Thursday, February 13, 2014

Resolution for action on new manager

Last October, the Local Station Board sent four names of candidates for a permanent KPFA manager to the Executive Director of Pacifica, Summer Reese.  Currently, we know of no action taken
by the executive director in response. In the meantime, Richard Pirodsky is now spending half his time managing in L.A.

We ask Summer Reese for progress.  We wish to have a  permanent manager as soon as possible or to have information as to why this is not possible.

Also, we have regularly requested a routine monthly staff meeting with daytime and evening sessions and have been assured that it would occur.  There has been no such meeting in February.

3 aye
0 nay
1 absent

Notes: UPSO Council Meeting 2-11-14

Attending:  Ruthanne Shpiner, Clay Leander, Adrienne Lauby, Tim Lynch, Steve Zeltzer, Adrienne Lauby (notes)

General Discussion:
Good to have the Video Stream on KPFA website. Appreciation to Steve Zeltzer.  Veolia Bus Company Forum this week was excellent.  Simulcast- 600 people on line during Pete Seeger.  Great event.  It would be good to use this live streaming channel more.

Tim reports that the Grateful Dead Day looks to be raising $38,000. Hooray!  The fund drive in general seems to be doing okay.

Clay’s seen a marked difference in the visibility of work by UPSO at the station.  He’s been glad to see it somewhat unhooked from the factionalism of the local and national boards, and hopes we will build on that.

1. New Manager
2.  Statement on Program Changes
3.  Use of Production Studio
4.  UPSO Council and Program Council Elections.

1.  New Manager: In October the Local Station Board sent 4 names of candidates that they would approve to the Executive Director of Pacifica.  No response from the Exec. Dir., Summer Reese.  Richard Pirodsky is managing half time in L.A. now.

We agree to send letter to Summer asking for progress and indicating our desire to have a manager. We’ll remind her of our resolution asking that management hold a monthly staff meeting.  We will Cc:  New Pacifica National Board chair, Margy Wilkinson.  Adrienne will draft

2.   Statement on Program Changes.  We will bring it into a meeting with the new manager.

Clay reports on his work on it at the December Local Station Board Meeting:

He read the statement into the record.  There was a good deal of discussion around the program changes.  The unpaid staff statement helped with the context.  Miguel Molina also spoke to the need for Pacifica to expand their programming with diversity in mind.  Richard Pirodsky, the interim manager, presented his point of view.  There were other statements, (one from music programmers?) No silver bullet of an answer, but people are talking about the need to make changes.  There was also discussion of the Pacifica National Board’s Resolution requiring Program Councils at all stations.

Clay:  It’s UPSO’s job, due to our by-laws, to elect Program Council representatives, so we are ready to help with program changes.

3.  Use of the Production Studio.  Michael Yoshida has said that new producers who wish to use this studio will have to ‘hang around a couple of years’ until we get to know them and they can be vetted as accountable.  As an alternative, producers can come in through the Apprenticeship program or other programming groups.   Adrienne objects strongly to this policy.  It is too high a barrier for new producers and keeps us from bringing new and exciting people and ideas to KPFA.   She is working with two people who currently have a problem using the studio.  If she cannot help them, she’ll bring it back next month.

4.  UPSO Council and Program Council Elections.
Current Election Supervisors Committee: Shahram Aghamir,  Adrienne Lauby, David Landau (Alternate)
-- We’ll start the election process this month.
-- We need a couple more members to staff the election supervisor committee.  Adrienne is resigning because she wants to run again.  Anthony Fest will help some.
-- Electronic Balloting.  The by-laws require mailed ballots.  Adrienne will offer a by-law amendment to allow electronic ballots in the next election.  Discussion:  It would be most secure if it were an in-station system.  The cost is compelling and there are vague objections for all the usual reasons.
-- Tim and Adrienne plan to run again.  Ann feels like it is too much work.   Still time for people to change their minds.

We will send a notice to the unpaid staff announcing the elections, soliciting candidates, election supervisors, and by-law amendments.  It will set out a tentative time line.
Adrienne will draft.

Everyone will asked friends and colleagues to join the election supervisors committee and run for the Council and Program Council.

