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iPNB meeting docs
Concerned Friends of WBAI Democratization Statement

Read at the iPNB meeting 1-13-02

Statement to the iPNB on Democratization of Pacifica
Written by the Democratization Working Group of Concerned Friends of WBAI.

Resolutions 1-3 are based on those passed by the National Free-Pacifica movement in Crystal City and by Concerned Friends of WBAI.

Resolution 3, which adds specific proposals for listener produced programming, and Resolutions 4 and 5 come from the deliberations of the Democratization Working Group
(Mike Beasley, Patty Heffley, Andrea Fishman, Fran Luck, John Moran Marcia Newfield, Larry Romsted)


January 8, 2002
Opening Remarks

The five resolutions presented here are part of a new vision for the structure of the Pacifica network and for the participation of listeners in the foundation. Within the framework of the settlement, a new democratic, inclusive structure is being created for decision making to carry-out the Mission of Pacifica. This new vision includes active participation of listeners in the work of the foundation at all levels.

The basic elements of the Pacifica Mission are: operate a self-sustaining radio stations for educational purposes; provide an outlet for the creative skills and energy of the community; teach radio, engage in activities that spread understanding between nations, and individuals of all races, creeds and colors, disseminate information on conflicts between such groups, and study the origins of antagonisms; disseminate public information from atypical news sources that provided accurate comprehensive news. Active participation of listeners in governance will strengthen and promote the work of the network.

Elections of Station Board members in 12 months and Pacifica National Board members in 15 months and the establishment of democratic processes within the stations are basic to this new democratic decision making. However, as the US election system demonstrates to us with unceasing regularity, elections themselves do not guarantee real democracy because they can be controlled and manipulated by concentrated wealth and power that excludes ordinary citizens, especially communities of color, from meaningful participation. Securing democracy requires active participation of all members of the community to prevent manipulation or domination of the network by outside organizations.

Here in the WBAI listening area we have already started working on democratizing decision making. Last year the Elections Committee of Concerned Friends of WBAI worked on draft guidelines for Station Board elections. The Exploratory Committee of the WBAI Local Advisory Board, headed by Lee Kronick, is working to the revise the Station Board bylaws and to develop the final structure for the election of station board members at WBAI within 12 months. On January 5, 2002 David Greene the Elections Coordinator at KPFA gave a presentation to over 60 listeners, WBAI LAB members and producers on the election structure used at KPFA for their first two elections of Station Board members.

(Note: We have used the term Station Board, SB, instead of Local Advisory Board, LAB below and sometimes above, because once the bylaws are rewritten, the boards will no longer be just advisory to the PNB.)

We are calling on the members of the iPNB to support the five resolutions below so that together we, listeners, producers, staff and board members, will fulfill the mission of Pacifica.

To save time we will summarize the resolutions and provide the full text in written form.


Resolution 1. Democratization of the Foundation

• All members of the Station Boards, SB, and the Pacifica National Board, PNB, will be directly elected by listener-supporters and staff and producers at each station.

• The bylaws of the Pacifica National Foundation need to create a new definition of member as someone who contributes to the operation of Pacifica stations and the network financially or by their labor.

• The iPNB should make real the terms of the settlement by helping each Station Board to develop a plan for democratic participation in Pacifica's governance that includes oppressed communities.

• The iPNB ensure the democracy of the bylaws-rewriting process by mandating listener participation at the SB and PNB levels.

• This election process should be an open process that includes town meetings with PNB members in attendance for discussion of Pacifica policies and governance.

• All PNB meetings, including conference calls should be broadcast and webcast.

• Paid and unpaid station staff and producers will develop their own processes for ensuring democratic decision making within the station. Their rights as workers will be protected by representation by the union of their choice;

• Funding will be provided for staff and equipment at the station, SB and PNB levels to carry-out elections and ensure listener, station staff and producer participation;

• At the December 17, 2001 meeting of Concerned Friends of WBAI the following resolution was passed in support of a democratic structure for Pacifica:

No Pacifica National Board or Station Board bylaws shall a be approved that permit members of these bodies to be self-selected, appointed, or to take their seats by any other process than a democratic election by the listener-supporters, listener-volunteers and the staff and producers of the Pacifica Stations.

Note: this resolution is consistent with the relevant sections of the Settlement Agreement: Paragraph 1, Point 2, Paragraphs 3(b) and 3 (c) and Paragraph 4.

Resolution 2. Guaranteed Access by Station Boards and Listeners to each Pacifica Station.

Some elements that will secure this right include establishing processes for:

• ending the gag rule;

• reasonable physical access to the station by SB members and listeners;

• space for open, public Station Board meetings at each station;

• guaranteed air time, at least 3 hours as in Dave Fertig's motion to the iPNB, for public discussion of Pacifica governance issues such as announcement of public meetings, information on SB elections including on-air candidate forums and carts;

• providing relevant technical help to air listener and SB announcements;

• appropriate access to listener-subscriber lists for SB business;

• listener programming specifically designed to encourage the active participation of oppressed communities;

• participation of SB and listener representatives on station Program Councils; and

• monthly station financial reports.

Resolution 3. Guaranteed access to the airwaves of listener-produced programming.

The form of access by listeners would include, but not be limited to:

• Broad based and greatly expanded internship program providing training in all aspects of radio production that includes grounding in the Pacifica Mission and history. Internship to be publicized to oppressed communities and youth, but available to as many others wanting to learn these skills as is possible. (Internships could be geared to different levels of radio experience.)

• After internship/orientation, encourage these trainees to produce programs with supervision and technical help provided by the station (licensed engineers, etc.)

• Set-aside of specific timeslot(s) for airing listener-produced programs on a rotating basis. Assuming many submissions, listener-produced programs to be chosen by a programming council that would include listeners as well as staff.

• listener-produced programs to be aired in this slot(s) could also include those produced outside of the station as well as on the web.

Expanded opportunities for listeners to create and air programming would offer the listening community the possibility of experiencing more original talent, vision and diversity of perspective, be a testing ground for future programmers, and break down the artificial divide between "listeners" and "producers".

Resolution 4. The PNB develop alternative funding sources to replace CPB funding as soon as possible and reject CPB funding if any funding restrictions are imposed.

Resolution 5. The PNB mandate that all bylaws ensure the independence of Pacifica's voice by rejection of all government or corporate funding and the establishment of a mechanism for approval of funding from all other sources.


The new vision of Pacifica is based on democratization of decision making and participation at all levels, from elections of Station Board and Pacifica National Board members to democratic decision making by producers and staff. But the vision runs even deeper. No longer are listeners simply providers of money for programming by the station (so called "cash cows"), but are direct contributors to the operation and development of the foundation and programming via their representatives on the SB and PNB and Programming Councils, as direct participants in the creation of programs and as developing programmers. Direct participation of listeners means that the listeners will become advocates for the station and help expand the size of the Pacifica audience. Finally, rejecting funding from government and corporate sources will reduce the danger of future takeover and control of Pacifica.

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