Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NOTES: UPSO Council Meeting, 11-11-14

Present: Adrienne Lauby, Shahram Aghamir, Tim Lynch, Ann Garrison.  Meeting began at 6:15 pm. by Conference Call.

We discussed these agenda items:

1. The UPSO election 

Want to run for the Unpaid Staff Organization Council?  Please think about stepping up in December.  We’d like to get all the names on the ballot by mid-January and have the election in mid-February. 

We decided we would like to try an electronic UPSO election to save both time and money.  Tim Lynch found this website where it can be done and the cost will be far less.  This should be a lot easier on everyone.

However, our UPSO by-laws call for an election by paper ballot, so we will give everyone till the end of the month to object, before next month’s meeting.  We’re doing our best to be realistic about how much time and energy is available to get this done.

Shahram volunteered to try to get unpaid lists from Antonio and Laura.  Ann volunteered to study the electronic election site, but we need several more people to volunteer to be on the elections committee. 

Our tentative schedule is: Call for nominations, early December, mid-January.  Electronic voting period ends in first or second week of February.      

2.  The Unpaid Staff E-Group List(s?)

We revisited the possibility that the UPSO list could be divided in two.  One list for everyone.  This would simply be for meeting announcements, minutes, and any factual matters everyone should know.  It would be a one-way list.   Another list would be for those who would also like to discuss things with each other.  This list would allow any unpaid staff member to post.  For example, if the UPSO Council has passed a resolution, some might want to discuss it afterwards, others would not want their mailboxes cluttered with the discussion. 

Adrienne agreed to ask Antonio how difficult this would be and we agreed to revisit the issue next month.

3.  Music Director’s departure

Those of us who are public affairs producers, Adrienne, Shahram, and Ann, wanted to know how music producers will be affected by not having a Music Director.  Tim said that Program Director Laura Prives had scheduled a meeting with them to survey their needs next week.

We agreed to express our support for music producers contributions to the station, keep an eye on what happens with music next at KPFA, and encourage music producers to bring any issues they think we might help with to the Council.

4.  Interim Producer hire

KPFA is hiring an interim producer for Upfront and Letters and Politics.  We discussed the lack of UPSO input on KPFA hiring committees, which we have had at some points in the past.  (Shahram had gone by the time we discussed this.)  Ann and Adrienne said that the lack of inclusion and transparency in these temporary hires lead to more tension at the station.  They believe UPSO should be represented in both interim and permanent hiring processes. Tim said he didn’t know what the alternative was when staffing needs were urgent.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30 pm. Next month's agenda will revisit, for two items, elections, the two UPSO list possibility, and items that you, UPSO members, would like us to add to the agenda. 

Notes by Ann G.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Resolution to Restore the Morning Mix to the 8 am Hour

The Unpaid Staff Organization opposes the elimination of the "Morning Mix."  This was a program segment that brought a significant contribution to local community programming and information vitally needed in the morning prime time slot.

It has also received broad support in the communities that KPFA/Pacific serves.

This precipitous action also violated the transparent and democratic process that the UPSO called for in December of 2013 with the KPFA management.  We now call for the present new manager to rescind the action to terminate the "Morning Mix" and develop a collaborative relationship with the Unpaid Staff Organization.  
Yes: 3
Abstain: 2

Notes: UPSO Membership Meeting, 7-15-14

ATTENDANCE:  In attendance:  Al Glenn, Marissa Ortega-Welch, Adrienne Lauby,  Ann Garrison, Tim Lynch, Clay Leander, Joy Moore.  (Though not all at once; Joy wasn't free to come till near the end of the meeting.)  Also later, Carol Wolfley, from the Community Advisory Board, which is asking the UPSO to co-sponsor an outreach event in September.  Carol did not vote on either of the two resolutions passed.

At the opening of the meeting, only four UPSO members were present, so we began by asking ourselves whether or not the UPSO was still a viable organization.   Ann asked how many people had taken the time to vote in the last UPSO Council election, in which Adrienne, Ann, Tim,  Shahram Aghamir and David Gans were elected.   (David Gans resigned some months ago, saying he was not temperamentally suited to serve and family urgencies have kept Shahram from participating as much as he would like.)  Adrienne thought that approximately 100 unpaid staff members, slightly less than half, had voted last time.

Adrienne said that the new KPFA GM, Quincy McCoy, had apologized for being unable to attend, but said that Tuesday was his wife's birthday and he was taking her out to dinner.   Quincy McCoy's new e-address is

By the time the meeting ended, most of those in attendance agreed that it had involved a very interesting exchange of information, even though only 7 attended. Ann particularly thanked Al Glenn for attending and sharing his many years of KPFA experience, which included serving on the last Program Council.  Glenn has been an UPSO member since 2000 as one of the rotating hosts of Showcase from 12 midnight to 2 am on Wednesday nights.

