Wednesday, June 17, 2009

KPFK's Local Station Board Meeting - it IS open to visitors too

June 16, official LSB meeting is scheduled for 7:00 pm. huh ?

at 7:15 PM, already 15 minutes into the appointed hour, only about 6 LSB members are present, all the rest their own casual the quorum needed to begin being 16 present members is delayed...

The 6 conscientious people who are ON TIME are made to wait, unnecessarily, while the remainders -
who come at their convenience - all have some excuse or reason or attitude that allows them to come as late as they do. Yet no reprimands, no instructions, no requests are made to "please be on time" ...even if the oh-so-common "LA Traffic !" is always a handy answer, even when it so. But why not leave wherever earlier or call to inform they are coming late ? No. It's the usual: latecomers have the power of choice over those more responsible members who work harder to make it a point to courteously arrive at the meeting time scheduled.

Finally the meeting can actually start: LATE LATE LATE...those who patiently waited are not given any rewards for having had to sit there holding the space for the rest. Who did not seem to care either way.

7:20 PM, another member slaunters into the meeting. 7:40 & 7:45 PM another 4-5 arrive. "Absent members" are announced and recorded by the secretary as well. Then some of these do arrive, later yet. The apparently newest LSB member of only being seated a few months ago finally arrives at 8:40 pm, and distracts two other members already seated to meet and greet them unnecessarily. Maybe that person thinks this is a party or an unimportant gathering ? Those still absent do not have their not-present legitimating reasons explained to the members, so maybe any excuse is good enough ? who is to know ?

The new "local election supervisor" gives brief information about the dead lines for the upcoming LSB elections. Hopefully new members will be more responsible in their attendance and contributions. But they may just follow the example of prior members as they do their thing on this evening.

For it seems that no one is financially compensated in any way for attending these required meetings of elected LSB members...yet the purpose of competing hard to be elected means the LSB member has something, maybe the power and influence over what happens at the KPFK radio station. There may be other side benefits not openly admitted to the public stakeholders or else probably the competition and infighting to be on the LSB would not be so fierce and feisty.

But who will tell?

Fortunately about 6 "public members" were also present here, and because the Pacifica bylaws state that about 30 minutes total must be allotted to public comments, these stakeholders were given 1 min or 2 minutes at various points to give an opinion. However, an adamant bold and rude male public person decided he wanted to give his loud opinion at an inappropriate time, so he just burst out shouting that he would do so regardless of the [formal] rules or the being called upon by the LSB chairperson.
He tried.

And over his outburst others also shouted him down till finally whatever he thought he was somehow privileged & special to give a "shout out" to the LSB members, whose meeting this was, his message was lost in the scramble of loud voices. Maybe some people heard him. Most probably did not. His intimidation was a terrible example of a KPFK listener, maybe or not a paid-sponsor, who was taking advantage of his male pride and ethnicity to take over a meeting when it was NOT his turn. He was out of turn and totally inappropriate. Who he thinks he represented besides his aggrandized self was not clear but if this is an example of the KPFK audience, then the station is in sad shape.

Brief discussion was held about forming a "working group" to set up procedures, etc. for "student volunteers". This was discussed with various LSB members volunteering to do this extra chore. However it was not yet clear what the "student" volunteers would be allowed to do at the station... when other adult long-time pledge phone volunteers are not allowed to do anything besides answer phones at KPFK. This exclusion has been unstated most often but the premises are clearly and carefully patrolled to keep out the riff raff [the stakeholders and wanna be volunteers too, except when money is being solicited, or a very limited selected task is to be done] and even those with good skills and talents that could help the lack of staff at the station currently as not given the opportunity to "volunteer" for free. Strange hidden unspoken rules there.

Some people have often asked the staff there to work at KPFK for free in their own time, with own transportation, with absolutely no rewards given, and most and there have been many, have been passed off as not needed or else no clear explanation is given as to why they are not utilized, which is curious as the station is clearly understaffed now.

