KPFK, WBAI - bylaws programming distress
Although one cannot be conclusive from reading the following posts, it is certainly true that the airing of quality bylaws revision programming on various Pacifica stations has been a tremendous struggle.
- Roger M,
I am sure you heard the script we prepared being literally ripped to shreds on mike during Fertig's faux "KPFK Matters" show today.
I appreciated your input. It represented the kind of dialog and process that made KPFK Matters such a fine effort when it was collectively produced by a team of equals who knew and cared about the topic. I was too busy to respond to you, and felt that such careful discussion and preparation of the program would prove irrelevant in any case. Sad to say, my sense of that was right.
[ the script posted at bottom of this page ]
Response by Loraine,
Well, except the script ripping took place on the second hour after the coup made use of ALL the scripting, the guest line up, and all the hard work of you three from the Production Team --- you, who were the ELECTED Production Team who did all the preparation of the program. So celebacy to Fertig, who like I predicted stole your hard work, used it all up before his dramatic tearing that was calculated to slap us in the face. Anyone who read the original script won't be fooled by his tactic. And now I suggest we post everything on every list, including exposing the on-air antics to every list and to anyone involved with Pacifica.
I told you this was going to happen, and I'm angry and suspect had I been a male you all might have listened to me last night. On top of that I waited until 10:00 AM as we all agreed last night. I regret having waited.
Also, everyone kept telling me Roy Tuckman was on the side of the good guys.
Didn't seem like it today, the disrespectful way he handled things at the mic. and the impatient way he handled callers, he didn't agree with.
BTW, the program itself, stank. Oh and was that merry-go-round sound track intended to insure that no one listening, would take it seriously? Well it worked!
Now if you don't send everything out to all the lists by tomorrow, I will. I sat on it out of respect for you, Bernie and Jonathan, though I felt all this stuff should have hit the fan by this morning, as we had all agreed, long before the program aired.
Now about the post that finally did arrive on the kpfkbylaws committee list after 3:00 PM. I was supposed to receive a draft to critique it before 10:00 this morning. It needed editing badly. It was too damn long, convoluted and if we want to be taken seriously, the over dramatic style doesn't help.
When you talk the good talk about collective and democratic process, you need to practice that as well.
And finally, I did at last have a chance to read David Adelson's input on the script, and I too agree it was very good, and I would have definately have added that if we had done the program. I now suspect, the hasty withdrawal of David Adelson and Fernando Valaques was because they had advance warning this coup was coming down. I'm not going to speculate on their motives but will wait until I see what side they emerge on when the fog clears.
[meanwhile in NYC....]
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 11:49:32 -0500
I share the concern that others have raised about the programming at WBAI related to the bylaws and governance issues. I'm sorry that I will not be able to attend the bylaws committee meeting tonight, but I want to suggest that 15 minutes be set aside to discuss setting up a committee to work on this.
More specifically, I suggest a committee of no more than 5 people that is inclusive of the different perspectives within the bylaws committee. These folks would be responsible for working with Bernard White on hammering out the two hours of programming each week from now until the Sept. Board meeting (9/20-22)...that is seven weeks if you count this one.
This committee would not have to produce all of the shows, but they
would be responsible for making sure that each week there are at
two hours of programming:
This committee would make sure that announcements are made on the air about upcoming shows so listeners have as much advanced notice as possible.
Also, the committee would be mandated to include as many different points of view and perspectives on the range of issues in the bylaws and governance discussions. The committee would NOT themselves regularly be on the shows but would do the work of making sure that many other voices are heard.
For this to work at least two things need to happen:
Hope this is helpful - and that the meeting goes well tonight.
[back in Los Angeles....]
---- Original Message -----
It seems that nothing has really changed in Pacifica-land. The old bad guys and the new bad guys are acting exactly the same, at least at KPFK. Read on, and judge for yourself.
