Question Seven: How should the Pacifica Foundation find a wider audience?
KPFA Listener-Sponsor candidates
Carl Bryant -
Steven Conley -
Bob English - Community outreach and better programs for new communities.
Dianne Enriquez - More people will listen to a station if they hear their own voices, ideas or opinions reflected in its content. One method for this would be to diversify and incorporate new staff and board members thus increasing the station’s contemporary feel and authenticity of the voices and ideas being discussed. Another method to find a wider audience is to increase outreach to underrepresented communities making them aware of how they can utilize the station and the network as the important media connection that it is. Yet another method is to improve technology and increase the actual physical reach of the station. It is important to be open to alternative mediums of communication, such as the internet. KPFA’s expansion to online archives and a state of the art website is a perfect example of this and it is important in maintaining that pioneering spirit that began Pacifica Radio.
Sherry Gendelman - Pacifica should identitfy the sources of information and culture emerging generations and populations rely upon. These includes the internet, satellite, and pod casting. Programs such as the KPFA new project, The War Comes Home, promoted on Youtube, and on other progressive programs, is a fabulous start, but just a beginning.
Mathew Hallinan –
Chandra Hauptman – By providing more stimulating programming.
Mission driven programming.
Create more Amy Goodman-like programs/programmers.
New, young, ethnically diverse, voices.
Hiring a marketing director for the Foundation to work in collaboration with all the stations.
Working more collaboratively with Affiliate Stations to promote Pacifica.
David Heller – There is a terrible vacuum in the majority of the media in this country. Almost no one trusts “The Media” anymore. Newspapers have become useless corporate propaganda tools (How many times has Barry Bonds taken the full front page of the SF Chronicle? Once is too many, especially while our illegitimate government is illegally and immorally dropping bombs and otherwise killing innocent people in foreign lands. TV news is more infatuated with Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and the latest blonde woman to go missing and not at all interested in what is happening in our federal, state or local legislative bodies.
If the Pacifica Network became the place where average people came to find out what’s going on in the world and their local communities, we could easily to expand our listenership. We could probably even raise enough to expand the network. The void is THAT huge.
Warren Mar – Pacifica has done a good job reporting news that is national, such as some of the major hearings in Washington D.C. and breaking news globally. I also believe that it needs to do local stories that should be national but have not gotten the coverage it deserves. A good example is the work Democracy Now has done reporting on the racist prosecution of the six black youth in Jena, Louisiana. Now that story is breaking in the mainstream press, and generated a mass movement of support for those youth and their families. That is one example of how Pacifica can get a wider audience. Again it reflects good politics and good journalism.
Susan McDonough - I was stunned to learn that only 10% of our regular listeners actually subscribe/donate. One task for us is to reach those regular listeners in more ways than just during the pledge drives. We can establish partnerships that bring locally produced programming in areas like the Valley or South Bay. We have the ability to have the signal capacity; it’s a question of reaching more listeners.
Antonio Medrano -
Attila Nagy - By being a viable alternative to corporate media and NPR. Produce programs that give voice to progressive ideas. People will listen if Pacifica radio offers substantial programs beyond the “mainstream.” A national dialog talk show about current world issues would draw an audience.
Richard Phelps – First we have to work to keep the members we gain each year by constantly improving. I find a lot of ex-subscribers when I am out in the community promoting KPFA. A common complaint, we need to make our news more progressive and sound less like AP wire. How many more listeners would we have if we had moved Democracy Now! to prime time, 7-8 a.m., and promoted it to the morning commuters when the Program Council voted to make the time change in 2003? We will never know. I do know that there are more people listening to the radio between 7-8 a.m. than at 6-7 and 9-10 a.m. combined. And so due to special interests overruling what is best for our Mission, we have not put our best program, by far, in prime time. We need to maximize the value of our best programs and promote them to the people in the Bay Area that are open to them and looking for information and answers. Bush has opened the door; we have to step in with relevant content, in well-produced programs, at the right times.
