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Response to Weekly's KPFK article

by Cayce Callaway Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 11:47 AM

Join the discussion on the Weekly's article on KPFK

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Don't Get Too Close

by Bakunin Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 12:29 PM

The article was initially infuriating because it was so obviously written from the perspective of the 'cooper' faction and filled with insidious language used to delegitimize the new administration that you couldn't help smell the hypocracy of the writer.

However, the more i thought about it, i began to realize what this was. This is a battle between liberals and extreme liberals (aka...authoritarian lefties and extreme authoritarian lefties). It's a battle fought in an old institution that encourages, promotes, and necessitates hiearchy and wage-slavory. It's easy to forget that while we may perceive KPFK and Pacifica as a place to hear the likes of Zinn and Chomsky (a good thing!) as opposed to hearing Cooper smooze with war criminals (Macnamara) with such a coziness that it makes you want to puke, the fact remains that the institution of Pacifica is based on an old model crafted by the authoritarian left. That is why Indymedia is so important for the future, and that is why we shouldn't get too close to the KPFK factions.

Just look at the false dichotomies painted by the author (intellectuals vs. 60's marxists!). What a fucking joke. It's funny really because as much as the author wanted to appear to be looking in from the outside, the more she exposed her own middle aged lefty crisis. And the story about the camping trip was her own little revelation about how fucked up authoritarian leftists really are. Without exposing my age ;), us younger folks figured this out a long time ago and now we have indymedia and a critique of the authoritarian left that is driving young people farther and farther away from the likes of Pacifica (how many youth are really involved in Pacifica????).

So my advice to the community of people reading this article is too not get too close to the disease of LEFTISM. Indeed, really, the only people who really give a shit about this article are those who are taking the sides in one way or another. My gut level reaction was to take sides and defend Star and the new regime. However, i began to realize that this is a pathetic exercise that really only encourages people to look to a central source for our news liberation instead of creating more indymedia centers, or producing our own content, or doing our own radio shows (long live killradio!), etc. The more we get close to this, the more we lose perspective on our own empowerment as people fighting for the liberation of our own minds. It's a psychological drain to get to close to 'the station' drama. It's far more empowering to do-it-yourself in collaboration with others who you care for and want to have some fun with.

Long Live Indymedia.
Don't let the (authoritarian leftists) bastards grind you down!

Bakunin
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Bakunin... you got it all wrong

by Peoples-Radio Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 1:55 PM

Bakunin's charge that the fight at KPFK/Pacifica has been "a battle fought in an old institution that encourages, promotes, and necessitates hiearchy and wage-slavory" is SO RIDICULOUS that it mirrors the crap the LA WEAKLY printed. Bakunin went even further by saying that the "institution of Pacifica is based on an old model crafted by the authoritarian left." This is as historically inacurate a statement that could be made.

PACIFICA was founded by Lew Hill... a Pacifist who refused to fight in World War 2. Over the years, Pacifica and its various stations have been home to many artists, writers, poets, non-conformists, anti-authoritarians, and others who stand outside the mainstream. Bakunin warns the reader not to "get too close to the disease of LEFTISM." That remark places him firmly in the Marc Cooper, LA WEAKLY camp,who are well known for bashing the left and leftists.

Some "anarchists" like Bakunin are so ridiculously pure in their views that they become in essence, rightist reactionaries. Telling people not to "get too close" to KPFK is rightist sabotage. KPFK is a COMMUNITY Radio Station, and people from the various communities in LA, SHOULD become involved, deeply involved, in the ONLY non-commercial, radical radio network in the entire country!

No, the station is not perfect, and lots of changes need to be made still. The station has been under the heel of a bunch of idiots for the last few years, but it's only going to get back on its feet if everyone gets involved. The only thing Bakunin got right is that we should build more indy web sites, but that should NOT mean turning our backs on KPFK/Pacifica!

Bakunin sez we "have indymedia and a critique of the authoritarian left that is driving young people farther and farther away from the likes of Pacifica (how many youth are really involved in Pacifica????)." Man, thats just wrong. lots of young people are involved in Pacifica, and the station has over the years changed the lives of countless thousands of young people. We should be drivng young people to KPFK, not away from it!
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Still Don't Get TOO Close

by Bakunin Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 2:12 PM

Response to Mr. People's Radio,

I actually wanted to say that i knew that Lew Hill founded Pacifica, and for those who don't know, he was an anarchist pacifist. However, he died less than 10 years into Pacifica and my argument is that the direction the station took for years was crafted and molded by authoritarian leftists.