From: Bernie Eisenberg
This is a repost of Rafael Renteria's recent post to the Bylaws
You've been elected to do it. You've produced a program on a collective basis that focused on bylaws and the history of the Pacifica crisis. It's good. So good it runs on KPFK, WBAI, KPFT and KPFA. The executive director of the network is talking about running this program as the first of a series of national programs. You'd think people would be pleased, maybe offer a pat on the back. Instead, your local rep on the IPNB bars you from producing anything more. How does one get punished for doing a great job?
An IPNB member in the hallways of KPFK, at the top of his lungs, gesticulating broadly, insisting that his job is to protect the FCC license of the station. Imagine a member of the IPNB aligning himself during a staff meeting with the most reactionary elements of the KPFK staff, insisting that the "obstructionists" not be allowed on the air, yes, to protect the station's_license_ to broadcast. He's talking about you.
Imagine an IPNB member remarking on a program whose featured guests included Carol Spooner, Lyn Gerry, David Adelson and Jeffery Blankfort, along with two fired and banned programmers from KPFK - insisting that this program was "imbalanced."
Imagine that an IPNB member calls one of one of the guests on the program while the guest is live on mike in the studio. A cell phone rings. The guest quickly shuffles out of the studio. The door squeaks. The IPNB member has called to complain that another guest, a bylaws subcommittee member, has misrepresented a decision by that committee on the air. The IPNB member is wrong. He didn't know what decisions his committee had made.
Imagine an IPNB member insisting to KPFK LAB members that they had been excluded from participating in a program whose co-producers include a former LAB chair and a newly seated LAB member. Imagine he claims that the bylaws committee had taken a vote to ban LAB members from the program, and when this won't wash, because its not true, changes his story to insist that, well, had there _been_ a vote, LAB members _would_ have been banned.
Imagine an IPNB member, mandated to chair bylaws meetings, but so unpopular for his handling of meetings that he faces a unanimous vote that he will no longer chair these meetings alone, but that the meeting chair will rotate, so that business can be done. Imagine that this IPNB member faced a vote on whether he would end up on the slate of those elected to produce a bylaws program, but who withdraws his own name as a candidate, for fear he might lose, or, perhaps, with the certainty that he will lose, however subjective the impression.
Imagine that this IPNB member forces the production team of this same program into a meeting with LAB members before they've had a chance to produce a second program, and makes a bid to force the team to accept these individual LAB members as co- producers.
Imagine that the next day, having failed in this attempt, he attends a bylaws meeting in which he proposes a vote to replace the program's producers. The only thing is, the great majority of the producers are absent, since they are at the station producing the program.
Every day the ground shifts under your feet. One day you're producing the show, the next day you're maybe not. Your time is consumed, not in production, but in politics. The staff hates you, because you represent the spearhead of the listener's movement and the new Pacifica, and that, of course, is a threat. Key staff members mobilize to remove you. The IPNB member mobilizes to remove you. The manager is denounced for being "associated" with you. Everyone wants to eat this miserable two hour slice of pie, which is, in any case, too little too late to educate the listeners about democratization and bylaws. You do your best.
Imagine that a LAB member gets a motion passed that opens up your production team to anyone who wants to join. One of the new members, self-selected in your absence, chairs the next production team meeting, and shuts you down when you speak. This new team hands exclusive control of the program over to one political faction. The bylaws subcommittee, seeking diversity of opinions on the program, overturns this decision. The faction that had power now quits the program altogether, an action that speaks for itself.
Imagine that with the approval of the general manager, you move ahead to produce the next show. You come to the station to do so, and are told that you are no longer a "producer," you are now a "volunteer." You are free to submit anything you create to an in house producer, but not directly, you must submit it _through_ your local IPNB representative.
Imagine how you would feel. To your face, this IPNB member tells you you've produced chaos around this program. He claims in public that you are an "obstructionist." You produce the program anyway, staying up all night, writing, editing, arguing, laughing, searching audio files, taking phone calls. You had told the IPNB member " The only thing we produced was radio good enough to broadcast on 4 of the 5 Pacifica stations. The chaos came from other quarters."
