KPFK bylaws revision programming moves forward
From: Loraine Mirza
Date: Mon Aug 12, 2002 11:17 am
Subject: Production Team for Bylaws Program reinstated
KPFK Matters, mandated bylaw programming will resume at KPFK, with many from the original Production Team back at the helm.
The origianl Production Team was elected by the Bylaws Subcomittee to produce these two hour weekly programs to inform the listening audience about what is takiing place and to encourage listeners to actually become involved with the process.
As many know, the first program produced by this team was picked up by all Pacifica stations who used it as their set up piece for their bylaws programming. The National also had asked to use it to launch a national version of bylaws programming.
But despite the success of the first program, the Production Team was suddenly terminated in the middle of production of the 3rd program.
Well folks, good news. The original Production Team (or at least many of them) are back in business. This team was elected or selected by the Bylaws Subcommitte. Although our numbers are considerably reduced to 7, we know these are enough people to continue the task.
We will again resume producing KPFK Matters and hopefully this time we will not have so many outside pressures that made the job very difficult and unpleasant.
I want to personally thank all those who rallied to support our efforts.
From: Sako Sefiani
You say you made mistakes, but you don't say what those mistakes were. You say that after the first successful program by the production team (PT), "it appeared the thing was falling through the cracks", but you don't say what you based that determination on. It seems to me that if you had such concerns, the sensible thing to do would be to ask the PT, especially since their first program was a success. Did you do that? No.
From what I've heard - both directly from you and others, and now from this email - it seems to me that you didn't want to talk to the PT because you didn't agree with some of them. Instead you chose to go around them. You chose to use your influence and authority to leave the PT (or at least some of them) out of the process because you had differences with them. And what specifically bothered you about the PT? You keep complaining that the LAB and staff members were excluded from the PT and you thought that as a result, the program would not be balanced. You complained about this in the last bylaws meeting and you complain about this again here. Actually, what you didn't like was some of the people who had been elected into the PT. That's why you were complaining that the program was not going to be balanced and that's why you tried to have the LAB and staff be in! cl! uded - to reduce the influence of those you disagreed with. But, was the program produced by this team unbalanced? Was it not good? If not, then why was it broadcast repeatedly and over other stations of Pacifica?
Moreover, and more importantly, the question of who would be included in the PT, was democratically (through open discussion and voting) decided by the bylaws committee. And if you still wanted to voice opposition about that group decision or thought the process was flawed or that the program was not balanced, there are better, more direct and more democratic ways to voice that opposition than trying to undo that group decision and specifically to unseat members you had political or other differences with in an undemocratic and authoritative ways.
This is not about the difficulty of "working together" - I'm sorry to say - this is about you not liking the democratic process and trying to undermine it. Surely, you could see the anger the bylaws committee members expressed in the last bylaws committee meeting about what had transpired. People get mad when their rights are stepped on and their collective will is ignored.
This is not a mistake, it is a world outlook, it is a belief system which basically goes something like this: If I can't convince others of my views and if a body votes against my beliefs, I will try to defeat or otherwise undermine that decision in some other ways. If I don't like certain individuals or have differences with them and they get elected to some team, I'll use my influence and authority to get them out.
Sorry for being so direct.
Dave Fertig wrote:
Fellow members of the Pacifica family:
This is a statement from me (Dave Fertig) regarding recent developments and assertions surrounding the KPFK Governance/Bylaws programming, and the KPFK Signal Area Bylaws subcommittee.
I have never sought to take power or privilege from anyone except the former rapacious prior Pacifica administration. But I pitch in where asked. I was asked by the KPFK LAB to join the iPNB. I welcome the opportunity to contribute, and to learn. And I am learning. Yes, I have raised my voice, and I have stated my views. And I have made mistakes. And I have criticized people whom I felt were acting in a counterproductive, or opportunistic, or disruptive manner. I will do these things again, I imagine. And I will be criticized, sometimes fairly, other times no! t.! And rumors will fly.
I will not try to refute, point-by-point, various rumors and what I feel are false claims, it would only add to a conflict which needs to be reduced. My statements, votes, and work speak for me. Not rumors, not assumptions, impressions, or conclusions. But here are some facts:
Two hours weekly of Governance Programming was mandated to the stations by the iPNB. Eva Georgia and I thought bringing KPFK Bylaws Committee (KBC) production team (PT) to the station would help get people working together. The opposite resulted.