Meeting adjourned with mutual appreciations in less than an hour.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Statement by the Unpaid Staff Organization Membership in Response to Proposed Program Changes

January 2014

The future of KPFA is integrally connected to the future of the communities where it is broadcast.  While there are many problems within KPFA, they are small in relationship to the problems that are faced and solved everyday by our listeners.  We believe in KPFA to the extent that it is useful to these people and our goal is to make this station a healthier and stronger part of the communities it seeks to serve.

The current proposal* for programming changes was developed in a flawed process that included a lack of transparency during the development phase.   Unpaid staff producers were generally kept in the dark as changes were being prepared and not provided a systematic method for feedback.  This lack of communication and lack of clarity in what responses were welcome caused unnecessary tension and dis-empowerment among unpaid staff. 

Nevertheless, most of us feel that KPFA needs to undergo fundamental changes in order to meet current challenges and serve our listeners.** 

What does this mean?
It may or may not include a major overhaul of the program grid.
It should include 1) debuting programs on KPFB, 2) station-wide promotion that is integrated with our current production and promotion work, and 3) more multi-media and website streaming of KPFA programs.

These things are necessary for any future program change at KPFA:
·      Regular monthly staff meetings on a regular day of the month (afternoon & evening) that provide a space for meaningful collaboration.
·      Building a schedule of off-air events to raise revenue, working with current producers from all areas of the station in a transparent procedure.
·      Published policies and procedures for program change.
·      A balance in authority between a representative Program Council and the new General Manager and Program Director in making program changes.
·      Transparency about the reasoning as to why programs are being moved, changed or cancelled.
·      The inclusion and respect for the views and needs of the unpaid staff to the same extent as paid staff.
·      Particular attention to the needs of programming elders as well as others with specific circumstances.
·      A General Manager Report to the Listeners, an on-air program, at least a month before any change begins.
·      A formal listener comment period with multiple points of feedback (mail, e-mail, Facebook, etc) for all program changes.
·      Because the 8-9 am M-F program should include the potential for local information, any possible syndicated programs should be produced in Northern California. 

This list and our thoughts above is only a beginning.  We have other ideas and concerns and have convened a small group to consider them in depth and to work with management toward positive alternatives.  

Given the many problems in the current proposal, we recommend against adopting these changes.   

Signed by the following Unpaid Staff Producers/Hosts***:
Sara Blanco, Apprentice
Adrienne Lauby, Pushing Limits, Unpaid Staff Council Member
Lisa Dettmer, Women’s Magazine
Kazmi Torii, Work Week Radio
Pedro Reyes, Setting the Standard
Kate Raphael, Women’s Magazine
Steve Zeltzer, Work Week Radio
Frank Sterling, Apprenticeship Program, Local Station Board Representative
Clay Leander, Radio Cuba Canta
Rickey Vincent, The History of Funk
Marie Choi, APEX Express, UpFront
Shelley Berman, Pushing Limits
Sabrina Jacobs, Morning Mix
Ann Garrison, unpaid staff
Ruthanne Shpiner, Weekend News
Art Sato, In Your Ear, Music Department
Gregory Jackson, Apprentice, Full Circle
Peter Phillips, Project Censored, Morning Mix
Mickey Huff, Project Censored, Morning Mix
Doug Wellman, Puzzling Evidence
Andres Soto, Morning Mix
Preeti Mangala Shekar, Apex Express
Robynn Takayama, Apex Express
R.J. Lozada, Apex Express
Tara Dorabji, Apex Express
Karl Jagbandhansingh, Apex Express
Salima Hamirani, Apex Express
Ellen Choy, Apex Express

Anthony Fest, Morning Mix, Weekend News
Nina Serrano, La Raza Chronicles, Open Book: Poet to Poet
Davey D., Hard Knock, Morning Mix

** The UPSO Council voted on the basic issues of this statement.  Adrienne Lauby & Ann Garrison voted yes.  Tim Lynch voted no.  Shahram Aghamir had left the meeting and David Gans resigned by e-mail as the meeting was in process.

