"AN ALERT FROM THE FRIENDS OF KPFK
The Restructured New Pacifica Board Fast Tracks Executive Hiring While Ignoring KPFK's Financial Crisis"
Analysis: The heading alone should be a clue that something's wrong with this piece of retrograde spew. You see, KPFK's financial crisis is just a small part of the whole Pacifica financial crisis. The outgoing, renegade board ran up around three million dollars in debt. You can bet that when the new board meets this weekend, the financial crisis will be one of the top items on their agenda. For KPFK to complain that they are not being taken care of is just ridiculous.
"If you listened to KPFK in the last 48 hours, you heard and almost inaudible, over-the-telephone announcement from Pacifica National Board Member, Marion Barry. The announcement, by any objective measure, technically unfit for broadcast, was sent to the five Pacifica Stations on Monday of this week by the new National Board majority."
Analysis: I heard the announcement myself. The audio quality wasn't great, but it was no worse than the stuff Pacifica has been broadcasting for years. However, I did notice that Mr. Barry was a bit difficult to understand. He has a deep, gravelly voice with a strong "African American" accent. One has to wonder if there's a subtle race-baiting component to this complaint about the board's announcement.
Just a side note here. This issue that's brought up here regarding "professional" sound quality is one of the big issues in the Pacifica struggle. What we're seeing now at Pacifica is the defeat of a faction that believed strongly in the "professionalization" of Pacifica radio. While finding ways to make Pacifica's message more appealing to the masses is doubtless a good idea, the faction that believes in this is more or less bereft of social skills. They prefer giving orders to achieving consensous, and are in favor of diluting the message in order to make Pacifica more "palatable," which strikes me as being the moral equivalent to watering down of the beer.
"KPFK was ordered by the board to play this piece of unlistenable radio every two hours. So what, you might ask. Well, the devil is in the details. First, this announcement was a job search for the crucial post of EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, of the 10-million-dollar Pacifica National Board, the organization that controls and owns this network. "
"This post is effectively the CEO of Pacifica, the most powerful person in the network who has the authority to directly hire and fire, management staff at the five Pacifica Stations. And yet, the newly configured Pacifica National Board, by means of this broadcast announcement, was giving itself a mere 48-hour window to conduct a national search."
Analysis: Given that the old Executive Director was selected by the old, renegade board that put Pacifica in debt to the tune of 3 million big ones, the new board HAS TO move fast. From both a moral and a legal standpoint, they've got to get the old guy out as quickly as possible. Also, note a distortion of fact. The radio stations PLAYED the announcement for 48 hours. At this point no one has been selected.
"This defies and contradicts all of the high flying lip service to democracy that the newly restructured Pacifica Board has been generating. No responsible organization would conduct a search of less than 30 or 60 days, combing through as many candidates as possible, before making a hire for its top executive post."
Analysis: In other words, we want to keep the old Director for another month or two, probably because we hope we'll be allowed to keep our jobs long enough to find a new situation, and for general help against the new board, which we do not support.
"There is no justification for this short circuiting of normal, job-hiring processes, but there's certainly an explanation. There is no justification because Pacifica currently employs a competent, acting executive director, and there is simply no reason to throw overboard all normal national job search processes and make a middle-of-the-night hiring decision."
Analysis: See above.
"Which brings us to the explanation of what is really behind Pacifica's three-day, execrated naming of an executive director. It's obvious that the top priority of Pacifica's Board is not to solve the network's and KPFK's mortal financial crisis. (No emergency committees have been named, for example, to fast track restoration of KPFK's looted treasury.)"
Analysis: In other words, they ordered us to put Democracy Now! back on the air before they cut us a check out of the funds they don't have anyway. Cutting a check is impossible because the old, renegade board which you support spent KPFK's looted treasury on expensive lawyers, PR, and security. (See http://la.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=14001 for details of this spending.) Also note that the board has only met once, by phone, on December 29th, just after being selected. They will have their first meeting this weekend.
"What seems most important to Pacifica, and to the faction now controlling its restructured board, is to immediately establish its political control over the network. It seems more important to the board that, without any real exploration of available candidates, that one or another reliable political ally, be immediately slotted into Pacifica's top executive position. Indeed we expect that the formal naming of that new ED may come as soon as this weekend."
Analysis: Yes, please establish your control over the network - the sooner the better - maybe you can get these hacks to stop sending me their propoganda!! And yes, a political ally of the new board members may well be chosen. How would this be worse than the present situation?
"If the real interest of our station and our listeners were truly at the hearts of our new national board they'd be paying more attention to our financial needs than their political needs. The board's disrespect for the integrity of KPFK can be no better symbolized by the embarrassing quality of the job announcement that we have been forced
to run. > A serious, mature and responsible board not only would have announced a job search for 30 days or more, but it would have started that process by at least giving us an audio announcement that reflected the minimum degree of professionalism and dignity."
Analysis: Integrity? When you put Amy Goodman back in her 9:00 am time slot we'll talk about integrity.
More importantly, lets lay this complaining about the finances to rest. Pacifica has about 1 million in debt, and perhaps 2 million dollars in legal fees need to be paid. These fees and debts were mainly run up in the old boards attempt to take Pacifica away from the listeners. In addition, each of the stations has debts as well. KPFK is having trouble keeping their power on. KPFA is about 0,000 in debt. Against these large debts Pacifica has about 0,000 in cash reserves, and the settlement also requires the insurance company for Pacifica's directors to pay 0,000 to the foundation on the basis that the old board damaged the foundation by alienating the listeners. (The insurance company is getting off easy.)
In other words child, there just ain't enough in the pot. What we'll probably see is small allocations being made to pay the most pressing needs, and the new board having to somehow deal with the three million dollar debt left by the old board. Dealing with this won't be easy and all the stations will have to tighten their belts.
"We'll keep you informed of future developments. In the meantime, take a moment to contact the following board members and tell them you want them to put aside this cynical political game of fast tracking the hiring of an executive director and instead give their full attention to the resolution to KPFK's financial crisis for which they bear full responsibility."
Analysis: Once again, let's be clear. The old, renegade board is responsible for the fact that KPFK is broke. The old board didn't pay the bills. The old board took control of the station finances and used the money to pay legal, PR, and security firms to help hijack Pacifica's airwaves instead of buying the promised fund drive gifts for the listeners and installing the new transmitter. Don't contact the new board members and give them a hard time. They're working on the problem. Hopefully they'll even solve it.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Contact KPFK and tell them what you think. Here is their contact information:
3729 Cahuenga Blvd. West
North Hollywood, CA 91604
Main phone: (818) 985-2711
Fax: (818) 763-7526
Studio phone (for call-in shows): (818) 985-5735
You might also want to tell KPFK that they need to start broadcasting Democracy Now in their 9:00 slot.
You can also contact the following people and discuss your feelings.
General Manager, Mark Schubb (818) 985-2711 Ext: 503. His email is: GM@kpfk.org
Operations Manager, Stacey Fancher (818) 985-2711 Ext: 205. Email at: email@example.com
Administrative Manager, Terence Chang (818) 985-2711 Ext: 206 Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Air Host Marc Cooper, email to email@example.com
Let them know how you feel about their attempts to vilify the interim board and impede a solution to the Pacifica Crisis.
You can also go to:
for excellent news on the Pacifica crisis. The site is run by my friend Hugh, a relentless reporter on the doings of the ominous valve. His site has many further links which will allow you to explore the crisis at Pacifica for as long as you like.