Monday, February 23, 2009

Hello, this is KPFK....oh, there is NO ANSWER ever !

[This Open Letter was written to the general manager of KPFK at the only identifiable email address allowed - "" - the 1 place to send any questions / suggestions / information / inquiries / or make any attempt to contact someone who is not specifically an overburdened staff person [remember recent layoffs and reductions ?] or a programmer.

Staff when written to also do NOT respond at all. Anyone wanting to Offer anything - information, speakers, resources, and there is only silence to the desire to be heard or be of help to Our Station's functiong better.

Programmers also do not respond to emails either. Never have any even said "thanks for writing" or referred to another place for our concerns. We've written. We've called. We've tried. We've almost given up.]
- - - - - - - - -

The issue is NO INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE on the website, or where else ?
[easily or even searchable] and there is no one apparently 'response-able' at the station to respond
to any questions or concerns from those who pay to keep KPFK going.

Only information is what is heard 'on-air'. From inside KPFK out here to the rest of us. 1 way only "= no response needed ?"

The volunteer receptionists do not know answers and while they try to be helpful, they are also basically uninformed and so only 'take messages' that do not ever get replied.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS are suppose to be open to the listener-sponsors to attend. But...

Please advise any one who may be responsible that the listings are NOT PUT ON the KPFK WEBSITE in a timely fashion to inform any of us out here in radioland just when the next committee and board meetings are being held... oh, they may be listed lalter, much later, but if made visible only late in the month it is a deterrent to having listeners attend... and how many times must an interested person return to 'check again',and again, to see "is it on their website yet ? when is it ? where is it ? why was it not announced visibly sooner ?"

Go ! look it up right now [2/23/09] to see that there is NOTHING listed for the month of March. No meetings are listed, and it is 5 days from end of Feb. Why is anyone waiting to give the audiences the ACCESS to attend meetings ?

Tho the February calendar was checked at beginning of Feb month, again, nothing was announced there and only after mid-month or later and the meetings were already past were they on the Events calendar and thus were un-attendable by any non-members. That means no KPFK sponsor could listen in to find out what is being discussed or decided by those "in charge".

In addition, the KPFK website lists a link to make PROGRAM COMMENTS, but those who use library comuters cannot access the link nor even find it's address when clicked because the library does not have it's own email programs set up.

Are you all deliberately excluding all those - who are concerned and interested listener-funders -who really want to communicate or attend the governance, finance, program coucil,LSB and any other committees and board meetings ?

It sure seems so many ways

It was stated that someone from the LSB would see the comments made ...if one wrote to "program comments" and it was cuddly called 'a comments corner' to reach the ears of the LSB ....however, it does NOT go to the LSB member [and receptionist at KPFK] or whoever is suppose to receive a copy of these comments... again, how does one reach the LSB ?

or is it deliberate to protect any & all LSB members from those they are suppose to be representing... as there is no place on KPFK's website to be found where they can be actually accessed ?

No LSB email address is visible, findable. It is not clearly or easily locatable - even by searching, scrolling, returning, seeing the word "LSB" link on left of webpage and not having an email available from those contents either ....
So searching logically no LSB access address or phone was found - showing inaccessibility again. Are the LSB and other committees hiding behind their obvious lack of access from us it's station sponsors for some power-playing reasons ?

Please inform all of those KPFK people concerned about both these matters- as these difficulties have been written and asked about before - If there is no way to know our mail to "," is received, or answered in any way, for so long now, why are there NO IMPROVEMENTS OR CHANGES to allow us the shareholders into the conversation that affects our lives and wallets ?

is this called transparency ?
honesty ? real communications [ or different than the 'other' corporations ?]
honest representation ?
or is any one else's free-speech locked out except those already inside the powerbox that radios out to the rest of this world, to only listen and be glad we have that much ?

the result is ill-will- not good will - engendered to KPFK as a closed corporation that has no feedback process, no accountability to it's sponsor-payees, no alliances formed that would create the desire to fund in greater $$$$ amounts.

