interim General Manager monthly report to Local Station Board:
2023-07 interim General Manager’s Report
We continue to operate under substantial financial stress. Although the last available consolidated financials continue to show KPFK income slightly ahead of expenses apart from Central Service, this is somewhat deceptive, as we continue to carry, and to make payments on, substantial aged payables for utilities, premiums, prior consultants and other bills meaning that as we pay those down, new aged payables are amassing. After a slow start, the June fund drive did generate just shy of $101,000 in pledges, most of immediately realized as income, and we have again made payroll here at KPFK without burdening the rest of the Foundation, and in fact the overall Foundation payroll was met, but the PNB renewed a plan for temporary salary reductions for non-union personnel which may be necessary to implement next month because of additional expenses for the audit and the elections.
The daily average for the on-air drive ended up being over $4500 after a slow start that was closer to $3000 daily. The budget submitted was based on the lower figure projected forward, and though we still need to improve our on-air and off-sir fundraising it was gratifying to be able to reach the $4500+ per day level that we had done during the previous few drives. I have attached the reports by “break” (chronological by each program as it aired that received donations/pledges) and by program (alphabetical order by name of program with the cumulative total for each for the 22-day drive; obviously, many programs only were on two-three times during the drive, others 4 days a week, so roughly 12 times).
We have had a couple of off-air fundraising events since. The Spanish language broadcasters hosted a Zumba event again a week ago, on July 8, that raised about $750; this was supplemented by the suggestion that I “pass the hat for KPFK” after Frank Dorrel asked to say a few words about the station at his 75th birthday party with a little over $200 and I deposited the cash to the station’s bank account. Friday night July 14 (Bastille Day) we had a KPFK benefit program with Matt Sedillo and Tongo Eisen-Martin, hosted gratis by the Labor Community Strategy Center (Voices from the Frontlines) which also raised about $1000 (the figure is a little indeterminate because the way the donation page for the event was set up, some people apparently just made general donations rather than specifying the tickets or reception as a “thank you” premium.
I am still seeking a pro-bono or unpaid development director to help constitute a functioning development task force for off-air fundraising, including grant-writing, mission-compliant underwriting support for the station, akin to what we currently obtain, mostly through the efforts of music director Maggie Le Pique from cultural and performance venues, and community events (like the two mentioned above). There is a major film showing fundraiser in the works for September, thanks again to Maggie, and music programmer Bill Gardner. There are a couple of bequests in prospect, both as I understand, tied up in probate court, one for about $10,000; the other is a much more substantial donation of $400,000 contingent on another legatee taking possession of a house and making that donation as a condition of doing so. We have to address this in probate court.
I anticipate that barring such a bequest coming through quickly in dramatic fashion, we will be in an on-air drive again in August, as we have been every other month for several years. We are working on increasing programmers’ capacity to appeal effectively for support and membership within the framework of their program, and on using social media and other forms of promotion to attract more listeners to their program and the station.
The delayed Delegate elections process is well underway. I am still waiting for a finalized list of candidates from the NES, but we have begun the process of soliciting on-air candidate statements from the listener delegate candidates. We anticipate getting the recordings done this coming week of 7/16 and airing them in equitable rotation in all day parts and weekends starting the last week in July. On-air candidate forums in English and Spanish/bilingual will air the week of August 14 as ballots will go out to listeners on August 15. Listeners will have until Sept. 30 to return their ballots. We are committed to listeners being fully informed and having an opportunity to call in their questions to the candidates in English or Spanish on-air. The recorded candidate forums (about 6 candidates per afternoon for 5 days in English and 7-8 candidates per evening for 4 nights in Spanish with simultaneous translation as needed) will then be archived and available for members to access during the campaign/voting period. I am seeking neutral volunteer hosts (and translators) for the forums to spare the Foundation the expense.
