‘Racism turns the head of the white workers toward the black workers as being his enemy and he forgets that there is somebody up there in those corporation suites who has his foot on their heads . . . ‘ Angela Davis
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New Day’s Jan Goodman Accused of Financial Misconduct by KPFA Board MembersBerkeley-In a second amended Turner vs. Pacifica Foundation complaint filed at the end of February, KPFA board chair Christina Huggins, KPFA LSB member Donald Goldmacher and Pacifica director Andrea Turner accuse Jan Goodman, the proposed new vice-chair of the board in the “New Day” bylaws proposal, of prohibited self-dealing and financial misconduct while on the board. The complaint states: On or about March 28, 2018, the transaction of a $500,000 loan to PFI from Pacifica Supporters Loan LLC. The principals of PSLLC are Jerry Manpearl, an attorney and Goodman’s husband, and King Reilly. At the time of the subject loan transaction, Goodman was a member of the Pacifica Foundation board. … Despite her obvious conflict of interest on account of being married to a principal of the lender, Goodman did not recuse herself or abstain from the PFI Board of Directors vote approving the loan, but instead voted to approve the loan. $28,000 was paid to Manpearl, Goodman’s husband, for legal fees and expenses and $10,000 was paid to Reilly as a brokers fee…. The PSLLC-PFI loan was unlawful and a prohibited self-dealing transaction”. Now to be clear, like pretty much everything in the sloppy lawsuit from “Pacifica Safety Net”, this charge is bogus and untrue. For one thing, Goodman did recuse herself from the closed session vote on the loan. But what is important to note is that Goodman is being put forward as the future vice-chair of the board for 3 full years, with the power to personally select enough of the other board members under the New Day proposal to ensure her agenda will prevail. Yet some of those at KPFA on the record loudly supporting the New Day bylaws revisions have no compunctions about swearing in a court of law that Goodman’s behavior has been unlawful and unethical. We hate to cite this lawsuit at all, as it is such a ridiculous piece of work (pretty much what would happen if you took a Save KPFA propaganda email and cut and pasted it on to legal paper without the most basic fact checking), but here at Pacifica in Exile, we provide documents, so here it is. You’re paying for it. What this episode reveals is that the New Day folks, while they may be promising you smaller boards that will never fight, in reality have absolutely no hesitations turning on each other with bogus accusations whenever they feel it is advantageous. The “New Day” will be much like the old days. We can’t come up with any justification for them trying to revise the bylaws to install a board member that they would testify to a court under penalty of perjury is guilty of unlawful and unethical conduct. The moral of the story is that you can’t fix bad behavior with bylaws. Under any set of bylaws and any organizational structure, people that want to wreak havoc and sling allegations at their colleagues, will do so. The “New Day” alliance between KPFA, KPFA and possibly KPFT against the two east coast stations is built on a highly shaky foundation that is coming apart before their bylaws revision even comes to a vote in May. It won’t fix Pacifica. It won’t even stop the board members from suing each other. Vote NO on the New Day bylaws in May and more importantly, start taking names. The KPFA and KPFK board members who have refused to condemn the Safety Net lawsuit from Goldmacher, Huggins and Turner should not be returned to any Pacifica board. The New Day supporters pretending that changing the bylaws is changing the bad behavior on the boards are not what Pacifica needs. If you reject the New Day proposal, you’ll still have the ability to vote off bad behavior and those who sanction it. And that is how you really create a new day for Pacifica. If you value being kept up to speed on Pacifica Radio news via this newsletter, you can make a little contribution to keep Pacifica in Exile publishing . Donations are secure, but not tax-deductible. To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit our website at www.pacificainexile.org ### Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-sponsored radio. Thanks again for all your good work to Pacifica In Exile
Excerpt: “About the newest events occurring at Pacifica stations… centralization is essentially one thing and one thing only: CONTROL. Centralization is how the system reproduces itself, by quieting the voice of those people it deems deviant, those people it deems dissident, those people it deems other than human, other than people. … Centralization is about control. And de-centralization is about liberation, freedom, and liberating voices, personalities, identities that have been under the thumb of repression.
So I know what side I’m on. I hope you’re on that side.”
~ Mumia Abu Jamal, December 7, 2020
On Tuesday, December 8, four KPFA plaintiffs – Pacifica National Board (PNB) member Andrea Turner-Dyson, Local Station Board (LSB) Chair Christina Huggins, LSB member Donald Goldmacher, and former LSB member and secretary, Craig Alderson – sued to put Pacifica into receivership. Their complaint featured provably false claims about Pacifica’s relationship with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the status of our audits, and includes events that occurred while many of the “New Day Pacifica”(NDP) / “Pacifica Restructuring Project” actors were part of management and/or governance majorities.
The Los Angeles court attack was sprung just days after the PNB agreed on a timeframe for a 2021 Bylaw Replacement Referendum from NDP. Although most 4th graders could have convincingly argued that NDP’s “new” proposal was too similar to the resoundingly rejected 2020 Referendum to warrant the expenditure of the organization’s limited funds, the Board acceded to the NDP demand / threat rather than going to court.
So much for limiting legal expenses… Apparently, there is no . . . “
Berkeley – Law firm Foster Garvey has revealed that $80,000 was secretly wired from Berkeley radio station KPFA’s operating account in October of 2019 to the law firm that was defending the failed WBAI shutdown. The amount represents approximately one out of every five dollars donated in KPFA’s September/October fall fund drive.
TheBigA said: This is what some people would call “inside baseball.” It is, but I don’t mind seeing it posted since Chris Alberts’ blog and the WBAI blue board are gone now, making it harder to keep up with the antics.
Anyway, isn’t there a long tradition of Pacifica board members spending crazy percentages of their organization’s money on court cases and lawyers to fight their own internal battles? This doesn’t seem like anything new or surprising. The whole operation is like watching the endless petty battles inside a terrible HOA.