***Program names for identification purposes only.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Notes: Emergency UPSO Membership Meeting Jan 2, 2014

This meeting was called to address concerns about Richard Pirodsky's proposed changes in the programming grid.*

(1st half of meeting, in Performance Studio; 7:00 – 8:00)

Attending: Adrienne Lauby (Pushing Limits), Anthony Fest (Morning Mix), 
Shahram Aghamir (Voices of the Middle East and North Africa), Sarah 
Blanco, (apprentice) Jeannine Etter (Chocolate Octave), Pedro Reyes 
(Setting the Standard), Miguel Molina (La Onda and Flashpoints en Espanol), 
Kazmi Tori & Steve Zeltzer (Work Week Radio), Frank Sterling (Apprentice 
program), Kate Raphael (Women's Mag), Preeti Shekar (APEX Express), 
David Gans & Tim Lynch (Dead to the World), Clay Leander (Radio Cuba 
Canta), Mary Tilson (America's Back 40), Emmit Powell (Gospel Experience), 
Joel Sachs (engineer), Carla West (News reporter), Rickey Vincent (History 
of Funk), Jae Michael (Sports reporting),  Bonnie Simmons (The Bonnie 
Simmons Show). (Notes by Anthony)

Adrienne (facilitating): the first question to address is, do we want to do something?

Miguel Molina: when I first heard of the changes, they were already supposed to be a done deal; I resent that.....   the unpaid staff are treated as second-class citizens....  yes, there do need to be changes to the grid, because California has changed so much; we should've changed ten years ago...  but I'm looking for transparency in the process, and an understanding of the programs and programmers... for example, La Onda Bajita is on Friday nights because that's pay day night in our community. . .  shopping night and cruising night... also, that's a frequent time for checkpoint stops, and we announce those on-air when we find out about them... another example: how can an elder like Avotcja be moved to midnight??

Rickey Vincent: I endorse Miguel's comments... by the way, even before 1999, there were efforts at KPFA to segregate talk from music... later, we diversified with Hard Knock Radio; now, some people seem to want to un-diversify.   Anyway, the grid is not the reason that fundraising is down.   And this process has been terrible, such as having a staff meeting just before Christmas.

Adrienne: does anyone want to speak to the contrary? (i.e. that unpaid staff should not act)

Tim: yeah, the process was clumsy and the timing sucked, but there was nothing set in stone.  People on Facebook were talking about their shows without consideration of the greater good of KPFA.  The way people are talking now, it might take a year or two to change the schedule... can KPFA be managed??  I don't think democracy has served KPFA well. 

Adrienne: let's take a straw poll on this: do we want to protest this management action in some way, as a group?

Count: 13 yes, 5 no, 4 abstain

Jeannine Etter: let's see something that would work – let's not just protest what we don't like.

Emmit Powell: let's pull together.

Shahram: yes, the grid has to change... but soon another GM will be here – then will the grid change again?  that's too disruptive.

Frank Sterling: we need to know how Richard made his decisions; what criteria did he use – hourly fundraising?   anything else?     and there should've been a report to the listeners.

Kate Raphael: there should've been input from programmers, so let's do that now: what's important to us as programmers (e.g. time slots)?    and we have to look at race, too... that is the reason the previous GM is out.

David Gans: Richard has communicated extensively about this, e.g. email communications to various programmers.

Bonnie Simmons: we're not doing a very good job, at the moment, of serving the audience.

Steve Zeltzer: I don't like the flow of information here [i.e. the lack of information to staff]; it's unprofessional and unhealthy. Maybe Richard thought about the grid a lot, but he should've consulted the programmers.  Let's have more local shows, not more syndicated shows. And we need to keep some weekend Public Affairs shows, to serve working people who can't listen daytimes during the week.  We can use KPFB for the syndicated shows.

Kozmi Tori: I was waiting to hear Richard's vision, but he never explained it; all he wants to do is move shows around. Maybe if we understood his vision, we'd agree with it...

Jae Michael: for Richard, it was about bringing in more money.

Jeannine: more people should show some leadership.  if changing the grid isn't the answer, let's hear other ideas for raising funds.

Mary Tilson: when I first heard of this, I was outraged. But as I learned more about it, I became more positive. I think the proposed new grid would be a good starting point.

Jae Michael: there is prejudice going on here: who does the music, at night? mostly people of color.  who does the news, during the day?  nearly all white people.

