No confidence in Pacifica-appointed manager, says local board

On September 10, KPFA’s Local Station Board passed a resolution saying it had “no confidence” in KPFA’s interim general manager Andrew Leslie Phillips, who was installed by Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt about six months ago. The vote was 11-8. All SaveKPFA-affiliated board members present voted for the measure.

“After Pacifica cancelled the Morning Show and laid off its co-hosts, it rejected $63,000 in pledges to help return the program, hired an anti-union law firm to fight KPFA’s staff to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars in KPFA’s own funds, and continued making top-down, ill-advised program changes,” said Drake. “We find this unconscionable,” she added.

For details, see Phillips’ support for business “sponsorships” at KPFA (i.e., underwriting), his actions on programming and fundraising, and his approach to station staff.

Delegates to the San Francisco Labor Council unanimously passed a second resolution last week supporting KPFA’s workers.

Audio of the entire September 10 Local Station Board meeting is available here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 [note: sounds quality improves after first few minutes]. | KPFA News coverage (audio mp3) | Public comment from meeting (7 min audio clip)

See also: KPFA listeners deliver petitions demand recall vote

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

Goldman Sachs funding causes uproar

Twelve members of the local station board have written an open letter to KPFA’s interim general manager Andrew Phillips objecting to what they say is “completely inappropriate” behavior on his part toward the station’s journalists, after news staff broke the story of a $15,000 donation from Goldman Sachs to Pacifica.

A scan of the actual checks from Goldman Sachs Gives raises more questions than it answers, showing that the funds were earmarked for a series on hydro-fracking, but leaving off important attachments and presenting conflicting information, which is being investigated. The fund was started by the firm’s partners in 2007, as part of a public relations campaign to deflect criticism over its executive bonuses and involvement in the global financial meltdown.

WBAI’s Finance Committee, which had uncovered the donation a little over a week ago, has passed a motion expressing frustration that management has not responded to its inquiries.