Excerpt: “Born in New York City, Peter’s early interest in classical music, radio, and electronics spurred him to collect and modify “mostly junk” from NYC’s Radio Row. He graduated from UConn Storrs in 1961, worked briefly at a Hartford CT radio station, then returned to NYC, where he was mentored by renowned high-end radio manufacturer and philanthropist Avery Fisher, becoming an associate editor with Radio Electronics and a free-lance audio journalist for other magazines. A dream job called him to Los Angeles: Director of Operations at KPFK-FM (1973-1979). Making significant recordings for alternative radio in the 1960’s and early 1970’s with the organization Radio Free People honed Peter’s editing skills. H . . . “
Excerpt: “Two websites created F18Sep2020: https://pacificasafetynet.org (also the destination when keying ‘pacificasafetynet.com’) – and no, there’s no ‘pacificasafetynet.net’. (Thx to a reader for this info.) The main site links show their colours: New Day Pacifica, & Save KPFA – https://pacificasafetynet.org/links/#other-resources a 501(c)(3) registered Tu29Sep2020: doc linked from Pacifica in Exile, please see below – will also be embedded on this webpageof course, a GoFundMe, created 5Oct2020: “Donald Goldmacher is organizing this fundraiser” – well, he is the chief financial officer, according to the Cali Secretary of State; “$60,000 goal”; as of Pacific breakfast, W16Dec, $1 350 had been raised from 8 donors, all within the last 24hrs bar the first donation, made 18 days ago, Sa28Nov; https://www.gofundme.com/f/pacifica-safety-netofficers publicly disclosed M16Nov2020, to the Cali Secretary of State: Sherry Gendelman, Chief Executive Officer; Craig Alderson, Secretary; & Donny ‘do you think I care?’ Goldmacher, Chief Financial Officer – see Pacifica in Exile doc dropa YouTube channel, Pacifica Safety Net, created F20Nov2020: 13 subscribers as of Tu15Dec; no public content, but two vids (detailed below), that are ‘unlisted’, so they don’t come up in a YT search, but each has a URL so can be shared; notably, comments are turned off – these peeps aren’t into conversation, discussion: they’re steamrollers (think tankies), into dissemination, into top-down communication; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1mgsTKWHgHkxO-yyK83RiQ/about[UPDATE . . . the two vids were made public at c. 1600PT W16Dec (changing the upload date to 16Dec, but leaving the views unchanged).]& a Facebook page created Sa21Nov2020: linked to the primary website; three . . . “
Don’t let Pacifica national mine OUR listeners with a Fund Drive directly to them over OUR airwaves! Beware of strategic planning and retreats, AKA brainwashing sessions! They have taken power at the ‘top’, don’t go for their too expensive Get-rich-quick bright ideas! There’s no free lunch.
The Sunday Gummies A surviving shot from the 1972 Marathon where the Sunday Gummies originally got together as guests on “Nightangels” – the KPFK after midnight series (Bruce Gossard, Tom Stanford, Ethelie Ann, Steven Tyler (not THAT Steven Tyler, Captain Midnight), Rick Brawlver, Jay (? – late night OTR guy) and Jason B Goode). The original Gummies were Gregg Roebuck, Joe Adams, and Phil Tuttle (Laura Tuttle, your uncle?). We wound up as regulars on the Jason B Goode’s Heavenly Miracle Air Experiment, but by then Phil would be gone and David Arias was thrilling us with his electric voice. The only picture we have of Phil is this one. Personnel – woman who took the picture (with her second generation Polaroid Swinger) reflected in the glass – unknown, Phil Tuttle (Brother Phil, tried to do his own show, Mostly Bluegrass, which didn’t work out). Next to Phil is Howard Larman, Mitchell Harding and Cathy Kulkin, just married. Seated is Mike Hodel (Steve Hodel take note). He was director of Public Affairs, co-author of a Sherlock Holmes novel (Enter the Lion), and my personal reporting and production mentor at KPFK. He taught how to do invisible edits with a razor blade and follow a story where the evidence led, not where I wanted it to lead. Standing next to Mike is Will Lewis, station manager, and seated next to him – applauding – is Everette Frost.
Phil Tuttle (Brother Phil, next is Howard Larman, Mitchell Harding and Cathy Kulkin, just married. Seated is Mike Hodel. He was director of Public Affairs, and my personal reporting and production mentor at KPFK. Standing next to Mike is Will Lewis, station manager, and seated next to him – applauding – is Everette Frost
“Before briefly discussing the merits, there is a question of process. Why on earth shouldn’t any bylaws proposal wait until the next election in the summer of 2021 when it can be sent out at no additional cost in a regularly scheduled election? . . . Who wants the energy of Pacifica’s staff going to touting bylaws proposals when earthshatteringly important things are happening every day, much of it misreported by the mainstream media? “ So what’s on the table this time? More handpicked directors. This time, they are: * Sharon Kyle, the owner of the LA Progressive, an online news site in LA which has had its own financial struggles, * Jan Goodman, a current director, also from LA, who has already served six consecutive years on the Pacifica National Board and would have to step down at the end of the year, but is proposing via these new bylaws to serve for another 3 years for a total of 9 consecutive years. * Lyden Foley, a current director, from Texas. * Akio Tanaka, a KPFA LSB rep. All 4 would serve from January 2021 to December 2023 as the preselected officers of the Pacifica National Board. They would be joined by one representative from each station (none of whom can be officers) and 2 staff reps (one paid and one unpaid) who would be elected in nationwide staff elections, with paid staff voting for paid and unpaid staff voting for unpaid. This cuts staff representation on the national board by 60%, and gives 10x more representation to 100 paid staffers than to the 1,000+ unpaid staffers who produce the majority of the on-air programs. To this group can be added three random at-large directors with no criteria required other than a majority vote by the ad-hoc board. It gets worse. After this ad-hoc board does its thing for three years with no input from the listener-sponsors, you will get to vote. You will get to vote in NINE different elections, selecting a person to be the national board chair, a person to be the national board vice chair, a person to be the national board secretary, a person to be the national board treasurer, a person to be the local board chair, a person to be the local board vice-chair, a person to be the local board secretary, a person to be the local board Outreach Coordinator, and a person to be the local board Membership and Fundraising Coordinator. You don’t need to pay any attention to the rest of the local station board since it will be selected for you. “
Sue Cohen Johnson shared a post to the group: KPFK Los Angeles 90.7 FM Friends Forum . Admin · 23m · Donald Macleay shared a post. tnYaesgmtgeShrefdaspaoy anrteu 8g:cm14so redlgdliPM · Donald Macleay YtelesuStpeofrdsacmy aShtniscrsoor 4:S2oa5s ruPeMrid ·
Do NOT sign the “New Day Pacifica” petition. This is the same old gang who do not want to share KPFA with the member elected boards. They keep losing so now they want rid of the board again. They already tried this move once this year.
Ellen Weintraub, a member of the Federal Election Commission, warned earlier this month that there’s a “substantial chance” election winners, including for the presidency, won’t be called the night of the vote. The commissioner urged voters to be patient while extra care is taken to tally all the votes “accurately” in order to “ensure that everyone’s vote counts” Weintraub assured voters, however, that mail-in voting is “absolutely” reliable, noting that one-quarter of all votes in the 2016 presidential election were cast with mail-in ballots (which can also be dropped off at polling stations or in drop boxes, she pointed out). More from yesterday’s article: Trump voted by mail last week in Florida’s primary. Critics say Trump’s assault on mail-in ballots is his attempt to sway the vote in his favor by reducing the number of voters, especially supporters of his rival, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — and to establish a fake justification for rejecting results in the event of his loss. “You’ll never have an election count on November 3rd,” Trump declared. “You’re not going to be able to know the end of this election, in my opinion, for weeks, months — maybe never. It may be years, but maybe never,” he added. “Because once you go past the first week, you’re never going to know.” Trump Warns U.S. May ‘Never’ Know The Results Of The Presidential Election huffpost.com Trump Warns U.S. May ‘Never’ Know The Results Of The Presidential Election He falsely claimed that if the “fraudulent” “mail-in ballot deal” isn’t cleared up by the end of the year, he could be replaced by Nancy Pelosi. 7 Comments
They don’t count these until the night of the election, after the networks have called the election. Please vote in person-it’s a one-shot against voter suppression. Trump is in power and is sabotaging the other kinds of votes.
From: Brad Friedman <Brad@BradBlog.com> To: ‘Clifford Burton’ <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Tue, Aug 18, 2020 3:53 pm Subject: RE: Mail-in votes
That is not entirely correct. MANY jurisdictions begin counting mail-in ballots (the ones that have arrived early, in any event) well before Election Day.
