Friday, July 25, 2008

[This is an older post, repeated here for general information and as a source to also utilize for those interested in KPFK & other pacifica station's financial stuff...maybe..]


"Pacifica Financial Info 29 July, 2007 - It would be good to collect Pacifica's financial info here.

The 2006 audit is posted at The previous year's audits and 990s going back to 2001 are posted here,cat_view/gid,1
Pacifica foundation is NOT keeping its financial reports up to date on its web site. But people who have this information could post it here if we had a place to do it."

[Where else is financial information posted for share-holders-sponsors-pledgers to see ? mj ]


[This post seems as relevant to other pacifica station doings as it may refer only to one of them... so it is reposted here to inform us all and may be helpful... notation by maryjanie ]

Planet Pacifica: Making Democracy Work from
Posted by Greg Guma at 7/16/2008 05:11:00 AM

Excerpts from remarks at a KPFT planning retreat, January 2008

When rumors fly through the Pacifica Radio community or attacks get especially nasty, people often blame provocateurs and charge that the government is out to get radio’s voice of the people. There’s some basis for this suspicion. The FBI had Pacifica in its sights as early as 1958, and took a special interest in 1962 when former Special Agent Jack Levine gave KPFA an interview. Levine exposed the Bureau as a threat to democracy and a tool of J. Edgar Hoover, its vain and obsessed director. According to Mathew Lasar, who reviewed Freedom of Information Act files, the Bureau poked, prodded, and harassed the organization for years, even planting agents disguised as private citizens.

In the last decade, however, charges of counter-intelligence operations directed against the organization have been speculative at best, and occasionally excursions into free-range paranoia. When messages critical of program hosts or local activists are posted on Internet lists and websites, their authors – some long-time Pacifica members – are sometimes charged as accomplices in an alleged government conspiracy to destabilize the organization. Board members and station managers aren’t exempt from insinuations that they’re part of the plot.

Personally, I found no solid evidence of a government operation during my tenure as Executive Director. But even if a disinformation campaign was being pursued, it would be overkill. At this point, the Pacifica community is capable of destabilizing itself without a federal assist. Outside forces aren’t responsible for the current bylaws or listener activist distrust of staff, the slow response to the digital age, confusion about the basic mission, programming gridlock, financial decline, or misbehavior of board members and volunteers.

Part of the problem is the version of democracy put in place after Pacifica was “saved.” The five stations have about a million regular listeners. Of this total, about 10 percent make financial or volunteer contributions, qualifying them to participate in local elections. Of that total, little more than 10 percent actually return ballots. Due to proportional voting, it takes at most about 300 votes for election to a station board. In other words, LSB members draw their right to govern from less than one percent of the listeners. And in order to win, candidates often resort to negative appeals, especially charges that the process is corrupt and Pacifica isn’t democratic enough. In general, the elections tend to perpetuate an atmosphere of confrontation and suspicion.

They also take at least eight months to conduct, cost more than $200,000 each time, consume considerable staff and airtime, and lead to interminable legal disputes. Most non-profit boards recruit people with specific skills needed by the organization. Pacifica has replaced this with an election process that creates warring factions on every station board.

In the past, Board meetings have frequently featured rude outbursts and other disrespectful behavior. Roberts Rules of Order are often abused, becoming weapons of obstruction rather than tools to promote rational discussion. E-mails are used to spread rumors and promote debates of marginal relevance. In many cases, factional alliances manipulate the rules. Productivity suffers and questionable behavior opens the organization to legal liability. All this has the effect of alienating potential supporters or future board members.

Voting is not a panacea. It’s a mediated form of political engagement, and can sometimes divert energy from more effective forms of political and social action. Just because a group is elected, that doesn’t always mean it makes the best or even the right decisions.

Since the status-quo encourages competition rather than cooperation, a viable alternative would need to provide incentives for actively seeking common ground. For elections to be constructive, the process must reward helpful ideas rather than negative appeals. Pacifica might consider having some at-large, appointed board members, people who have needed skills and aren’t so entangled in the internal political struggles.

The organization could also benefit from some form of open-source governance, an emerging “post-national” approach that draws from the collective wisdom of a whole community. An open-source model could help de-couple setting policy from station management. A small step in this direction is to post all the policies – local, national, financial – in one accessible public registry and update it regularly.