We need to rebuild the ice shields that were damaged or destroyed in the winter storms at Mount Wilson. Stuart has been out on several visits and is consulting on plans with a structural engineer on a better and more resilient design, and Rodrigo Argueta, who is a construction contractor is discussing how we can get them built most economically. We are starting to budget for replacement of some of the failing 2 KW power supplies at the transmitter, which are no longer being manufactured and can only be repaired at some expense and a time consuming process. The signal is not at full strength currently, causing some issues with reception. This may also be a factor with problems on the Santa Barbara signal on 98.7. We also have an issue we are working to resolve with the streaming. The computer involved is still on the old, malfunctioning phone and internet/intranet system we have steadily been replacing. We need to shut down the stream temporarily so that it can be assigned an IP address from our main internet system, which should solve the problem of stuttering and dropping of the streaming signal, but it requires coordinating some complicated switching with Jon Almeleh, D’Angelo Jones, and someone else, most likely Terry Guy to get it done, which will hopefully happen this week.
The best prospective offer on the building, which would’ve involved moving out temporarily while renovation took place, after which we and the PRA could move back in rent free, was withdrawn. The people involved are still interested in supporting the station and the archives, and the ED is keeping in touch with them. There are three other offers under consideration and for which Pacifica made counter-offers; the best of which would be for $4.85 million and would require us to move out after a relatively short period of time, with a potential for extending escrow a month at a time by either party. It is contingent on the prospective buyer selling another business. I had the ED discuss this at the station meetings the other day which members of the LSB were invited to and some attended.
As mentioned, I have named Marlena Bond, a long-time station staff member (paid and unpaid) as unpaid interim Program Director, and we have been seeking various kinds of training for programmers. Frank Sterling, who was involved with KPFAs apprenticeship program, sent us some materials, we met with a couple of veteran radio broadcasters who may be willing to help, and Mark Maxwell is planning some trainings on good recording and editing techniques and control of sound in production. We are discussing some proposals for new programming including on housing and houselessness issues, education, and a program about socially-useful job openings in non-profits and community organizations and other profiles of such orgs and their missions, leadership and people they serve. We will be working on programming evaluation and improvement particularly with drive time programming, with an eye towards building audience and financial support during those crucial time periods. We can meet with the Program Oversight Committee to discuss this in further detail.
We are in the process of making sure that all staff have completed the mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, which includes guidance on maintaining a respectful workplace, available online free from the state of California: https://calcivilrights.ca.gov/shpt/
I urge all members of the Local Station Board to also take this training. We are also completing the filing of an Equal Opportunity Employment report. As we have had no positions to fill within the reporting period except for the GM position, which the LSB did an extensive and well-publicized search for but did not result in a hire, most of the report is about efforts to contact schools to seek interns on a volunteer basis, including a couple of volunteers from a broadcasting program at Columbia College in Chicago which has a program here in L.A. As positions have been vacated through attrition, we have not been available to post or hire to refill them because of our financial situation. Thus, for example, I have been curating content for Something’s Happening since May 1, following the passing of Roy Tuckman. The prospective move will be very challenging in this regard, both in terms of getting out of the building and in terms of maintaining operations and broadcasting probably on a mainly remote basis, given our thin production capacity. We will be seeking volunteer participation in all aspects of the move to supplement our ranks of paid staff.
Michael Novick, interim General Manager
The KPFK Local Station Board (LSB) and Pacifica National Board (PNB) are currently at odds over the composition of the LSB and the identity of the delegates who serve on it, resulting in the removal or cancellation of postings regarding KPFK LSB meetings and LSB committee meetings on kpftx.org. The following declaration is posted there for the scheduled KPFK LSB Finance Committee on Wed. Jan. 25:
PNB Resolution to Restore Order to the KPFK LSB
January 12, 2023
Whereas, as a committee of the PNB, the KPFK LSB has no authority to act autonomously or to overrule PNB resolutions;
Therefore be it resolved that all actions taken by the illicitly reconfigured KPFK LSB at its December 18, 2022 meeting, and since, and prospectively, are and shall be null and void.
Be it further resolved that, to restore the KPFK LSB to its regular status, the roster of the KPFK LSB shall be restored to its pre-December 18, 2022 status quo ante; then new nominations and elections for both 2023 KPFK LSB Officers and 2023 KPFK PNB Directors shall be held.
Furthermore, that no Pacifica resources, including kpftx, shall be made available to the illegitimate KPFK LSB, its illegitimately elected Officers, and its subcommittees, task forces, or other meetings, for their use until the legitimate KPFK LSB roster and regular order is restored, except for a meeting called for that purpose.