This policy of hiding behind the 1-way website and 1-way programming on air is one that thus breeds lisitener resentment instead of loyalty, and it breeds distrust instead of cooperation, which all results in more lack of desire to send in money at fund drive-bys. And since the on-air image is one of some dedication to its KPFK listeners, the inability to get any response or find a place where to insure a concern is heard instead becomes an image of KPFK's management's hypocrisy.

Is this what is wanted and is this what the "visions" paper read by our GM [represnting the rest of Pacifica's GMs] at PNB meetings said they would do ?

Who is not doing oversight to produce all these LACK OF COMMUNICATIONS problems ?

Or maybe does the staff/station want to admit openly and State It On The Air too that KPFK is only a 1-way out station with no direct accountability or responsibility to it's sponsors/shareholders ?

Only when a provocative or excitable topic is put on by a programmer is there on occasion some listener calls coming in - is this the only kind of response possible at this community station ?

Note: There are NO RESPONSES TO EMAILS, or TO VOICE MAILS, or TO LEFT MSGS with receptionists.

Is that a KPFK bunker to hide within from 'the public' you treasure and ultimately need to pay your salaries?? We only "know you" 4x year when begging for money is repeated endlessly and programs inducing fear and anxiety are played [no matter how old or irrelevant - the emotionally aroused anxiety makes people pay attention and then maybe out of fear they will send their meager paychecks. [Replaying old protests & uprisings just to get a rise out of listeners probably works to trick them back into fear and anger and loathing...scare them into sending in money ? ]

But when a direct question is asked, silence. No sounds emerge from KPFK. Why is that ?

Also: when changes are made that make communications even more confusing and difficult, how do the concerned KPFK sponsors find out ? ....for example.

an email sent to the General Manager,[ who up to now was listed as ""] was returned as undeliverable. Searching further and longer for why? on the KPFK website under "staff" heading was a new e-address now listed. But when did this change ? How much searching must anyone do to get thru ?

Was there too much mail to the GM before, the same new manager that had the "" address just a short while ago ?....does this change make it easier to discourage and divert incoming mailers and thus ignore them ?
How much work searching is needed to write to the non-accessible management of the station to which all sponsors & volunteers contribute so much to?
So yes, a new address was finally found, called "" later. How cute. But who knew? Why is the management so ineffective as to make it so much more difficult to write to him ? Or maybe it is purposeful ? maybe......

how confusing....when the theme of the attempted email was exactly about that - the difficulty in COMMUNICATING with anyone at KPFK and knowing it had arrived, was seen, or maybe read, or ignored, or deleted, or whatever .... nothing comes out except "on air" asking for monies and programs, but no actual responsiveness to the listeners ...what is wrong there ???

expect an answer ?

dont be stupid. KPFK does not intend to give any of us anything but it's own version of THE "Truth" and does NOT want to hear anything else back. Or any other versions of truth either.

nothing !

1 comment:

  1. On Mon, 23 Feb 2009, "A KPFKer Here Now " wrote:

    Please advise those responsible that the listings are NOT PUT ON WEBSITE to inform us when the next committee and board meetings are being held... see right now that there is NOTHING listed for March.

    Meetings cannot be posted until they are scheduled, and a posting is not a valid meeting notice unless it includes date, time, and location. Last minute postings typically reflect last minute finalization of meeting locations. Although there are multiple advantages that accrue when a regular venue is selected for meetings, the counter-argument of broader community access for traveling LSB meetings has typically had sufficient support each year to derail attempts to establish a regular venue for KPFK LSB meetings. Ideally, in my opinion, the LSB and each LSB committee should adopt an annual calendar for its regular meetings, select a regular location for those meetings, and publish that schedule in advance. Instead, finalization of committee meeting dates frequently occurs month-to-month and finalization of LSB meeting locations frequently occurs less than two weeks before each meeting.

    Tho February was checked at beginning of month, again, nothing was there and later it was already past and un attendable.

    It is very rare that a KPFK governance-related meeting announcement is not posted on the KPFK Event Calendar at least seven days in advance. Members can receive email notification of these meetings by joining a Yahoo! group here. This is not an "official" list because there are problems with authority and liability whenever anything is official.

    also the website lists a link to make PROGRAM COMMENTS, but those who use library comuters cannot access the link nor even find it's address when clicked because the library does not have it's own email programs set up.