Let's not be dishonest with ourselves. KPFK has unions for a reason, to protect against management. KPFK and Pacifica are GOOD things, i agree, but they are limited and do promote authoritarian models of dependency and organizing. I like KPFK and listen to it, but it is NOT MY STATION. It is an illusion to think that it is when it has no collective decision making processes built into it. It's an illusion to think that at the end of the day, the final decisions about station policy don't come down to management. They absolutely do.

In regards to Youth, how many shows have hosts under the age of 30? Maybe one? Mr. People's Radio is trying to lump me in with Cooper, et al. That is precisely the narrow thinking of what i was critiquing. It's as if there isn't merit to the critique's of both factions. And of course there are. The idea that my comments are rightist sabotage further illustrates my point; namely, DONT GET TOO CLOSE to the battle which will, in my opinion, lead you down a path of reliance on authoritarian institutions and cultures that nurture this thought, and but blinders on so much so that anyone who critiques the new regime will get slammed for thinking outside the box. Let me be clear, i still say:

1. Support KPFK and the new attempts at democracy.
2. Encourage more democratic decision making structures
3. Be open enough to see the limitations, historically, of the Pacifica institution.
4. Empower yourself to create indymedia and new IMC's in countries that really need it.
5. Don't fall into the trap of cultism and the rhetoric of Mr. People's radio (even that title is disturbing!)

And again, the idea that youth have power at Pacifica is a joke (umm, how many youth were at the PNB meeting?) The youth that volunteer...do they just do grunt work or do they have decision making power? Let's not avoid tough questions....

Bakunin
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We should have expected as much.

by carolina Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 4:11 PM
pinedaart@hotmail.com

I'm glad to see our media activist community has become hip to the duplicity of "display window" "leftists" such as Marc Cooper, and most of "LA weakly's" and The Nation Magazine's political writers, such as Cooper and Alex Cockburn.

They always dismiss all attempts at a causative, system analysis of events as "paranoid conspiracy theories". We've seen this response to truth seekers in JFK [both the actual assassination in '63 and the Oliver Stone film about this in '91], Gary Webb, Mike Rupert and others re the CIA crack cocaine connection in the '90's, the Pacifica hijacking, and now re Sept. 11 [again Rupert,plus Michael Moore and Gregg Palast lead the truth seekers].

I think we should launch an investigation into the ownerships and financing of psuedo leftist publications such the "LA weakly" and the Nation Magazine. After all, as I recall, the right wing Whitley family who owned sulfer cartels in Cuba and, after Castro, in Indonesia, was found to have financed the now defunct "New Republic" in the 1920's.

This is not to say that conspiracy hypotheses should be accepted off hand as fact, but rathar that serious allegations should be investigated as to their veracity, not just dismissed as paranoia.
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We should have expected as much.

by carolina Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 4:13 PM
pinedaart@hotmail.com

I'm glad to see our media activist community has become hip to the duplicity of "display window" "leftists" such as Marc Cooper, and most of "LA weakly's" and The Nation Magazine's political writers, such as Cooper and Alex Cockburn.

They always dismiss all attempts at a causative, system analysis of events as "paranoid conspiracy theories". We've seen this response to truth seekers in JFK [both the actual assassination in '63 and the Oliver Stone film about this in '91], Gary Webb, Mike Rupert and others re the CIA crack cocaine connection in the '90's, the Pacifica hijacking, and now re Sept. 11 [again Rupert,plus Michael Moore and Gregg Palast lead the truth seekers].

I think we should launch an investigation into the ownerships and financing of psuedo leftist publications such the "LA weakly" and the Nation Magazine. After all, as I recall, the right wing Whitley family who owned sulfer cartels in Cuba and, after Castro, in Indonesia, was found to have financed the now defunct "New Republic" in the 1920's.

This is not to say that conspiracy hypotheses should be accepted off hand as fact, but rathar that serious allegations should be investigated as to their veracity, not just dismissed as paranoia.
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KPFK works if you do.

by Guglielmo Marconi Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 4:15 PM

Let me assure you that an entire movement is organizing from literally the street level around KPFK. It's a radical committment to returning the station to its original mission, but this time also to build a bottom-up anarcho-syndicalist governance structure so the Democratic Party can't steal it from us again.

The two Long Beach anarchists who went to the iPNB meeting found themselves the focus of a whole discussion group at lunch. Pacifica is desperate to get outside the old-white-lefty box and bring everyone in. Organize a strong collective with solid programming ideas suitable for the regulatory environment of a 112,000-watt FCC-licensed radio station and I guarantee it will have a major role in what gets on the air.

Couper and Schlubb and Endless Railer see radio as a mind control device. They have said so. It's not. It's a dialogue. We want that dialogue back.

