Tell Pacifica: stop the delays, hire an impartial election supervisor, now!

Pacifica continues to stall a listener-initiated recall of Pacifica National Board treasurer and KPFA board member Tracy Rosenberg. No ballots have been sent to listeners even though December 30 was the deadline to mail them under Pacifica’s own recall procedures. | SEE RECALL FLYER | SEE NEW LISTENER MAIL | SIGN PETITION

Over a thousand listeners have signed a petition demanding the hiring of an impartial supervisor to oversee the vote. The recall procedure adopted by Pacifica does not require that the election supervisor be acceptable to all parties, including the subject of the recall. To do so would give the subject of the recall an unfair advantage. The election supervisor needs only to acceptable to the national board.

What can we, as listener-members do, to get this process fast-tracked? The Pacifica national board is holding its quarterly meeting this weekend in Los Angeles. They need to hear from us. CLICK HERE TO EMAIL Pacifica’s entire national board to demand that a qualified impartial supervisor be hired immediately to oversee the recall process in a fair manner. Use our suggested message, or write your own, but please write!

KPFA’s interim manager abusing station email list
It is becoming clear to KPFA’s listeners why the delays are happening: so that Pacifica’s hand-picked management at KPFA can use the extra time to campaign on Rosenberg’s behalf. reports that over the last month, Andrew Leslie Phillips, who was appointed by Pacifica without any input from KPFA’s staff or its elected local station board, used KPFA’s subscriber email list to mass-distribute materials attacking KPFA’s union as well as the petition seeking a recall of Rosenberg.

KPFA chair Margy Wilkinson, writing on behalf of the board’s majority, told Phillips his email was “misleading and outright false.” Calling his words “a thinly-veiled partisan intervention in an election that you yourself said station management is supposed to stay out of,” Wilkinson demanded equal access to KPFA’s email list for a rebuttal. She says there’s been no response yet.

No manager in KPFA’s history has behaved this way. It is a violation of Pacifica’s by-laws to use station resources to take a side in elections — something Phillips skirts by calling his emails attempts to “correct factual misstatements.”

Sadly, the bad facts are coming from KPFA’s interim manager himself. Phillips suggests that KPFA’s financial situation has improved because of Rosenberg’s move to eliminate the Morning Show — at the time, KPFA’s biggest fundraiser. He fails to mention that over 90% of KPFA’s salary savings came from hour cuts and voluntary layoffs made by prior KPFA management before Pacifica stepped in and killed the Morning Show, and that KPFA’s listeners and staff have had to suffer through nearly four weeks of additional fundraising last year to make up for the drop in morning pledges.

Not that numbers are his strong point: In December, Phillips prefaced a mass mailing with a rant blaming the station’s union workers for $200,000 in costs spent “defending [KPFA] from grievances.” Phillips conceded later that the amount only totals $80,000. Likewise, Phillips told the KPFA local board meeting last month that the huge fundraising losses during the morning hours (see chart above) hadn’t hurt KPFA’s finances. He clearly couldn’t add up the figures correctly. | LISTEN HERE to Phillips doing bad math to justify bad decisions, or hear the entire KPFA local board meeting: PART 1, PART 2

During December’s Local Station Board meeting, many board members were frustrated that KPFA’s interim management refused to give contact information for the station’s workers to enable the board to survey them about interim GM Andrew Phillips‘ performance. | AUDIO: part 1 | part 2 |  part 3 | part 4

CWA responds to anti-union KPFA management
Phillips’ slanted emails to subscribers have also angered KPFA’s workers, who have opposed Pacifica’s decision to spend KPFA’s money on a $400/hour anti-union law firm, in the first place — rather than sit down and work through grievances from the union.

“Your email is inaccurate and offensive,” wrote Christina Huggins of CWA 9415 which represents KPFA’s unionized staff, noting that Phillips’ supposed correction “speaks volumes as to your free and easy use of the truth, with barely a nod to the level of inaccuracy (your self-described style of ‘throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks.'” In response to Phillips’ anti-CWA comments, she points out that CWA is a progressive union that was among the first to support the Occupy movement, came out early against the war in Iraq, and works in coalition with progressive movements around the world.

One KPFA staffer is quoted as saying, “Andrew has demonstrated an anti-union bias from the day he stepped through the station’s doors, and he’s spent most of his time trying to create divisions between the unpaid and paid staff.” Another said Phillips’ actions showed “very poor judgment from the person we’re supposed to look to heal KPFA.” | LEARN MORE about KPFA’s labor history here.

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

Pacifica-appointed managers oversee second disastrous fund drive, loss of listenership

KPFA interim general manager Andrew Philips and interim program director Carrie Core — both brought to KPFA without community input by Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt — have presided over another calamitous fund drive. KPFA’s Summer Fund Drive came up about $44,000 short of its $300,000 goal, another indication of listener dissatisfaction with the removal of the Morning Show. | SEE BELOW FOR HOW YOU CAN HELP


During the just-completed Summer Drive, the Morning Mix replacement raised a meager $1500 on good days. On other days, it brought in only $650 an hour in pledges. Before it was canceled by Engelhardt, the KPFA Morning Show regularly averaged $5000 an hour in pledges during fund drives.

The last two KPFA fund drives were the worst planned in memory. “Planning usually starts at least 6 weeks out, but Phillips and Core only met with programming staff the Friday before the drive started,” one worker told SaveKPFA. “The managers then repeated programming that had failed to raise money, and even allocated several hours of air-time for Phillips’ own 30-year-old documentary that he produced in the early 1980s.”

Listeners appear to be voting with their donations and sending a clear message, one that is confirmed by Arbitron, the company which surveys radio listeners nationally. Recent data shows a drop in over 10% of KPFA’s audience — or 13,000 listeners — since the Morning Show was taken off the air.

So for all the talk of expanding KPFA’s audience, Pacifica and KPFA management have done just the opposite: they’ve presided over its contraction. But instead of taking responsibility for these decisions, Phillips told station workers “there may have to be staff cuts,” as he announced a meeting for staff and listeners this Tuesday, August 16 at 6pm in KPFA’s Performance Studio (1929 MLK Way, Berkeley).


We must change KPFA’s destructive management before we lose our historic and beloved station. Here’s how you can help:

1) SIGN the recall petition against Tracy Rosenberg, a key person who put Engelhardt, Phillips & Core in power. (Here’s the actual petition:

2) DEMAND the resignation of the managers who are destroying KPFA: Arlene Engelhardt (salary $90,000), Andrew Phillips (salary $70,000) and Carrie Core (salary $50,000).  TOTAL: $210,000. This is the management team that has:

* refused $63,000 in listener pledges to restore the Morning Show
* spent $70,000 on anti-union consultants
* issued multiple gag orders against KPFA workers who have tried to inform listeners about developments at the station
* overseen 2 disastrous fund drives
* decreed programming changes that will cost over $500,000
* ignored listeners’ desires, and removed KPFA’s excellent programs to put their friends on the air, essentially “firing the listeners” and reducing KPFA’s audience

Why should listeners pay $210,000 dollars for these 3 managers’ salaries, when their incompetence is destroying KPFA? CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL to these 3 managers, with a cc to members of KPFA’s and Pacifica’s elected boards. Tell them that KPFA needs excellent programming, not wasteful bureaucrats. Use our sample letter or write your own, but please voice your outrage!