Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Letter to a KPFK programmer.

Excerpts are edited here from a letter sent to a KPFK staff person -- about the changes happening now in August 2015 - all that is also of concern to most station-stakeholders:
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"I am moved  to write you, not as a consolation or condolence letter, but as an offering :  to be  Reminding what you must know well, ...from all that you too heard when listening when KPFK  plays educational words for us. All those years of reminding us-out-here of  some wisdom words must  also be absorbed by those inside, playing those tapes. And when needed these learnings may emerge as if they were ‘yours’ too, not just sent "out" when played to others on-air. 

Knowing what I've learned from much listening, is not just Mine nor new - but it is  learned and shared again,some more, somewhere else passed on…

The drastic changes that are now relevealed as occurring -- of which we, ‘outsiders’, know little but bits of leaks that emerge thru only 1 other site [Pacifica in Exile] mostly -- and now recently even thru Sonali or Ian’s on-air complaints too. Finally a KPFK person, besides the midnight host's tiny tid-bits  -that have carefully hinted but not stated too much nor very clearly either-  has dared to voice their Fears…but mostly out of their own self-concern instead of for the stakeholders benefit.

You may have – or not – read my constant complaints about the total lack of Transparency year after year -   

About the problems hidden in KPFK’s halls, operations, management, staff conflicts. And  yet there is only the repetitious, boring demands/ begging for  “Give Us More Money!” ,and  the merchandising, the  informercials  [Christine’s and Lisa’s mostly, but not only them ] the guilt-tripping  [Margaret, Sonali etc. do this often ] and then the berating of the listeners for never sending enough $$$$ …. as if it is no one else’s responsibility – not those who cliing to their on-air-special-access, aka " programming", …nor those involved with the [inept or transient] managements that slide through.  

Nor the Pacifica Board members  admit responsibility - those who are perhaps also stealing a station or two or the titles of 'foundations' for some future good-deal   [the "KPFA Foundation" seems to be a name usurped recently by a few PNB ] .  

Sonali has also taken to putting full blame Only on the LSB now. As if she has attended any meetings to hear what happens there? Or she assumes LSB has powers they keep saying they don’t have, and wish they did ?

My concern is my loyalty to the station -- and those who have provided replays of lectures from which I have learned over these 55 years. 1960-2015.  Yes. A lot of selected programs, and so I have thanked you before. And bits from other programs too, while many I have left unheard  --because they are so biased, angry, vehement, prejudiced and limited in their  only-1-pt of view-allowed-only.  You have not always done this but on occasion been heard to repeat this same ltd-thinking way too. 

The only 'good people' according to KPFK programmers  seem to be only  those that society has labeled as “victims” - then only their plights are  heard on KPFK. No other definitions of "good" allowed. Wonder why ? Could this be just a slanted bias only allowed there ? 

I am  supporting your acceptance of whatever changes do occur therein… even tho you will probably also fight, argue, and stand up for your own version of “The Truth” … just as everyone in media always repeats “but …the truth is…”  -- as if only They could voice that 1 and Only holy version- the only 1 allowed, of course . 

I hope you are in understanding of what you could or  cannot change or control -l the whole of what is occurring . Am I wrong ?    My thoughts - from out here - is that whatever ways the station goes, it has already long been toppling and sliding and the decay, un-managability, and  interactive dysfunctions  have just now become more acute and visible.
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For all the LSB meetings I have attended over these many years, and  as I also have seen most GMs bring in a poorly-visible-projection of the next year's ‘budget’ for the LSB to ‘pass” - right away, of course… expected to be w/o discussion, in the brief time the GM visits 1x only.    

And I too have asked how could any group approve when they have had no prior copies to examine, no explanations, nor answers to questions they still  have for GM or the accountant-business mgr.  But No appropriate response was ever given. Just the same defensive demand for approval  and unearned trust of what they wrote, those  #’s presented as general categories, with no details, no clarifications, no financial info actually shared.

I still attend some LSB meetings, not all,  - because what is written by LSb secty is very limited and doesn’t show most of what actually goes on in meetings.  Almost no  KPFK staff-person ever shows up  - unless they want to demand something in our ltd 2min ea. "public comments" slot - because otherwise they don’t seem to care or think LSB or volunteers there are worth anything ?  …it’s just part of the same non-cohesive, not-cooperative non-system.

As No answer is given by any GM about the proposed budget, or anything else re management either - [even latest iGM did same act and did Not answer any questions when asked…he side -stepped them too ]  These guys just expect to just get a ‘free pass’…. unreasonable but demanded nonetheless. But then, they do get it too.

And now Sonali is blaming only the LSB now ? - for the proposed work time reduction of paid staff - or is  it ‘just her’ version of passing on blame and taking NO responsibility - for all she too could have done all along, long ago -- and helped, asked, activated others or even given of herself in her programs to make-known or to get-good-business-practices-help Before… now when she rec’d notice of Her-time-reduction.  

No, I doubt she would say anything openly if it did not affect her, her salary, her program, her self.  Wow…who would have known this was how it is at KPFK, never displayed so clearly before ?