It's not really a generational issue because many of the people kicking the Schlubbistas' sorry butts back down Cahuenga are older than the kick-ees. It's much more an issue of when one established pseudo-left clique which took root in the toxic environment of Schlubb's nationally-driven KPFK will finally get half a clue and let it go. They failed miserably on the Internet, so now they're taking it to the print media.

They will fail, because their vision is dead and rotting in the sun for all to see. There's a new future to build.

In or out, as they say.

-- .- .-. -.-. --- -. ..
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So Much BS, So Little Time

by A Nonny Mouse Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 4:36 PM

Cooper is talented finger-pointer. Others point their fingers at him, with good reason, but less skill. Conspiracy theorists are ultimate finger-pointers. Here we have one saying 'all those other finger-pointers are bad!'

"Authoritarian left"???? Sounds like pure David Horowitz to me. Too easy for anarchist to become libertarian to become Republican if calling names is the all the game you got.

Seems to this mouse that it's not finger-pointing per se that's the problem--it's the purpose of the finger-pointing. Everyone makes mistakes. Point your finger at the mistake--it's the only way to identify it. Point your finger at the cheese--and I will smile.

A hey, nonny, nonny, hey nonny, nonny, hey.
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Don't get too close?

by Jonathan Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 4:41 PM

The La Weakly story was obviuosly intended to be a cold shower and not an open window. Instead of advocating not getting too close why not bring your friends along instead. And since nobody chooses when they are born there is no virtue to youth only perspective and it is wider than the name pretends. I can't imagine hearing Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn saying don't get too close. In fact they say get involved.
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In defense of an alternative

by George LoBuono Monday, Mar. 25, 2002 at 6:29 PM
globuo01@hotmail.com 530 792-8896 910 Douglass Ave. Davis, CA 95616

To characterize the non-corporate alternative as "Marxist" and "ultra-left" runs counter to the times. When the Cold War ended, the world's most painful problems were not solved. More wealth is in fewer hands, and demonstrations against the WTO and the IMF have grown much larger, hence the need for reporting like that of Amy Goodman (who is exemplary in her courage and independence).

Thousands of news slots follow in the corporate pack and "good life" vein, hence Amy's reports are of a certain sort---from a perspective that assumes the need to defend both human rights and our basic, incremental gains toward a decent global standard of law. There are thousands of market-seeking stations on the air; there is only one network like Pacifica. Of course, it has a certain character---it shouldn't be reduced to flatland dualities, i.e. Republicans vs. Democrats.

Ella's article bemoans what is simply an ordinary diversity of inputs, the basic peculiarities of any open, democratic process. After the M. Berry & Co. attempt to destroy the nation's only independent alternative, of course there are loud and insistent voices. But... get real, Ella---we don't dispense death threats. Remember COINTELPRO, mob money in presidential coffers, Murray Chotiner, Gen. Ed Lansdale at Dealey plaza, the assassinations, the death squad approach to government (even here in the US) not so long ago?

A significant part of what Ella derides as retrograde may, at times, grow shrill and emotional because it is no longer simply the political structure here that is at stake when election is hijacked or when an Enron is swept under the rug. It isn't simply our right to a voice that is at risk when the White House is wed to Carlyle (and it's EG&G subsidiary), which profits directly when Bush & Co. decide to revamp defense in order to militarize outer space. THE ENTIRE PLANET is at risk of failing in ways that are neither linear, nor incrementally predictable.

When a 1000 square mile ice shelf falls into the water, darkening like a giant fungal bruise on an orange, it must be seen in connection with an ozone hole that now reaches 1/3 of the way to the equator, an atmosphere that is now miles and miles contracted due to global warming, a 20 percent diminution of cold water flowing south--to pump the Gulf Stream northward, and rainforests that may be gone within 20 years, before the petroleum disappears--shortly afterward.

KPFK is simply adjusting to catharsis within it's alternative community. It isn't being taken over. No one will lock out alternatives, nor will they try to sell the broadcast slot in order to stuff their pockets. We respect your opinion, Ella. Please, don't deride us as antiquated rabble.

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What big changes?

by Acting As If I Weren't Me Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 12:35 PM

If you take a few steps back from the "struggle" between the factions, the station hasn't changed that much. Yeah, the programming is a little more ardently political and self reflective (or narcissistic, if you're not interested in KPFK internal issues), but for the most part, it remains the same. There are occasional problems on-air, but not enough that all but the hard core listener would notice.

The way E.T. writes it, the barbarians have stormed the university. The prior KPFK was not, in my novice estimation, a pinnacle of left intellectual achievement. The present KPFK is not the abased mess excoriated in the hit piece.

(BTW - here's my quick take on paranoid conspiracists versus elitist wonks. Same deal, different kinds of intelligence. National Enquirer versus the national news. Neither will directly influence people to participate in what some would call the civic life. If anything, you'll feel less empowered than before.)