While voting in person may be a good idea for those healthy enough to risk it, they also risk finding they’ve been purged from the roles if they wait until Election Day. And, of course, in jurisdictions which force voters to vote on a 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system on Election Day at the polls, they should DEFINITELY vote with a HAND-MARKED paper absentee ballot (though delivering it in person on or before Election Day is a very good idea.)
While Pacifica voters overall voted 66% against disbanding the local boards and other de-democratizing measures, KPFA voters voted overwhelmingly in favor of the de-democratizing measures. What does that tell you about the corruption between KPFA and Pacifica National?
Excerpt: “…ch a diminution (by-law Article 17, Section 1(B)(3)(v)). Yes, that again. The right affected is that of voting, by making it more difficult to vote on a by-laws amendment brought by just one of the three possible routes, a members’ petition: the threshold has been raised from 1% of members to 5% (so today, from ~435 to ~2 175). How difficult is this? At the last LSB voting round, Aug-Oct2019, a provisional 6 085 voted; given this, it can be said the effective threshold has been raised to something like 35%, a third of typical voters, so beyond the clouds, from 7.1% to 35.7% (435 ÷ 6085, & 2175 ÷ 6085). (The 6 085 is provisional because National Elections Supervisor Renee Penaloza, presumably breaching her contract, still fails to submit her final report!) Silly question I know, but before voting on Th25June did the PNB inform themselves by getting an estimate of the cost of litigation? https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb200625/pnb200625_6541_minutes.pdf (pages 9-11) on a matter that no-one would deem trivial, & is indeed a test of morality, why were all the directors silent, even those from KPFA? And what about Margy Wilkinson’s dad, & the forgotten Smith Act? (A post will not be made on the unsavory attempt to remove PNB Chair Alex Steinberg (WBAI listener-delegate) & PNB Secretary Grace Aaron (KPFK listener-delegate) from their positions, Th2 & 9July. Pacifica boards are nasty. Toxic. The dynamic brings out the worst in people. It’s as if they enjoy their symptom. Here, yet again, the observing ethnographers were able to record a typically sly manoeuvre by Chris ‘Cowardly’ Cory (KPFA listener-delegate). This time it was a sorry-I-couldn’t-get-the-motion-to-you-in-time-for-the-proposed-agenda-as-I-was-still-writing-it (8:56, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb200702/pnb200702a.mp3 & https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb200702/pnb200702_6464_minutes.pdf). There’s a pattern here. His most disingenuous was when he was Chair of the PNB Finance Cttee the day after the WBAI coup, faking amnesia (what-day-is-it?), feigning ignorance, then largely faking empathy, laced with guilt, wrapping his arms around R Paul, WBAI’s treasurer, “I-I-I I can’t express how much grief I have over this-this last-uh few days […] I don’t have words for it […] if it were my place to apologise I would” (0:01, 5:40, 20:37 & 27:46 https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/191008/finance191008a.mp3, & 1:05:41 https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/191008/finance191008b.mp3). Self-denigration is a sorry spectacle. And as mom must have told him, no-one likes a liar.) why are directors choosing to omit a lil detail in their latest reports to their local station board, that the PNB has rejected an offer to buy WBAI’s broadcasting licence? (Note, this was not a proposed signal swap.) …” https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2020/08/02/shortly-posts-will-be-made-of-completed-june-july-drafts-not-least-about-a-dish-best-served-cold-pacifica-suing-john-carlo-vernile-former-ed/
Excerpt- “On 2Apr2018, Executive Director Tom Livingston committed Pacifica to the biggest debt in its history, signing the $3.7m loan from the Foundation for the Jewish Community, known in the wider world as FJC.
The stations got a windfall when the Bushes were in office, and they did too much hiring. Always happens when Repubs. are in office, and in the ’60s. But KPFA is in ‘hippie heaven’, and always makes plenty of money. ‘Frisco area is about the most lefty place in the country, one of the most in the world, they support their lefty radio station. When they have had money problems it’s because overextension and/or mismanagement. It has had to subsidize the other stations (and Pacifica Radio Archives and National Office) most of its life, except for sometimes KPFK. KPFT does many things with tech, and spends less on staff. They are wise enough not to program too Lefty in high listening times,, and live within their means mostly. We need KPFA but they are too willing to spend money as they see fit, because they somewhat subsidize the rest of us. Why do they do things? Because they can. KPFA never needs to downsize probably, but KPFK and the others do. The CPB requires 5 full time equivalents at each station. In programming, stations need a mix of paid staff and volunteers. Some of KPFK’s paid staff well pay for themselves in fundraising, some don’t. Managers in the past let some paid staff go. IMHO K needs to go back to using some volunteer board-ops and newsies and other tasks. When I hired on, everyone was a Department Head, with only volunteers for Department workers. We had only 5 full time equivalents. We made $2000 a day, on a good day. Of course that was in 1985, now it would be $4766. We were in the midst of a bad disaster, which showed in the programming. I lived without a refrigerator, I know how to downsize. While Pacifica Radio Archives is in KPFK”S building, it should share their expenses. It should fix its website so that it would make money, not drain it off, like WBAI. BAI is in terrible shape. They have bad smug attitude problems. Pac. should deal with its bad smug and elitist attitudes. Some shows stay on because they are such a community service, even tho they don’t make much in fundraising, including news. Judge one case at a time. Put the National Office back in KPFK’s building, have them share the costs, make it harder for KPFA and National to bypass due process to spend network money.When I hired on, National and the archives together had about 5 FTEs. S.
Your station stands for your views, not some faraway centralized government. Give your support money to your local workers whom you know and hear from frequently. Of course you don’t agree with all of them, but the station is always trying to find the best dependable workers with the right skills and information and culture. S.
There are just no quick and easy fixes for Pacifica radio or stations. All the great ideas are labor and overhead intensive and killer on the staff. Don’t assume that a big change, like changing the by-laws, will be better instead of worse. If we all just did our jobs well, and elected good local board members (that we knew by social media), and stop putting too much energy into the internal fighting, all would be well ‘in the garden’. The fight between the more and more Leftyish and the more cultural and more full stream will always be there, as it should be. But all of us left-of-center are part of ‘The Struggle’. And should pull together. (Those nearer the center often pay for the rest of us.)
Excerpt: “I ask you to let the 2016 presidential campaign be a cautionary tale. The actions on the Left were unwilling to coalesce when it really mattered. You don’t need me to recite all the consequences of that failure and if the memory of the 2016 campaign doesn’t scare you, nothing will. “
A vote yes is to vote for the so-called elites to dictate to the people, or even sell off the stations. But a big infusion of cash from that would just go right away for their pet projects or into their pockets. These are the folks responsible for the possible loss of KPFA’s building. Disenfranchises the 200+ affiliate stations.