Imagine. None of your guests knows what's happened. You don't even know who will host the program. You don't know what will happen to the program you're producing, or even if it will be used. You only know the station has no other real resources at its immediate disposal if you don't do this. So you do it. When you get to the station the next afternoon, no one knows what to do. You tell them to check their email. The script is now in hand. You don't know if the production will be hacked apart, or even if your team will be credited for their work. You suppose not. The show, somehow, will go on.
The station has to be protected from people like you. That's what the IPNB member says.
You go to a meeting to figure out what to do next. This is how you have spent you time for weeks, in meetings to figure out what to do next in the face of ceaseles sabotage. At the meeting, they tell you to write an email. Here it is.
Dave Fertig responds:
From: Dave Fertig
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 not. 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 happy, 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 called 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 whomever 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 them, 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 explored. 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: Carl Gunther.
To avoid the kinds of finger-pointing to which Carol Spooner is referring, I suggest that the following solution by adopted by the respective parties:
1. That Dave Fertig affirm that he is not in the position of controlling the content or production of the KPFK Matters program, and that the KPFK Matters team is free to work directly with Armando Gudino, the producer assigned to the program, without first presenting its ideas to Dave for approval.
Such a statement would clear the air of charges of censorship (whether justified or not), and would remove the uncertainty that now afflicts the Bylaws Committee regarding whether the work that it does will end up being rejected based upon criteria that have not been made publicly known. This would allow the work of creating the Bylaws Programming to move forward.
2. That the Bylaws Committee agree to work collaboratively with producer Armando Gudino by creating program concepts and specific content (including guests) to be presented, while giving Armando the freedom to format these concepts and content in ways that create an appropriate framing and pacing for radio presentation. This would give the station sufficient control to ensure that the programming actually happens, while leaving content in the hands of the Bylaws Committee. Ensuring that the two hours of programming actually occurs is the station's actual responsibility under the iPNB bylaws programming mandate - not the determination of bylaws programming *content* (for which specific responsibility was not assigned by the iPNB). Given that responsibility, it is reasonable that the station would want to assign a producer for this project.
I know that there is concern on the part of the Bylaws Committee that its content will be altered if production of the programming is handled outside the Committee itself. I ask in the spirit of compromise that the Committee give this arrangement a chance if the other conditions mentioned above can be met. Armando Gudino has personally affirmed to me (in an informal conversation after last Friday's program in which I was representing only myself) his willingness to engage in an interactive process through which the Committee would review and comment upon his production ideas in order to ensure that the intent of the Committee is not "lost in the mix." This arrangement would not prevent the Committee from producing some portions of the content itself, but would give Armando discretion regarding how that content would be integrated into the final presentation.
I personally suggest that under such an arrangement the Bylaws Committee keep an open mind regarding participation by members of the LAB and station staff in defining the program content. However, I believe that it is reasonable for the Bylaws Committee to ask that LAB and staff members who wish to participate attend bylaws committee meetings and coordinate their participation with the Committee. If that is too burdensome for either LAB members or staff members, then, as an alternative, I would suggest including LAB and staff members as guests on the bylaws program panels, just as LAB chair Lydia Brazon was a guest in the most recent bylaws program.
This would be a similar arrangement to that recently proposed for the WBAI Bylaws Committee by Leslie Cagan, under which that committee would work in collaboartion with Bernard White (see Leslie's message, below).
In presenting this proposal, I am speaking only for myself and not for the Bylaws Committee. Although I am a member of that Committee, this proposal has not been presented before the Committee and therefore it is not known whether the Committee would accept it.
From: Loraine Mirza
I don't want to dilute the main issues, with other issues. The issues most important at this juncture are the arbitrary suspensions of the KPFK Matters Production team and the thwarting of the democratic process of the Bylaws Subcommittee by going behind everyones back to the station manager, and arranging the removal of the team they voted on to produce the programs.