You can contact the Pacifica National Board at email@example.com. It's not clear whether firstname.lastname@example.org is currently functioning, given the PNB directive.
Management report to KPFK Local Station Board by interim GM Michael Novick, Dec. 18, 2022
The station continues to be plagued by problems related to its internal network and phones. We did manage to replace a part of the phone system, allowing full functionality to the Master Control and call-in lines for guests and listeners, and for the phones used on that same number for pledge calls, as reported earlier. But then new problems arose with internet access and interference between the station’s network and that of the PRA. With help from Jon Almeleh, an IT person working with PRA, and station staff and volunteers, including Ali Lexa, Terry Guy, D’Angelo Jones, Stuart Landau, Mark Maxwell, and Fred Blair, we were able to develop some work-arounds, but there were several days when the station was without internet access and also without the ability to stream our signal over the internet on kpfk.org or to archive the programming airing on the broadcast signal. This was finally overcome, which also including regaining access to the Pacifica National Server and to Great Plains accounting software.
But there are still major problems with our intranet, including the ability for computers to communicate with printers and for Matt Perez, our traffic coordinator to have remote access to critical computers at the station to schedule programming. The decision was reached not to attempt further work arounds during the fund drive, for fear of again losing internet access.
I convened a KPFK Technology Task Force with Jon Almeleh and Otis Maclay, Pacifica national IT and compliance people, and participation from many KPFK staff people as well as a couple of knowledgeable volunteers, including Tom Voorhees, who has set up many community radio stations nationally and is coming down to L.A. to assist after completing work on KPFA’s Monterrey CA installation, and Brendan Miller, a Chief Technology Officer at local company who has volunteered to help us on various tech related issues, including a tagging and reporting system for hardware and software issues as they arise. Moe Thomas our former iGM and a national engineering person for Pacifica and Mark Torres of PRA were invited but unable to attend; I anticipate they will be involved in the work and in meetings going forward. We reviewed the issues with the phones, the intranet, the transmitter and other hardware and software issues, and mapped out a plan of corrective actions, starting with mapping out how the existing network(s) are configured physically and digitally because there is a lack of accurate information about that because past IT staff and contractors failed to provide adequate documentation unfortunately. Work on that will begin after the fund drive and the holiday during the last week of the year. We are also assessing how many phones are essential for office operations, and how to deal with the PRA having multiple phone lines through the KPFK office phone setup, and will then price out a bid for replacing that phone system with a new provider so we can then unify the computer networks at KPFK into a single functional system with both static and dynamic IP addresses and all computers and devices able to communicate properly with each other. That will take time and money, but at least we finally have a clearer picture and plan.
We also addressed issue with the transmitter. Several of the 40 2KW power supplies that keep the transmitter units operating are starting to fail, and we also need a regular process of repair and replacement of all the power supplies over time, since they have lifespan for functional unit and will need replacement. I already conducted a specific appeal, on air and in the KPFK dispatch, for donations targeted to the immediate need, but we will probably need to engage in a capital campaign related to the fact that the transmitter units themselves are also of different vintages, and the company that makes the power supplies has gone out of business. The maker of the transmitter units, Nautel, has bought the intellectual property for the power supplies, but has no plans to continue to manufacture the older version, only supplying work-arounds. As a result, the price of the needed power supplies has basically doubled to about $900 each. We also need to restore phone service to the tower site, which was incorrectly cut off by a prior IT/phone consultant, and internet access to monitor functionality remotely, or back up the microwave connection of our signal from the station to Mt. Wilson.
Finances and Fund drive
KPFK continues to be in very straitened financial circumstances, no doubt further impacted by the seizure of $305,000 from the account of sister station KPFA in Berkeley. We have been able to meet payroll, and have been able to negotiate payment plans on a long list of aged payables, past due bills for electricity to the tower and the station, gas, streaming services, donor management, and many other essential. Further reductions in payroll may be necessitated in the future, although no discussions are currently scheduled about that. KPFA has announced the prospect of paid staff reductions there. As you are aware, I am working unpaid as iGM, as the PNB and ED concluded (correctly) that there is no funding for the permanent paid position, a weakness I hope we can overcome in the new year. There is also no business manager, no development director, no volunteer coordinator, no news director, and no program director. Our web director, a staff position (not management) has also left our employ though is still serving part-time as unpaid working on the website and some other tech issues, as mentioned above.