This KBC PT expressly voted to exclude staff input, and all but a few had clearly voiced their opinion that LAB members be excluded from the bylaws programming because of a perceived conflict of interest. Some who’d personally insulted various KPFK staff made summary demands upon these same staff for access, cooperation and support. With a smile. The staff were not! h! appy, nor the LAB.
The resulting first program was a one-hour recorded piece, an essentially balanced history aided by Dave Adelson's and Fernando Velazquez' participation as well as others, including Jonathan Markowitz and Rafael Renteria. The second hour was call-ins, with a panel still excluding staff and LAB input.
The following Thursday I got a call from KPFK asking for help in getting the 2 hours of governance/bylaws programming on air the coming Sunday. I was told that the KBC PT had not acted on it and it appeared the thing was falling through the cracks.
I hadn’t time to call a committee meeting (any committee, LAB or PT) between then and Sunday, so I called four LAB members (Lydia, Don, Kwazi & Doug) and confirmed their availability for Sunday as a phone panel following the one hour piece already produced by the PT. I then called the station (Roy Hurst) and said we’d do it. Within hours Dave Adelson call! ed! me, advising me to reconsider, noting this was not good process. I agreed but was anxious to get something on the air. He’s on the Production Team; I said, ok, you do it. Whatever, we need something on the air! Adelson suggested we bring the people together (PT, LAB and K staff) in a meeting which I then called for after the LAB meeting that Saturday. And which I announced at the LAB mtg.
At that post-LAB meeting, I made clear that I didn’t care who was on air or got credit, so long as the program was aired. Yet some present ignored that, saying I was still trying to “steal” the PT's production. The PT reps acknowledged they hadn’t lined up panelists or otherwise prepared for the program, but still they demanded the slot, arguing that the 2 hrs belongs the KBC, not subject to the station. Of course, I disagree. But we were all glad to see something get produced (preferably balanced) and aired wh! om! ever got to claim authorship, however it got there, still without staff input or significant participation from the LAB.
Then, Eva became inundated by demands from some PT members that they produce the following programs. However, Eva intended that the station, by Armando Gudino, produce the next shows. Eva asked me to help coordinate communications between the PT and Armando Gudino, because there had been confusion and miscommunication already.
I happened to be at the station On Wednesday (7-31) for another meeting when two PT members came and demanded to produce the next show. Armando was a bit taken aback, and said, talk to Dave Fertig. I was there.
I told them Eva’s decision that the program would be produced by Armando Gudino, who noted that all help was welcome, particularly with such short lead time. The PT members suggested a show on Program Councils, indicating they had a script (but not with the! m,! except a couple pages of handwritten notes.) Thursday a PT member emailed a script for the next day’s show. Lydia, Jim Bennett (KPFA GM), myself and others were listed as guests, but none had been called. So the show was hastily put together. I was too busy to go on air. Roy Tuckman hosted but, disdaining any script, ripped his (or some sort of paper) up on air. The show was not great.
Underlying all this is the PT's refusal to bring in KPFK staff and LAB input for any programming decisions for the KPFK bylaws and governance programming. The staff, having been excluded from the process, perceived they’d been told to simply turn dials and read scripts, at most. And of course the LAB was excluded (except one who, after joining the PT then joined the LAB.)
In future I hope the programs on governance and bylaws seek to include different views and allow them to be challenged and exp! lo! red. I don’t regret stepping in to try to bring together the KBC, staff and LAB. I do regret it turned into a power conflict. I hope in the future we can all work together cordially, anyway.
We who claim to be members of the Pacifica Family must recognize the requirement that we learn to work together. It is one of the toughest things to do: work with those whom we distrust, dislike or dispute. It starts with civility and sharing. But if we don’t honestly try, we don’t deserve to ask it of others around the world, in our community, or in KPFK itself.
From: Bernie Eisenberg
This is an attempt to document events from the first KPFK Matters broadcast on KPFK to the present state of affairs where the KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee and its Production Team have been effectively barred from having any editorial control over any material it may create. I encourage people who find factual mistakes in this chronology to contact me directly and I will integrate corrections and publish a second version if warranted.
