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A couple of conversations with current Pacifica interim Executive director

[also a 1998 article on wpfw below]

Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 14:12:46 -0500
From: Andrew Norris
To: NewPacifica@
Subject: [NewPacifica] Conversation with the Pacifica Exec. Dir.

This morning I called Joanne Meredith - I told her I was a WBAI LAB member, and that Robert Daughtry does not communicate with the LAB and I felt it would be more constructive to talk with her as Exec. Dir. (since September Daughtry has been sent two certified letters by the LAB with no response).

The reason I called was to find out when Democracy Now! would be returning to the air. She said something about negotiations going on and she could not say. I asked why it could not be immediately put on all Pacifica stations if it was on one (KPFA), and that she as Executive Director could do this. She said that program was not Democracy Now!, but it was Democracy Now in Exile, which is not a Pacifica program.

I think we both realized the semantics were going nowhere, and she pleasantly asked me if I was just a regular LAB member or the LAB Chair. I was taken aback at her ignorance and asked her if she knew who the LAB chairs are. She quickly lost interest in the conversation as she thanked me for calling and said she had to go.

Andy Norris


Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 01:34:33 -0000
From: "Heidi Chesney"
To: NewPacifica@
Subject: [NewPacifica] Re: Conversation with the Pacifica Exec. Dir.

Dear Andy,

I haven't had time to write up my report since my return..I intend to get that out sometime over the weekend, hopefully.

My report will also include a summary of a 2 and half hour (or so) conversation that I had with Bob Farrell who happened to be on the same flight as mine, for part of the way (until his connection change in Kansas City).

The immediate return of DN! to Pacifica's air came up when I listed off a number of things I felt would have to be considered as "significant and meaningful changes" that have to occur before the "free pacifica" movement and other concerned listeners would ever place trust with any report that Pacifica War is anywhere close to being over, much less place any faith in his peace offering...(the fp movement would see it as pure lip service if not outright manipulation of listeners perceptions.

BFarrell's response in regard to the return of Amy Goodman and the DN! staff made perfect sense to me. Which is that Amy, and DN! staff have to decide whether or not they want to return as Pacifica employees or contract their production to Pacifica and affiliates. The same goes for the stringers who created Free Speech Radio News and broadcast to several former affiliates who had formerly contracted with Pacifica.

So essentially, the ball is in her court. It's a big decision to make, (whether to continue working independently or to return as an employee)but I do think she has a responsibility to reveal to her listeners that her lawyers are in negotiations and she and staff are in the process of weighing out the options.

Btw, when I spoke to Joanne Meredith, I asked that she please hold back from incurring any more expenses and sought to discourage her from going forward in her search of a hunter consultant in the recruitment of Pacifica National Programmer. I suggested that Pacifica does not need a NPD right now..(if ever) She requesed that I put it in a proposal and send to board members. Though that is the standard response in such circumstances, we talked about a few other issues, and she actually was quite responsive and pleasant to talk to, however brief the conversation was.



[ posted on the message board at: http://goodlight.net/wbai ]

History of WPFW's Bob Daughtry [current wbai station manager] & Joanne Meredith
Wed Nov 21 23:40:15 2001


By Shawnn Shears

Tucked among the predominantly West Coast-oriented Pacifica network, is a hidden jewel, WPFW. WPFW is Pacifica's Washington-based community radio station, thriving in the nation's capitol. The predominant programming of the station is a mix of jazz, Third World music, news, and public affairs. It is now the only public radio station in the nation's capitol that programs jazz, a national treasure. The public must be educated on the importance of supporting this treasure by listening, sharing with children and friends, and giving financially." Those are the sentiments of WPFW General Manager, Bessie M. Wash who speaks with great pride about the station, its staff and volunteers.

In their mission statement [ which largely ignores the Pacicifca mission statement ], WPFW undertakes to use the medium of radio to highlight jazz, that American art born of African American experiences, and to revive an under-appreciated national cultural resource. Its purpose is to provide outlets for the creative skills and energies of the community, to contribute to the lasting understanding between individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors, and to promote the full distribution of public information.