Clay Leander: UPSO representatives (Council & Election Committee) should do their part to present Program Council representatives for the unpaid staff.  I call on the Council to choose representatives.

(2nd  half of meeting, in Conference Room: 8:00 – 9:15)

Adrienne: what points of unity do we have now?

 --- that the process was flawed

Rickey Vincent: yes
Pedro Reyes: a process needs to be open, so people will know what's happening;  secrecy discourages unpaid staff from participating.

 --- that there should be monthly staff meetings.

 --- that there should be on-air GM reports to the listeners.

 --- keep the 8 am hour for local programming; use KPFB to try out new shows (including syndicated shows)

 --- (Clay) there should be published procedures on how to do programming changes

 --- an UPSO committee to create programming proposals (e.g. an alternative grid)

(comments, continued)

Shahram: this reshuffle might not actually raise any additional funds; it would be wiser to add more off-air fundraising.    Also, it's odd that Richard's proposed grid put disparate shows into the same hour of the day (e.g. health shows and Project Censored)

Rickey Vincent: yes... it may be a false premise to think that there's more funds to be raised by rearranging the grid

Anthony: there should be changes to the grid, but there's no need to hurry it; the sky is not falling on  KPFA.   Nearly every other community radio station would be glad to have our problem of  “only” $3 million annual revenue.

Clay: whether or not the grid changes, there's got to be promotion, and we don't do that well.

Pedro: Richard's plan is not just a rearrangement of shows; my show (and Spliff's) will be canceled.

Ann:  keep the Morning Mix... and improve it.

Rickey: there should be better integration of the Apprenticeship Program with KPFA shows.

Adrienne:  who would like to volunteer to work on next steps?

         Kate, Steve Z, Jae Michael, Anthony, Tim, Pedro Reyes, Sara Blanco, Adrienne

Adrienne: we have three UPSO Council members present, so let's take a vote on whether to support the list of action items:

vote:  Adrienne - yes     Ann Garrison - yes     Tim Lynch - no   

Action Items:
Write up the things we agree upon.
Do a survey of unpaid staff.
Meet with Richard Pirodsky to discuss these issues.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Resoution on Pacifica Investigation Summary

UPSO RESOLUTION:  We request a copy of the page and a half summary of the investigator’s conclusions. 

In favor:  5
Abstained: 2
Opposed:  1     

Resolution passed 10-17-13 

Notes: UPSO Membership Meeting 10-17-13

Present:  Adrienne Lauby, Gabriella Wilson, Ann Garrison, Eddie Ytuarte, Anthony Fest, Emmit Powell, Shahram Aghamir, Lisa Dettmer, Carla West, and Tim Lynch.

Guest: KPFA Interim General Manager Richard Pirodsky

2) Program Councils
3) Program Changes at KPFA
4) Hiring
5) Pacifica Investigation at KPFA
6) Fund Drive

1)   KPFB.  Richard says that KPFA needs a "feeder station," that would try out programs that might be given time on KFPA if they appear to be successful.  He has never been at a station that didn't have any way to regularly try out and improve new programming before it came to the grid.  At this point, however, he said there's no open slot to put a new show on KPFA.    KPFB is a radio station, not just a repeater.  “…to just repeat KPFA programs is a waste of the frequency.”  It originally covered areas around Berkeley that KPFA could not reach but, due to technical advances, KPFA now reaches those areas.  (Michael Yoshida is doing a study of that to be sure.)

Richard described an experience with a situation similar to his plans for KPFB at college stations, where turnover was far more frequent, as students graduated and moved on.  The station he was talking about covered the campus and the vicinity around the campus.

KPFB will impose two very strict limitations.

    **KPFA does not have the revenue to pay people on KPFB.
    **It will have to be pre-recorded, because live production studio space isn't available

Otherwise, Richard said, it gives us a chance to experiment with programming. It will have its own web stream and be promoted on KPFA.  It wasn't clear whether it would have it's own website as well. Richard has asked a LSB Task Force, with both caucuses represented, to consider KPFB.

There was general excitement about the idea of KPFB programming.

Eddie Ytuarte asked, "How much does it cost to run the station?"
Richard said:  Nothing more.  It will mean no addition to the budget.
Someone asked if it will be on 24 hours?   The only answer for now was that only the Berkeley City Council and School Board meetings are on the KPFB schedule separate from KPFA at this time.