I have discussed with the Executive Director, Stephanie Wells, the prospect of appointing some interim unpaid people to various of those positions, and gotten the go-ahead. So I will be interviewing candidates shortly and making some interim appointments to help with budgeting, volunteer coordination, and other aspects of finances and operations. Mark Maxwell has been training volunteer board ops, as we have a critical need for additional board ops. Marlena Bond has been functioning as a very valuable volunteer assistant to the GM preparing reports required for compliance with various regulatory agencies. Greg Foisie has volunteered very capably on custodial and janitorial work at the station, improving the appearance and cleanliness inside and relieving station staff of dealing with that on top of their other responsibilities. King Reilly has volunteered to work on fundraising and was very helpful with our recent webinar with Greg Palast on the eve of the GA run-off election, and is working on looking into the availability of funding from the city and county agencies and officials for public service announcements (which has been a new source of revenue at sister station WBAI in NY).
Rose Mary Elizondo is serving as an unpaid volunteer coordinator and I am looking for at least one or two additional people to help with that responsibility. We have at least one person, Susan Anderson, lined up to serve as a front-desk receptionist in the new year as a volunteer, and we are seeking additional volunteers for that position as well. Ziri Rideaux is volunteering as editor and producer of our new locally produced evening newscast. Vidy P. is volunteering as an unpaid social media marketer for the station; they have been communicating with station staff and provided some good guidelines on social media posting. Given our current financial condition, we will have to rely on volunteers increasingly for many vital functions, as most non-profits, and most of our sister stations in Pacifica and among the Pacifica affiliates, also do.
We are currently in a relatively short winter on-air membership drive, relying mainly on fresh current programming and programmers, no consultants, fund drive specials and repeats, or high-priced thank you premiums, as we are still unable to pay for prior consultants we contracted with, or premiums we promised to listener-donors, which damages our credibility and ability to attract donations going forward. The first few days of the drive, we were severely hamstrung by the technology issues noted above, since we were not streaming our signal over the internet and had difficulties (which continue) with the office phones, which provide back up to the pledge phone lines, resulting in more spill-over to the call center. After we got most of those tech problems solved, things picked up substantially. We are not where we once were or need to be, but since last Tuesday, the daily proceeds have increased, and are well above the average for the last year or more, during which the average daily pledges dropped from $4500 to $4300 to under $4000. Here are the links to three reports from the allegiance system tracking pledges by day, by program, and by break (schedule).
You will see that the first few days were seriously underwhelming, the last few, especially starting starting are in comparison much better and as a result the daily average is now back up in the $4K+ range and hopefully will continue to improve. We may extend the drive through Dec. 23, as recommended by Maggie Le Pique, especially if income seems to be improving as it progresses.
Alphabetically by program:
Our music programming, Sojourner Truth, and Letters and Politics continue to be among our stronger fundraisers (the latter two run 4 days a week, of course). Other strong showings from Cary Harrison’s Reality Check with Greg Palast as a guest, in a single hour last Tuesday, News View with Garland Nixon in the following hour that same day, and Middle East in Focus with a single half-hour. The new local newscast, KPFK’s Rebel Alliance News, has brought in almost $1000 in a little over a week, better than the track record of our prior news programming. But the overall results are still far from where they need to be, even taking into account that recent prior fund-drive results have been inflated because the cost the consultants and premiums is not deducted from the supposed proceeds. So the station will be putting more of the proceeds of fund drives going forward into its own operations and expenses (after paying off those prior unpaid obligations).
By break (program schedule chronologically):
This shows each hour in chronological order how much was raised starting with day one. All three reports will update regularly: this one updates hourly, affecting the others as well. The total will always be the same on all three reports.
In addition to the on-air fund drive, we have been working on off-air fundraising. As I write this I don’t know what the income will be from the “Re-Encuentro Festivo” benefit party hosted by the Spanish language programmers will be but they are anticipating at least 200 participants at $25 each plus additional income from the sale of food and beverages and fundraising appeal at the event itself. The on-line auction is underway and will continue through the 18th. The webinar with Greg Palast, which was free but featured an appeal for funds for various Pacifica stations and affiliates produced a few hundred dollars. We anticipate future paid webinars as an income stream, similar to the one we did with Margaret Prescod and Dr. Gerald Horne. I am constituting a multi-media/social media team to work on content provision and promotion on audio-visual channels that can both attract listeners-donors and be monetized through subscriptions and ad revenue. Please contact me if you have some expertise in this area and want to be part of the volunteer team.