[The members of the KPFK Bylaws
Subcommittee are Bcc'd]
I. Getting a Production Team Together
At the iPNB's last board meeting in Berkeley (June 21-23, 2002), a resolution passed mandating that each signal area is required to air a weekly two hour program on bylaws and governance. It was on Sunday, July 7 that Dave Fertig, Southern California's representative to the iPNB, announced at a meeting of the KPFK Bylaws Revision Subcommittee that he had arranged with Eva Georgia, KPFK station manager, to have two and one-half hours of air time beginning at 10:00 a.m. on the next Sunday, July 14 for the subcommittee to produce the first of these mandated programs.The subcommittee members were delighted to hear the news and went to work immediately. It proceeded to nominated candidates for election to a Production Team (PT) to produce the broadcast. Although some subcommittee members had expressed strong feelings that LAB and iPNB members should not participate on the PT, the subcommittee agreed that any LAB or iPNB member who wished to do so could run. Dave Fertig removed his name from the list of candidates. The final elected PT was composed of:
1. Dave Adelson, former KPFK LAB chair
Because there was gender imbalance, the following candidates were also approved by the body:
8. Margalo Ashley-Farrand, listener-activist
Vince Ivory soon withdrew due to other commitments and Ian Johnston, a listener-activist and a board op at the station was added to the PT.
The subcommittee then dealt with several proposals for the format of the program and kept the door open for a two and a half hour show. The structure finally decided upon was 20 minutes produced and 40 minutes panel material, followed by unscreened listener call-ins. The theme for the first of the anticipated series of programs was to be a brief history of Pacifica that led to the present situation.
II. The First "KPFK Matters" Program
The PT met at 8 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday nights, July 8th and 9th, at the station to begin working on the production. But the PT had not yet received the clarity needed from KPFK management about either the time slot or the length of the program to be produced.
On Wednesday, July 10th, they met with Eva Georgia, Roy Hurst, ex-interim GM, and Esther Manilla, acting Program Director. Roy and Esther wanted to slot the bylaws program at 5 p.m. on Sunday. The PT demonstrated with technical data that that time slot had just about the lowest audience rating of the week, but Roy and Esther didn't want to displace either Marc Cooper's RadioNation at 10:00 a.m. or Ian Masters' Background Briefing at 11:00 a.m. The reasons given by Roy and Esther were primarily that those audiences were loyal and donate large amounts of money to the station and they would be very upset at their programs being displaced. The position of the PT was that both of those programs had repeat slots on the grid that could be used by them and further, that the listeners to those programs were among the audiences that Pacifica needed to reach. After lengthy discussions, Eva Georgia agreed with the PT, but she would not agree to the extra half-hour by displacing Barbara Osborn's "Reporter's Roundup", so the PT wound up with a two hour slot.
The PT worked earnestly and feverishly to prepare for Sunday's production. The program, called "KPFK Matters," did air and though there were some minor glitches, it was generally applauded for its quality. The first show was hosted by Rafael Renteria and the guests were:
Carol Spooner, iPNB member, chair of the National Bylaws Committee
The first hour of the program has been, or will be broadcast on KPFK, WBAI, KPFT, and KPFA as well as being considered for national rebroadcast by the Pacifica Executive Director, an indication that the work was highly regarded.
III. The Second Program
Following the first show, the PT understood that the second show would be a rebroadcast of the first hour of the first show with live call-ins in the second hour. The second show was to have the same host and guests as had appeared on the first show. However, by Tuesday, July 16th, the PT had received word that the host and the guests for the second show had now become unclear, that the LAB might host the show, and that the original guests might be replaced. Because of this situation, the PT was to meet with station and LAB personnel on Saturday, July 20th, prior to the LAB's scheduled meeting at Mercado la Paloma. As the result of this disruption, the PT could not invite the guests that had been slated for the show until the matter was resolved.
On Saturday, July 20th, the PT met with Eva Georgia, Dave Fertig, and members of the KPFK LAB (Lydia Brazon, Don White, Kwazi Nkrumah and Doug Barnett). There were also some members of the bylaws subcommittee observing (Roger Zimmerman, Learner Goude, etc.). Some LAB members had told Eva that they felt the LAB should host and serve as guests on the second hour of a rebroadcast of the first show. Dave Fertig and others asserted correctly that the staff had complained about the program but they also asserted falsely that the calls were screened and that the program was unbalanced. Fertig also asserted falsely that the KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee had denied LAB members the right to participate on the PT.