YOUR BALLOT must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 19. If you didn’t get a ballot, or misplaced it, request another ballot
h t t p s : / / r e s c u e p a c i f i c a . n e t ” rescuepacifica.net “
Excerpt: “…Pacifica Foundation, Inc. has engaged two specialty firms helping us with the tax lien for KPFA and the transmitter property as well. Both firms have clearly made this a priority. The law firm helping us with the tax exemption has great expertise in this particular area and the lawyers and [sic] communicated with someone with the authority to grant us some status relief, pending the submission of our exemption application by Friday, February 14. Relief regarding the lien is not guaranteed, but I think we can be cautiously hopeful. KPFA produced the final financial documents needed for both properties on Thursday, February 14 [sic: the 13th].
However, it is also the case that the Organizational Clearance Certificate I sent them which we’ve always used, and which grants the Pacifica Foundation, the property tax exemption status as a non-profit entity, must be reapplied for. It turns out such a Certificate had to be applied for when the name was changed in 2013 and again when we changed it back in early 2015 to Pacifica Foundation, Inc.. That further complicated the application attempted by KPFA during that same period. KPFA already had a reduced tax amount as a result of previous tax exemptions applied for, but the subsequent one was intended to render the properties totally exempt from taxation. The lawyers also believe all of Pacifica’s properties should qualify for full exemption status….”
“…As the situation progresses toward resolution, I will update your PNB directors [sic].
Than [sic] you,
Interim Executive Director
It’s a business, stupid. We need separation of church and state, and checks and balances. We need to make sure that our ideologies don’t disable our organizational proper functioning, and vice versa (balance).
Berkeley – On January 23, an Alameda County, California courtroom decided to allow 600 members to force their late-submitted anti-democratic bylaws proposal to a referendum vote immediately at the expense of Pacifica’s membership. The January 23 decision pauses the results of the last delegate election, which 6,085 members participated in. It delays the seating of national board reps selected by newly-elected delegates and keeps the outgoing national board unwillingly frozen into place for another seven weeks. Each Pacifica member faces a bill of approximately $1.50 each for what will be the third nationwide election in little more than a year. Ballots are expected to go out in mid-February.
This publication had previously suggested that Pacifica members would be well-advised to simply ignore these bylaws ballots should they receive them. But we are now changing that advice. On further review of this ill-advised proposal, we strongly recommend a loud and decisive “NO” vote. We will talk a bit about why below.
For those who want to climb into the weeds, (and pretty much everyone now has too), Pacifica in Exile has prepared a detailed guide called 31 Things About The New Bylaws Proposal. You can find it here. Please distribute widely.
Below we will highlight a few general points about the Pacifica Restructuring Project proposal that you should keep in mind.
1. The referendum the Court forced despite the lateness of the original proposal is NOT a referendum on the current bylaws, but on this specific proposal. This proposal was drafted in secret by less than a dozen people and never vetted beyond this tiny group before being foisted upon the network. Acceptance would impose a permanently un-elected national board majority. The proponents generally argue on the basis that the current bylaws have problems, which is a position most would agree with. But instead of putting their proposal up for broad discussion as one possible alternative among many, they have short-circuited dialogue and proposed an ultimatum: their way or the highway. These are not the values a community-based membership organization should espouse.
2. The new bylaws proposal installs immediately, 6 particular people, who would compose a permanently un-elected majority on an 11-person board. Those 6 seats would be filled by other national board members into infinity and this group would be free to operate the Foundation more or less as they please, since they have an absolute majority and can establish the board quorum of 6 entirely by themselves. The installed directors require no consent for any board action d by the pro forma member-elected portion of the board (5 seats – 1 from each station signal area). In other words, in this model you get a vote, but it is only symbolic.
The original proposal, which was sent to 47,000 Pacifica members and signed on to by less than a thousand of us, named 6 individuals and 3 alternates. Of those 9 individuals, two have dropped out since the proposal was floated in September. Of the 7 remaining, only 2 have media experience. The most heavily represented constituency is civil rights lawyers, who compose 3 of the remaining 7. 2 are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2 in Texas (the smallest Pacifica signal area) and 2 in the Midwest, a region which does not have a Pacifica-owned station. None are located on the Eastern seaboard where Pacifica maintains WBAI-FM in New York and WPFW-FM in Washington DC. None of the 7 people asking you to install them has made a single public comment about what they will do if placed on the board of directors.
* While your vote drops in value from 4 seats on the national board to 1 minority seat, the cost of that vote doubles to $50/yr from the current $25/year.
* There is no residency requirement for a sole elected station representative on the national board.
* Quorum drops to 5% for future changes to the bylaws including station license sales.
* Station unpaid and paid staff are prohibited on the national board. Pacifica affiliated stations no longer have seats for their representatives on the national board.
* While there are nominally 5 member-elected directors (1 from each station), they are not only a permanent minority, they are prohibited from serving as the board chair or board treasurer. Only the self-appointed directors can chair the board or serve as the treasurer.
* Conflict of interest rules for board members are loosened so that any claim that a director has a “personal interest” in a board decision can keep them from voting. This explicitly allows the prevention of directors from voting as happened with the exclusion of WBAI’s representatives from voting on the raid of their station. That action was thrown out by NY’s Supreme Court as “trumped-up” based on the current bylaws. It wouldn’t be in the future.
What Will Happen If These New Bylaws Are Adopted
It doesn’t take a crystal ball. After 7 weeks of bylaws election, then Pacifica will have to have 5 more elections, one at each station, to select a new sole station director. After that is all over, this new board will finally sit down and realize they have a loan principle payment of $3.2 million due in less than a year. The new board will panic, examine their assets, and immediately call yet another election seeking member permission to sell a station license. What else can they possibly do? What we are looking at is just another pathway to the unnecessary break-up of Pacifica. The people’s media assets, which are held in trust by the Pacifica Foundation, deserve better.
We know there are other answers. $1.9 million dollars was given to this organization in one calendar year in 2019 in windfall gifts. Loan obligations can be met, if we want them to be. Bylaws don’t replace the will to survive and putting the public interest first.
Vote to keep your membership rights and vote NO on the break-up bylaws.
More: No paid or unpaid staff on the board. Both paid employees and any member of the unpaid staff including hosts, producers and technical staff are prohibited from board service.
Price of a voting membership goes up from $25 per person to $50 per person per year. This is a bigger annual donation level to maintain basic voting rights and requires $100 a year from couples if both wish to vote.
Volunteer for membership goes up from 3 hours to 15 hours a year. People who pick up memberships by volunteering in the fund drive room or tabling at events would have to book 5 times as many hours each year
Location of the Pacifica Foundation national headquarters. They place the headquarters of the national foundation inside KPFA at 1929 Martin Luther King Jr Way when the national office has never been permanently lodged inside KPFA and is in the process of moving to Los Angeles right now. All vacancies filled by board. If an elected station director resigns, their successor will be picked by the board with a dominant preselected majority, so in the event of a resignation by a station-elected director, that signal area will have no member-elected representative for as many as three years until the next election
When ‘National’ tried to take over KPFA, the communities filled the streets to take back their station. ‘This is ours, this is something we paid for, we believe in, and that we intend to keep,’ paraphrase of Alice Walker. A balance of power with less power for National and more for the stations would be better. KPFK, for one, and its building, was built by people in L.A., not National. At-large PNB members is just a scheme to dis-power the local reps.