The current structure is, in part, a form of grassroots democracy. As much decision-making as possible is granted to the lower geographic level of organization. This sounds fine, but means in practice that power resides with local institutions – the stations – and not with individuals. In contrast, participatory systems give people equal access to decision-making regardless of their standing in a local chapter or community. The question is who and what Pacifica seeks to empower.

In the digital age, people can listen to any station they want, at any time they want. They are no longer bound by geographic proximity or access to an FM frequency. Some way needs to be found for people who support Pacifica, but don’t work at or contribute to a specific station, to participate as members. They represent a vast untapped audience and certainly shouldn’t be viewed as outsiders. In short, claiming to have a democratic structure doesn’t end the discussion. The real issues are what form of democracy works best, and who is really a member of the community in this new era.

Beyond a fresh look at listener democracy, Pacifica also needs a serious review of its outdated mission statement, which currently adds to the confusion, and a radical overhaul of its bylaws. Perhaps being the loyal opposition, covering the stories that other media ignore, is the path ahead. But if so, where and how do dialogue and national programs fit in? Is it really a network or merely a convenient umbrella for local stations that basically go their own ways? Resolving such questions will help to determine the best formats and schedules to serve the mission and attract more listeners. It might even lead to less internal warfare.

Planet Pacifica will resume sometime in the future. A hyperlinked chapter list will be released soon. Keep in touch with Maverick Media for frequent updates on politics, perception management, alternative media, Vermont, and Pacifica today.
[any comments back to him or us here ? please be informative, not accusatory if possible. thanx mj ]

[this is a reposting of an article giving some history for those of who were and are 'not there'....mj]

KPFK: The Price of Stifling Dissent
Posted by Greg Guma at 6/25/2008 12:41:00 PM /2008/06/kpfk-price-of-stifling- dissent.html

In 1999, shortly after Lynn Chadwick replaced Pat Scott as Executive Director of Pacifica Radio, a new phase of its internal war began. Chadwick had begun her radio career as a volunteer at WPFW and served as president of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters for more than a decade, receiving the Edward R. Murrow Award for "transforming the organization into an industry leader." But her tenure at Pacifica was tumultuous, especially once the national board gave itself the authority to select its own members – supposedly in response to a Corporation for Public Broadcasting dictate – and major changes in KPFA’s format were attempted. This and subsequent heavy-handed tactics, including a lockdown and alleged union-busting, led to four lawsuits and large public protests.

At KPFK in Los Angeles, after Vince Ivory, a volunteer for 14 years and producer of a “community calendar” show, went to a demonstration outside the building, General Manager Mark Schubb sent him packing. Fernando Velasquez, a producer and programmer in both Spanish and English, got the same treatment for the same basic offense.

Freelance writer Robin Urevich was also “banned,” in her case for writing about Pacifica in an outside publication. She had been a Pacifica reporter for six years and recently won a Golden Mike Award for Best Reporting by a Network. One publication that printed her story was Toward Freedom, the magazine I’d been editing for the past half decade. After outlining the history of the conflict, she acknowledged that programming had become “more polished” in recent years, but argued that the overall atmosphere didn’t allow for dialogue, questions or creativity. She talked about a “siege mentality” in which critics were viewed as enemies.

“The station has paid a price for stifling dissent,” she concluded. “People who came to KPFK assuming they’d be able to report on issues they were passionate about are mostly gone. Newsroom conversation is less about issues and more about where to find a job at the very radio and television outlets that come under so much criticism on the station’s own airwaves. It’s next to impossible to encourage news and public affairs staff to question authority outside the station while suppressing disagreement inside. In short, the ‘world of ideas’ that KPFK promises in station promos is an increasingly narrow one.”

Schubb’s next move was to require that volunteer programmers, even those who produced shows at their own expense, give up at least partial ownership to the station. To remain on the air producers would have to sign what was called a “Y2K contract.” Many refused and had their shows cancelled, including Roz and Howard Larman, who had been co-hosting Folk Scene, one of the station’s most popular programs, for three decades.