I have also been producing the KPFK Dispatch on an accelerated schedule. The Dispatch has 20,000+ subscribers (about double our current membership base) and have included general fundraising appeals, targeted needs of the station (such as the 2K power supplies for the transmitter) and promotion of specific fundraising efforts like the auction, the Greg Palast webinar and the Spanish language programmers party. We received upwards of $10,000 in donations mainly via on-line pledges in the period between the end of the fall drive, which extended into November, and the start of the winter mini membership drive in December. (This is in addition to regular sustainers which are about $12,000 a month, and installment payments on prior fund drive pledges). We can’t say with certainty that they donations came in response to the Dispatch appeals and calling to donors that we have been carrying out, but they are doubtless a factor, as that included Giving Tuesday appeals on the Dispatch.
I am aiming for a sustained improvement in on-air and off-air fundraising going forward. The PNB has mandated a 25% increase from every program by April. I think that overall, we need to exceed that. A 50% increase in the on-air drives would still only bring us to about $6000 a day which might, along with off-air income cover our minimum expenses for the period of the drive and the month following, would not provide the income necessary to carry out the needed technical repairs and upgrades or to hire the necessary GM and PD managers.
I have consulted with the iGM at KPFA (we had a managers’ meeting recently with the ED that I pushed for) and we will be coordinating our dates with theirs, though our drives will have to start sooner and run longer than their until we can increase the per diem results substantially. Imam still discussing exact dates with staff, but the plan is for special themed fundraising days around Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy today from Jan. 14 -19 relying on existing programmers and programming with some PRA material to use to appeal for donations. These would not be classified as a fund-drive but would serve the same function over essentially a long weekend, Wed, -Mon. with each day having a focus on King’s message and its relevance today, such as MLK and Peace, MLK and Labor, MLK and Voting Rights, MLK and Economic Justice, MLK and Internationalism, and the radical MLK. We will be fleshing that out shortly with programmers. Music programming can also feature elements of King’s impact and musical expressions related to him and to musical figures involved in the struggle then and now.
Regular fund drives will take place in February, April, June, August (and in the next fiscal year in October and December). These are again every other month unless and until we can significantly increase our audience and our donor base, and/or our off-air revenue streams, but we will strive to shorten their duration, and continue to avoid paying for consultants and big-ticket premium items. Exact dates will be set shortly after consultation with staff and programmers and review of the latest financial data as soon as it is available.
Going forward, fund drive or not, we will have a short appeal by every programmer on every program every day for listeners to become members, preferably as sustainers. We must level up our revenue, and listeners still remain the most reliable source. The more sustainers we can attract and keep, the less often we have to do concerted fund drives, which tend t DRIVE listeners away.
I am also proposing a major fundraising event for September in the form of a station-sponsored independent publishers’ and booksellers’ fair. I think this could produce multiple revenue streams and also increase the reach, impact and relationships of the station with other cultural and journalistic entities in the area, and possible fruitful ongoing relationships and collaboration. We will also be looking into other off-air community events such as concerts and book/author speaking engagements, possibly collaborating with KPFA and KFCF to bring major speakers on a California tour including venues in Santa Barbara, LA/OC and San Diego on our end. All these efforts will require significant volunteer participation, and I look to the LSB to provide some of that, along with participation in the kind of donor stewardship – thank you letters, personal appeals, house parties, etc. – that all non-profits engage in. I have disappointed in the overall lack of response in my previous efforts to get board engagement with that with a few notable exceptions, including Lawrence Reyes’s efforts with organized labor, and Ziri Rideaux’s with some of her personal contacts in Hollywood and elsewhere.