Mara Rivera - Primarily by excellent, relevant leftwing programming, and this requires a strong, empowered Program Council with good listener representation. We have lost our solid base of loyal listeners; they are not listening much or resubscribing.
The listeners should be able to communicate more with the station, tell us their issues, and learn more about ours in governance. At the last Town Hall meeting people were eager to talk to staff and LSB about their concerns, so we need more such town halls, as well as events in outlying areas and neighborhoods of the Bay Area.
We need to let communities put their issues and culture on the air.
A folio is needed to encourage people to listen and to advertise our offerings.
We need to put Democracy Now on at prime drivetime and again in the evening, to engage a new constituency of working people.
Paul Robins - Through national programming and national fund raising.
CC Campbell Rock – The Foundation can find a wider audience by creating a Community Task Force comprised of local organizations.
Tracy Rosenberg – Humor helps. Pacifica is often not funny and most of us progressives are trying to laugh so we won’t cry. I think Stewart and Colbert, among others, have shown that the audience is there for the ideas if they can be presented in an entertaining way that isn’t too preachy.
The issue is what audience do you want? Wide is not a precise adjective. Is the desired audience younger, minority, recognizably progressive, not recognizably progressive,
English-speaking, not English-speaking, interested in politics, alienated from politics,
More educated, less educated, professional class, working class? I’m not saying that you entirely have to choose, but what you prioritize will affect how you program and it is the programming that listeners will respond to. That needs to be thought about in more developed terminology than “wide, big, lots” or the equivalent.
I’d also suggest doing some training workshops and some broadcasting initiatives within communities that are the subject of outreach. Having people pick up some basic radio skills and work on the occasional segment and get it aired on KPFA about stuff they care about will build loyalty and a sense of “our station” in the desired audience segments.
Gerald Sanders - First we have to work to keep the members we gain each year by constantly improving. I find a lot of ex-subscribers when I am out in the community promoting KPFA. A common complaint, we need to make our news more progressive and sound less like AP wire. How many more listeners would we have if we had moved Democracy Now! to prime time, 7-8 a.m., and promoted it to the morning commuters when the Program Council voted to make the time change in 2003? We will never know. I do know that there are more people listening to the radio between 7-8 a.m. than at 6-7 and 9-10 a.m. combined. And so due to special interests overruling what is best for our Mission, we have not put our best program, by far, in prime time. We need to maximize the value of our best programs and promote them to the people in the Bay Area that are open to them and looking for information and answers. Bush has opened the door; we have to step in with relevant content, in well-produced programs, at the right times.
Sureya Sayadi - Pacifica needs to develop national days of programming on issues such as housing, unemployment, veterans, war, health care, women, the environment, racism and media democracy. It needs to link up producers and programmers who are doing work in these areas and for these people to collaborate
nationally and internationally on this programming. For example on International Women's Day we should be able to connect to other cities, and other countries and broad cast in their languages. To have some programs and some news in different languages, such as Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Turkish, Dari, so many of the bay area ethnicity groups tune in to KPFA "a progressive station" in their own languages. Just from the Labor and Middle East Collective I was part of we had these Unpaid staff who spoke these languages and have done programming and have connections in many of those countries to give and receive news and information.
John Van Eyck - A network is only as good as its poorest performing stations. Each of the local stations, including KPFA, need to step up efforts to reach more underrepresented communities and language communities. Each needs to hold more community forums and Town Hall meetings. Each needs to find ways to get their signal into places now missed. Each needs to strive for programming on environmental and labor issues which can be shared by all stations of the network with Democracy Now! Setting the standard.
Joe Wanzala - I do not believe that Pacifica has a proselytizing mission. The assumption built into this question; namely that Pacifica must necessarily set out to expand its audience - is not necessarily consistent with the original premise upon which the network was founded. The danger in not challenging this assumption is that it leaves Pacifica vulnerable to pandering to mainstream sensibilities and to the lowest common denominator syndrome.