Gabrielle Wilson did not want to see KPFB ghettoized as, she said, most programmers of color are currently at KPFA.
Question (Adrienne): will this new use of KPFB have to wait until there's a Program Council?
Answer: not necessarily; we could at least solicit applications, e.g. the Strike Debt group has already asked for a show.

2)  PROGRAM COUNCILS:   Richard said that, the PNB has passed a general rule that every station must have a Program Council but let the individual stations define their structure and responsibilities.   The Program Council needs to represent both caucuses on the LSB.   Uncertainty remains about who will have the authority to approve programming.

The LSB Task Force, with representatives from both caucuses, will come to a consensus as to what a Program Council at KPFA should consist of in response to the resolution by the Pacifica National Board.

Tim Lynch said that the LSB should not have any role in programming, that it should have only a governance role.

Richard said that a member of the LSB has already suggested that the Program Director should propose programming, the Program Council should dispose (decide), and if there's a deadlock between the two, the LSB should break the deadlock.

Richard strongly believes we need good program evaluation.  The only data that can currently be collected about audience or enthusiasm are the number of hits on the website and $$ raised during pledge.
Richard said we need better metrics.

What strategies are we using for making choices?
Richard:  There's a very slow turnover process for KPFA.
Richard: There has never been strategic thinking here about scheduling; I wanted to do some, but thought I should talk to the LSB about it. I did, and discovered that neither caucus wanted to see changes.    Also, changes ought to be done soon after a pledge drive, but we won't be doing them when the present drive ends tomorrow... so the next time to do it would be after the December drive – but I will be leaving by then.   Interviews for a permanent GM are underway this week (and I'm not a candidate for the permanent job).

Lisa asked when the GM hire will be made.  Richard said that that members of the committee said they're interviewing this week, and that they will present a short list to the LSB.

Richard himself did not apply and said that he was brought in specifically to make sure the investigation was conducted fairly and that Pacifica National had promised to get him out of there before long.

Question:  Have hiring committees been formed for the Board Op and Phone Room jobs?   Richard: no.... I'm not sure what the process is.

There are other hires in the works. . . Board Op and Fund Drive Coordinator/Volunteer Coordinator. The Board Op job is union.  The other is half time non-union.  (see KPFA website>About>Jobs for details)  UPSO usually has a representative on these hiring committees.   Eddie Ytuarte volunteered to serve on the GM hire committee.   Richard says he is unable to find any written, established procedure regarding hiring committees, so this seems to be up in the air, but he was not opposed.


Any outcomes besides JR being banned?   One unpaid staff person got an apology.  There were other recommendations.   Whether or not to move on the recommendations is up to the LSB and the Executive Director.

Richard: I haven't seen the investigator's report, but there was a list of recommendations passed out to LSB members (during executive session).
Shahram: the recommendations were very general.
Gabrielle: if nothing is shared with staff, how will KPFA learn anything from this??

Gabrielle Wilson mentioned the double standard that led to former Program Director Sasha Lilly banning Youth Radio on KPFA, because a Youth Radio programmer allowed the "f" word to be said over the airwaves.  Youth Radio went national and opened a big office in Downtown Oakland and went down as a big missed opportunity for KPFA to have played a role in nurturing it to its national audience and prominence..   Sasha Lilly, as co-host of Against the Grain, let the f-word onto KPFA airwaves in a pre-recorded segment, in which it could have been caught, but was never disciplined in any way, much less banned.

Others present agreed that this is an example of the double standards that they had been hoping the grievance process would address but, so far, has failed to.

Shahram said that the only evidence of a formal resolution of grievances against Andrew was a statement in the summary sent to the LSB, saying that he had not handled personnel issues properly.

Richard said that Pacifica's insurance company had insisted on the investigation to reduce the costly litigiousness at KPFA and had said they would not insure Pacifica any longer if they did it.  Richard also said that if the costly lawsuits at KPFA decreased as a result, then the investigation would be considered a success.

UPSO RESOLUTION:  We request a copy of the page and a half summary of the investigator’s conclusions.  Resolution Passed. 