An excerpt that I’m speaking out against: “Also, as a guide to how we treat one another, the egalitarian principle is not to reward & punish given one’s endowment: just because some stations use Pacifica-owned buildings, not their buildings, isn’t justification for looking down on & disparaging WPFW & WBAI. It was a mere historical accident that at the beginning, Pacifica & KPFA constituted an identity, the one-and-the-same. A station’s financial performance may be criticised, but one must recognise that (1) some of its contracts may have been agreed, even negotiated, by the executive director &/or the National Board, & (2) the station manager (called in Pacificanese the general manager) isn’t appointed locally but by the executive director. Please don’t mistake the locus for the cause.” https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/category/authoritarianism/
Their strategy – no secret from anyone who reads their public statements – is simple and straightforward. (1) Shut down WBAI. (2) Change the bylaws so that WBAI can be sold. (3) Use the sale proceeds from WBAI
to refurbish KPFA. (4) Break up the network by “setting the stations free.” This has long been a cherished project of the faction that runs KPFA, so it is no surprise to learn that virtually all 9 principals (bosses? chiefs? czars?) of the “Pacifica Restructuring
Project” are … from KPFA.
What is the latest news on WBAI’s status?
Right now, the fate of WBAI hangs by a thread called a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order). As soon as WBAI was shut down on Monday morning, a quick-acting group of WBAI staff and listeners rushed into New York Supreme
Court to ask for a temporary restraining order reversing WBAI’s shutdown. They were successful and Judge Frank P. Nero issued the order that same day. His order stays and reverses the shutdown of WBAI, allows the staff back into the building, forces return
of the computers that the KPFA plotters took away, and re-establishes regular WBAI programming. However, the judge’s order ends October 18, when WBAI’s defenders – and the KPFA faction that wants to sell it — will face off in court.
” . . “. . . “faction want to achieve, the dissolving of Pacifica, the Acid Bath Strategy?
The new constitution creates a ‘100-day’ dictatorship:
appropriating all decision-making from the whole membership;
that is, eliminating member participation in any decision-making;
eliminating the very presence of opposition within Pacifica decision-making bodies;
eliminating expressions of opposition & alternative futures within public Pacifica decision-making forums;
eliminating the ‘public comment’ opportunity for members, staff, & listeners at Pacifica in-person meetings;
so, shutting down opportunities for dissent, protest, & exploring futures;
in a phrase, crushing opposition by a blanket removal of existing opportunities; &
the six at-large directors are insulated from any scrutiny whatsoever because all their meetings can be private, secret: so, they’re accountable to no-one, can avoid any public proceeding, & there’s no transparency, as they only have to issue legally required statements.
Pacifica is the last network of independent non-commercial radio stations operating in five of the largest media markets in the country. They are KPFK, Los Angeles, KPFA, Berkeley, WBAI, New York City, WPFW, Washington D.C. and KPFT, Houston, Texas. Many observers — and listeners — have written Pacifica off as a pathetic in-fighting mess as it has long been irrelevant in the larger media world. But the fact that this organization still owns and operates five very valuable radio licenses in major U.S. markets is worth taking a look at, especially from the financial aspect which is rarely exposed.
Since KPFK (and the other stations) are having another election for their Local Station Boards (LSB), what follows is information for anyone considering running, or voting, from a former KPFK LSB member. I will highlight some of the critical issues facing KPFK and Pacifica to consider.
This is also an update to KPFK and Pacifica: A Quiet Coup from October, 2015 which detailed problems with the finances then — the lack of several years of filing annual audits to the CA Attorney General, the lack of adequate bookkeeping, etc. I advocated voting for one faction of new and returning former LSB members (which I had then been aligned with) to replace the other faction. They were elected and have had a majority on the local and national boards for the last three+ years. During this time, however, the financial picture has only gotten worse. Pacifica’s factional infighting is somewhat notorious but is the problem only the factions or is it something else?
As to my qualifications for addressing these issues, I was on KPFK’s LSB from 2009 to 2015 when I was termed out. I was, at different times, Treasurer of KPFK, on the National Finance Committee, Director on the Pacifica National Board (PNB), on the Audit Committee, on a Financial Recovery Audit Task Force, and other committees. I have been involved in and focused on the finances of KPFK and Pacifica for many years and in many capacities. I have written many analyses of budgets and actual income/expenses, been a whistleblower and advocated for transparency and honesty.
The main job of KPFK’s LSB is to approve yearly budgets from management and make quarterly reports on the station’s finances and to make sure the station is on solid financial footing. Good budgets are based on historical data and formulas that are specific to non-commercial radio whose revenue comes largely from on air fund drives. Management has not availed itself of those tools for the last two budgets and produced overly optimistic budgets. Nevertheless, KPFK’s Finance Committee brought the budgets to the LSB, which were approved with little to no discussion. The estimated $500,000 end of year surplus for FY2018 wound up being a ($67,000) deficit. This is a notable “mistake” but to date has never been analyzed by the Finance Committee.
Thus, the FY2019 budget repeated the same errors as were in the FY2018 budget. There have been verbal reports from the Treasurer, such as revenue was “better than the budget and better than the previous year.” But they have never been supported by documentation or actual data and were, in fact, false conclusions. This sort of statement is typical and shows a lack of attention and/or expertise that is needed for the required oversight duties of the board.
Because of decreasing revenue from KPFK’s on air fund drives, there are now various forms of desperate acts to raise money, most of which are forms of underwriting that violate FCC and CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) rules. Underwriting is allowed and the FCC has specific rules that need to be followed but management is not complying with them. The Finance Committee has been made aware of these violations but have thus far not taken any action. Further, KPFK is misleading the public with programmers saying that KPFK takes no underwriting, it’s all “powered by the people,” etc. This is not true and has not been for about two years.
If there are discussions about the finances at KPFK going on, they are being made behind closed doors and not at either the Finance Committee or the LSB meetings.
This lawsuit of Empire State Realty Trust against Pacifica happened because of lack of oversight by the PNB.
In October 2017, a judge ruled against Pacifica and awarded ESRT [Empire State Realty Trust] a summary judgement of $1.8 million plus attorney’s fees. ESRT sued Pacifica in February 2016 to recover back rent and tower fees, interest and attorney costs. In the years-long dispute, Pacifica accused ESRT of price gouging and “holding the network hostage” with a contract that required WBAI to pay tower rent that increased about 9% per year. . — Inside Radio
Members and programmers from WBAI called ESRT “greedy capitalists” but Empire would not back down. In fairness to all of the involved parties, Pacifica voluntarily entered into the tower rental agreement with ESRT in 2005 with full awareness of all of its provisions for potential future rental increases.
On the PNB, there was dithering and inaction. Many secret and some public meetings were held, arguing between filing for voluntary bankruptcy or taking out a loan to pay off the judgment and the rest of the contract with Empire. The decision was to take out a loan. The argument against bankruptcy was that legal fees would be high — but the loan’s fees, legal fees and interest wound up being, by my calculations, about $900,000 or more, the same or arguably much more than bankruptcy would have been. Time will tell as to the real cost of taking out a loan.
Most elements of the reported 150 page loan agreement are still secret, with claims from the PNB there is a provision in the document that requires it being secret. Requests to provide that particular provision to the public have not been answered. While a press release about the loan is still on KPFK’s website, and easily found elsewhere on the internet, it is now forbidden to name the lender publicly.