UPSO ELECTION:  On the subject of elections, it was noted that we are now out of compliance with our own by-laws because we haven't managed to hold another election in the prescribed time..  Adrienne acknowledged that management of the UPSO Council's business had all fallen on her shoulders and said that it had finally become more than she could do to get the election organized without more help. 

Ann and Tim acknowledged that most of the management of the UPSO Council - scheduling and announcing meetings, organizing responses to workplace complaints submitted to the Council, creation of the UPSO blog, etc. - had fallen to Adrienne and thanked her for keeping us going.

Adrienne asked each UPSO Councilor to find one volunteer willing to serve on the UPSO elections committee, so we can get that done.  There was also a suggestion that we amend the by-laws, so that UPSO Councilors serve more than one year, so we don't have to keep holding the elections.  It is possible that the UPSO election and LSB election will be somehow combined and/or conducted online.

RESOLUTION TO RESTORE THE MORNING MIX TO ITS 8 AM HOUR:  Those present passed a resolution to restore the Morning Mix to its 8:00 am hour. The vote was 3 to 1, with Ann, Adrienne and Clay voting in favor, Tim voting against, and Al and Marissa abstaining.  Joy Moore arrived later, after the vote on restoring The Morning Mix to the am.  Tim asked first that Adrienne recuse herself as a Morning Mix host, but Adrienne pointed out that she had not been a regular Mix host for at least a year.  Tim also asked that the low attendance at the meeting and two abstentions be noted as they have been.

Tim argued that it was divisive for UPSO to take a position on this change and that the organization should not play a role in programming decisions.    Ann, Clay and Adrienne argued that it was a significant loss of unpaid staff input to prime time and the communities we work with are affected by that loss.  Also that our resolution of last January laid out a process for program changes that was not followed in this case.  It was a short discussion because most of us knew what we thought and weren’t likely to change our minds.

The Unpaid Staff Organization opposes the elimination of the "Morning Mix."  This was a program segment that brought a significant contribution to local community programming and information vitally needed in the morning prime time slot.

It has also received broad support in the communities that KPFA/Pacific serves.

This precipitous action also violated the transparent and democratic process that the UPSO called for in December of 2013 with the KPFA management.  We now call for the present new manager to rescind the action to terminate the "Morning Mix" and develop a collaborative relationship with the Unpaid Staff Organization.  
Yes: 3
Abstain: 2

DISCUSSION OF AUTOMATION OF THE PHONE ROOM:  We had a fascinating discussion of the phone room automation, with most objecting heartily to the plan, much as those who have responded when we threw the issue out on the list.   We did not pass a resolution, but agreed that we would raise the issue on the list, as we did, then print up and package the responses to deliver to the new General Manager, Quincy McCoy.

DECISION TO CO-SPONSOR AN OUTREACH MEETING WITH THE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD (CAB) IN SEPTEMBER: We agreed to co-sponsor an outreach meeting with the Community Advisory Board in September.  Part of the idea is to create an event in which producers can speak directly with members of the community.  The Apprentices are also co-sponsoring.

Tim asked why the invitation to co-sponsor had not been issued to the entire staff. Ann said that there is no entire staff organization that an invitation could be issued to, only UPSO and the CWA. Carol Wolfley from the Community Advisory Board said that she would like to contact paid staff but found them somewhat intimidating because of her interaction with them at LSB meetings.  Tim encouraged Carol to contact any members of the paid staff to ask them to co-sponsor and participate as well. 

FASCINATING  CONVERSATION ABOUT KPFA HISTORY:  This more free form conversation at the end began when Al Glenn, who hadn't said much, was about to leave and Ann asked him to stay a bit longer and tell us about his history with KPFA.  He has quite a lot of history, having been a rotating host on Showcase since 2000. 

Al said, among other things, that radio is a very intimate medium, and the personal touch created in the phone room during fund drives is very important. He also said that he felt the Program Council had served a vital advisory role when he was on it.  Advisory, not decisive, but important.  Clay Leander said that if a decision like replacing the Morning Mix with syndicated programming from LA had come before the Program Council when he himself served on it, they would have discussed it for weeks before making a recommendation and would have spoken to many staff and listeners. 

We also talked about possibly having some kind of event where staff could talk about the communities they live in because we are all part of various circles of concern in the Bay Area and that is part of what we all bring to KPFA, whether we are music, arts or public affairs programmers.  Clay Leander shared that he lives in Martinez, which is home to two of the oil refineries in the East Bay Oil Refinery Corridor: Tesoro and Royal Dutch Shell.  Tesoro is refining Bakken shale oil coming into Kinder Morgan's Richmond rail yard from North Dakota.  Royal Dutch Shell is refining tar sands oil also coming into Richmond by rail, from Canada. 

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.