Come meet Aimee Allison, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Laura Prives, Aileen Alfandary and other invited special guests on Saturday, February 12 at 10am at the North Berkeley Senior Center (MLK Jr Way @ Hearst). Join us to show your support for KPFA’s workers and get the latest news, along with coffee and pastries.
Since the KPFA Morning Show was removed from the air, listeners have generously pledged over $60,000 to rehire the hosts via SaveKPFA’s PLEDGE TO RESTORE THE MORNING SHOW. Pacifica’s management has so far rejected that offer, just as it previously rejected the Sustainable Budget drafted by KPFA staff and backed by the local board and management. That budget cut Pacifica’s bureaucracy rather than damage vital programming.
Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt rejected the $60K in pledges on January 20. Ever since, a group of listeners, including the chair of KPFA’s local board, Margy Wilkinson, has been trying to meet with Engelhardt to urge her to reconsider. On Friday, a 7-member listener delegation arrived at Pacifica’s offices for what they believed was a pre-scheduled meeting with the executive director about the pledges. They were told by Pacifica CFO LaVarn Williams that even though Engelhardt was in the office, she would not meet. Williams then repeatedly yelled at the listener group to leave Pacifica’s offices.
“Pacifica is ignoring the voices of the vast majority of its listeners,” said Wilkinson, noting the thousands of letters, petitions and phone calls to the network. After the Morning Show breakfast on Saturday 2/12, listeners are welcome to stay for KPFA’s local board meeting.
Berkeley City Council to discuss KPFA
Berkeley’s councilmembers are scheduled to consider a resolution on KPFA next Tuesday, February 8 at 7 pm. To write a letter to the council, please click here. In December, Pacifica’s Arlene Engelhardt refused to consider mediation of the Morning Show matter, as you can see in this clip (video | audio) of her responses to Mayor Tom Bates’ questions. Many eloquent speakers urged action, such as KPFA’s Brian Edwards-Tiekert (video | audio), but the council could not agree on a resolution. (You can find information about that vote here.)
Terminating the Morning Show is the likely a major cause of KPFA’s sharply declining listenership, reports San Francisco Chronicle blogger Zennie Abraham in a recent column. He cites radio industry statistics that show KPFA’s audience share down from 120,000 to 104,000 over the last quarter (his column, toward the end, also covers the local board issues).
Meanwhile, historian Matthew Lasar’s latest column examines the role of Peter Phillips’ Project Censored supporters in the replacement 8AM “Morning Mix” programming.
Election shennanigans continue
As we reported last week, KPFA/Pacifica board member Tracy Rosenberg is claiming that Dan Siegel, a civil rights attorney in Oakland and a station board member affiliated with SaveKPFA, can no longer serve because he’s a volunteer with new Oakland mayor Jean Quan. Siegel was also elected to Pacifica’s national board, but Rosenberg and her allies are denying Siegel that seat as well.
Calling it a “coup,” KPFA board member Matthew Hallinan notes, “This is a blatant attempt to do away with what’s left of listener democracy and local control. They are denying due process to an elected listener rep, falsifying records, and breaking all the rules in order to shift the balance of power in their favor.” Rosenberg and her allies have said they’ll hold a separate, illegally constituted KPFA board meeting next week to try to accomplish their goal.
In a similar case, an Alameda County judge recently issued an injunction against Pacifica for its attempt to remove already-cast votes and “fix” the results of the staff portion of KPFA’s local board election. And on Friday, the network was sued by a KPFK (Los Angeles) member who alleges the Pacifica national board is trying to fraudulently re-run a delegate election it didn’t like.