Question Sixteen: What do you see as our station’s strong and weak points?
KPFA Listener-Sponsor candidates
Carl Bryant -
Steven Conley -
Bob English - A few people making too many important decisions behind closed doors detracts from the talent at the station and our great potential with 59,000 watts to reach so many.
Dianne Enriquez - I believe that the strongest and most valuable part of KPFA is it’s autonomy from corporate influence and its ability to express progressive and underrepresented opinions. The revolutionary spirit of the staff and listeners is also a strength for KPFA. However, it is also important that KPFA maintain this attitude and allow itself to adapt and move forward with an openness to the younger generations and new technologies and more diverse communities. It is important to include more voices into this progressive expression and maintain a freshness in its content and ideology.
Sherry Gendelman - The strong points are an amazing community and staff, both paid and volunteer. A wealth of talent and professionalism. A strong signal, and untapped millions for our listening audience.
Weak points are a tired programming grind that needs to be revitalized; out of touch with the new media paradigm and with new technologies; political bickering to the detriment of strenghtening the station.
Mathew Hallinan –
Chandra Hauptman –
59,000 Watt Signal
Strong listener base; committed to KPFA
Staff who are knowledgeable about radio production.
Training programs (News, Apprentice)
Good financial management.
Good technical operations skills.
Some staff who are insulated and closed to working with listeners and greater KPFA community.
Some staff who do not recognize the value the listeners have to offer.
Some programming that is stale and uninspiring.
Need for new voices.
David Heller – Strengths: Hard working, creative and courageous programmers dedicated to disseminating important information and diverse cultural auditory art to keep us well informed, culturally aware and well entertained.
Weaknesses: Some people who want to keep the debate within the realms of what the Democratic Party wants us to hear and uninformed about other political and social possibilities. Some people who want to protect their airtime at the expense of making the station and network more vibrant and financially stable.
Warren Mar –
Susan McDonough –
Strong points include:
KPFA is the most solvent station in the Pacifica network.
The apprenticeship program
The news training program
The War At Home
Hard Knocks Radio
The news shows – the morning news, the 6pm, FSRN.
Sending staff to cover out-of-town events, like Davey D and Weylan Southon to New Orleans.
The many, many, many different music shows.
Not having a full-blown fundraising plan.
Not having as thorough an outreach plan as possible.
Antonio Medrano -
Attila Nagy - Strong points: The Pacifica/KPFA Mission; Strong Signal that covers much of northern and Central California; Several good public affairs programs; Good variety of music.
Weak points: Not enough public affairs, analysis, and call-in discussion programs. Could have less music to make time for programs that address important current events and issues in the diverse communities in the broadcast range.
Richard Phelps – Strengths: 59,000 watts and many creative and dedicated paid and unpaid staff.
Weaknesses: A small but committed group of people that put their individual and small group desires for power before progressive principles and our Mission. As author Jill Nelson said on the Morning Show a couple of years ago:
“I think we have no true faith in the ability of democracy and so... we all want to belong to a tribe that is advantaged. I think the question is a larger philosophical one of what does democracy mean and how do we make it work and really the larger question is do we want to make it work? I think that pretty much as Americans we are a despairing people who no longer believe that the system will work for the majority of us so we each get into our tribe and try to cannibalize what we can to advantage ourselves."
Mara Rivera - STRONG: It has a strong signal, progressive programming, and a dedicated staff, most of it unpaid.
WEAK: It has a small but powerful staff faction dedicated to protecting their time slots. It has strip programming consisting largely of 1 to 3 hours hosted time slots. This makes it difficult to introduce new programming and present other voices on the air. It makes attempts at the bylaws mandated diversity difficult.
Paul Robins - Strengths:
Commitment to alternatives to commercial and Public radio
Information and music and cultural programming not found elsewhere on the radio
Training of the underserved community in radio production
Programs tend to narrow cast to those of like mind
Programs of genre music don’t always introduce listeners to lesser known artists and music. Become repetitive.
Lack of consistent and talented management since 1999.
CC Campbell Rock – If 9217 represents KPFA, the station's strongest point is the progressive programming and investigative reports it presents that cannot be heard elsewhere. The station's weakest point is the lack of local community investigative news reports.
Tracy Rosenberg – Strong points: long and proud history, ability to engage the community for its protection when threatened, willingness to broadcast events that need to be heard more widely, ability to serve as a platform for unpopular, minority viewpoints, significant staff diversity.