If anyone slandered and called names, it was David Fertig. I most certainly as an intergal part of the Production Team resent either myself or any other member of the team being labeled as dangerous folks who could place the FCC Licence in jeopardy.
Since David Fertig was the one who did this deed, I don't consider it a personal attack by naming him and showing our outrage at his role in subverting and taking over something he had no right to do.
We handled the stresses of all the outside interference quite admirably and produced a very good program. We were removed either out of some personal vendetta Fertig had with some members of our team or perhaps our success simply went to his head and he wanted in on a piece of that pie. Or it could be some of each of these possibilities.
Finally, the program Fertig put together from the material handed to him by members of our team, was put together badly and that program was a joke. Which only goes to show you, that if it ain't broke, why fix it!!!!! We, the production team, were not broke. Had we been left alone, and not had to face constant interference with the process and constant demands that took away the concensus process we used to produce the first program, and new orders from the top (Station Manager) down (to us) to change from consensus to a 3-person, then 5-person "associate producers" model with the station's paid engineer installed at "executive producer." This did effect the quality of our second program, though compared to the fertig coup 3rd program, it was still miles better.
The iPNB manadated two hours a week. So far, KPFK on the second program owes the National Board an hour, since it shorted the program an hour.
The Bylaws Subcommittee elected a Production Team to produce the mandated programs. And your manade was interferred with.
These are the issues. So I would like to see the iPNB pass a resolution to show its confidence in our elected Production Team at KPFK, ask the Local Advisory Board, the paid staff and paid and volunteer programmers at the station, to cooperate with this mandate, and let us and others selected at kpfk the other Pacifica stations to produce the programs, go back, and produce the mandated bylaws programs without further interference.
I don't favor delaying the bylaws process either. But because of the interference, the bylaws committee, through no fault of its own, has been diverted from its important task in constantly having its decisions changed and undermined.
From: Carol Spooner [Pacifica bylaws revsion committe chair]
Dear Rafael -- Without going over the history of who supported what when ... about which many people have different perspectives depending on where they were when & who & what they knew ... I think it is extremely important that we all try to demonstrate our ability to collaborate & work together so that as many points of view about the bylaws can be aired and so that our listeners at all five stations will become better informed.
I know that tempers are running high and frustrations ... and I wish I knew the solutions, but I do not think personal attacks will ever help us get to the collaborative mode we need in order to succeed. Over the years of this struggle I've learned that there are always several sides to a story & that each participant usually believes s/he has good reasons for what they do that others may not see or know about.
I was very impressed with the quality of the programs at kpfk ... and hoped others could emulate it. However, I also understand that tremendous amounts of time was spent in meetings that cut into production time & made it very hard to continue at that level. I really hope that the folks in LA can hash this out quickly and fairly among themselves, rather than asking people around the country who weren't there to rush to judgment about the actions of human beings under a lot of stress.
One thing I do NOT agree on is that we should slow down the bylaws process ... whatever bylaws we adopt will please some and not others ... and we have been discussing and debating around the country since March and I believe most views are on the table by now ... but the ONLY way to get a democratic organization is to adopt bylaws creating one. Anything that delays that at this point is delaying democracy and delaying getting Pacifica settled into new ways of doing things.
If the bylaws we adopt are not perfect (imagine), then they can be amended by democratic processes.
Many, if not most of us in the movement to free Pacifica agree on several mainstream positions or evaluations, including:
That the direct election of PNB members is an accepatable idea, along with elections for local station boards.
That the Spooner lawsuit is primarily responsible for the court ordered granting of voting rights to listeners, and that such rights, in principle, are to be upheld.
That the boycott of the old PNB was essential in bringing a favorable resolution to the crisis at Pacifica.
That the Race and Nationality Guidelines passed by the iPNB at is June meeting were needed and important.
That the bylaws process probably needs more time if it is to be really democratic.
All that is pretty obvious.
But once, those who advocated all these positions together were labeled extreme, sectarian, even dangerous.
