this is re posted from LA OBSERVED:
KPFK to make 'urgent changes' in programming
BY Kevin Roderick • July 21 2010 12:15 PM
All programmers at KPFK just received a long email from the boss asking them to either urgently grow their audience (and their money-raising for the station) or to voluntarily take their shows off the air or cut the length.
"I along with the current management team see an urgent need to make changes in the programming in the afternoon, evening, and weekend," says the note from interim program director Alan Minsky. In other words, mornings are OK. Minsky hints at the fractious politics of KPFK's listener base, which may see this as a move against the Pacifica station's progressive bent.
No specific shows are named, but some that air in the mentioned slots are among the most political. Many also are some of the longest-running programs on Los Angeles radio, such as The Car Show, Folk Scene, The Music Never Stops and Uncle Ruthie. Deadline L.A., the local media show hosted by Barbara Osborne and Howard Blume, airs Fridays at 3:30 p.m. The entire memo is [below]after the jump.
From: Alan Minsky Sent: Wed 7/21/2010
To: programmers; staff Cc: Bob Conger; Jennifer Kiser; Alan Minsky
Subject: Important Letter to KPFK Programmers
We've reached a critical point at KPFK, as the painful length of our recent fund drive betrayed.
At the beginning of my time as iPD, I was instructed by the National Office to increase the station's listeners; in particular, as measured by the Arbitron numbers. This has occurred. Through the beginning of June, the listenership for the station had steadily risen from 120,000 before the fall 2009 programming changes up to a plateau of 180,000. This is great.
However, the increase in audience is weighted almost entirely in our Monday through Friday morning programming - in essence from 6am until 1pm - while 5pm is also substantially out-performing what was there before. With only a few exceptions, the afternoon, evening, and weekend programming is dramatically underperforming by this measurement.
Furthermore, this is true not only in terms of Arbitrons but also in fundraising - as we consistently have to pre-empt our afternoon, evening, and weekend programs in order to raise money. This is unacceptable. Lew Hill, Pacifica's founder, understood that listeners would pay for what they value; that compelling programming would elicit the financial support required to sustain such an ambitious media project and broadcast operation; that the ability to fundraise would necessarily be a factor in determining what shows remain on the air.
Indeed, the fact that so many of our shows are not contributing to fundraising for KPFK is a major factor in the unacceptable length of our fund drives.
Therefore, I along with the current management team see an urgent need to make changes in the programming in the afternoon, evening, and weekend.
In the next few weeks, we will be making some very hard decisions. We have about eight to ten new hours of Mission-driven programming that we believe will dramatically improve our listenership and our fundraising in the coming year. In order to make room for these new shows, we need some of the underperforming shows to step aside.
Therefore, we are asking all KPFK programmers to take a hard look at their shows and decide themselves whether they can make a positive contribution to the station by increasing their audience size and raising money for the station in fund drives. If you recognize that your show cannot make such a contribution than we, the management team, would encourage you to either:
1. offer to cut the length of your show (e.g. from one hour to 30 minutes a week)
2. move your show off-air to a web-based show available on KPFK.org
3. end your show
We will wait to hear back from programmers for one and a half weeks (until 07-30), after which time we will begin to make the decisions about which shows to cut back and which to excise in order to free up the time to introduce new programming onto KPFK Radio. Please reply directly to myself, Bob Conger and Jennifer Kiser.
This is a difficult process, but essential for the greater good and health of the station and foundation.
While KPFK staffers and managers have always claimed 'good intentions" and often meant it sincerely when stated, tho the effects have not always been "good enough for many" but for only a few select viewpoints, political slants, and special-interest-groups....
yes even those labeled "liberals" or "progressives" or "radicals" or "left" and with all the self-right-ousness that is always Denied but Displayed have very personal Special Interests and access- contacts=allies to protect and use too....
the need for more dramatic and actual CHANGES in this radio's processes has long been needed and avoided.
Finally, due to money-inadequacies, some of the other desires, demands, and dedicated-old-loyalties are being challenged. Finally.
So hopefully thru trial-and-errors too the changes will make this valuable radio outlet become less held-hostage by old-time- programmers or by those who claim special-privileges and demand access because they are slightly different than heard/ found elsewhere on radio anyhow...
that some will MOVE OVER AND EVEN OUT because there is no more welfare charity available to insure they have hold over these airwaves.
Time for Changes ! does it take no-money-left to make changes in a radio station that claims it is vital to current relevance and is in the forefront of social changes ? But internally refuses to budge or share or shift from the same old messages of long ago.
No, this does not mean old social discrepancies have been solved and make equal. It does mean that the same harangues, same shouts, same angry exhortations, same blame games and same clinging-to-a-payola- too-good-thing folks will move and give some other ones an Equal Opportunity ...finally ! ...... maybe......
Surely many complaints and lawsuits and threats and more angry accusations will be heard on-air as well as on any media available ...especially on indymedias and internet blogs too. That is expected and part of the game-plan-to GET MORE even get-back as in getting and holding on and hoarding access to radio airwaves and spiteful get-backs.
Surely to find the right programs that will increase SPONSOR STAKEHOLDERS that pay up to keep all the incurring expenses paid up will not be quick nor easy nor immediate...but hopefully, if the management has COURAGE and PERSISTENCE and a willingness to "let go" finally of even "my favorite programs" if that is what it takes to survive honorably, so be it.
Let the ones that cant support themselves get off of being paid for by other programs and get off of this corporate [even if non profit] welfare. We all know KPFK is a "non profit corporation" right?
If "my favorite programs" can improve, gain audiences, gain income by more than begging on air and holding up air programming randsom extortioner f
Note that "subscriptions" does not mean anything more than getting to vote for some wild angry manipulative and vehement LSB members, nothing more...no input into any KPFK radio station processes at all...no benefits other than keeping radio ON air.
Let the CHANGES BEGIN and the chaos, turmoil, angry outbursts and insults and name-calling begin, for surely no one ever wants to give up their own BENEFITS [ even those not-admitted extra & secret benefits of having that program on air] or even share time or space or anything else...
KPFK folks are Not More Generous than anyone else you or I meet daily. Sorry, idealistic political ideas do not make a
"good kind generous person" actually. It takes other and more qualities for that wish to become real & true.
Please: ENCOURAGE all who work to keep KPFK on air and financially stable and workable to do whatever it takes and then do the next step and next and next too.
Please: Help protect the staff/ management from those who will act-out their greed and demands elsewhere in media by responding logically, reasonably, and honestly about how everyone- has-to-help in making KPFK viable and survivable now and in the future.
Please: Be PATIENT. Realize how human the actual KPFK workers are and how vulnerable, how battered they will be, how much they need your support in every & any way [not just with money !]. Write them, call and leave a voice mail as they are often unavailable. Hard copy a card or note to state you recognize the difficulties they face... for us who only listen or pledge at times.
And hope for the best that can come up with these twists and turns of CHANGE. No straight lines in life, only shifts and shape changes and evolvements.
Hope does not mean hope-as-dream-from-afar... it means expect and wish fervently in your own way that KPFK becomes more and better and different and still essentially provides what it has for so long...
as some of us know from 1960 or so....
(c) 2010 akpfker