Weak points: tendency to preach to the choir, lack of humor, inability to program as flexibly as needed, limited resources, on-going tension between music and public affairs programming for schedule space, deterioration of arts programming
Gerald Sanders - Strengths: 59,000 watts and many creative and dedicated paid and unpaid staff.
Weaknesses: A small but committed group of people that put their individual and small group desires for power before progressive principles and our Mission.
Sureya Sayadi - KPFA does important programs that no one else is covering and that is why it continues to be supported however our audience is declining. Listeners are leaving KFPA to KALW, KPOO and other community and NPR stations in Northern California as well as web radio. There have been major obstacles to getting new programming on at KFPA and it more and more is beginning to sound like an NPR station. This is unacceptable in my view. The strength of KFPA an Pacifica is in community radio in which programming is done by people from the community. KPFA has a budget of over $4.5 million and instead of increasing community programmers it is increasing paid staff. This has meant that over 60 days a year are spent on fund raising “marathons”. During this time the issues that need to be addressed are off the air as the station focuses on raising money. We need to put our house in order. We need to hire a permanent manager who is supportive of All programmers, strong yet when she/he is wrong takes responsibility and listens to fix the problem, KPFA board has taken too long to hire a manager, director, 3-5 years of Interim manager and program directors?!!
John Van Eyck - This is not a real weak point but a crucial one: Our professional radio sound is so important because of the valuable market area, signal strength and the competitive location that we occupy on the dial we will always be subject to extra scrutiny and competition. This means our equipment must be up to date and our apprenticeship program must be kept strong. Our station’s strong point remains the fantastic job of coverage and access provided to more communities than any other station in the universe. And we do it with so little.
Joe Wanzala – The stations main strength lies in a combination of its deeply committed and talented staff and its listenership. The station is only weak to the extent the bond between the station and listeners is neglected.
Jim Weber - The strong points of KPFA includes the programming that satisfies the 30,000 people who are willing to pay for it. The weak points are the 70,000 listeners who seem unwilling to pay for it because no one has given them a reason to pay.
Stan Woods - Strengths – A legacy of 57 years of alternative broadcasting and 59, 000 watts.
Weak points – A ‘entrenched ‘’ clique who run the station and reject and constantly try to impede democratic governance. A news dept. that more often than not apes the methodology of the corporate media.
Steve Zeltzer - KPFA does important programs that no one else is covering and that is why it continues to be supported however our audience is declining. Listeners are leaving KFPA to KALW, KPOO and other community and NPR stations in Northern California as well as web radio.
There have been major obstacles to getting new programming on at KFPA and it more and more is beginning to sound like an NPR station. This is unacceptable in my view. The strength of KFPA an Pacifica is in community radio in which programming is done by people from the community. KPFA has a budget of over $4.5 million and instead of increasing community programmers it is increasing paid staff. This has meant that over 60 days a year are spent on fundraising “marathons”. During this time the issues that need to be addressed are off the air as the station focuses on raising money. We need to put our house in order. The departing Executive Director of Pacifica Greg Guma in an interview said that Pacifica might have to see one of it’s stations. This is unacceptable but is a result of the disorganization and lack of strategy and planning in the stations.
KPFA Staff candidates
Shahram Aghmir - Its strength lies in the passion and commitment shown by KPFA’s listeners and its staff in preserving such a precious institution. Its weakness springs from the absence of effective leadership who can gain the confidence of the staff, offer a vision for the future of KPFA and take initiatives.
Mary Berg - Our apprenticeship program is a huge strong point. Another is the general agreement among the majority of us all – listeners and staff – that corporate underwriting continues to be unacceptable.
Chris Brown - Strong points are that it is still listener sponsored and should always remain so. The folks need to own the station and make decisions on it. The weak point would be – for me – the obvious a lot of racism and sexism goes on here and it's not pretty!
Brian Edwards-Tiekert - KPFA's got some great programs, but it's lousy at promoting itself to people who don't know about it. We're one of the more unified Pacifica stations, but the infighting we do have still saps a lot of creative energy. Our web presence is becoming really robust, but I don't know if it's expanding fast enough to compensate for our diminishing on-air listenership and fundraising.
Jeannine Etter - Often strong and weak points mirror one another. The strength is in diversity. The station has a diverse perspective, listening audience, etc. The weakness is how to make it so that everyone within that diversity is fairly represented.
Mary Tilson – Strong community interest and participation, diverse points of view, wide range of news, public affairs, music and cultural programming. KPFA has a tendency toward self focus on the internal workings of the organization –all involved would benefit from more focus outward on listeners, key critical issues, changes and trends in media, news and music.