The only organization that advocated each and every one of these positions did so beginning in October of 1999.
At that time advocacy of the PNB being elected directly was viewed as dangerous and disruptive.
In LA, at least, the advocacy of listener elected LABs was seen as a threat to the LAB lawsuit.
Primary support for the Spooner suit more than for other suits was seen as divisive.
Advocacy of a listener strike or boycott was seen as very dangerous, as a potential threat to staff and as a way to ensure that the old PNB would win a public realtions victory, painting the movement as out to destroy Pacifica. Thise who advocated such a position were derided or, more often, ignored.
Race and class based affirmative action proposals raised storms - and splits - in New York and Houston.
Only two groups, one of them entirely local and quite small, saw the need to engage listeners en masse in bylaws revision before the settlements. I think most of us would agree the process needs more time - and just a tiny bit of accountable democratic process, perhaps, to be truly legitimate.
The only organization that advocated each and every one of these now- very- mainstream positions, and that did so beginning in October of 1999, was the Pacifica Listeners Union (PLU) in its Plan of Action. These positions constituted the entirety of the PLU Plan of Action. _All_ of them have been adopted now as mainstream positions.
As one of the three principle founders of the PLU, which began in LA, I am _not_ here to say I told you so. I have another purpose in my remarks.
But I will point out that it was also former PLU members who initiated the pathbreaking steps toward bylaws programming in the Pacifica Matters program, which helped create the very real public opinion that led to the bylaws programming efforts we see today in the five signal areas. It was also former PLU members who hosted and produced the first of these programs on KPFT and KPFK. Even the two factions of the Pacifica Matters Collective who sought to establish a national bylaws program were primarily made of up ex-PLUers. Two of the PLU's founders were also among the core group that gave birth to the Race and Nationality guidelines recently adopted by the iPNB.
So, I suppose you can call these people "ahead of the curve," something of a real avant garde or ( shudder - vanguard - if we understand that to mean they took thoughtful and good positions well ahead of the curve). To note this is only to be fair.
But there is one iPNB member who is _still_ trying to ban these thoughtful people from the airwaves at KPFK and to paint them as dangerous and extreme.
In a recent meeting with the KPFK staff, David Fertig, LA rep to the iPNB, appealed to the most reactionary elements of the KPFK staff, relying on buzzwords like "fringe elements" and "obstructionists" in his bid for staff support in ridding the bylaws programming at KPFK of some who took part in the very founding of of bylaws programming in the Pacifica Matters collective.
David Fertig targetted three of the founding members of the PLU, claiming to the staff that they must be removed from the air ___ in order to protect the FCC License of KPFK!!!____
Fertig was able, through a series of ugly manuevers such as this, to strip the KPFK Bylaws subcommittee of democratic control of the KPFK Matters show - the only listener produced program of its kind - and to gain effective control of the program himself.
Fertig's charges are false and his actions are not only unjust but also a direct violation of the spirit of the current iPNB, if not the Pacifica bylaws. An iPNB member has no business directly involving himself in local progam decisions nor in attempting to micromanage local programming. Much less should he participate in virtual purges and banning of listener - activist programmers nor violate the democratically expressed will of his "own" bylaws subcommittee.
Please write to David at DFertig@w... and ask him to return KPFK Matters to democratic control.
----- Original Message -----
Under duress and under protest, the KPFK MATTERS Production Team of the KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee submits this program script for "The KPFK Bylaws Show" for August 2, 2002.
Production Team of the KPFK Bylaws Subcommittee
Guest contact info:
Jim Bennet & Nick Alexander: KPFA: [phone number]
"THE KPFK BYLAWS SHOW" SCRIPT
TODAY ON "THE KPFK BYLAWS SHOW", WE’LL BE DISCUSSING THE CONTROL OF PROGRAMMING CONTENT AT THE PACIFICA NETWORK AND THE STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS THAT MIGHT BEST SERVE PACIFICA’S MISSION TO USE ITS AIRWAVES FOR THE PURPOSES OF ENDING WAR, RACISM, EXPLOITATION AND RELIGIOUS STRIFE.
