wbai.net Pacifica/WBAI history   events   links   archive   bylaws etc
PNB   LSB   elections   contact info   opinion   search

KPFA's programming council described

KPFA Program Council Info
Tue Mar 19 09:11:24 2002

Info on KPFA's Program Council from Gail Blasie.

I do not know if Program Councils are the way to go. Maybe they are. At this point it is too soon to tell at KPFA since we really have just started a new era where there are community reps serving on the Program Council who are communicating with listeners, the LAB, staff, and iPNB.

I hope the Mission Commission and all the other avenues that are being created at the local levels to discuss how we are structured, what management structures and programming structures best support Lew Hill's mission, and what programming content best serves the mission of Lew Hill, will address issues of power sharing and how racism and classism work to keep the status quo, or does the status quo perpetuate racism and classism. Either way, the racism and classism has got to go.

For now, this is what is happening at KPFA regarding the Program Council.

PC Composition and Selection Process

At KPFA, the Program Council seems to be an advisory board. I gather department heads are part of the council. There are four spots for paid staff, whom I believe rotate through the PC. The unpaid staff has their own organization which has regular meetings and their four Program Council reps are elected at a meeting. (The unpaid staff also has two alternates.) That particular election process for unpaid staff at KPFA has some issues that I need to learn more about.

As a result of a result of a facilitated process a year or so ago, the KPFA LAB now appoints one non staff LAB member to the PC, and appoints two community members and an alternate to the PC. The KPFA LAB has made a commitment to diversity in these selections and also decided the KPFA LAB member sitting on the PC should not be a staff member of the KPFA LAB.

Criteria for Community Rep Position on PC appointed by the KPFA LAB:

The critera for the community rep positions appointed by the PC are as follows (these criteria were put together by the LAB PC Search Committee and approved by the KPFA LAB. The LAB PC Search Committee recommended the appointees and the LAB approved the recommendations):

Mandatory Character Traits:

a. Committed to the goals of Pacifica to be the voice of the voiceless and a voice of dissent;

b. Familiar with Pacifica mission and willing to move that forward;

c. Able to interpret and understand the Pacifica mission;

d. Must be listener to the station;

e. Must attend PC and LAB meetings;

f. Willing to perform PC tasks;

g. Committed to do outreach to diverse community;

h. Committed to working with the KPFA LAB and be willing to report to the LAB;

i. Someone who is willing to set aside personal preferences for the benefit of those groups KPFA is commmitted to serve.

j. The person must not have a rigid unchangeable agenda;

K. No one who wants their own show;

l. Life experience;

m. Good social and communication skills;

n. Effective interaction with others and groups

o. Good coordinator between groups

Desired traits:
progressive radical
capable of media analysis
under 40
person of color
radio/audio knowledge

LAB appointees to the PC will be recalled if they miss 3 PC meetings without a good reason.

The positiion is for one year.

PC Purpose

1. To coordinate special programming, marathons, on-air promotion with the Program Director. (Note: KPFA has not had a program director for quite some time. We have had a program coordinator, who has only been part time. She is leaving soon, and it is up in the air what will happen. Director or coordinator -- it is a very important position that is more than full time.)

2. Advise Program Director on program changes. (Again, note KPFA has no Program Director, so I am not sure how this has been working)

3. Plan process for evaluation of programming. (Note: the PC just developed an evaluation process for selecting new programming, which is included below. They are in the process, I believe, of developing criteria for evaluating current programming.)

4. Administer evaluations, program selection and program changes.

5. The authority of the PC is defined by the Program Director (Note: I do not understand this.)

PC Interim Operational Duties:

1. PC meets every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Note, this has been problematic at KPFA. Because so many staffers are on the PC, they want to meet during the day time during work hours. But this schedule has affected the ability of many working community people interested in serving on the PC from participating. The PC is also closed to the public and has not yet developed mechanisms for consistent meetings with the public. The PC has also not established yet how to gather and distribute all the listener input to the PC.)

2. Agenda might include a group check-in, "good radio" feedback. (I have heard the PC is willing to post its agendas and minutes. This has not happened yet. One of our community reps has begun giving the LAB weekly reports, which has been very helpful.)