This “Summary of the $3.7m Loan” was released to the public by the PNB. The figures offered in the Summary, however, are incorrect. It appears to be an early draft as the actual amount of the three year interest-only loan is $3.265 million and the adjustable interest for the first 18 months is $379,556. Pacifica could not get KPFK’s tower included as collateral because the US Forest Service, on whose land it sits, would not allow it. The tower was supposed to be used as collateral to borrow, and pay interest on, the first 18 months of interest payments.
Thus, two buildings adjacent to Berkeley sister station KPFA were sold to pay part of the ESRT settlement and the rest used for the first 18 months’ interest. One building housed the Pacifica National Office, with offices for the Executive Director, CFO and accounting staff. The other building had been vacant for a decade or so.
The CFO at the time resigned when the loan was signed, claiming the loan was in default because Pacifica could not provide any of the lender’s required financial documents, such as a current audit, profit and loss, etc. In a leaked document, Pacifica’s general counsel also weighed in on problems with the loan.
Pacifica must start paying the interest for the second 18 months starting October, 2019. It’s hard to see how Pacifica can come up with monthly payments of $21,000+, especially since KPFK is unlikely to be able to cover its own basic operating expenses going forward and will need help from the rest of the network, which has no help to give. There’s even less hope for paying off the $3.265 million balloon payment due March, 2021.
Those supporting the loan have made repeated claims that Pacifica can easily refinance for a better loan, that “a loan is not in default until a judge says it is,” and that the loan is secured by real estate only. This paragraph #4 from the Summary, however, shows this is false:
“[i]n addition [to the real property: buildings & land, three buildings housing radio stations KPFK, KPFA (Berkeley) and KPFT (Texas)], the Collateral includes accounts receivable, tangible goods, equipment, rental income, sales proceeds, contracts, intellectual property, furniture, cash and proceeds of insurance or sales — in short, virtually every real, tangible and intellectual property right in which Pacifica has an interest.”
This provision also includes the Pacifica Radio Archives. It’s much more than just real estate. Whatever the outcome of a potential default on the loan, lawyers will be involved — and Pacifica is required to pay legal fees for both sides.
It’s hard seeing a way to a refinance since Pacifica has not complied with requirements for the loan and has no way of paying the balloon payment in March, 2021 — unless they sell or swap one of the five licenses (which are under the jurisdiction of the FCC and cannot be used as collateral). The lender did not do its due diligence according to its own website. The mystery is: why did they lend to the obviously deadbeat Pacifica? The loan broker, Marc Hand, made at least $50,000 on the deal. Some speculate the loan has already been sold to a third party, see comment 3 of 3.
The idea of refinancing this loan they cannot pay back or pay the interest on, while adding more fees, interest, legal and brokers’ fees, seems like little more than a distraction to divert and delay the board from dealing with the realities of its insolvency and failing operations.
Some on the PNB imagined they could save money by outsourcing Pacifica’s accounting and not replacing the CFO. The new outsourced accountants have, as of this writing, produced nothing since their hire almost a year ago. Supposedly, an interim CFO was hired for three months in January but he produced nothing. The PNB just hired a new part-time interim CFO, an employee of the outsourced accountant firm. KPFK’s Finance Committee was told she was being paid “a small amount.” She was supposed to produce financial reports for the last two years by June but now it might be July.
Pacifica is also under investigation by the Department of Labor for violating ERISA laws, which has to do with pensions promised to employees of the five stations. This has been a problem for over two years and, as far as anyone in the public knows, is still unresolved and unpaid. Including penalties, this could amount to a large sum to be paid out.
Pacifica has been trying to catch up on its late audits since 2014 for which Pacifica has been under investigation by the CA Attorney General. The current auditor has been working to complete the FY2017 audit since last fall (originally estimated to take three weeks). It was due to the CA Registry of Charitable Trusts June, 2018. The auditor finally told the audit committee he’s only been able to get about 50% of the documentation he requested and suggested they stop searching for more. He will finish what he has but it will be “qualified” which is auditor-speak for: there are serious problems. In this case, he can only audit what he has and the rest is undocumented and unknown. The FY2018 audit, due June 2019, will miss this deadline and will also be “qualified” for the same reason. Two qualified audits that say your organization is too messed up to audit is not likely to persuade donors, foundation grantors or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to give funds to Pacifica. It’s unknown whether the CA Attorney General or the lender will accept them.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
There was some anticipation that Pacifica would get current on its audits by this June and would again be eligible for CPB grants. That is not to be as CPB’s deadline for qualification is June. When Pacifica last received those grants, in 2012, it received about $1 million a year. Pacifica needs to get current on its financial reporting and compliant with other CPB requirements in order to be eligible for the 2020 cycle in order to receive funds in 2021.
Why the secrecy and obfuscation? Why the complete lack of financial oversight and fiduciary responsibility? Is it only incompetence?
In my earlier article, I wrote about the KPFA Foundation, a shadow corporation formed for the purpose of taking over the assets of Pacifica. Before that, in 2009, there was another secret 501(c)(3) formed for the Pacifica Radio Archives, supposedly to raise money (which never happened) but rumored that “in case” something happened to Pacifica, i.e., bankruptcy, the Archives could be moved into this non-profit. It was created by former PNB Chair/Interim Executive Director Sherry Gendelman with Matthew Lasar as Secretary. Lasar, a Pacifica historian of sorts, has advocated for breaking up the Pacifica network in alliance with the KPFA Foundation people.
After that came another secret effort from Berkeley by then-KPFA LSB chair Carole Travis who had been soliciting celebrities to join the board of “Big Tent Radio,” a nonprofit she claimed to be starting to acquire Pacifica’s assets after it “collapsed.” Attempts were made to get her to resign as she was clearly working against the best interests of Pacifica but no bad deed goes unrewarded at Pacifica and she remained on the local board, soon to be on the PNB.
There is presently another plan to break up the network from Berkeley, reports of a similar plan from Los Angeles, plus a long-time plan from one faction in New York. None of the breakup and takeover plans seem particularly viable but the absence of any other plan or even a discussion on how to pay back the loan, or interest payments, seems puzzling considering Pacifica’s precarious financial situation. Are they waiting for a sudden “shocked” awareness of financial problems and an orchestrated rush to “reorganize,” creating the opportunity for the licenses going to current favored board members with waiting 501(c)(3)s?
You can hear PNB Director Donald Goldmacher in this clip at a recent Strategic Planning Committee meeting suggesting selling off Pacifica’s assets (possibly to him and his allies around the network). He was recently re-elected to the KPFA LSB and is a long-time member of the Berkeley faction which created the KPFA Foundation, above.
Thus the sale of the Berkeley buildings and elimination of the Pacifica National Office and its accounting staff, which become unnecessary if the organization is going to dissolve, or privatize, itself into board members’ hands, and makes complete sense in this context. There’s no need for a permanent in-house CFO if there’s no intention of Pacifica continuing as a network. Further evidence of short-term planning: the outsourced accountants have a two-year contract.