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Bye-bye Cooper and Co.

by BoredLeftist Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 1:27 PM

Ella Taylor tries to portray herself and her friends (Cooper and Co.) as "intellectuals". Opposed to this category are supposed to be the "60's Marxists".

Here's a surprise for Cooper & Co. and the 60'sMarxists: I hate them both. I don't want to listen to drivel from either pseudo-left whingers or from vanguardist-Trotskyists.

The reforms at Pacifica are to be welcomed to the extent that they open the possibility of listener-controlled radio. If they fail to do that then we'll just have some other group in power.

Either Pacifica/KPFK initiate a delegated, recallable, consensus control structure or else it's not worth bothering with.

Sure, I'd miss not hearing Amy Goodman. I'd miss the occasional Chomsky, Zinn, Herman talks. I'd miss the African music.

I would not miss hearing Marc Cooper's nasal whine, self-righteous sniggers, racist attacks on political prisoners (like Mumia Abu-jamal) or his granting of free air time to Buchanan and MacNamara.

On this last point especially I have no time for the Taylor article. The right wing has all the institutions it wants for the dissemination of its propaganda. There is no need to "dialogue with" these people. There is a need to have their harshest critics explain their case.

Then those critics can go and dialogue with Macnamara et al on NPR.

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listener-controlled radio

by me Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 3:58 PM

Just an aside: Seems to me if you want true listener-controlled radio you're going to have use something other than radio. Something more along the lines of an audio version of indymedia that uses the Internet to "broadcast" audio content rather than EM transmitters.

Anyone can upload audio, staff members or volunteers would sort through the offerings and schedule the more interesting ones to be a part of a default program schedule. If however, you as a listener don't like the content of the default broadcast you could go online and surf through the audio yourself, select a bunch of things to listen to and fire off your own customized program schedule. Perhaps the site would allow people to publish their program schedules so others could listen to them as well, making it possible for anyone to be a program director. Those who consistently publish well-received program content or schedules would probably develop a bit a following.


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Pre-publication letter to LA Weekly

by Steven Starr Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 5:23 PM
sstarr@kpfk.org

To KPFK Listeners,

The following letter of concern (with minor grammatical corrections) was emailed to LA Weekly's Editor in Chief Laurie Ochoa prior to publication of Ella Taylor's article.

I'll respond to the actual article separately.

Thanks.

Steven Starr
Interim General Manager
KPFK-FM
-------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: KPFK
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 11:26:15 -0800
From: steven starr <sstarr@kpfk.org>
To: lochoa@laweekly.com, amittelstaedt@laweekly.com

Dear LA Weekly Editors,

I am writing to express my urgent concern that the LA Weekly is planning to run a hit piece on KPFK, rather than a thoughtful article that will educate your readers about some of the important issues regarding KPFK, Pacifica, and independent media.

Ella Taylor, the reporter you've assigned to this story, has interviewed an imbalanced list of sources, largely reflecting past managements' hostility to the current efforts, and has allowed only the most impoverished opportunity for current management to offer perspective. I ask you, is this what alternative, independent media has come to?

When I first received Ms. Taylor's narrow list of questions concerning Ron Wilkins' appearance on the Lawyer's Guild show, I answered her questions immediately, and invited her to broaden the discussion. Further, in an effort to support her inquiry, I invited Ms. Taylor numerous times over the last four weeks to visit KPFK, to get to know me, the staff, the changes that are underway here at the station. She repeatedly demurred, claiming 'deadline pressures'.

In that time period, the station has had a record breaking fund drive, a historic, network-wide "Save the KPFK Transmitter" fundraiser, and a spectrum of other initiatives that hold the promise of a positive future. KPFK's phone lines are now open, allowing unscreened calls for the first time in years. We are developing intense outreach efforts to bring community back into the station, forming programming collectives, building out remote broadcast facilities, etc.

One might imagine these are relevant facts to a story that's been researched for more than four weeks. But after four weeks of avoiding my entreaties to experience these things for herself, Ms. Taylor appeared at KPFK to research her story for the first time this past friday to interview two employees: one seeking employment elsewhere, and Marc Cooper's ex-producer.

When she finally made her way to my office, she declared she had very little time, that her story was 'basically finished', and that she simply wanted to ask me a couple of follow up questions. My associate Andrea Buffa, former exec. director of Media Alliance, was in my office, and we both tried to engage Ms. Taylor in an informed discussion about developments at the station with no success.