Pacifica was founded a vehicle for marginal, dissident voices in both the cultural and political arenas. As such, its core audience is largely self-selecting or based on word of mouth. There is a relationship between the non-conformist nature of the quintessential Pacifica listener and the integrity of the Pacifica mission - the actual number of Pacifica's audience is incidental to this relationship. I think that if Pacifica's programming remains, in Lenin's words 'as radical as reality itself' it will naturally remain relevant to more and more listeners, and its 'audience' will grow. Pacifica should also not view its listeners as passive supplicants but should constantly look for ways to include members of the community in programming.
Jim Weber - Amy Goodman with “Democracy Now” could lead the way by sharing her technical accomplishments with Pacifica.
Stan Woods - By far more aggressively going to where our potential audience can be found. Not only National and local mobilizations for social justice but everywhere! Our stations should be visible at street festivals, concerts, campus events, Union conventions even county and state fairs, etc. Our attitude should be that we refuse to concede ANY segment of the U.S.‘s working class and middle class listening audience to the right wing demagogues and the ‘’stenographers of power’’ of the corporate media.
I also think that we should expand our National programming albeit in ways that doesn’t undercut our local efforts.
Steve Zeltzer - Pacifica needs to develop national days of programming on issues such as housing, veterans, war, healthcare, women, the environment, racism and media democracy. It needs to link up producers and programmers who are doing work in these areas and for these people to collaborate nationally and internationally on this programming. We also need to use video when we can to help increase the listeners and viewers of Pacifica. Democracy Now has used new technology including video broadcasting to reach out to many people who do not have access to the local Pacifica stations and we need to do the same.
KPFA Staff candidates
Shahram Aghmir - The future of KPFA and Pacifica resides in extensively broadening its listener base in several important new directions: more gender content, a more inclusive ethnic base and certainly younger generations of potential listeners. In my view, development in these areas will insure not only the continuity but also the growth of our audience, as well as to encourage new ideas and innovation. Public meetings, well- prepared membership surveys are among vehicles that can be used in order collect real community input for developing a programming strategic plan to meet this goal.
Mary Berg - By being much more of a presence in the communities well within in our signal footprint where we are often largely unknown. We need to solicit the help of many more listeners to help with this endeavor – e.g., tabling, showing up at events, schools and other places – on an ongoing basis. This is eminently doable; our listeners have always shown themselves to be extremely generous with their time. All it requires is that it be a high priority for us, on a permanent basis. The amazing results at KPFK, where an enthusiastic corps of listeners are going out through just about every community in their area, organizing people and recruiting new listeners, is ample proof of this.
Chris Brown - If you’re asking that question its clear that we are not serving the community interests. People need to go out on foot – literally – to find out what folks in the community have to say.
Brian Edwards-Tiekert - Pacifica needs to promote itself better.
Pacifica needs to examine its programming philosophy. We spend too much time preaching to the choir. Our best (and most popular) programs—like Democracy Now!—regularly air debates, and aren't afraid to challenge their guests. That's a lot less boring than listening to a host and a guest spend an hour complimenting each other on how right they both are about everything.
Unfortunately, there's too much of the latter on Pacifica's air right now.
Jeannine Etter - Incentive, representation and inclusion. Invite them to the party, so to speak. Younger audiences need incentive to join listener sponsored radio as in programs that they would be interested in, or at least shows on programs that now exist, bringing them to the table and airing a wider variety of topics geared toward their audience, give-aways, etc. Same with audiences of color. They need to see and hear that their voices are represented. Are their stories being told from their perspectives? If not, why? What stories are missing? Do outreach to that community.
Mary Tilson – I would like to see wide ranging current audience/demographic/listening habit information about KPFA and the other stations and hear more about what stations or doing in this regard before offering an opinion in this matter.