The Previous Election
Pacifica just had another election for the LSB which ended in March. Those running for re-election were micro-managing their own election. It was delayed, disorganized, over-budget, and the public and members were not properly informed. A 10% quorum of membership is required and KPFK had an 11% quorum — but 9% of the ballots were blank ballots. There was a quiet campaign advising voters that if they didn’t want to vote or if they didn’t know who to vote for, to send in a blank ballot to help reach a pseudo quorum. Those who were asking the membership for election or reelection received so few votes that they amounted to a vote of no confidence. They did not earn even the 10% required votes from the membership.
But like Trump losing the popular vote or George Bush, arguably never legitimately elected either time, that will not stop these illegitimately seated LSB members from acting as if they have a mandate. They are planning a big rewrite of the bylaws. The Pacifica bylaws are terrible, complicated and, in places, contradictory. They were written by a “listeners” after the lawsuits of 1999–2002 were settled. A rewrite by another group of “listeners” will not be better. The problem is not the bylaws, or Robert’s Rules of Order, the problem is electing “listeners” without skills or knowledge of broadcasting, basic finance, management or anything related, and no record of success in anything except getting elected and becoming board members of a multi-million dollar media organization which has only shown consistent decline for the last 20 years under their stewardship. Some of these people have been in and out of Pacifica’s governance for two decades or more. Due to Pacifica’s current structure, it’s impossible to replace them in favor of competent people. Bylaws rewritten by them will only entrench them further.
To establish a Foundation organized and operated exclusively for educational purposes no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member of the Foundation.
Insiders love to toss the Mission Statement around but never remember that first sentence. The reason the federal government mandates that non-profits have outside, independent boards, and also why they’re under the jurisdiction of Attorneys General is that they are funded by public money. Boards are supposed to make sure the public’s money goes where donors think it goes. The main job of a board is to report to the public about its financial operations. Pacifica’s board cannot or simply will not do that. The idea of public service appears long forgotten within Pacifica. One might assume this is just run of the mill incompetence, but it seems way past the time we can blame the chaos only on that.
It’s no wonder the members of KPFK’s Finance Committee refuse to answer awkward questions dealing with the financial realities of the operations. The board members paint rosy pictures of how well they’re doing to “save Pacifica” but, in reality, KPFK is in extremely bad shape and declining. You can hear it in the increasing fund drive days which are not bringing in enough to cover their expenses. Nor is Pacifica, as a whole, faring any better under the present PNB than it was under the previous PNB.
Instead of focusing on finances and complying with federal and state regulatory agencies the favored subject of discussion by board members has always been programming. The ultimate prize for aggressive board members is to be able to control programming to suit their tastes and ideologies — from expected old guard Trotskyism/Marxism/Revolutionary Communist Party/anarchism (etc.) to Scientology with a few progressive Democrats and black or Latino nationalists in the mix. The boards hire weak managers who they can then micromanage and work to create their own patronage system by giving program slots or jobs to their friends and allies. The resulting mediocrity and lack of cohesion of the program grid is the result. It obviously drives away listeners and extends fund drive which only turn off more listeners. Now those PNB members making decisions are actually proposing programs for the sole purpose of enticing funders. This shows a lack of imagination and any pretense of journalistic integrity. This is only the latest of ideas thought up by amateurs who have done little more than master the byzantine governance system of Pacifica to get themselves into these undeserved positions of authority. Look for sketchy health programs, celebrities and other unimaginative pandering unlikely to excite funders or listeners.
Anyone Still Interested in Running For the Board of this Experiment in Democracy?
For anyone still considering running for KPFK’s board, or any of the other stations, these are some of the bigger problems KPFK and Pacifica are facing. You will need to be a fighter with an independent mind because the entrenched board members of both factions are not really open to questions or open discussions, especially about financial matters.
The election information is here and the nominating deadline is June 30. If you have skills, Pacifica needs you. But Pacifica doesn’t have a history of treating talented people well.
The sad irony is that just at the time this country needs a vibrant non-corporate media, Pacifica continues to make itself even more insolvent, unlistenable and irrelevant.
That’s the bane of Pacifica’s existence: gaining power by means other than coming up thru experience and the ranks. Then making ill-informed changes, weakening the inner democracy and without due process. Due process and ‘bureaucracy’ are part of what’s necessary for fairness and intelligent change or refinement. ‘The end justifies the means’ is how to make stupid changes. “Don’t get bogged down in Bureaucracy” is a very destructive creedo, by those who want unhampered power and rise to power.
Goodbye Dick Gregory, no one can replace you. Rest in beauty.
Pacifica National USED TO have very little power and little staff including PRArchives until they were able to market the subcarrier frequencies and direct the income to themselves (Sharon Maeda).
Now they have hiring final power at National Board and since they have no experience running a non-profit listener-sponsored radio station, they don’t know who (whom?) to hire, and it shows.
Blosdale is iGM and a good choice.
Station Hiring committees used to be required to have representation from all quarters, LSBoard, paid staff, unpaid staff, local manager or rep. But last time at KPFK the paid staff didn’t even know they were replacing the iGM who we loved, with a lesser choice. Not consulted nor informed.
Sue Cohen Johnson
former Membership Dir., programmer, board op, receptionist, KPFK
Some say that making the LSBs not self-selecting but elected instead, was the downfall. I think we should have some of both.
“Lower” hires should also be by committee so that “Management” can’t just hire them, then promote them to Management without due process.
“The Pacifica Foundation (now known as Pacifica Foundation Radio) was born in the late 1940’s out of the (now nearly forgotten) peace movement surrounding World War Two. Lewis Hill, a conscientious objector and Washington, D.C. newsman, was fired from his mainstream reporting job when he refused to misrepresent the facts.
This was a time when the idea of a listener-sponsored radio station was a new one which had never been implemented. Many people doubted the viability of a broadcast model which didn’t rely on some kind of corporate or government funding. But the idea was too compelling for Hill and others who agreed with him. Pacifica was born and in 1949 KPFA went on the air from Berkeley, California.
KPFK, in Los Angeles, was the second of what would eventually become five Pacifica Stations to go on the air. It was 1959 and Terry Drinkwater was the first General Manager. Blessed with an enormous transmitter in a prime location, KPFK is the most powerful of the Pacifica stations and indeed is the most powerful public radio station in the Western United States. . . .
Democracy Now features KPFA On the Air documentary
Part 1, 11 minutes, the other 5 episodes follow on Youtube
“Pacifica Radio at 60: KPFA Remains a Sanctuary of Dissent Six Decades After Its Founding
Today marks the sixtieth anniversary of Pacifica Radio. On April 15th, 1949 at 3:00 p.m., a charismatic conscientious objector named Lewis Hill sat before a microphone and said, This is KPFA Berkeley. With that, KPFA went on the air, and the first listener-supported radio station in the United States was born. Pacifica Radio is the oldest independent media network in the United States, and its sixtieth birthday comes as a deepening crisis engulfs mainstream media. To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Pacifica Radio today, we feature a documentary about the first Pacifica Radio station: KPFA in Berkeley. Its called KPFA on the Air by filmmakers Veronica Selver and Sharon Wood and narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker.”