Ms. Taylor asked why I'd not responded to the Ron Wilkins 'paint job' comment on the Lawyer's Guild show. I told her that I had, on the very next KPFK Report To The Listener, stating publicly that there was no room for personal attacks or hate speech on KPFK. Ms. Taylor said that in her view, I should have named Mr. Wilkins in that public statement. I indicated that had I'd been interested in naming names, I'd have mentioned escalatory on-air comments made by another programmer the following day, painting Lawyer's Guild Show participants as 'anti-semitic thugs'.

Ms. Taylor then asked how I could put someone as 'disreputable' as Mike Ruppert on the KPFK airwaves during the Fund Drive, offering his tape (Truth And Lies About 9/11) as a premium. She indicated that she'd not actually listened to the show. Fascinating. If she had, she'd have discovered that Mr. Ruppert was invited into a vigorous debate I'd organized with Norman Solomon of FAIR, who spent the entire show disputing Mr. Ruppert's journalistic methodology. His tape was then offered to our audience for them to form their own conclusions. Unlike Ms. Taylor, we have enough respect for our audience to give them both sides of the story.

Further, Ms. Taylor took no notes in the less than 30 minutes we spent together, with the singular exception of jotting down my phrase "Forget the LAB", in response to her repetitive query as to whether the Local Advisory Board was 'running' KPFK. With that, she again expressed her need to leave. So I hurriedly asked various members of the staff to drop everything, so they could spend a few moments alone with Ms. Taylor, in a last ditch effort to try and give her a broader view.

A very few members of my staff were granted brief interactions with Ms. Taylor, but then she left, avoiding an interview with Armando Gudiño, a new staff member, among others eager to speak with her. So I encouraged staffers to reach out to her over the weekend, but she's not interviewed them, despite their efforts to contact her.

She's not interviewed Esther Manilla, or Terry Guy (who's tried to contact her), both staff members here of long-standing. And she's avoided an interview with Michael Zinzun (who's been trying to contact her for weeks), a member of our Local Advisory Board.

And yes, perhaps they would challenge the picture Ms. Taylor plans to present of KPFK, as apparently Ms. Taylor prefers to limit her sources to former manager Marc Schubb, former paid host Marc Cooper, and a variety of staff members who support these two men's perspectives.

It is a shame that the LA Weekly is going to perpetuate the divisiveness of the Pacifica Radio battles rather than posing to its readers some of the questions that Pacifica will need to deal with in the future--how to include community input and participation without sacrificing professionalism; how to diversify our staffs and programming to reach out to communities that haven't been included in the Pacifica family; how to produce progressive programming that is politically and intellectually challenging rather than predictible and boring.

In contrast to the policy of silence on internal issues of the prior administration of KPFK and Pacifica, we continue to engage more than 150,000 Southland listeners in ongoing, open line dialogue about the changes underway at the station, and the history of its recent struggles.

Our recent fund drive, which eclipsed all prior subscribership and fundraising totals by hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of returning subscribers, demonstrates the strong support of our listenership for these changes and their desire to be informed about the state of the station they support.

I've made mistakes as iGM of KPFK, and take responsibility for them, as indicated in my public comments at the National Board Meeting in Los Angeles last week (see below). No doubt KPFK has significant challenges in front of us, as well as significant promise. But the whole story is clearly not being told by the LA Weekly, and that is my reason for writing.

Despite all this, we continue to pursue a positive relationship with the LA Weekly, as it's quite clear to me that we are two progressive media outlets in a sea of reactionary voices. This past week, KPFK featured LA Weekly contributor Sarah Catania. This week, we've invited contributor Marc Haefele on the air. And despite his public
disagreements with Pacifica, and his choice to leave the paid staff, LA Weekly columnist Marc Cooper's voice continues to be welcome on KPFK's airwaves via Radio Nation.

Again, of course we welcome constructive criticism, when it comes from a place of balance and integrity. But this is clearly a matter of contempt prior to investigation, and given the long history of collaboration between our two institutions, I urge you to investigate my concerns.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Steven Starr
KPFK Interim GM

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

REPORT TO THE PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD - MARCH 8, 2002

My name is Steven Starr, and it’s a privilege to be at this Pacifica National Board meeting as the interim general manager of KPFK.

When I walked into the station a little more than a month ago, there was a far different climate than there is at KPFK today. Outside the building, there was a deeply concerned community of listeners that had been engaged in a struggle to reassert community participation in KPFK’s future. Many of whom, on principle or as a result of prior station manager edict, had not set foot inside KPFK in years.

Inside the building, there were staff and programmers of widely divergent opinions about the long struggle that just ended, who were meeting me for the first time. There were deep fears expressed that day, deep concerns, deep misapprehension. Some of the staff and programmers were happy to see me; some were not. Some were committed to supporting the efforts of the newly reconstituted Pacifica National Board; some were not.

