Friday, June 26, 2015

More on PACIFICA FORUM in LA june 2015


An overview of what was observed, noted and of concern: 

KPFK’s LA Public members :       Many KPFK Volunteers also arrived to these meetings,  as ‘public members’ to the PNB [Pacifica National Board]meeting in LA, with most wanting to speak aloud to all present,  their Public Comments  allowed for 2 min each – allowed  2x/ each day for each signed-up speaker. The rest of the time, this sidelined group had to sit totally separately and isolated from the action, while in back -  behind the horse-shoe seating of the 20 official members who spoke only to Each Other.

KFPK staffers and programmers:       Many  also came only to speak and then quickly leave, giving no acknowledgement to the volunteers also present, as usual.  Many loudly and in their  upset complained about the new Gen’l Mgr foisted upon them without notice or input.  Their unhappiness at being forced to be controlled by a person they did not appreciate or have input in choosing seemed to leave their powerlessness and distress audible.

PNB exclusiveness :     The PNBers clearly were trying to avoid seeing, speaking or acknowledging the misc. “others” riff-raff  who had no fancy standing but crowded in back of room. Even when a break opened up interactive possibilities, it was sadly noticeable that that the PNBers did not act friendly nor socialize or smile at those ‘others’ of lower standing. Latinos ate only with one another, and special affinity groups excluded any ‘other’ ones there.

This done while each was  surely denying that ‘elitism’ exists in such a free-dom-sharing organization,  yet the voting individuals acted aloofly and separately. Perhaps PNB members maybe assuming they needed to defend themselves from the messy masses seated in the back  1/5 of the room space.

Spanish-only-More-air-time:     The motion to add an Extra 5 hrs/ week for all-spanish-speaking-only programming was passed with ease and hardly anyone dared object to this ethnic-minority demand – especially with their 6+ Spanish support group used Public Comment time for speaking- taking their 2min in vehement Spanish, then taking extra time 2 min not granted to English-speakers for the  needed translation. 

     Using strong words, making extra programming  demands, and even with claims of discrimination -  as well as giving excuses for why all Spanish programming on air now does Not financially match or meet their on-air-time use.    

    Every KPFK LSB meeting has a Latino or 4 demanding more time for Spanish-only on-air time, regardless of their continual inability to help $$upport the  the station to survive its debts and monetary obligations. But then, more time taken from other programs was given anyhow, money problems being  ignored at this time.

PNB unnamed :     The ‘others’ had no idea of who the PNB unpaid staff present were and while flimsy name cards were in front of most, no allowance to walk behind the seated members to note who was whom from where. Mention was made of this ignoring the Public’s need to know, who were present and who voted for what, then a list of PNB members was finally distributed, but only after an angry request was delivered to surprised PNB group.

Exe Director :      A positive surprise was to meet – even from afar – the newly selected [by outgoing iED] Executive Director – John Proffit – who had one of his major duties slipped out from under him a few days before arriving at his office to select or even interview a new KPFK General Manager. Such trickery was not mentioned at this meeting but his presence provided some reassurance that someone with a more professional demeanor and expertise in Radio Station Management  [30 years ] was now one of Us.

Control over meeting of argumentative members :        The chairs of this PNB group and the secretary were dedicated to keeping some order, and tried to do so repeatedly,  tho it was obviously difficult -  and their call-outs were often ignored while PNBers yelled, argued, and spoke over another ....or forgot what the motion on the table was at that time.  The official members were not timed nor limited in how long they went on...and on.... unless another official one  fiercely disagreed....

        And each often would  repeatedly ‘forget’ to use the required microphone - so everyone in room could hear their personal versions – and because the whole audio was being recorded for on-line archive-listening, for later too. Much of the long, day long, meetings seemed disorganized, disorderly, and inconsiderate of other members and the public too. Each representative seemed to demand their opinion to be given more attention or validity, as happens in Pacifica & station  events.

TIME – not shared fairly, equally :   The Timer person attempted to passively show a hand-made sign with “TIME” showing at the 2 min limit only for Public Comments, not for PNB discussions or arguments or rants , but this was ineffective for most who refused to see or did not bother looking and kept on and on and on....until someone else objected to their unfairly usurping more time than allowed to others. 

         The meek attempts were insufficient and tho requested 3x to have a sound-effect of time-up to alert speakers they had reached their limits and even gone over, this small device-system was not used –and maybe not even wanted.

The  PNB job:            Apparently, tho not mentioned at this meeting, each PNB members is unpaid with $$$, but wields power and has access to the managements of their own stations and to the umbrella organization – which is a big POWER reward & benefit. Each PNB are voted from their own station’s LSB for a set period and thus given this elevated status with accompanying [but never revealed] privileges, plus the work of attending such stressful meetings.

Accountability:         It was not clear how each PNBer is held accountable or responsible for their actions from their station’s staff/public when acting at these meetings or if they act on their own volition and intentions instead of representing the radio station from where  they emerge. 

The usual :     LACK OF TRANSPARENCY of anyone involved in a Pacifica radio station  is always a noticeable issue, i.e. as to who was present, what their agendas or biases were, who they ally with and whom they oppose regularly. 

         As these official members did not address nor act open nor friendly with any of the many Public members present, even when all were in same rooms at same time. This gave the impression that the distance and separation was not only intentional, but defensive and self-protective so no questions can be asked nor anyone embarrassed.

see www.Pacifica.org for futher information and to see who is on their board, or to contact anyone there.

Their location apparently is in Berkeley tho that is not easily noted. KPFA is also nearby, while KPFT is in Houston, Tx, WBAI in NY, WPFW in Wash.DC and there are other ‘affiliates’ who use  some of these programs too.

© mj 2015

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