KPFK is always strained, stressed and limited because of finances and people-power to do what is actually much needed. But volunteers are very strictly scrutinized, sorted, or denied entry to do even some of the most menial petty tasks. With no explanations for these attitudes towards those who want to genuinely help for free. Not the crazies, not the homeless, not the needy, not the greedy, but the actual even paid-up stakeholders are not or under-utilized, if at all.

Receptionists is the position sometimes open to work for free, but even these volunteers are totally out of any loop and not informed of some of the info they need to handle that easy job. Whatever.... KFPK loses out and the would-be volunteers go elsewhere to give away their hours, love, and attention. So what !

Those who want to be elected as part of the incoming LSB will be informed about the 3 ways they can qualify, in ways perhaps many volunteer KPFK members do not know is available. It will hopefully be announced over the air. LSB nominees can qualify if they are listener-sponsors [stakeholders] having sent in their money, of course. Or volunteered 3 hrs already, even answering phones during pledge drives [this was questioned, but apparently this may be a qualifier ...maybe] or someone can come to station to fill out forms that give them some official 'waiver' if they 'cannot afford' to pay the minimum $25 pledge or even give 3 hours of their own time. This last qualifier is not often known and appears to be a free bee for many to take advantage of - by claiming they can not spend 3 hours of their precious personal time for free but they can come to LSB meetings every month on time and be responsible contributors ? hummmmmm.....

Mention was made that an LSB committee was not meeting because the chairperson was not able to be present, which seemed to be a poor reason to cancel the necessary work to be done by any committee, as if the chair were the actual doer instead of the facilitator. When that method for cancelling or postponing meetings was questioned, it was immediately denied, but since the programming oversight committee, for example, has not met or even been marked on the KPFK event calendar as meeting, many concerned listeners have wondered why the exclusion of this group has then kept the public stakeholders from learning what they are suppose to be doing or not doing - about programming and such important arenas.

Then as a report was being given, another LSB member seemed to ask a question which of course turned into a comment/ and a long discourse that meandered off the point - which left the person reporting hanging, waiting, confused... and after much loud squabbling and antagonistic of blaming others, then everyone turned into a chaotic mob, bickering and arguing and claiming to be righteously allowed to do so.

The end of the LSB meeting was reflective of dysfunctional families where everyone wants to have the longest and last word, to be the final authority on any topic, to be confrontive of others they disagree or do not like personally, and to gladly refuse the chairperson to close the meeting in an appropriate manner.

A question of this meeting being representative of how the radio station operates as well in this manner was brought up with no response, obviously.

Bickering, quarrelling, disagreeing, goading, emotionally reacting in a personal manner, and coming in and leaving with an old and personal agenda [undisclosed and unadmitted if asked] was the main procedural method of this meeting. As it may be of other LSB committee meetings at times also.

The final breakup was discourteous and as the lights in the room were quickly extinguished to get people out of the facility, small groups met momentarily outside the bldg, concluding with a few others what was not possible to say or accomplish or reveal in the actual official LSB meeting.

More public members or curiosity seekers should attend these LSB meetings and their committee meetings... and not only voice their opinions in the brief time allotted to them, but also help the elected 'official' members stay on topic, be productive, reduce their antagonisms and alliances, and get some more actual work & decisions done.

Maybe the public members may not help and coming may be a waste, but it is better than most action movies where someone else does the shoot-em-up.Yet here everyone walks out satisfied with not having accomplished more than to try to be a "star"...of the LSB show, at least be noticed... here.

KPFK and LSB is not the only place that has such unproductive for the time allotted 'events' ...but it appears that there is more freedom to act out and malign and accuse and deny loudly here than in more conservative courteous places of business. But then, if much business of what needs to be done does not get done, who will be surprised ?

And who will continue to fund a station that has "representatives" that act in these ways ?

And who does each elected LSB representative represent besides themselves ? Most cannot define nor say. So why do so many want to run and be elected ? For this show ?

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