THE NETWORK’S BYLAWS ARE BEING REVISED, WHICH IS TO SAY, IN EFFECT, ITS CONSTITUTION IS BEING REWRITTEN.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROGRAM IS TO HELP YOU PARTICIPATE IN MAKING THOSE CHANGES REAL.
KPFK AND PACIFICA ARE UNDERGOING A STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION THAT WILL, FOR THE FIRST TIME, MAKE ITS LISTENERS VOTING MEMBERS OF THE PACIFICA FOUNDATION.
WHAT KIND OF PROGRAMMING DO YOU BELIEVE WOULD SERVE PACIFICA’S MISSION?
WHO SHOULD CONTROL PROGRAMMING POLICY, WHO SHOULD THAT POLICY SERVE, AND HOW SHOULD PROGRAMMING DECISIONS BE MADE?
MY NAME IS _______________________ , FOR THE NEXT TWO HOURS ON "THE KPFK BYLAWS SHOW", WE’LL BE DISCUSSING HOW PROGRAM COUNCILS NEWLY CREATED STRUCTURES TO SET PROGRAMMING POLICY FOR THE PACIFICA NETWORK AND HOW THEY MIGHT BEST FUNCTION.
THE QUESTION IS NOT ACADEMIC.
LAWSUITS SETTLED LATE LAST YEAR, IN CONCERT WITH A LARGE AND SOPHISTICATED MOVEMENT AND BOYCOTT FORCED THE RESIGNATION OF MOST OF THE FORMER PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD.
IN CONCERT WITH THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING THE FORMER BOARD MAJORITY HAD CHANGED THE FOUNDATION BYLAWS TO MAKE PACIFICA’S LEADERSHIP ENTIRELY SELF-SELECTING AND
UNACCOUNTABLE, AND INITIATED A
ABOUT 150 PROGRAMMERS, STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS HAD BEEN PURGED FROM KPFK ALONE. AT WPFW IN WASHINGTON, DC, THE FORMAT BECAME JAZZ ONLY. AT KPFT IN HOUSTON THE PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE, WHICH WAS ONCE CONSIDERED THE MOST DIVERSE IN THE NETWORK, WAS REDUCED TO BROADCASTING IN A SEMI-COUNTRY MUSIC FORMAT IN ENGLISH ONLY.
RADICAL PROGRAMMERS, ESPECIALLY PROGRAMMERS OF COLOR, WERE TARGETED.
THE STAFFS AT PACIFICA STATIONS WBAI IN NEW YORK AND KPFA IN BERKELEY WERE LOCKED OUT AND THE STATIONS PLACED UNDER ARMED GUARD. IN BERKELEY, OVER
THE QUESTION OF WHO WILL CONTROL PROGRAMMING POLICY AND DIRECTION AT PACIFICA AND HOW THOSE DECISIONS WILL BE MADE HAS BEEN ANYTHING BUT ACADEMIC.
SOME CONTEND THAT AT A RADIO NETWORK LIKE PACIFICA, GOVERNANCE OR HOW THE NETWORK IS RUN IS THE GOVERNANCE OF PROGRAM POLICY AND CONTENT.
FORMER HOSTS OF THIS PROGRAM HAVE NOTED THAT PROGRAMMING CONTENT HAS BEEN THE CENTRAL CONCERN OF LISTENERS WHO JOIN THE CALL-IN SEGMENTS OF THE BROADCAST.
BUT TODAY, WE’LL ASK YOU TO REDIRECT YOUR CONCERNS AWAY FROM CRITIQUES OF PARTICULAR PROGRAMS AND HOSTS AND TOWARD THE LARGER QUESTION OF HOW BEST TO ESTABLISH STRUCTURES TO MAKE PROGRAMMING DECISIONS CONSISTENT WITH THE PACIFICA MISSION.