Members of the PT noted that LAB members had not been barred from participation, but that only two LAB members regularly attended bylaws subcommittee meetings, that the LAB was largely uninvolved in the national debate around bylaws issues, and that thus they lack the knowledge of the issues and the bylaws "beat" needed to produce a program.
Unable or unwilling to substantiate charges against the PT, the effort to impose LAB members as co-producers of the program was abandoned, at least for the time being. Finally, the guests for Sunday's show were only able to be reinvited on Saturday evening.
At 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 21st, KPFK rebroadcast the first hour of the first "KPFK Matters" show, and had live call-ins for the second hour. The host and guests for this show were the same as for the original show with the exception that Margalo Ashley-Farand was replace by Luis Garcia of the KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee.
At 6:00 p.m., while the rebroadcast was being aired, a KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee meeting was convened on the patio of Loyola Law School. Many members of the PT were at the station producing the rebroadcast. When only one member of the PT was present at the meeting, and after receiving no support on a motion to replace the entire PT, Dave Fertig, with the assent of the subcommittee, maintained that the PT was now open for anyone who wished to join. Five people volunteered themselves:
1. Allan Beek
2. Carl Gunther
3. Paula Solomon
4. Kay King
5. Roger Zimmerman
IV. The Third Program
Meanwhile, after the second show was over, Dave Adelson, Fernando Velazquez, Rafael Renteria and Jonathan Markowitz sat in a coffee shop to discuss tentative plans for the next show. One possibility that was raised was that some KPFK programmers might be interested in hosting or co-hosting the next program. Without a decision having been made to do so, Dave left the table and called Eva. When others at the table objected, Dave called Eva back.
By Monday evening, July 22nd, the issue of the following (or third) program was unresolved. On Tuesday, July 23rd, Rafael Renteria and Bernie Eisenberg went to the station hoping to meet with Eva Georgia to get some resolution. When Eva was free, she met with them and expressed her shock at what she interpreted Dave Adelson to have said on Sunday evening in his phone conversation with her. She said that Dave had told her that the PT didn't want to produce the program any longer. Dave has subsequently stated that Eva's interpretation was mistaken. Nevertheless, as a result of this confusion, Eva had moved forward with plans to have bylaws programming produced by Armando Gudino, a producer at the station. Rafael and Bernie met with Eva and Armando to clarify the PT's position, which was that the PT had every interest in continuing to produce the show. Given the urgency of program scheduling, all parties mutually agreed to the necessity of the PT meeting with the station the next night.
On Wednesday, July 24th, members of the PT met with Eva at the station in the evening. Dan Coughlin, Executive Director of Pacifica and Lydia Brazon, the KPFK LAB chair sat in intermittently as observers. Eva expressed the opinion that a smaller subset of the PT needs to be in control of the final production and that she needed a single point person who would communicate with her. The PT, including several of the non-elected walk-on volunteers from the Loyola Law School patio meeting, then proceeded to elect three people to what was termed the Core Production Team (CPT). These people were: Adelson, Velazquez, and Renteria.
The third program, designed by the new factional majority in the core group (Adelson and Velazquez), was broadcast on Friday, July 26th at 1:00 p.m. for only one hour. It was hosted by Fernando Velazquez and Paula Solomon. This broadcast was considered by many to be inferior to the first program that was produced by the full PT
V. The Fourth Program
The next scheduled bylaws subcommittee meeting was on Sunday, July 28th at 2 p.m. During the meeting, the group resolved to increase the membership in the CPT from three to five persons and further resolved to hold an election for all five positions. That election was held and the following people were elected to the CPT:
1. Rafael Renteria
Later that night, it was learned that two persons had resigned from the CPT. They were Adelson and Velazquez.
In spite of the blow to the PT's production capabilities with these resignations, the remaining members of the CPT decided to move forward to produce the next program based upon Eva Georgia's go-ahead. On Monday and Tuesday, July 29th and 30th, the CPT once again worked feverishly on a script and the arranged for guests for the next show. The script was close to being finished, and the CPT decided to go to the station the next day to begin production.
