In his last newsletter, KPFA interim general manager Andrew Leslie Phillips released first-quarter financial figures for KPFA with little comment. One year ago, the station’s first-quarter results showed it better than budget by $237,000. This year’s figures show the station has fallen $60,000 short of budget in just three months. Yikes!
The plunge is mostly due to a drop in fundraising during the morning hours. But the situation is actually much worse than it looks. SaveKPFA‘s analysis of KPFA’s fundraising calendar shows that the station made up from the fundraising plunge during morning hours by massively lengthening KPFA’s fund drives. In the 12 months after the Morning Show was cancelled, on-air time spent fundraising jumped by 19 days, a 30% increase. And time spent fundraising is budgeted to increase still further this year. By contrast, less than two days of normal fundraising would raise enough money to pay the salary and benefits of Aimee Allison, the only Morning Show staffer whose reinstatement Pacifica has managed to block.
This is a serious problem. Long fund drives are more than just annoying: they drive away listeners, which means, eventually, there are fewer people left to ask for money. Other stations — most notably Pacifica’s WBAI in New York City — have followed this path into a downward spiral. WBAI now spends one out of three calendar days in fund drives. Yet, in a signal area with three times the population of KPFA’s, it has fewer listeners, raises less money, and runs the largest deficits in Pacifica.
Fresno station KFCF has pulled two programs installed recently by KPFA’s interim management, TwitWit and The Week Starts Here. The programs, hosted by allies of Pacifica management, were put on the air despite an outcry from KPFA listeners who supported existing Sunday night arts programming. While KFCF rebroadcasts much of KPFA’s air, it is independently run by the Fresno Free College Foundation. KFCF’s Program Needs Assessment Committee recommended that the new shows be nixed, and the award-winning LA Theatre Works be returned to its regular slot.
Award for KPFA journalist
KPFA staffer Brian Edwards-Tiekert has won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists – Northern California.
SPJ must have seen something Pacifica didn’t — the award is for climate change reporting Edwards-Tiekert did after Pacifica laid him off, and before it was forced to reinstate him with back pay. (The Pacifica-installed management at KPFA is still refusing to return the Morning Show to air, so Brian is now reporting for the News Department).
You asked for it: during our first-ever SaveKPFA survey, over 87% of respondents said they’d support a recall campaign against incumbent members of the KPFA/Pacifica boards involved in misconduct. Today we are launching a campaign to recall KPFA board member Tracy Rosenberg, who also sits on the Pacifica National Board as its treasurer.
In her partisan quest to eliminate her opponents within KPFA, Rosenberg has destroyed KPFA’s most popular local program, The Morning Show, undermined KPFA’s fundraising, attacked the station’s union, misappropriated subscribers’ emails, and created legal liabilities for the network. | READ THE CHARGES, SIGN THE PETITION (this is a PDF; simply open and print — you must have Adobe Reader (free) on your computer)
Rosenberg has fully backed Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt in her destructive actions at KPFA.
KPFA’s listeners and board members have made it clear they want local control of programming, including reinstatement of The Morning Show. SaveKPFA raised enough in pledges to pay for that reinstatement. But Pacifica rejected those pledges and instead chose to waste listener money on a $400/hour anti-union law firm to fight KPFA’s workers. The cancellation of The Morning Show has already cost the station nearly $300,000. If we don’t break this costly impasse, we may lose KPFA.
Our only path forward is to directly remove supporters of Pacifica’s executive director from Pacifica’s Board. Tracy Rosenberg has been Engelhardt’s most ardent public defender. She drew up the the secret layoff list that got The Morning Show cancelled. She was a driving force behind Pacifica’s illegal moves to keep SaveKPFA representatives from taking the positions to which they were elected on KPFA’s Local Station Board and the Pacifica National Board.
How the recall works
To initiate the recall, we’ll need roughly 440 valid signatures from KPFA listener-members. You are a member if you have donated $25 or more to KPFA in the past year.
1) If you aren’t already a KPFA member, become one so your signature counts. Give at least $25 dollars if you’re an individual, $50 if you’re a couple. Make a donation securely at KPFA’s online donation page.
3) Sign and mail your petition to SaveKPFA, PO Box 3263 Berkeley, CA 94703.
Become a SaveKPFA organizer!
Petitions with a single signature are welcome, but if you’re willing to spend a little time to gather additional signatures from other KPFA members, that’s even better. Can you circulate a petition at a local event, or are you willing to hold a house meeting to talk to your friends about KPFA? Fill out this form, and we’ll do our best to connect you with like-minded supporters in your area.
Now that a judge has ordered the Pacifica National Board to seat all of KPFA’s delegates, we stand a good chance of tipping the balance of power on that board if we can remove Rosenberg from it. (As part of the court settlement, Richard Phelps, who had acted as Pacifica’s lawyer in the case, resigned from KPFA’s board last week.)
Luckily, a recall campaign may actually bring in money for KPFA. In addition to strong support from KPFA members, nearly half the survey respondents who said they aren’t currently KPFA members said they’d be willing to join in order to vote on restoring local control.
So please take a moment to print out the petition, sign it and mail it in. Renew your KPFA membership if necessary. And please ask other KPFA listeners to participate. Together, we can reverse course and make KPFA a beacon of progressive radio broadcasting once again. | MAKE A DIFFERENCE, SIGN THE PETITION!