IN A FEW MINUTES WE’LL BE JOINED BY DAVE FERTIG OF THE INTERIM PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD, LYDIA BRAZON OF THE KPFK LOCAL ADVISORY BOARD, AND OTHERS TO DISCUSS THESE QUESTIONS.
BUT FIRST, WE’LL LOOK AT OTHER STATIONS THAT ALREADY HAVE PROGRAM COUNCILS OR COMMITTEES INCLUDING PACIFICA STATION KPFA IN BERKELEY.
EVAN DAVIS INTERVIEWED EBON DOOLEY, THE BROADCAST DIRECTOR OF STATION WRFG IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA. DOOLEY DESCRIBES HOW PROGRAMMING IS GOVERNED AT THAT STATION.
[Note for producer:
THAT WAS EBON DOOLEY OF RADIO STATION WRFG IN ATLANTA.
KGNU IN BOULDER, COLORADO, HAS NO PROGRAM DIRECTOR. STATION MANAGER MARTY DURLIN DESRIBES HOW PROGRAMMING DECISIONS ARE MADE AT HER STATION.
[Note for producer:
THAT WAS MARTY DURLIN, MANAGER OF KGNU IN BOULDER, COLORADO.
WE’RE SPEAKING WITH KPFA GENERAL MANAGER, JIM BENNET.
HOW DOES THE KPFK PROGRAM COUNCIL FUNCTION, WHO SITS ON IT, WHAT POWERS DOES IT HAVE, AND HOW COULD IT BE IMPROVED?
NICK ALEXANDER OF THE KPFA PEOPLE OF COLOR COALITION.
IN YOUR VIEW, IS KPFA FULFILLING THE PACIFICA MISSION WITH RESPECT TO THE REPRESENTATION OF OPPRESSED GROUPS ON ITS AIRWAVES, IS THE REPRESENTATION OF OPPRESSED GROUPS ADEQUATE AND WHAT ROADBLOCKS ARE SET, IF ANY, BY THE STRUCTURE AND MAKEUP OF THE PROGRAM COUNCIL?
HOW MIGHT THE PROGRAM COUNCIL BETTER SERVE OPPRESSED GROUPS?
LET’S TURN FIRST TO DAVE FERTIG OF THE INTERIM PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD:
DAVID, OUR FOCUS TODAY IS ON PROGRAM CoUNCILS.
YOUR COLLEAGUES ON THE PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD, CAROL SPOONER AND ROB ROBINSON, HAVE PROPOSED BYLAWS DRAFTS FOR THE NETWORK THAT DON’T INCLUDE LOCAL PROGRAM COUNCILS.
THE KPFK BYLAWS SUBCOMMITTEE HAS PASSED A RESOLUTION CALLING FOR ELECTED PROGRAM COUNCILS.
YOU ARE ALSO DRAFTING YOUR OWN BYLAWS PROPOSAL. WILL YOUR PROPOSAL INCLUDE LISTENER-ELECTED PROGRAM COUNCILS?
LYDIA BRAZON IS CHAIR OF THE KPFK LAB.
HOW ARE PROGRAMMING DECISIONS CURRENTLY MADE AT KPFK, AND WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU PROPOSE TO INCREASE COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN SETTING PROGRAMMING POLICY?
JONATHAN MARKOWITZ IS AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE KPFK BYLAWS SUBCOMMITTEE.
IN YOUR PROPOSAL, HOW COULD PROGRAM COUNCILS HELP ENSURE THAT THE PACIFICA MISSION IS FULFILLED, WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED ON THE COUNCILS AND HOW SHOULD PROGRAM COUNCILS BE APPOINTED? SHERNA GLUCK OF THE FREEPACIFICA NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK,
YOUR POSITION IS THAT LISTENER INVOLVEMENT IS AT THE HEART OF HOW PROGRAM COUNCILS SHOULD FUNCTION. HOW WOULD LISTENERS BE INVOLVED IN SETTING PROGRAM POLICY?