On Wednesday, July 31st, when Bernie Eisenberg arrived at the station at 11 a.m., he observed that a staff meeting was about to begin. In addition to staff there were several members of the LAB present (Lydia Brazon, Leslie Radford, Doug Barnett, Tom Camarella, Don White, Sally Marr, Marty Oaklander). Eva sent her assistant to inquire why Bernie was present on site and he said that members of the CPT were at the station in order to produce a show. He was told that there were "procedures" to be followed. Bernie said that the PT was not informed of such procedures and that the station needed to tell the PT just what those procedures were so they could be followed. Bernie was asked what the CPT needed, and he replied that they needed a computer and editing resources, and that they needed the help of the station assigned staff producer, Armando Gudino to do a promotional cart and to download some sound files for editing. The assistant went back to the meeting. Subsequently, the PT was informed that it would need to talk to Fertig for further information
While Bernie was in the reception area, waiting for the remaining CPT members to arrive, he overheard Fertig's voice coming from the staff meeting room, whose door was open. Fertig was heard to be speaking about the bylaws program. Later, it was reported by several sources that Fertig proclaimed that the station had to be protected from people like Rafael, Jonathan and Bernie.
Rafael Renteria arrived shortly thereafter, and both Bernie and Rafael left the building. Upon their return, they saw many people milling about in the hallway outside the conference room. Bernie sought out Eva's assistant and asked her whether there was anything that the PT needed to know at that point in time, referring to the "procedures" that had earlier been mentioned. Bernie was told that any and all communication from the PT must now be made through Dave Fertig.
Bernie found Rafael in Armando Gudino's office where he informed Rafael that communication was now to go through Fertig. They discovered that the station had slotted the next bylaws program for Friday, August 2nd, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and that Armando had been designated to be the executive producer. Bernie engaged Armando in a discussion and Rafael engaged Fertig, who was standing in the doorway of the office. Bernie's discussion with Armando is summarized here:
1. Armando doesn't make carts, we should speak to Esther Manilla.
At the same time, Rafael and Bernie were told that the PT was no longer the producer of the bylaws program, but rather the PT would now be considered "volunteers." Our understanding was that the PT would be free to submit anything at all to Dave Fertig, who would be our interface to Armando Gudino.
Rafael insisted that Fertig confirm the following points:
1. the PT was now considered to be a volunteer operation.
Fertig would not directly address these points on his own behalf even when asked to do so time and time again. Rafael eventually asked Fertig to confirm these points with Eva. Finally, Fertig walked down the hall and returned in about 20 seconds with positive confirmation from Eva.
Fertig asserted that the PT had created chaos around this program. He further claimed in the public hallway that they were "obstructionists." Bernie told Fertig that Fertig himself had, in fact, been the creator of chaos, and that he had used the chaos to gain control of the bylaws program against the wishes of the bylaws subcommittee. Rafael told Fertig that the only thing we produced was radio good enough to be broadcast on 4 of the 5 Pacifica stations.
The remaining members of the CPT decided to go forward with production in the interests of the station. So the CPT stayed up all night, writing, editing, arguing, laughing, searching audio files, taking and making phone calls and finalizing the script.
But they still didn't know who the host would be and they couldn't tell their selected guests whether they would be on or not. In fact, once the completed script was emailed to the station and to Armando, they had no idea whether it would even be used at all. What they did know is that the station staff was largely against having a listener produced program on the air about bylaws and governance. They knew that no other producer at the station would accept the task that Eva assigned to Armando. They knew that Armando had told them more than once that he intended to take their "input" in the form of an outline and hand it over to his five person trainee team to come up with creative ideas and put together a professional and artistic bylaws program. But after having worked all night, the CPT had emailed the completed script to the station about 21 hours before scheduled air time.
By Friday, August 2nd, no one on the PT had been notified by anyone at the station regarding the status of the program, the script, or the guests. One of the slated guests informed the PT that s/he and at least one other guest had been contacted to be at the station for the show. But another slated guest, also a member of the PT, had not been contacted because Fertig had insisted on his exclusion.
The program went on the air hosted by Roy Tuckman, who said he had received a call from Eva Georgia the previous midnight. As most people know by now, Roy tore up the script on the air, and in the second hour reenacted the tearing of the script on the air at the behest of three thus far unidentified "staff" members who thought it was a good shtick. The program was largely viewed as having been poorly executed.
At its next meeting the KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee voted to support the Production Team and its continued right to produce the program. David Fertig disagreed. A resolution of the matter seems unlikely in the absence of any structural provisions for redress of grievances.
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