I told the staff two things on that day; that I had no intention of firing anyone, and that I was there for a 60-day transition period, so that a new permanent General Manager could be found. So here we are, about halfway through that period, and today I’m happy to report on some of the remarkable successes we’ve had to date as well as identify some real challenges for the future.

First of all, the Fund Drive. When I walked into KPFK a month ago, it was made abundantly clear to me by some members of the staff that the very idea of doing a fund drive at that moment was misguided.

Some, as you know, were resistant to the extreme. Listeners were mistrustful, having seen their pledges disappear into the ether, with their premiums never showing up. Programmers felt ethically unable to encourage listeners to send money, the staff felt the same way. Further, the details of the previous administrations’ outrageous misappropriations had not yet seen the light of day.

And all of this in the face of a station financial crisis consisting of a mounting local $250,000 debt, utilities and services that were being shut off for nonpayment, a transmitter signal under severe threat, and revelations of a national financial crisis that exceeded anyone’s worst hopes.

We had to move quickly and we did. KPFK made an unprecedented deal with Pacifica national. We would take control of all proceeds of our Winter Fund Drive. We signed this agreement, posted it on the KPFK website, and went on the air and told our listeners that this agreement and this bank account were in place. That there would be no repetition of recent history, no misappropriations, no plundering.

Most of the staff and programmers responded immediately. The work progressed well, and aggressive preparations got underway. And better yet, the community responded. They responded not only with their money, but their time. KPFK’s volunteer coordinator, Keola Kamma, was flooded with calls. The LAB took ownership over the care and feeding of the volunteers.

And then we threw open the doors.

We all know the rest; we just finished the most successful fund drive in KPFK stations’ history, and I’m happy to report that our current tally, still climbing, is now approaching $715,000.

There’s more. Dave Adelson called me early on to pass along a suggestion from Robbie Osman. Robbie suggested we consider the prospect of network wide fund drive to Save the KPFK signal. So we got on the phone with all of the Station Managers and floated Robby’s idea of having a 1-day event, and the reaction was thrilling.

In an act of unprecedented solidarity, every station manager committed on that day, on that call, to what we all now recognize as a historic effort, and we got busy, seriously busy. The results of our Feb. 28 Save the Signal national fund drive are still coming in, but when all the pledges are counted, we expect to break $200,000.

It’s important to make clear that this wouldn’t have happened without the cooperation of the Pacifica National Staff, without Leslie Cagan and Dan Coughlin’s serious and total commitment toward returning to us control over our financial future. I just want to thank them publicly, because again, as a result, we now have a local KPFK bank account, and an agreement that provides for control over all funds raised during the winter fund drive. Thank you.

And congratulations to all of us., these numbers are record-breaking. As many of you have emailed me, it’s hard proof of just how seriously this community takes it’s radio station, just how deep into it’s pockets this community is willing to reach to assure KPFK”s future, Pacifica’s future. We’ve a great deal to be proud of, and I congratulate you all.

Beyond that, I’d like to move quickly through some other areas of interest and concern.

As for the Transmitter, Don Mussell, our excellent consultant on the project, tells us that SoCal Edison has just finished it's design work. The vendor who will make the electric switch gear will need to see these plans and then go ahead and start building this equipment. The switch gear consists of all of the breaker boxes and panels that mount inside the KPFK transmitter building, as well as the wiring to the switch gear itself. A concrete pad must be poured for a new high voltage step-down transformer, 4" conduit placed underground, and new high capacity wiring pulled through and attached.

This all needs to be carefully engineered to make sure we don't have the problems we had before with circuits burning up and surges taking out critical transmitter equipment. Romney Tripp of RWT Construction, our contractor, assures us that he is doing all he can to speed the process along.

As it is, it will be early May at best before we can install the new transmitter and return KPFK to full power operation. John Crigler and Don Mussell will work up another request from the FCC to allow us more time to complete the work, and are confident that given our efforts, we will be granted one.

Given the remarkable success of our fund drive, fortunately there will be no financial challenge to the related studio build out project upstairs. Bob Conger, KPFK’s longstanding chief engineer, tells me that by years end we should have completed the upstairs studio project, which means more in-house resources for the development and execution of local programming.

In terms of programming, we’ve brought back to KPFK's airwaves some of the shows that Pacifica listeners have been demanding: Democracy Now, Seditious Beats, and Alternative Radio. We’ve re-instituted Report to the Listener, opening the phone lines to unscreened calls from listeners. We've added Free Speech Radio News to our airwaves, and we’ve brought back the Community Calendar twice a day.

Additionally, we’re n the process of developing a community voices project with the Independent Media Center, designed to bring a host of new voices from many communities to the air to give short commentary on current events, and we’re anticipating the delivery of a new book show, 'Shelf Life”, by Salvadoran activist/novelist, and KPFK book critic, Marcos McPeek Villatoro.

