General Manager Report

I am Michael Novick, the new interim General Manager at KPFK, formerly the chair of the Local Station Board. I am writing to introduce myself to you all and initiate a process where we communicate more regularly and effectively. Although I have been a supportive listener-sponsor for decades, and an elected listener delegate on governance, and I volunteered in the phone room during fund drives (pre-pandemic), I am now taking on a much bigger role and responsibility as the interim General Manager of the station. As the listeners we serve and the donors who sustain us, you are entitled to know more about me and my thinking about where the station is headed.. 

I need and want to hear from you about what programming you like, what you would like to hear that you are not getting enough of, and how we can better meet community needs. I am launching an initiative at the station for a collaborative effort to identify our strengths, and a plan for how to use them to rebuild the station’s community of listeners and donors, and our impact on southern California and beyond. You can reach me by email at gm@kpfk.org.

First a few words about who I am, and who I am not; what I am here to do, and what I am not going to do. I have been listening to and donating to Pacifica stations since the 1960s in Brooklyn NY. My pronouns are he or they. I was born on Lenape land in Brooklyn NY, and have been living on Tongva land here in Southern California since 1982.  I have been an unpaid staff member in decades past at KPFA, but have been living in the LA area and donating to KPFK since 1982. 

I am a retired public-school teacher (mostly adult education, some secondary), and was a shop steward for United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at three different adult schools over my career. I am a second-generation shop steward; my dad was also one for his local in the RWDSU in NY. He and my mom met on a picket line when my mother was fired for joining District 65, a CIO union in NYC.

I am an unreconstructed radical, and I wear the same hat everywhere I go. My neighbors, my family, my colleagues, and fellow union members at LAUSD and UTLA, knew I am antiracist, antisexist, anti-imperialist, and anti-authoritarian. I am not here, however, to put my stamp or my politics on the station, but to encourage wide-ranging and free-wheeling discourse, and stimulating coverage of creative social and cultural initiatives.

 I am also a step-parent, a non-biological grandfather and great-grandfather, a late-in-life athlete (I trained for and completed the LA Marathon the year I turned 60), a gardener, a published author, a journalist and publisher (Change Links and Turning The Tide). I make no claim to being a radio professional. I am however willing to take on the responsibility of a full-time-plus job for no pay to try to steer the station out of the shoals and towards a successful voyage to clearer sailing. I am looking forward to engaging with all of you, and with Southern California’s diverse communities, in order to accomplish that.

I want to be a change agent, because the station clearly needs a change for the better in our fortunes, our capacity to engage the interest and meet the needs of a larger community, and our impact on the social, economic, political, and environmental crises that are buffeting this society and the world. I am here to build.

I want to start that by inviting all of you to come forward with your ideas, hopes and suggestions for the station. I am not kidding when I say my door is open. I want to engage in an immediate, careful but bold process of envisioning how we can do better.

We want to open the station back up, consistent with COVID safety protocols, to the community and to volunteers and unpaid programmers and staff.

The Pacifica National Board has mandated regular reports to the listeners on-air by station management and governance, with opportunity for live listener call-ins, and those will be implemented on a regular basis.

In the absence of even an unpaid volunteer program director, I will be stepping up to discuss improvements in the grid and the flow and in each program. I plan to reinstitute an audition show where we can air possible new programs on a trial basis for a short term and gauge their effectiveness in attracting and engaging with you listeners. Please share your ideas for new programming you wouldlike to see.

I will also be working with the Community Advisory Board, the PNB Committee of Inclusion for KPFK, and the LSB Programming Oversight Committee to ensure that the station’s programming meets community needs, fulfills the Pacifica mission, and incorporates under-served and under-represented communities. We need to reflect the diversity of the communities we are licensed to serve, and to work  for an end to racism and sexism.

The KPFK Dispatch will go out regularly and listeners who reach out to us will get a prompt response.

We are developing a new local news gathering and newscast team. If you want to get involved, contact Ziri Rideaux, the new chair of the LSB, who is bottom-lining this effort as the news producer. Email her at news@kpfk.org.

We plan to intensify and coordinate our social media and other promotion of the station and our content, and I hope that many of you listeners and friends will help us to accomplish that by sharing and liking our posts, tweets and videos.

We need your input and support, not only financially. If you are interested in volunteering with or for the station, please get in touch. I have recruited a couple of volunteer coordinators, Rose Mary Elizondo and King Reilly (volunteers themselves). You can reach them by emailing volunteer@kpfk.org.

Let us know you programming ideas, or if you are willing to serve on a focus group evaluating existing or proposed programming, please let me know. If you have skills or talent at audio production, social media, or other needed areas, please get in touch!

Governance, which is the sphere of KPFK and Pacifica that I have had the most involvement in, has a role to play in all that. We will initiate a process of collaborative strategic planning among paid and unpaid staff and governance (which has been elected by both staff and listeners) on how to, step by step, use what we’ve got to get what we need and where we need to go.

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