3. Establish and maintain a confidentiality agreement. (I don't know what this means.)

4. Program Council works from a consensus model.

5. Discuss and coordinate upcoming pre-emptions, holidays, election coverage, community events, etc.

6. Discuss and plan program changes.

7. Review program proposals.

8. Plan fund drives.

KPFA's standard programming goals (historical model)

1. Does this program further the mission?

2. Does it serve the core audience?

3. Does it bring in new listeners?

4. Does it make money?

Interim Operation Policies

1. Establish subcommittees within the PC to help unclog process, to make recommendations to the PC.

2. Clarify department heads' authority where needed in making program decisions.

3. Provide and maintain programmer feedback.

4. Provide support to inform/teach programmers about station policies and relevant operations (board op tardiness, fund drive obligations, board op skills updates)

Evaluation for Selection of New Programming:

Program Proposal Policies Adopted on March 5, 2002

1. When a member of program council submits an individual and/or is part of a groupp rogram proposal,they will not be present in the room during discussion and final decision-making procedures. (Vote:No2/Yes 8). In addition, they will not take part in the evaluation process. (Consensus: 3/5/2)

2. All program proposals will be given to the Program Coordinator to be logged. Every program proposal will be acknowledged by a letter to the applicant(s). The letter will explain the program proposal process. If an applicant(s) submits an incomplete proposal, they will be given 4 weeks to complete it. For example, if they did not send a demo tape or aircheck, they will have 4 weeks to submit one. This part of the program proposal process will be coordinated by the Program oordinator. A back-up person will be designated by program council.

3. All proposals will be copied and distributed to program council members, with an evaluation sheet attached to it. Within 2 weeks, completed evaluations will be rought back to program council and given to the program coordinator. The Program oordinator will then give the completed evaluations to the appropriate program proposal sub-committee, along with the demo tapes and airchecks.

4. If there are extenuating circumstances where a program council member can not evaluate a program within the given time frame, they can ask for no more than a one-week extension to remain in the decision-making process. Depending on how many proposals are involved, the sub-committee(s) will complete evaluation within 2-4 weeks. Once they have listened to the demo tapes and/or airchecks they will come back to program council with a recommendation.

5. There will be a music program proposal sub-committee and a public affairs program proposal sub-committee. Each sub-committee(s) will consist of the department head and or executive producer/point person, 1 unpaid staff rep, 1 lab rep and 1 community rep. In addition, the public affairs sub-committee will include one of the rotating (4) of the editorial board. Each program proposal sub-committee will stand for not more than 3 months.

6. In the absence of consensus around a program proposal, program council will proceed to a 2/3-majority vote of the program council members present. In the vent that a deciding vote can not be reached, the Program Director and or General manager will make the final decision.

7. When the program proposal decision impacts on the format or the current schedule of the station it is a program council-wide decision. Ultimately, the Program Director and/or General Manager will take under advisement all recommendations from program council, department heads, executive producers and designated point persons.


KPFA PC Report for 3/13 meeting from community rep
Tue Mar 19 09:29:17 2002

Report to the LAB from Tracy Rosenberg - Alternate Community Rep to the KPFA Program Council

March 12 Program Council Meeting:


1. Clarification of Programming Proposal Language.

Two issues were brought up for a quick review. In both cases, it was decided that the language used last week was fine and no changes have been made to the language that was submitted last week. However we did briefly discuss two issues:

The first involved whether the department head received an opportunity to independently review demo tapes before they go to sub-committee, or if that happens in the sub-committee phase period.

The second involved whether the language about submitting a program proposal while on the Program Council should be strengthened from merely recusing the person who made the proposal from all discussion and evaluation of that proposal, to saying that no one the Program Council may submit a proposal during their tenure.

It was decided that last week’s language will stand as written with no further adjustments.

2. Recommendation on the Music Department Showcase

This is the Wednesday night 12 -2 am slot and has been the object of considerable concern.

For now the slot will continue in a rotating host format and be used by the Music Department as a training slot. This policy is temporary and will apply only until the Music Department engages in systemic program evaluation, which they hope to begin in the next month or two. There is a long history regarding the slot and some question as to what was promised to whom, so the temporary measure will be in effect until some more comprehensive way to make a decision about it is figured out, I had mistakenly thought this agenda item related to the Wednesday Music of the Wold slot, not to the Wednesday 12-2 slot and I was incorrect. Apologies to all.

3. Proposal from the Editorial Board

The Editorial Board expressed concern that some guests on PA show’s or specials may be less-than-credible (I believe the specific incident referred to involved Guns and Butter) and they offered, in lieu of a F/T program director, to perform some review of guests prior to the show. In discussion, it was decided that we are willing to let the listener be the judge of the credibility of a guest and the suggestion was declined unanimously.

