KPFA fund drive ends, thanks to all who contributed

UPDATE: The fund drive is over. Your pledges made a real difference during the last week, pulling the station out of an expected $150,000 deficit to an a smaller $80,000 shortfall, and raising $10,000 alone in the last hour of the drive during the Evening News.  Thank you!  You can still donate anytime at KPFA’s online site.

To support KPFA’s Spring Fund Drive, the station’s staff passed the hat at union halls, and circulating fundraising appeals online at They raised over $13,000 for on-air challenges “in support of KPFA’s workers.” Those pledges, raised during the last week of the drive, were announced on air and matched — and then some — by others who also called in with their support.

Soon, SaveKPFA will launch some exciting initiatives that you’ll need to be a voting member of KPFA to participate in — so stay tuned, and sign up for our email alerts if you haven’t yet.

General manager calls KPFA’s staff and listeners a “fifth column”

So, has Pacifica’s hand-picked KPFA manager Andrew Phillips welcomed the extraordinary off-air fundraising efforts by KPFA’s workers? Nah.

At the May 21 meeting of KPFA’s local station board, Phillips (who’d taken a week-long vacation in the middle of the fund drive), accused the station’s staff of making the fund drive fail because of their “dissent,” referred to KPFA’s workers and listeners as a “fifth column” (a reference to fascist infiltration of loyalist forces during the Spanish Civil War), and asserted that KPFA could operate without any paid workers at all.

This, from a person who refused to accept $63,000 of listener pledges to restore the Morning Show, and whose own salary is among KPFA’s highest. When the audio from the public local board meeting is available, we’ll post it so you can listen for yourself.

Judge calls Pacifica back into court for contempt hearing

The Pacifica National Board has removed elected SaveKPFA listener delegates Dan Siegel and Laura Prives in apparent defiance of an injunction from Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch. Roesch has scheduled a hearing on enforcing his injunction for June 3, and a contempt of court proceeding against Pacifica and two of its board officers for July 1.

Morning “Mix” to return

Just before the fund drive started, KPFA managers announced that the ill-conceived replacement for The Morning Show — called the Morning Mix — would end. They also announced sweeping changes to KPFA’s programming that listeners overwhelmingly rejected. According to a memo sent to staff on Friday, management is now backing off its programming changes, but also extending the Morning Mix’s lease on life.

PRESS CLIPS: California Labor Federation on KPFA fundraising | David Bacon’s Letter to Labor Activists

Survey results show 91% support Morning Show return, listeners ready to act

Thanks to all of you who participated, SaveKPFA has just completed our first-ever survey. The survey was a response to KPFA management’s announcement of drastic programming changes — all without consulting KPFA’s listeners.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said the changes would decrease their listening time, and 65% said the new changes would decrease the likelihood they’d give financially to KPFA. Of the specific changes announced by management, pariticipants most opposed proposals to move or eliminate the 9 AM broadcast of Democracy Now!, and to move Hard Knock Radio and Flashpoints to the morning hours. In all, 948 people responded to the poll.

Your responses have already had an impact: SaveKPFA representatives Margy Wilkinson, Mal Burnstein and Barbara Whipperman presented the survey results to KPFA interim general manager Andrew Phillips — he told them his plans to scramble KPFA’s morning lineup were “in abeyance,” partly because of “enormous push back.”

91% say “restore the Morning Show”

The strongest positive survey response came in reaction to an option management has not yet put on the table — restoring KPFA’s Morning Show. A whopping 91% of participants registered support.

One wrote: “We need professional journalists covering local and national stories in depth. I miss all of the Morning Show, but especially the environmental news, the film reviews and the coverage of local politics and culture.” Another respondent: “Since the Morning Show is gone I don’t feel the tie to the Bay Area anymore. . . . I’ve been a supporter for 8 years, but this year I decided not to pay my pledge unless the Morning Show returns.”

Many expressed support for Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio, but not for broadcasting them in the morning, which, as one listener wrote, seemed like a plan “set up to fail.” Over 90% of respondents supported the right of KPFA’s journalists to cover developments in the network and opposed any corporate funding.

Strong support for changing Pacifica’s bylaws

Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents said they’d support a recall of incumbent board members involved in misconduct, and about the same percentage said they’d support changing Pacifica’s bylaws to give KPFA more local control.

Of the 14% of respondents who said they are not currently KPFA members, nearly half (47%) said they’d be willing to become a member in order to vote on restoring local control at KPFA.

Since there is no way to randomly survey everyone who listens to KPFA, this survey used what statisticians call “snowball sampling.” SaveKPFA distributed the survey to its growing email list, and posted invitations in places KPFA listeners were likely to visit — such as the Facebook pages for Alternet and Democracy Now! Participants were encouraged to pass the survey along to other KPFA listeners. To avoid vote-stacking, survey software prevented anyone from completing the survey twice from the same computer.  | READ COMPLETE SURVEY RESULTS

“Oops, sorry for the election fraud!” says Pacifica

Last week, Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt sent out a mass email that apologized for Pacifica’s attempt to throw out the ballots of three staff members, which would have cost SaveKPFA supporter Lewis Sawyer his seat on KPFA’s local board. A judge’s injunction reversed Pacifica’s actions in December.

Pacifica had decided whose ballots to throw out only after the ballots had already been tallied. “It was a clear violation of state law for us to deprive members of their right to vote without notice, let alone due process,” wrote Engelhardt. “It is still more egregious to breach the secrecy of the ballot to do so.”

As part of a settlement, the KPFA staff members who took Pacifica to court traded away their right to pursue legal fees for a promise from Pacifica that it will guarantee the secrecy of the ballot in future elections.