We’ve held a series of on-air discussions this week about Pacifica to educate listeners about Pacifica in advance of the board meeting this weekend--this is a topic that had not been allowed to be discussed on KPFK's air for a very long time

We’re encouraging the development of programming collectives who can create programming in some areas that the station needs to strengthen--the most active collective so far is the West/South Asian collective. I hope to have some programming from them soon and to figure out how we can incorporate them into the schedule at KPFK

One of the recognized functions of the LAB is to make programming Recommendations based on the community needs and in-put as well as identify community resources to fulfill those needs. For the first time in a long time, if ever, the station management has been able to work hand in hand to establish mechanisms to facilitate this process.

We began with a West/South Asia Collective and now the Community Needs Assessment Committee of the LAB, co-chaired by Lydia Brazon and Kwazi Nkrumah are moving forward with management in order to establish a Latina/Latino collective, Native collective, youth collective, Black collective and Arts collective and some regional collectives as well. I encourage all interested parties to contact the Community Needs Assessment Committee of the LAB for further information.

As for personnel, we’ve presided over a transition inside the station in which several staff members have decided to move on, including Operations and Music Director Beto Arcos, Development Director Stacey Fancher, News Director Katy Chen, Producer and on-air host Jeff Kaufman, and Programmer Marc Cooper.

We are posting job descriptions on these and other openings at the station, and look forward to the incoming permanent general manager to make these critical staffing decisions.

On an interim basis, we’ve begun bringing new staff into the station, including Andrea Buffa of Media Alliance, Armando Guidinio as an interim producer, and Sonali Kolhatkar, who is hosting our Morning Show. These interim folks are going to help the other staff hold down the fort until, as I said earlier, we can create a good process for hiring permanent new staff, under the supervision of the permanent general manager.

We’re talking with a variety of people--from LAB members, to staff members, to free Pacifica activists, to people who've been fired and banned from KPFK—to make sure they know they are welcome at the station and also to develop a process for bringing new programming onto the airwaves. And I’m quite sure that I haven’t done this perfectly, and I welcome all of your input on how do accomplish this.

I must confess that I’m learning as I go, and am eager to learn from your criticism and incorporate your suggestions. We are also developing a co-sponsored forum with the Paul Robeson Center to deal with the issue of racial slurs and stereotyping, with the hopes of bringing the results of that forum to the listening audience as special programming.

Further, I want to say publicly that while I believe self-promotion and personal attacks should be given no quarter on KPFK’s airwaves, I am going to redouble my efforts to allow the articulation of political differences onto the airwaves, and I accept that suggestion willingly.

I’m also very clear that there are some communities of people who feel I'm not moving quickly enough, or that I haven't adequately addressed the issues they care about. I understand these concerns, and am deeply committed to developing processes to address them.

I want to say publicly that I am committed to addressing significant issues that are still festering at KPFK--from figuring out how to incorporate people who've been banned and fired from the station back into the station community to addressing the issues of race and racism at KPFK, and to making KPFK a good place to work with some form of workplace democracy.

These are my greatest challenges, and I look forward to giving these matters major priority over the next month as I help KPFK look for a general manager who can help KPFK to develop its full potential.

Finally, I'm deeply proud of what I and the other people who've been working with me have been able to accomplish in such a short time. It's been an incredible privilege to do this work, on of the great privileges of my life, and I thank you for it.

Steven Starr
KPFK - Interim General Manager
March 8, 2002
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the weekly is the least of worries

by blanch Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 6:05 PM

The LA weekly has been getting it wrong for decades, but judging from what I read here, maybe Taylor has got a point, for once. For those who are happy to see Cooper go, I wonder if they have bothered listening to what his show has been replaced with. Probably not, since the issue is not about anyone actually listening to KPFK, but that the so called "community" that the self-righteous claim to represent is running the show. Okay. Fine, but until they figure out their programming, I can now join the vast majority of the "community" I live in by tuning out.
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listener-controlled radio

by BoredLeftist Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 7:24 PM

"me" suggests that radio in its current form cannot be listener controlled. To some extent I agree and I find your suggestions interesting.

However I think that a centralized passive-reception system as FM-radio is now can still be influenced and guided by different types of structures.

There's the one that Cooper and his authoritarian thugs instituted: a system which /calls/ itself left-wing and alternative. A system which prides itself on not being George Bush or Al Gore (what a noble distinction to be able to make!). A system that has absolutely /no/ chance of a lowly, ground-dwelling, ordinary Joe to decided that certain content is appropriate or not.