    Webmasters at KPFA and KPFT (and maybe others) have addressed this by providing email forms on their websites that can be used within a web browser. This has the advantage of not exposing LSB Member or other email addresses to harvesting for spam by web spidering software robots. I would encourage KPFK's webmaster to follow suit, without waiting for an LSB instruction.

    Are you all deliberatelye excluding all who want to communicate or attend the governance and committees and board meetings ?

    No, the situation simply reflects poor communication and coordination between KPFK's local governance and its local management and inadequate work by KPFK's volunteer governance. The LSB could accomplish better membership communication if it instructed management as to its needs and desires in this area, but various attempts to obtain LSB agreement on such instructions have generally been voted down. KPFK Management could take the initiative in establishing mechanisms and just advise the LSB what it has set up, but management too has typically given various immediate crises a higher priority than membership communications.

    It sure seems so many ways


    It was said that someone from the LSB would see the comments made if one wrote to "program comments" and it was cuddly called 'a corner' ....however, it does NOT go to Steve or whoever is suppose to receive a copy of these comments...

    As I recall, the KPFK LSB Programming Oversight Committee, working with station management and/or the station's webmaster, arranged for committee members to regularly review those comments and was establishing protocols for forwarding, reply, and follow-up. This arguably goes beyond the role of the LSB in programming identified in the Pacifica Bylaws, but the general idea received LSB support.

    again, how does one reach the LSB? or any members on it?

    Sherna Gluck proposed a Listener LSB Comment line in a motion for the 2/05/05 LSB meeting, quoted here. Although the agenda item probably wasn't reached at that meeting, I believe that something along these lines was eventually approved -- but, there's a built-in problem with point-to-point communications like phone calls, because somebody must be authorized to receive or review the calls and somebody must presumably be authorized to respond. The LSB does not easily delegate any such authorities. Moreover, neither the LSB nor individual LSB Members have authority to assign tasks to station staff members, so there's going to be a problem in any attempt to insure that productive follow-up is accomplished unless there is also management involvement.

    With respect to email communications, the KPFK LSB has not agreed on a policy. KPFK management has not pro-actively directed the KPFK webmaster to provide a website form to automatically send public comments to LSB members without their permission.

    It is not clearly or easily found - by searching logically it was NOT found - so that again, are the LSB and other committees hiding behind lack of access from us sponsors?

    Individual LSB members vary as to the level of public access they wish to allow via email, and some have only a single email address that they wish to remain private. It would be fairly simple for the station's mail administrator to provide a public email address for the LSB and for each LSB committee and to publish those addresses on the station's website. Individual members could then opt-out of inclusion on any such public mail forwarding list. For a short period, the LSB mail alias that the station maintains for official notices to LSB members was open to the public, but it was later closed to mail from unauthorized addresses, perhaps in response to individual LSB Member complaints.

    Director Leslie Radford pushed for a policy on member communication in her first term as a Delegate, but no policy was finalized and adopted in that term.

    Harrison Weil offered a simple resolution as a consent item in September, 2004. That's here, but I don't think anything came of it.

    A comprehensive resolution that I drafted on this topic in June, 2005 can be found here. It was not adopted.

    Separately, using mechanisms already established for paid and unpaid staff, the station has provided a webmail capability that would allow each LSB member to receive LSB-related email from members by logging into the website, but there have been login problems in testing, LSB members have not been trained in how to use the facility, and the assigned addresses have not been published.

    Please respond or inform all those concerned about both these matters, that have been written about before with NO IMPROVEMENTS OR CHANGES to allow us in.

    There is still no clear policy. One of the barriers to clear policy is the restriction on public and private communications among board members in the CPB Open Meeting provisions as interpreted by the California Attorney General. There is some indexing of that discussion here.

    is this called transparency ? honesty ? representation ? free-speech locked out ?