4. Headlines on Flashpoints

Dennis Bernstein gave a brief presentation (with 3 pages of handouts) on the request of Flashpoints not to run the local news headlines anymore - due both to their desire to run Robert Knight’s headlines and to the technical problem that Flashpoints is now playing on KPFT in Houston and they don’t have local news headlines to put on in the slot when KPFA’s local news headlines are running and would like to receive Flashpoints without them.

The ten minutes allotted for discussion proved inadequate and the item should be re-calendered for further discussion on the 19th. There was a great deal of conversation on the topic that I will try to summarize as best I can:

There is concern that Hard Knock Radio might also be syndicated, and may as a result of this precedent, also choose not to run the local headlines, and create a situation where local news would not be on the air from 12 noon till 5 PM - providing somewhat inadequate coverage of local issues.

There is concern that our role should be to encourage - strongly - that Houston immediately have local news of their own - as all Pacifica stations should, and not enable them in failing to develop local news headlines ASAP.

There is concern, that despite Dennis and Robert’s willingness to cover local California news when something important is going on, that their ability to do this in a timely fashion is limited.

There is acknowledgement that there is general concern about the make-up of the local news headlines

Some motions have been floated along the following lines: That when a program goes national it can choose it’s own starting headlines, but that there must at some point in the program be a local cutaway so that local stations can do their own news.

But we were unable to consense around one motion, no decision has been made and we will discuss it again with a longer period of time allotted on the 19th.

At this point in time, we reached the end of the 2-½ hour meeting and we adjourned without getting to any other items.

Meeting of the Public Affairs Sub-Committee on Wednesday March 13th

Lisa Rothman, Mary Berg, Amalia Gonzalez and myself were present. We reviewed four program proposals that were forwarded to our committee by Susan Stone. We were told that she had gotten back to the producers of the other pending proposals and had determined that they were no longer interested or ready to move ahead, so we believe that we have dealt with all of the business currently at hand.

1) One proposal was for another health-related show - which came from the LA area and a programmer who is or has been on the air at KPFK. It was decided that the current health program by Dr. Lenoir met our current needs and that we didn’t wish to import further health programming from LA.

2) One proposal was for a show on black entrepreneurship by the author of the book “Brother CEO”. It was decided that the material was not deep or rich enough for an on-going program, but that The Morning Show might be interested in a one-time interview. I also felt that the show’s pro-business presentation was not as alternative as I hoped to hear on KPFA.

3) One proposal was for a 12-week program on the politics and culture of the Islamic world by Rickey Vincent, Kutay Derin Kugay and Hatem Bazian - professor of Near East Studies at UC Berkeley. The series touches on a different aspect each week, including the role of women in Islam, Palestine and Islam here in the US. We felt the program was dynamic, interesting and inordinately timely given the current demonization of all things Islamic. As a group, we also felt extremely positive about several aspects of the proposal including it’s presentation as a limited run and not a permanent program, and the collaboration between music programmers and a political expert to develop war-based programming and to creatively intermix culture and hard-hitting political discussion.

The original proposal was struggling to suggest a time slot for itself on alternate weeks, but we felt it would run most effectively in a weekly slot and are unanimously recommending the temporary use of the former Loafer’s Glory slot for this purpose for 12 weeks.

4) The last proposal was Andrea Duflon’s request on behalf of the LAB for a series of rotating PA slots on a set schedule for LAB programming. The PA shows are willing to provide the time requested, but the sticking point is the request for the host not to be present and to “vacate” the show for the LAB segments. People do not seem to understand why the LAB is insisting on this and to find it a somewhat hostile request. The need of the LAB to communicate with the listeners is not in question.

In the interest of calling a spade a spade, I suggested that the LAB perceives certain hosts to be somewhat problematic, but nonetheless, the recommendation will be hosted segments on the requested schedule. The sub-committee did express that other shows not mentioned might also be willing to host LAB members, but hopes the LAB will show sensitivity towards and awareness of who the usual audience is.

My recommendation to the LAB is that they either work within the parameters of hosted segments, or if that is totally unacceptable, develop a proposal for a periodic LAB-Produced program to run on a set schedule (LAB Report to the Listeners) or something like that. There is concern that the CPB-charter for the LAB does suggest that the LAB itself recommends on the subject of community needs, but shouldn’t in and of itself do programming, but we may be able to come to a compromise on that issue.

Agenda for March 19th Meeting of the Program Council

I have not received tomorrow’s agenda yet, so can only say that I know that the headlines on Flashpoints issue will be on it and I hope that the recommendations of the PA sub-committee will be addressed.

top of page | home