUNCEMENT, message from iGM Richard Pirodsky

KPFA’s fund drive gets big boost from court ruling 

kpfamikeguitarKPFA just successfully wrapped up its spring 2014 fund drive. The “unofficial” tally at press time is $762,024, far surpassing the fund drive’s goal of $722,000. 

The drive received a shot in the arm on May 12, when an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered fired Pacifica executive director Summer Reese to vacate the Pacifica National Office next door to KPFA where she, her mother and a small band of supporters were camped out. Immediately following the news, listener donations skyrocketed. | READ NEWS COVERAGE from Current, the Pacifica Evening News, the Daily Californian, the San Jose Mercury | READ the judge’s decision

Listeners also responded enthusiastically when KPFA began an 8 AM simulcast of the popular KPFK program Uprising Radio hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar. Fundraising totals from the program totaled as much as $15,000 per day, split between KPFK and KPFA.

Digging further into the numbers, the five hours of joint fundraising with Kolhatkar at 8 AM raised a total of $57,388 for KPFA (even with the rollover pledge answering service down for one day). KPFA also rebroadcast Kolhatkar’s programs and pitches during the last week of fundraising on six other occasions, raising a total of $35,419 more.  That’s $92,847 that Kolhatkar raised for KPFA in four and a half days!

Kolkathar’s 8 AM average was an astonishing $11,477 per hour. Analysis showed the pledges were almost 50/50 for KPFK and KPFA, or an average of about $5,738 per hour at each station.

Uprising will continue to air as the newest addition to KPFA’s morning line up at 8 AM. Kolkathar describes her program as “a daily digest of independent news analysis, investigation, education, artistic expression and activism.”

The Morning Mix shows formerly airing at 8 AM have been offered afternoon time slots, and some other programs’ air time have also been moved:
Project Censored with Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips will air Fridays from 1-2pm.
Terre Verde will move from 1pm to 2pm on Friday.
Sabrina Jacobs will air every Monday from 3:30-4pm.
Steve Zeltzer will air every Tuesday from 3:30-4pm
Open Book will air every Wednesday from 3:30-4pm
Andres Soto will air every Thursday from 3:30-4pm.
Counter Spin will air every Friday from 3-3:30pm
Making Contact will air every Friday from 3:30-4pm.

kpfabumperstickerPLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT for the addition of Uprising Radio to KPFA’s morning schedule, by contacting interim GM Richard Pirodsky at richard@kpfa.org or (510) 848-6767 x 203 and interim Pacifica executive director Bernard Duncan at ed@pacifica.org or 510-849-2590 x 208.

If you didn’t get a chance to pledge to KPFA and would like to, the “thank you” gifts offered during the fund drive will remain available for the next week. Find them online at KPFA’s webpage.

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!

KPFA exceeds funding goals, but isn’t out of the woods yet

bannerKPFA’s staff report the station beat its Summer Fund Drive goal by a tidy $10,000. (If you didn’t get a chance to give, you can still do so online). But with Pacifica’s financial problems intensifying, KPFA’s budget could be threatened.

KPFA’s fundraising success over the past year is partly a result of former manager Andrew Phillips‘ decision to buck Pacifica and put former Morning Show staff Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Laura Prives back to work in the mornings, producing UpFront, along with KPFK’s Sonali Kolhatkar. UpFront has consistently been the station’s biggest fundraiser since the first day of its existence. According to an analysis by KPFA staff, the total pledged during fund drives increased by $220,000 in the 12 months following the introduction of UpFront — all without adding a single day of fundraising.

The better fundraising means KPFA’s Local Station Board (LSB) was able to approve a budget for next year that starts to roll back cuts begun in 2010. The LSB-approved budget restores some funding to KPFA’s Apprenticeship Program, sets aside money for the professional development of KPFA’s unpaid staff, and invests in long-term off-air fundraising strategies, so that the station can shorten its fund drives. The budget passed last Saturday’s LSB with an overwhelming, cross-factional majority — but one KPFA board member voted against it.

Who could that be? The sole vote against approving KPFA’s budget was from Tracy Rosenberg, who also happens to be Pacifica’s treasurer and is at the heart of the network’s mismanagement. KPFA’s budget still needs approval by the Pacifica National Board. Rosenberg and some of her allies participated in a boycott of the LSB’s last budget meeting in an attempt to deny the LSB a quorum.

ACTION ALERT: Sign this petition supporting KPFA’s budget

Last year, under similar circumstances, Rosenberg unilaterally made changes to KPFA’s budget in her role as network treasurer AFTER local board approval. “We can’t let that happen this year,” said Local Station Board member Jack Kurzweil. “KPFA is not the network’s piggy bank. Our listeners give money to keep our local station strong.”

IF YOU AGREE, PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION to the Pacifica National Board demanding that Pacifica respect local control and approve KPFA’s budget in the form adopted by our KPFA Local Station Board — with funding increases for the Apprenticeship Program intact. SHARE the petition with friends, and ask them to circulate it. Together, we can protect KPFA.

If you’d like to listen to the audio of August 10 Local Station Board meeting where the KPFA’s budget was discussed and voted on, you can find it here: part 1 (public comment, manager’s report); part 2 (budget discussion)