    There is no agreement on what the lack of a clear member communication policy is called, and this is only one of many areas still lacking clear policy. When governance spends much of its time arguing over issues around which there is board controversy, it has little time to find areas of agreement and to provide direction to or oversight of management.

    the resulting ill-will, not good will engendered to KPFK, is one that breeds resentment, distrust, lack of funding desires, and an image of hypocrisy.

    Is this what is wanted and is this what the "visions" of the GM's at PNB said they would do ?

    Local Station Boards are very limited in their ability to make or implement operational decisions, and General Managers have not generally provided much leadership in training local Delegates in how to be effective board members. In my opinion, the absence of understanding among members as to how much of the problem belongs to governance versus how much belongs to management in the context of the difficulty obtaining governance agreement or follow-through on anything argues for management devising and implementing solutions unilaterally in this area among others, subject to governance recommendations for policy amendment if problems subsequently arise.

    Who is not doing oversight to all these LACK OF COMMUNICATIONS problems ?

    Oversight is generally a governance function. There is still not much governance oversight within Pacifica.

    or does the staff/station want to admit openly and State it On Air too that it is only a 1-way out station with no responsibility to it's sponsors/shareholders ?

    Ideally, Pacifica's governance would provide mechanisms to identify and monitor each station's fulfillment of its responsibilities to members. Theoretically, it isn't management's job to arrange those mechanisms for governance absent governance instruction, due to the inherent conflict of interest. In Pacifica's case, absent adequate experience among governance members, more leadership from management is needed until a workable structure is established that can then be maintained with minimal revision.

    Only when a provocative topic is put on by a programmer with listener calls incoming is there any response.

    There are NO RESPONSES TO EMAILS, TO VOICE MAILS, TO LEFT MSGS with receptionists.

    Some staffers respond to some email and voice mail messages sometimes, but this is probably rare. Voicemail to the KPFK Program Director has at times reached a quantity where it takes several hours a day just to listen to them. Without assistance to the PD, some voice messages may be deleted unheard. The KPFK news department gets a massive amount of email. When last reported upon, all email messages to that department were read, but few responded to. There's only so much time each day.

    Many programmers are only at the station during their show's broadcast (if then), and these unpaid staff members will usually pick up their postal mail weekly or monthly, corresponding to their broadcast schedules. Volunteer programmers likely do a better job responding to listener input than paid staff, but there too the ability to respond diminishes as the volume of communication increases.

    Lack of time to respond to listener inquiries and suggestions has been a chronic problem at most Pacifica stations due to overwork of staff and lack of clerical or administrative assistance to staff. With recent staffing cutbacks, this problem can only be expected to get worse. For a nonprofit community radio station to have the sort of public responsiveness and customer service that a normal business needs to survive, it must in my opinion employ the services of many volunteers. Pacifica stations in recent decades have not done a good job of recruiting, training, and trusting volunteers to handle the sensitive and frequently unrewarded function of public interface outside the limited role of answering phones in the pledge room during fund drives. KPFK programmers do sometimes bring in their own volunteers to answer the 818-985-5735 line during their broadcasts, even when no call-ins are intended for the broadcast. Sometimes that line will be answered by the programmer, if he or she is not on the air.

    Is that a bunker to hide within from 'the public' you treasure and need to pay your salaries??

    The paid staff has more work to do in keeping the station running and programming on the air than usually allows for daily communication with listeners. Station staff is often rushing about the building attempting to meet broadcast deadlines and/or doing work that requires their full focus and attention.

    I don't think we'll see much improvement until the station brings on a crew of regular, daily volunteers who stay around long enough to learn what they need to know to do productive work, who are sufficiently discrete to be trusted with access to staff members' possibly private communications, and who are sufficiently responsible to communicate with members on the station's behalf. Capable assistants willing to work for free without the ego-gratification of airtime are difficult to recruit, and the broader culture encourages treating such support personnel as inferiors rather than as essential, which makes them very hard to keep unless the paid and senior staff is carefully trained in how to keep new and junior staff happy and respected.

    --Terry Goodman,
    KPFK Volunteer
    former KPFK Staff Member
    former KPFK Delegate


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