Finally, we have an end-of-year appeal letter that I worked on with Jim Lafferty, signed by several station and movement personalities, that will be going out to area progressive civic, community, labor and faith-rooted groups, seeking their participation in appealing to their own member base to consider becoming listener sponsor members of KPFK. If you have such contacts and affiliations of your own and can assist in promoting that with the leadership or membership of your organization, please let me know. I am also seeking to set up a zoom address with Unitarian Universalist congregations around the region, who have historically been a strong base for Pacifica, so that people from the station can be guest speakers at multiple gatherings of various UUs, re-introduce the station and the Pacifica Mission to them and hopefully come away with partnerships and memberships that will endure around unity with the Pacifica mission and values, and those of the UUs. We might consider the same with other denominations. If you can assist with this effort, please let me know.
Social media/multi-media efforts
I have recruited a number of volunteers for expanding and coordinating the station’s social media content provision and promotion, multi-media audio visual content provision on various platforms, and coordination between the station’s won efforts and those of individual programmers and program collectives. We have set up email@example.com as an email address to collect information about the various platforms programmers and others at the station are currently using, and I ask board members to also supply that data in an email to that address, so that we can coordinate and intensify our marketing and promotion and create critical mass and grater virality. We will also be providing templates and content that people can use and various #hashtag and @username campaigns that people can participate in to increase our social weight and reach.
If you are interested in participating please let me. The team will have regular zoom meetings starting this week. We are also looking to refresh and improve the station’s website, especially as former web director Ali Lexa has only limited future volunteer capacity to help with that. I have obtained an experimental site from the webhosts on which we will work to maintain current features that are automatic, such as the archives, now airing, governance meetings, and listen live features, while simplifying and improving navigation. This will probably also involve having to work with Allegiance in seeing how we can better present donation and premium options when people click through to donate, which actually takes them off our site.
We have introduced many new programs, mostly live and locally produced, as well as bringing back a few and re-scheduling others. The full list of changes is on the website, but I will reproduce it here:
8:30 am The Chris Hedges Report (name change)
9 am Think Outside the Cage with Geri Silva
6 am Democracy Now!
8 am KPFK's Morning Mix: The Blunt Post with Vic Gerami and Ricky Herrera
2 pm Making Contact
2:30 Richard Wolff
6 pm KPFK's Rebel Alliance News
6 am DN!
8 am KPFK's Morning Mix: Voices from the Frontlines with Eric Mann and LCSC
1 pm Phil & Ted's Sexy Boomer Show
3 pm Newsviews with Garland Nixon
5 pm The Gray Zone
6 pm KPFK's Rebel Alliance News
6 am DN!
8 am KPFK's Morning Mix: Raza Unida Radio with Matt Sedillo, Vanessa Bustamante, Ernesto Ayala
2 pm Poets Cafe
2:30 Laura Flanders
3 pm Lawyers Guild
5 pm Its Going Down
6 pm KPFK's Rebel Alliance News
6 am DN!
8 am KPFK's Morning Mix: Radio Insurrection with Hamid Khan and Stop LAPD Spying
2:30 pm Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton
3 pm Living in the USA with Jon Wiener
4 pm XR - Extinction Rebellion
5 pm 1st & 3rd Thur Body Politic with Dr. Vanessa Carlisle & Dr. Christa Sacco
5 pm 2nd & 4th Thur Healthcare4US with Maureen Cruise, Erika Feresten & Gina Viola
5 pm 5th Thur Flashpoints with Dennis Bernstein
6 pm KPFK's Rebel Alliance News
6 am DN!
8 am Cut to the Chase with Sylvester Rivers and Ife Jie
4 pm EcoJustice Radio
6pm KPFK's Rebel Alliance News
6 am Bike Talk
10 am Liberated Sisters
We will also be airing some special holiday programming next Sunday from John Cromshow and Julio Martinez, of a creative and festive nature including radio drama. And a few programs will be taking a break over the two upcoming weeks and will have archival or other replacements.
Additional programming changes will be coming, and we are also having a (protracted) discussion about the possibility, advisability and utility of HD capacity, which would have a significant cost but could give us up to three broadcast streams and thus much greater programming capacity.
I am in the process of putting out RFPs for programming to increase the breadth and appeal of our offerings, targeting specific audiences we want to attract and serve. These including programming directed and focusing on veterans, labor, parents, kids, and gardening/urban farming/permaculture. We are also looking to increase our environmentally oriented programming, including an Indigenous environmental program approved by the PNB, and the possible return of Solartopia and anti-nuclear programming.