According to Bessie Wash, "We're experiencing some growing pains. Having three years remaining on our lease, our current space will not accommodate additional growth. Our on-air sound is our highest priority and we're looking at continuing to invest in our sound by replacing our broadcast board, upgrading our production boards, putting in a digital editor, and getting a new antenna. Additional staff, along with new computers, is also needed. We would like to have space to provide for a live studio. I'd like to be able to have a place where the community, especially young adults and children can come and witness live public debates on community issues and live performances. In addition to a music library for our broadcast, I would like to have a historical library open to the community."

She continued, "I'm very excited. I have a fantastic station management team. Joanne Meredith, our Development Director, is part CPB'S Next Generation Project. Her strong organizational skills have led us into our highest fundraising and fulfillment in the station's history. She works closely with Lou Hankins who is not only an extraordinary Program Director achieving record audience levels, TSL and AQH, but, with Joanne, he plans and executes our on-air fund drives. Completing the team is Bob Daughtry who is invaluable to the stability of the team, and is always thinking ahead as Director of Operations. Bob is responsible for air sound, space and technical operations. Together they're self-motivated and self-driving; they're catapulting us toward the year 2000. We are all different, but it's the differences that make it work.

Management team
Bob Daughtry is clearly excited about what he's doing, which is a little bit of everything, as Director of Operations. Which of his contributions to the station's success is he most proud of? Without hesitation, he counts coordinating the move from H Street to the new facility in Adams Morgan. This was more than packing boxes. Fast track planning ad them in new space in April 1996 when the space was not found until February 1995. It was Bob's job to build a radio station from the inside out, specifying what equipment goes where, building custom furniture, and laying out the floor plan. The open-air office is tastefully decorated and logically organized. Now Bob is getting ready for the digital age. He's constantly thinking about upgrading what the station has or how it can reinvent itself using the current resources.

Lou "Coach" Hankins serves as the station's Program Manager. His proudest achievement is doubling the listenership over the last 3 and 1/2 years. For Lou, it's about the ability to win and survive. "We've got good people with good attitudes.

Joanne Meredith, Development Director, says, "WPFW has been able to increase its member base and to maintain successful on-air pledge drives because of the constant growth of the number of listeners tuning in to the programming provided on the station. The consistent performance of off-air fundraising is due to a strategic plan that allows for repeated contact with members to request additional gifts, stresses retention of members and applies data to encourage renewals and to assist in converting basic donors into major contributors. The goal of the development department is to continue to enhance current fundraising campaigns in addition to focusing on long-term revenue sources and the use of technology as a means to generate revenue." Having the database as a tool is helpful, but actually using it to use telemarketing or direct mail depending on a member's profile is the secret of Joanne's success. "It allows me to target my approach and make better use of my resources." A year ago, the membership base was 7,400. Now it's up to 8,240, and 11 percent increase. Dollars raised from on-air drives have increased likewise.

What's new at 'PFW? It's definitely the web. The station has stepped into the water and is now available for websurfers. You can download the schedule or tune in on-line. Find them at www.wpfw.org.

Bessie Wash, recognizing a new tool to add to the station's fundraising and outreach says, "Now you can listen to WPFW on the Internet. We can be heard around the world. It puts a new spin on the station's promo, "The Messenger." During our last drive, we received calls from Florida, Texas, California, and Canada. You never know where resources are going to come from."

Julia wrote in: "My husband and I have listened to WPFW for many years. We first found it on weekends, and especially liked the Sunday a.m. jazz. We then extended our listening to other days of the week, and listen frequently to Blues Plate Special, Yolanda/jazz, and I also listen to some of the talk programs. We are blues fans, and it's refreshing to know we probably won't hear the same pieces over again. I also listen to the reggae on Saturday evenings. I like to be introduced to new sounds and diversity, and I certainly get that ONLY on 'PFW. The disc jockeys seem to know their stuff, often giving the history of the music and artists. They are so very real; not like the babblers on other stations who seem to just fill air space with mindless dialogue. I would not change anything about the station. It is a jewel in the midst of sameness."

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