For many Pacifica loyalists this was too much. But Schubb seemed oblivious, and further deepened the discontent by providing a tone deaf defense during an interview with The Los Angeles Times. "People use radio like an appliance," he said. "If they find something they enjoy listening to, they'll listen to it. It's a wonderful time slot. Whatever we put there, we'll find an audience."

Another alleged comment cemented his image as a manager out of step with Pacifica’s mission. According to Amy Goodman, it happened during a September 14, 2000 meeting with the network’s general managers. Schubb took the opportunity to repeat a criticism he’d been making for some time, Amy wrote in a memo. His view was “that audiences don’t want to hear graphic details of police brutality before breakfast, or as he said last year ‘before I have my coffee’.”
Schubb denied making the comment, but the news spread like wildfire. Until he was finally put on administrative leave and then terminated in January 2002, whenever picket signs appeared outside the station some of them usually included the image of a coffee cup.

Steven Starr, the Interim GM brought in to replace Schubb, was a New Yorker who had worked with L.A.’s Independent Media Center. This new, Internet and event-driven media model had emerged in 1999 during the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization. The Los Angeles IMC was launched to coincide with the Democratic National Convention held in the city in the summer of 2000. By the time Starr was hired, more than a hundred IMCs had been established around the world.

His tenure included a strong fund drive and some promising changes. But he lasted only two months. His replacement was engineer, producer and station operations manager Roy Hurst, another interim choice. About four months later, however, Eva Georgia was selected as permanent general manager. Eva had developed and managed community stations in South Africa, and worked briefly in southern California. She was a woman of color with a compelling personal story and a talent for outreach.

The following year senior producer Armando Gudino became program director, a decision not without its critics. Folk Scene was brought back, though eventually moved from Sunday night to Saturday morning. Fernando Velasquez also returned, now as co-director of the News Department. Robin Urevich worked for a while with Free Speech Radio News and later returned to the station. The station’s broadcast installation on Mt. Wilson was completely rebuilt. And Sonali Kolhatkar, a former Cal Tech computer programmer and astrophysicist active in Afghan women and refugee groups, became host of the local morning public affairs show.

It sounds almost like a fairy tale ending. Unfortunately, Pacifica stories don’t have neat endings and are anything but predictable. To start, Schubb didn’t leave without a fight. Instead, he filed a lawsuit claiming contract violations, retaliation for alleged whistleblowing, and discrimination. The whistleblowing claims were based on a presentation to the Board in January 2002 during which he charged that grant money earmarked for KPFK’s transmitter was used to cover business expenses. In other words, he accused the organization of defrauding the grantor.

The contract charge centered on a policy in the Pacifica handbook. According to the organization’s personnel manual, he claimed, he was terminated without being allowed the benefit of “progressive discipline,” a gradual process during which he would have been given the chance to mend his ways.

But the most dangerous accusation was that he had actually been fired not because of his management record but rather because he was a straight white male. His evidence was a public comment by National Board Chairperson Leslie Cagan, who was on the search committee for a new WBAI general manager at the time. Cagan argued, “We don’t want to end up with five white men as our station managers. I have nothing against white men, but as a national organization, we cannot have five white men. I might add five straight white men, just to put it out there.”

Both Cagan’s comments and the process used to fire Schubb created serious legal exposure. According to research on California employment cases, every white male who had filed a reverse discrimination case in recent years won a favorable verdict. There was enormous pressure to avoid a runaway jury. Pacifica’s commitment to racial diversity in hiring might prove to be unpopular, especially since a trial would be held in Glendale, a white middle class area near the station. In reality, Cagan had no control over Schubb’s termination. But a jury might see it differently. Insurance could also be a problem. If Schubb’s lawyers could prove that any of his claims were the result of intentional conduct, coverage would probably be denied.

Despite all this, the case dragged on for two years. Pacifica and Schubb finally settled in February 2004. He walked away with a reported $325,000, less whatever he paid his lawyers. Pacifica’s insurer covered much of the total. The experience left the Board and management with tough lessons, especially that any comment made by a board member or manager – whether written or oral, and however offhand – could come back to haunt the organization. Part Nine of Pacifica Radio: A Listening Tour

[ from /2008/06/kpfk-price-of-stifling- dissent.html]


KPFK forming it's required Community Advisory Board for CPB, but how?
by mary janey 7/27/08

There have a few meetings attempting to gather those KPFK listener-sponsor-volunteers who are willing to meeting monthly to fulfill the requirement needed to get the Corp Public Broadcasting annual dollars it so badly needs and wants.