IN YOUR VIEW, ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE PROGRAM COUNCIL IS KEY. YOU PROPOSE THAT COMMUNITY GROUP REPRESENTATIVES BE SEATED ON THE PROGRAM COUNCIL AND THAT THE PROGRAM COUNCIL BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LOCAL STATION BOARD.
IN YOUR MODEL, WHO SELECTS THE COMMUNITY GROUPS THAT WOULD SIT ON THE PROGRAM COUNCIL AND TO WHOM ARE THE CHOOSERS ACCOUNTABLE.
THIS IS KPFK, LOS ANGELES, 90.7 FM.
YOU’RE LISTENING TO "THE KPFK BYLAWS PROGRAM". A LITTLE LATER IN THE PROGRAM, DURING THE SECOND HOUR, WE’LL BE TAKING YOUR PHONE CALLS.
BUT NOW I WANT TO POSE SOME QUESTIONS TO OUR GUESTS WITH RESPECT TO THE SPECIFIC POWERS THAT A PROGRAM COUNCIL MIGHT HAVE OVEr KPFK PROGRAMMING.
WITH US ARE DAVE FERTIG OF THE INTERIM PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD, LYDIA BRAZON, CHAIR OF THE KPFK LOCAL ADVISORY BOARD, JONATHAN MARKOWITZ AND CARL GUNTHER OF THE KPFK BYLAWS SUBCOMMITTEE, AND SHERNA GLUCK, OF THE FREE PACIFICA NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK.
THE KPFK BYLAWS SUBCOMMITTEE HAS SAID THAT A PROGRAM COUNCIL SHOULD BE ABLE TO PREVIEW PROGRAM PROPOSALS BEFORE NEW PROGRAMS GO ON THE AIR, AND THAT THEY SHOULD ALSO REVIEW CURRENT PROGRAMS AND PROGRAM DECISIONS. IN A STRAW POLL, THE SUBCOMMITTEE FAVORED VETO OR OVERRIDE POWER OVER PROGRAM DECISIONS.
ARE THESE REASONABLE POWERS AND WHAT OTHER POWERS WOULD YOU PROPOSE?
AS CHAIR OF THE LOCAL ADVISORY BOARD, WHAT POWERS OVER PROGRAMMING DO YOU FEEL SHOULD BE EXCERCISED LOCALLY AND WHAT POWERS SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR THE PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD?
IN THE ABSENSE OF VETO POWERS OVER PROGRAMMING DECISIONS, WOULD A PROGRAM COUNCIL HAVE SUFFICIENT POWERS TO GOVERN LOCAL PROGRAMMING POLICY?
HOW SHOULD DECISIONS ABOUT PROGRAMMING BE MADE?
YOU’RE LISTENING TO "THE KPFK BYLAWS SHOW". IN JUST A FEW MINUTES, WE’LL BE TAKING YOUR CALLS. THE CALL-IN NUMBER IS 818-985-5735, THAT’S 818-985-KPFK.
SOME FEEL THAT STAFF AND PROGRAMMERS SITTING ON A PROGRAM COUNCIL REPRESENTS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, IN THAT THEY HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN PROTECTING THEIR OWN PROGRAMS. OTHERS SAY THE INPUT OF PROFESSIONALS IS ESSENTIAL TO DEVELOPING SOUND PROGRAMMING.
IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT ROLE SHOULD STAFF AND PROGRAMMERS HAVE ON A PROGRAM COUNCIL?
SHOULD PROGRAM REVIEW AND PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION AND DEVELOPMENT POWER BOTH BE HELD BY ONE SINGLE BODY LIKE A PROGRAM COUNCIL?
YOU’RE LISTENING TO KPFK, LOS ANGELES, 90.7 FM, PACIFICA RADIO FOR ALL OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
WE’LL BE BACK IN A MINUTE WITH YOUR PHONE CALLS. THE CALL-IN NUMBER ONCE AGAIN IS 818-985-5735, THAT’S 818-985-5735.
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