In favor:  5
Abstained: 2
Opposed:  1    

Support came from the sense that many unpaid staff cooperated with the investigation and listener money paid for it.  Support also came from those who want to learn the lessons so as not to repeat them.

Opposition was due to possible liability issues, that KPFA airs too much dirty laundry, and that distributing the summary of the report to the UPSO would make it public information.

Widely agreed that the fund drive has been going on too long.  Might make goal if tomorrow's a good day, but might not.  (At that point, Thursday evening, it was at $610,000. and it ended the next day at $671,000.)   Richard: This drive has been going for about 24 days now... even though it's short of its goal, it can't be extended.

Richard: some programmers haven't changed their approach to fund drives, to reflect what we're learned by experience or from Goal Busters.  For example, nobody likes a long pitch at the end of a show, but some programmers are still doing their pledge-drive shows that way.

Richard said that National (the board?  the office?) has told him that KPFA must make its goals.

Notes by:
Ann Garrison
Independent Journalist,
SKYPE: Ann Garrison, Oakland

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Notes: Unpaid Staff Organization (UPSO) Council Meeting 9-12-13

Attending:  Ann Garrison*, Steve Zeltzer, Adrienne Lauby*
(*Council members)

This meeting replaced the meeting planned for Sept. 10 after only one person attended that meeting.  Due to the low turn out and lack of quorum among the Council Members, the meeting was information exchange only

1)  Steve noted that we have asked the KPFA managers to hold all staff meetings, with a meeting in the evening when unpaid staff can come, on at least a bi-monthly schedule.  These meetings have not happened since May/June.  We agreed to write Richard Pirodsky and remind him of our resolution.

2)  Adrienne and Ann talked about the difficulty of keeping UPSO functioning when most of the council members are not able to come to meetings or take on tasks between meetings.  There is no method in our by-laws for requiring attendance.  We could ask one person to resign in favor of the next runner up in the last election.  If there are two vacancies, we have to hold a special election. 

3)   Steve requested that the Unpaid Local Station Board (LSB) representatives give regular reports on their work on the LSB.  This is required by our by-laws.  We will schedule this for the next meeting and ask our representatives to report.  They are David Gans, Shahram Aghamir, Joy Moore & Frank Sterling.

4)   Our next meeting is Tuesday, Oct 8 at 7 pm and it is our quarterly membership meeting which is held in the Performance Studio at KPFA. 

We would like the major topic of discussion to be Richard Pirodsky’s initiative to open KPFB to a new programming schedule.  We will invite him to give a brief description of what is possible and open the floor for discussion.

These are also possible agenda topics for the membership meeting:  A)  Would we like a written policy on pre-emptions?  How much notice should a programmer generally have?  B)  Why are we not allowed to tell listeners an event is “free”?  Is this a reasonable interpretation of the law governing non-commercial radio?  C)  The strain on the UPSO organization due to non-participation.  D) New and very strict “Sensitive Language” policy.

Adrienne will send a copy of the new stricter policy to the unpaid staff list.

Meeting ended at 8:07

Following the meeting, this letter was sent to the KPFA manager.

Hi Richard,

We would like to have some focus at the next Unpaid Staff Organization meeting on the possibility of opening KPFB up for new programming.  Would you join us at our next meeting for this discussion?   Tues, Oct 8, 7 pm in the KPFA Performance Room.

We would also like to know where the policy against saying "free" in event announcements originated and what was the rationale behind it.

Finally, as I think you know, the Unpaid Staff Organization has asked you to hold all staff meetings on at least a bi-monthly schedule.  These meetings are long overdue.   Would you please
schedule a meeting where the unpaid staff can learn what is going on at the station and express our thoughts and opinions?  (Our resolution on this is below.)

Thank you.  I look forward to a positive discussion about this exciting new schedule for KPFB on Oct. 8.

cc: UPSO Council Members

5-14-13:  We affirm our February 13, 2012 resolution calling on KPFA managers to hold regular all-staff meetings on, at least, a bi-monthly schedule.

Additionally, we note KPFA's long-standing tradition of two meetings, with one in the morning to accommodate those who work in the building during the business hours and one in the evening to accommodate those who work elsewhere.  We call for both afternoon and evening meetings whenever there is an all-staff meeting.