The first meeting was a ‘dummy’ meet with only 6 people present and while CPB info was passed out, the question of what actual “advisement” could be given and to whom was clearly indicated as “not”, with the meeting leader repeatedly 3x saying “you have no power” in various ways.

The second meeting was also not publicly announced, but LSB and interim-GM and staff members knew about it and attended. Luckily someone posted summary of what was said and who attended on for the rest of KPFK members to see that it had already happened – past tense. Another posting on the same site gave actual information about the next [3rd] meeting. The article indicated that at the next meeting some were to conduct a survey of who they represented, et al.

This one was held at KPFK station room, with 18 present, an ‘interim-chair’ left over from unannounced meeting then ‘nominated’ another chair whom most in attendance did not know and did not refute, so he quickly became the “chair”. It was basically a meeting where each person ranted on about themselves as an introduction and nothing else was discussed or resolved. There was no agenda in sight. No report nor mention of any surveys was provided.

The next [4th] meeting will be on July 31,2008 again at the station. Some questions about who is ‘representing’ whom and what does ‘represent’ actually mean plus a slew of other relevant questions of definition of what could happen within that Board was sent to the Chair... who offered to send out those concerns to all participants for discussion at the next meeting.

Questions like = “What people are doing when they say "I represent" ? it their own personal background and friends they are representing or a particular organization ? One they just belong to or one that has agreed to give KPFK feedback about it's needs/wants/etc. ? How are representatives going to obtain the info/feedback/etc. from their groups they represent ? Everyone choosing to do their own asking others ? How many others? How small or large a group is really being represented, or subset or sect or what ? Who or how is it decided what is being represented and validly ?How little is too little
a survey/set ?

How legitimate is it to say "I represent: blacks, hispanics, feminists, homeless, unions, et al "? What does it really mean to say this and how is it believable ? [Ask 2-3 friends or cohorts ? is 4 enough ? ]
What deadlines are set for when a report or reply goes to CPB ?
Who in KPFK is this CAB advising ? The GM ? Who specifically ?
What is the process that all agree on what is advised/reported: Majority vote? All agreed? Loudest takes the lead? Ones closest to LSB get more pull? How ? Who?
Where are the prior reports, advisements in writing and who will copy and distribute these to be read to all CAB members ? Who will seek ,search these prior years reports out ? Not just last one, but more than 1-2 ? Is the information in these reports considered 'private' by management ? Are CAB members required to keep quiet about what they see & hear in these meetings?
Is it ok to talk together or to others at KPFK about what goes on ? Since everyone is invited to CAB for now , how long is that open invitation extended ? Who closes it ? Why ?
Can the summaries continue to be posted on Indymedia as Ken's were for the 2nd meeting ? Do you as chair review his notes for accuracies and fairness before they become posted or distributed ? Why is the 1st meeting I attended not being acknowledged at all as one ?
Who will be sending out the agenda to all who did turn in forms by email ?. There were 18 in room.
Do other members, those who will return for sure, get each others' info or should it be a personal decision for those who want to share with all or only a few chosen others?
These are real questions and of course we are concerned about....we are listeners who want to know and learn and know what we are getting into.... Are we continuing to invite more people to attend next session as maybe 1/2 may not return? Or not ? “

It is important that a wider community than those who attended the 6/26/08 meeting come together to inform the KPFK management of their feedback, their concerns, their wishes for further & future programming, and their views of how the station itself is run also.

There is some concern about the fruitfulness of these meetings – that they do not become just a face-saving pretense to listen to anyone but the ‘insiders’ who run the station with opaqueness and much secrecy, and that many ‘communities’ and segments of interested parties have some genuine input, now and later too.

To just form a “Board” to fulfill a monetary requirement and then no utilize it fully for what these people, even if continually changing people & groups, would be a loss...of opportunity to give KPFK relevant and authentic feedback and to help it fulfill it’s stated mission.


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