Then there's a a possible future one: a system in which listeners can expresses their choice by selecting delegates to a body that determines the direction of the station. A system in which delegates are chosen by consensus. A system in which delegates are chosen on the basis of a clear mandate. A system in which delegates are recallable on the basis of a quorum vote.

To "Steven Starr". You seem to be doing a good job. Thanks.
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loyal listener and volunteer

by =@= Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 8:23 PM
=@=

For me the saddest thing is that the Weekly lost what little credibility I thought it had before it published the hit piece on KPFK. I was offended again and again by the writer’s naïve and bitter characterization of me, a loyal Pacifica supporter.

I have not been inclined to write the papers off in the past simply because I occasionally read things there I disagree with. How the editors at the Weekly respond to the barrage of mail they are likely to get is going to be very telling to me. I'm glad we got Pacifica back but I am saddened that the historic changes that are going on at Pacifica can not be replicated with print media. Of course we can’t pretend ownership of the corporate media.

As for taking sides at KPFK – I’m not sure it is really necessary anymore. I was there the first morning of the recent pledge drive. I can not tell you how many people called - felt compelled to call actually - and pledged money they really couldn't afford just to celebrate the return of their KPFK. Some callers were obviously in tears: "thank you for returning our station to us", as if I personally had anything to do with it. Amy Goodman’s show received an especially enthusiastic and emotional response (after all she was among the banned) while Marc Cooper’s abdication passed with hardly a notice. The listeners speak for themselves, in large numbers. The disgruntled speak only to themselves, and not even they are listening.

You only need hear the reformed KPFK to note the remarkable difference. Free Speech Radio News, Alternative Radio: gosh, it's like we can breath again! That's why I think those who find it necessary to critique the direction of KPFK can be no more effective than those who howl at the wind. If they don't want to listen then they can always tune into NPR. KPFK remains for the rest of us. We are so large in number (having no where else to turn really) that we are not about to abandon the station. Let those nay-sayers who predict the end of listen-able KPFK be proven wrong repeatedly as the loyal listeners and volunteers lift the station in ways never before imagined. Long live Pacifica!
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Props to Steven Starr

by anon Tuesday, Mar. 26, 2002 at 11:43 PM

Starr is doing an amazing job for the conditions under which he has to deal with. keep up the good work for as long as you can...

My message to Starr: don't worry about the E.T.'s of the world. They are confused old journalists who hide behind their political and social ties to institutions that publish their 'journalism' and probably provide a paycheck for them to eat at expensive restaurants with other liberals who complain about their lefty pasts and are ashamed to be judged by the 'maistream journalists' with whome they drink fine red wine and eat at whole foods.

( and don't get me wrong, i like fine red wine and whole foods when i can afford it... which isn't very often...).

it is their own internal crisis they are freaking out over. fuck their nice apartments and their fine foods. they will sell out working people any day of the week, and i bet if i saw them, it would be written all over their face...the same way cooper wears nice suits, lives in the safe part of the San Fernando Valley and remembers his glory days of "defending Allende's govt. with an M16"...you fucking moron cooper...you're a leach against the real poor of the world and they have NO respect for your schmoozing with symbols of power and genocide. fuck you and E.T.

anon.
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indymedia vs. Pacifica is a false dichotomy

by pacificaist Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2002 at 12:35 AM

Bakunin is right about a number of things, including the false dichotomies Taylor offers -- which makes it all the more ironic that he dives head first into a false dichotomy of his own. All that flows from such false dichotomies is silly nonsense. And the claim by someone that Bakunin is a "rightist" is still more silly divisive nonsense. All these divisions undermine the struggle against the accumulation of means of coercion of the many by the few, whatever you want to call those who struggle against it.
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"left vs. right" is archaic, flatland concept

by zebracraft Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2002 at 11:17 AM
zebracraft@zworg.com

The "left vs. right" dichotomy is false, based on a failed royalist perspective. Louis XIV sat in the middle, the nobles on his right, the rest of us--on his left. So, the entire viewpoint posits the mindless consumer "centrist" as taking the place of the king's royal arse, correct?

In the actual physics and referentiality of the universe, there is no center, as such. Government, like the universe is meant to represent the integrated connection of the entire people, not easily manipulable tendencies of an archaic linear idealization. Post Einstein, post-quantum, we find that all of the "information" of the universe can be assessed from any of its locations--this is the weirdness of quantum physics as we now know it (extended beyond the "Einstein limit").

The supposed "right" depends on the "left," which, ultimately, has the same needs and the same global vulnerabilities.

To reduce the people's collective judgement and ordering of their affairs down to the level of royalist Cartesian perspective is extremely dangerous. What you get is largely masturbatory mimicry, the weak-minded pabulum of infantile citizenship. E.T.?
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