Any change or addition involves subtraction or movement of other programming and disturbs existing program providers and listeners, but the station has exhausted its existing listening base and membership and must find ways to attract new listeners, primarily with new and fresh programming, especially with a local focus and mission-driven character, as well as with social media promotion, audio-visual content and platforms (see above).
I have also initiated a long overdue evaluation process of all programming. I do not agree with the PNB’s harsh and arbitrary motion regarding programming, but I have asked all programmers to complete a process of self-evaluation and goal setting, sharing criteria previously established as well as the Programmers’ Handbook, and sked for volunteers to share best practices and peer evaluation. We will develop shortly methods for listener evaluation, including on-line forms as part of the website reboot and focus groups, and complete with a management evaluation and discussion. I have also launched a strategic planning group with some paid and unpaid staff members and officers and directors from the LSB/PNB. Our first meeting was not well attended but I will be pushing for that needed collective analysis of our strength and weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how to use the strengths and remaining resources to take advantage of the opportunities and overcome the weaknesses and threats, and move us systematically to where we need to be in terms of fundraising, programming, and operations. I anticipate reviewing the music programming with the music director Maggie Le Pique in the new year.
I have also laid down some “rules of the road” for all programmers, including the need to fundraise on and off air, and to collaborate in promotional efforts not only for their own program but for the station and other programs as well, emphasizing cross-promotion and forward promotion on the air. I have also asked all programmers to bring younger interns or trainees onto their production teams, particularly so that we can bring up and incorporate a new generation of digitally-savvy producers and content providers able to attract new and younger listeners to our offerings. We need to go where listeners are, without abandoning terrestrial radio, into podcasting and a multiplicity of on-line audio and video content platforms, and the new alternatives that are springing up to twitter and other corporate platforms like Mastodon and the fediverse.
The new and returning programs have had varying levels of success in their new time slots and will be evaluated along with all the other programming in this process to improve or if necessary replace them without prejudice or sentiment based on ability to attract new audiences and improve our listener and member base while fulfilling the Pacifica mission and our obligation to serve the community.
We will be scheduling a management report to the listener before the end of the year, and probably another LSB report as well, and taking listener calls live on-air. Earlier ones have been well-received.
Finally I want to speak out on the possibility of selling the building that houses the station and the PRA, and other measures by the PNB, including the apparent consideration of a signal swap. I believe these are extremely ill-advised, will result at best in huge and unconsidered costs for the station and the Archives, as well as risks or destruction of vital archival materials, and later great increases in operating costs. Tom Voorhees shared on the tech task force call an evaluation of a signal swap proposal in 2018 that showed it would clearly be so detrimental to KPFK as to eliminate most of our signal reception even in central L.A. This is a recipe for disaster and the possible elimination of KPFK. The other alternative mentioned, turning KPFK into a repeater station (presumably for KPFA) is equally unacceptable and contrary to the needs of the communities we serve. I would ask the Community Advisory Board, which is up and functioning to consider and address these possibilities and offer advice to the governance and management locally and nationally on these questions.
Michael Novick, interim General Manager
The Pacifica National Board reported out from its closed session meeting on Thursday, October 27, that it had passed the following motion: "The Board Chair, Executive Director and General Counsel are authorized to take all steps necessary to the most advantageous sale of the building currently housing the KPFK station and Pacifica National Office at 3729 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, California and relocation of all activities currently housed at 3729 Cahuenga and bring these transactions to the Board for approval."