A reminiscence from the past:
“Pacific [sic] was so relevant when I started listening. Sundays were the reading of the John Birch Blue Book, followed by the Ameircan Nazi Party, followed by Dorothy Healy and the American Communist party. Dick van Dyke came down to the old studio (what is now the parking lot) to sing some show tunes, Aldous Huxley came down to the studio to do his show live (I only listened, never came to the studio until 1972). … far left, far right, minority/community and introduction to civil rights from many viewpoints. When I was there, even under the bizarre 50s revolutionary regieme of Ruth Hirshman, we had the Larmans, Paul Verdier with Sunday Bach, David Cloud, Carl (can’t think of his last name – atmospheric composer) Stone?, Johnny Otis, proto rap, garage band, tango nuevo, Peruvian pipes, and a dozen other flavors of music so people could get introduced and choose. Mario Cassetta alone brought 25 kinds of music. And incredible readers choosing amazing books ot share. And Hour 25, Nightangels, Something’s Happening… There was one invitation after another to get outside the oppressive overculure … and it was nowhere near as bad as it is now. ”
From me: Everyone agrees that KPFK needs to change, but no one agrees as to how it should change, or in which direction. From 1976-Robert Altman, Betty Friedan, Gus Hall Comm. Pres. Candidate, Jim Berland
Crigler’s recommendation isn’t “outdated”. It was sent on November 14, 2016. Here are some excerpts: “Before I get to your question, I should make sure that you know that CPB has been cracking down on noncompliance and beefing up its annual certification requirements. I favor in-person meetings for two reasons. First as a legal matter, CAB meetings have to be “open.” The other reason for having in-person meetings is to make sure that the CAB members are on-task and committed. You don’t want to encourage CAB members to multi-task on other interests during meetings which they do not attend in person. The LSBs are created by Pacifica’s Bylaws rather than CPB requirements, but because they function as committees of the PNB they are subject to open meeting rules, so my answer would be the same as for CABs”.
In March 1972 one young guy (Joe Adams) headed in to KPFK in Los Angeles after wrapping up his swing shift warehouse shipping clerk job, to help answer phones for their on-air fundraiser. When he walked into the phone room there were a bunch of people answering phones and another almost-as-young guy (Gregg Roebuck) was already there and answering phones.
It was Monday night. The on air-talent named Rick Bralver, one of the DJs in the after-midnight slot dubbed “NightAngels,” ran into the phone room to ask if anyone wanted to come up to the control room and go live on the air with him. The two guys did.
It wasn’t anything spectacular. They chatted, passed a joint, and cracked wise. Like y’do. The two realized they were both fans of Bob & Ray, Firesign Theater (who had started on KPFK), Lenny Bruce (who had not), and other contemporary subversive comedians of the day.
The next night, another member of the NightAngels did the same thing – Bruce Gossard. And the same two were joined by two more phone answerers. Phil Tuttle, a guy going for his First Class FCC license and a career in broadcasting and a young drama student named David Arias. They chatted and cracked wise. A good time was had by all.
The next night they were not asked to join the NightAngels on the air (Captain Midnight, Steve Tyler), but the next night the following NightAngel, Tom Sanford, did. And the Next night “Jason B. Good” asked them to join again and invited them to be part of the regular Saturday night NightAngels shift dubbed The Heavenly Miracle Air Experiment.
They did and the four dubbed themselves “The Sunday Gummies,” because Saturday midnight was actually Sunday Morning, and one irate listener was annoyed with all the cracking wise had called in to growl, “You gonna’ play music or gum all night?” To which Gregg Roebuck snarled, “We’re gonna Gum, how you like that?” And the Gummies were born. Phill Tuttle left to run a station in Kingman Arizona, and a friend of David’s, Cheryl Branson, joined them on the air, and another woman, Cheryl Jacobs, joined them.
It only lasted about a year, but we had fun. The Gummies wen their separate ays, but Joe and Gregg stayed to become the Mondy Gummies (after N’Wana Davis’ Music Black and White after midnight show), and stayed in the after Captain Midnight slot on other nights, first as the Sunday Gummies but eventually as Adams & Roebuck.
Things changed and David Arias is now David Arias-Rios who has been the morning man on KOMO in San Antonio, and I am retired and living in Raleigh, NC. Barbara is still around, but I have no idea where Phil or Cheryl are.
And Gregg died.
It’s been a few years, but with the Gummies Gregg and I began a long trek as friends and performers on radio, as stand-up comedians at the Troubador and the Pasadena Ice House open mike nights. We discovered I hated being seen on stage, and Gregg loved it. I went to out of sight positions s writer and director for radio theater and stage in Hollywood, and Gregg as a performer on radio drama, stage, commercials, and television (“Charlie” in the last season of GRACE UNDER FIRE).
We shared a couple of houses together. With David L. Krebs we did shows together as teachers for the American Radio Theater and short-lived NewRadio commercial radio drama Project. We did stage together and even quit drinking and drugs together. Some people suggested we were lovers, but we were never sexual with each other. He was my brother, and a bit more.
And I am finally to follow through with something he wanted to do before he died. We talked about using the internet to do a new incarnation of the old Adams and Roebuck show. And he died and I couldn’t even listen to the old shows that had survived.
Time heals and I was able to look at the idea of doing something with what he wanted, and one of the people who was there in the middle of the KPFK years, Ed Hammond, made the perfect suggestion for the new project. Me alone equals “Adams and Roebuck Minus One.”
I’m thinking – Podcast with the old comedy we used to play, little excerpts from the old shows, sides of comedy music and bits, just like we did before. But Gregg isn’t there. From 30+ years of collaboration and knowing each other, I don’t think he’s floating around – looking down and smiling.
But I think it can honor him, and honor is something the living do in name and remembrance of those who have based beyond.
It will take a while to get the show up on its legs, but it begins with a concept and a name. And a desire to honor my gone brother and funny, funny man.
Do you have a radio production worthy of national broadcast?
Feature it on Sprouts: Radio from the Grassroots!
Sprouts: Radio From the Grassroots is a 29-minute weekly program coordinated out of the Pacifica Affiliates office, dedicated to showcasing radio content produced at community radio stations and independent production groups. Sprouts celebrates grassroots voices and is renowned for bringing diverse topics to national and international audiences. It is an open door for grassroots radio producers who wish to easily get widespread attention for a particular production, story, or issue.
Participating producers are provided with Sprouts Production Instructions, including the introduction and closing script and music, as well as assistance, if needed. A variety of topics and styles are acceptable, from mini-documentaries, to cultural themes, to breaking issues of national importance. Radio producers are encouraged to send us local stories that have national relevance and are presented in a way that a national audience can appreciate.
Sprouts is distributed by Pacifica Radio and is free of charge to all radio stations. It is aired regularly by 40-50 radio station in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The program is also aired by many other stations on an irregular basis, depending upon the topic.
Contributing a production to Sprouts is an excellent way to bring a worthwhile production piece to a wider audience and to let people know about great production and reporting in grassroots radio. It is an excellent way to get an important story or issue to a wide audience.
Episodes of Sprouts can be heard below, through the SoundCloud audio widget.
For more information, contact Ursula Ruedenberg / Ursula@pacifica.org / 510-812-7989
pacificanetwork – Sprouts: Election Eve at the Grassroots
pacificanetwork – Sprouts: Disaster Radio
pacificanetwork – Sprouts: Sports and Social Justice