The Local Station Board met Sunday, November 6 at 11:00 AM PST, and passed the following motion:
Motion strongly opposing sale of The KPFK Property (Building and Parking Lot) to pay down Pacifica Debt
Whereas initial steps to sell the KPFK station building, 3729 Cahuenga Blvd. West, North Hollywood, CA, have been approved by the PNB to pay down the overall debt of Pacifica as a whole; and
Whereas sound business principles strongly advise against cashing out any major capital asset to pay down excess ongoing operational expenses with no business plan in place to reverse longstanding losses; and
Whereas Pacifica has proposed no such business plan, or any business plan; and
Whereas KPFK itself bears only limited responsibility for generating Pacifica's overall debt; and
Whereas KPFK has in recent years been chronically deprived of Management adequate to the task of reversing its own fortunes; and
Whereas KPFK houses and operates the single strongest FM signal west of the Mississippi; and
Whereas adequate broadcast facilities are necessary and valuable to the ongoing operation of KPFK and its ability to fulfill Pacifica's Mission; and
Whereas the building was originally acquired to provide for precisely that need, and acquisition of comparable facilities would be difficult and is in no way guaranteed; and
Whereas the KPFK building houses not only KPFK but also the Pacifica Radio Archive and the Pacifica National Office, three of Pacifica's eight business units, all of which require adequate facilities to continue operations, all of which would lose their current facilities and have to be relocated were the building to be sold; and this would have the consequence of a major increase in the operating expenses of all three units which do not currently pay rent; and
Whereas sale of the KPFK station building, Pacifica's single most valuable material asset, would be an irreversible loss to KPFK and Pacifica as a whole; and
Therefore be it resolved that the KPFK Local Station Board opposes sale of the KPFK station building to pay down Pacifica debt, particularly with no plan in place to assure responsible disposition of any proceeds to put Pacifica and KPFK back on a path toward solvency, and no guarantee of being made whole again itself.
Be it further resolved that the KPFK Local Station Board urges Pacifica Management and the PNB to come to grips with Pacifica's chronic failure to generate adequate revenue, its habitual deficit spending, and the resulting debt; and to do so by more appropriate means than selling off major capital assets, including but not limited to serious consideration of all options to refinance, consolidate, and pay down existing debt.
Passed without objection in executive session.
The KPFK LSB adopted the following motion at its meeting of Oct 16, 2022
Whereas, given the recent publication of racist and hateful comments by some unscrupulous Los Angeles Council Members as Kevin De Leon, Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo and Head of LA County Federation of Labor Ron Herrera, although he has resigned as well Nury Martinez, we must expose all involved in such divisive language.
This Pacifica - KPFK 90.7 FM LSB - Local Station Board directly condemns and rebukes the xenophobic language expression, incorporated in a recent conversation among these three Council members toward anti-Black, Oaxacan Indigenous, and other communities.
Pacifica Foundation Mission Statement and Bylaws stand in stark opposition. Rather, celebrates pluralism in all its forms at a global level.
Therefore, this KPFK LSB Board celebrates all diversity and inclusion, and in an act of multi-cultural solidarity, rejects such hatred.
Be it resolved; we call for the resignation of the aforementioned… City Officials, as this type of sentiment has no standing at City Hall or in society.
Submitted by Paul Roberson KPFK LSB Member and Bella De Soto KPFK LSB Member
The KPFK Local Station usually meets the 3rd Sunday each month at 10:00 AM PDT. The zoom info for the regular business meeting, (same every month) is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81829014778?pwd=ZVpyVDZoTHhYTEROTTM3clRUZnV4dz09 Meeting ID: 818 2901 4778
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Meeting ID: 818 2901 4778
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kuuF2Bk5f
There is a half-hour of public comment, usually interspersed through various points on the agenda, prior to votes by the LSB where feasible.
On a recent LSB Report to the Listener, we were asked to post the names of the members of the LSB prominently, so I am doing so here in alphabetical order by last name:
Grace Aaron, Rodrigo Argueta, Christina Avalos, Jose Benavides, Fred Blair, Marisol Cruz, Bella De Soto, George Funmaker, Ralph Hawkins, Michael Heiss, Eric C. Jacobson, Evelia Jones, Oye Oyeyipo, Myla Reson, Ziri Rideaux, Paul Roberson, Jeanine Rohn, Ruth Strauss, Oscar Ulloa, Polina Vasiliev, Elizabeth von Gunten, Harvey Wasserman, Carlos Zavala. One seat is currently vacant, as the member resigned, and the secretary is checking on the availability of the runners-up from the last election. Elections are underway for PNB directors on the Pacifica National Board. In addition, John P. Garry, a non-member, serves as Secretary. Michael Novick, the interim General Manager, serves as a non-voting ex officio member of the Local Station Board.
KPFK also has a community advisory board, chaired by Dan McCrory. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can contact the members of the LSB by emailing LSB@kpfk.org. You can reach our directors and the other members of the Pacifica National Board by emailing PNB@pacifica.org. Your input is welcome!