Anyhow, I don’t assume the station will survive in any way it has fumbling along  in last 10 + years now – and tho it has gone thru other transformations before…such as when  Adelman had a suit against Pacifica for wanting to steal parts off…or various other conflicts over ownership, management-ship, and even membership… this seems to be a more critical transition that KPFK must make, however it occurs.     

And from way Out here, the listener-sponsor land, the  never having had NO other benefits if we did not just listen for  interesting information, there is still very little and limited reality-info exposed to us.  It has always  just our giving instead of getting from KPFK.  So  I am in agreement that big changes are finally possible and clearly needed too.      

As everywhere else, only crisis brings about the change & transformations  --that everyone meanwhile still objects, rejects, blocks, etc. -- just to keep their own for themselves. Same story here and anywhere else is the same. Trying to cling and keep what they had as benefits, as media access, as special privileges and even payola [never admitted tho, of course] and more. No one at KPFK has been selflessly  'just giving' for no benefits and then also hoard, cling to their  special sweet spot for years on end. 

I assume, hope, that you can find your way thru this life, these life-changes, full hrs you have had so far - and  that you realize too  that those who love to listen to your program  have already learned enough and can access info themselves too now from more from direct sources.  We sometimes have been ‘introduced’ to a person or story. 

And now with internet we too can find – in text or briefer – that interesting source.    And those who have not heard what the older-loyal-KPFK-sponsors heard, they are probably not interested nor paying attn to this stn anyhow.

They are younger & different than their parents, their  lives & minds are focused elsewhere -- and in ways they do not appreciate the “old” stuff replayed here, & repeated in series &  sequences.  Just like those who had products for premiums sell themselves, their stuff and ideas elsewhere, it is  same for all others equally. 

The same repetitious people do not deserve to have so much continual access….as when they do repeat and sell their stuff & get free on-air much lauded promos… and it looks just  like it is a commercial too -  even if they do not get $$-pay - the benefits they Do get is still  never admitted.  I disagree that such exclusivity should continue, even tho some seem cultishly also devoted to the few selected to be broadcast on-air.
I also rec’d those 2 letters sent by Ian  Masters recently, who also was berating  any-all others out of his anger & fear of losing his on-air time too. They were emailed . What was on bottom that I mistook were words saying  “Save KPFK” and so  I assumed there was such a website. But after more careful reading, I noted that he posted it on another old Pacifica-related commentary site that is irrelevant to most of us, and  there is NO “save KPFK” site, after all. Sad. 

Then I googled KPFK - and found only 24+ long pages of all the programmers on KPFK…and none other.   But when I inserted another word, only then this blog too came up, but not under word “KPFK” itself.   Even 'Pacificainexile' did not come up when searching for KPFK either. Nor under many search pages of "Pacifica" either.

While I attempt to write imperfectly but with zeal and intensity of my concerns, my questions, my thoughts, my suggestions -- and try to Activate anyone else to write/ call the stn, the Gen'l Mgr or anyone at the station with their own questions & concerns, there is no feedback to know how many or few even care to make their wants, their views, known and considered, 

I have no idea what effect, if any, any of us  can have- as  with this unadvertised blog.  I only  what I do- and do it  because I want to  - as this too is my work -  but without the common ambitions or those desires for fame or appreciation. The work some of us do is out of love-of-the-work and getting-it-done vs. the applause and admiration that may not be known or coming. 

Also here was posted recently a  typed up version of  Sonali’s words demanding, [=not same as the usual kind of pleading this time], for  More $$$ donations !! -- but  only because of her own on-air time being reduced.   No, she did not ask for anyone to do any more than send more $$$$,- was she assuming that the more $$$ with her name attached to it would keep her in  full time vs. the rest of other staff.    Sonali did mention Ian Masters tho  1x ea day.  These words -used within her program for 13 min by Sonali ea day - along with my own commentary, thoughts, and questions too - are elsewhere below on this blog.

That Sonali did not even suggest any other action than the same old demand for $$$$.... vs. any other protest, or activation, or writing of  letters, or even calls to GM, or anyone else at station, showed a very self-centered personalized message.  And while she also blamed LSB viciously - but w/o any hint or  actual verification of how things are their faults and responsibilities, but  she said this a few times ea day. 

Strange, but true words, emanating from KPFK of the infighting of groups - programmer vs. LSB vs. etc. . If might also have gone on other days but this is not a favorite regular program I listen to anyhow.

Many previous-sponsors don’t listen much to any [not many either ]  programs on KPFK any more either, as others have also said that  they don’t now. Many too have moved to NPR, yes, the stations that Alan, iPD -constantly berates and claims superiority to- - even tho they meet their budgets and don’t offend listeners either with their elitism nor with continual “fund-raising”, as it is called. We out here call it something else.   

Sad too that Nielsen noted  the loss of audiences too.  It must be for some reasons this is happening.

Sad too that there is not much that is  complimentary to write about KPFK now –so  I write what I observe, including when there is something positive there for me to report.  

Being in another world than those inside the radio station, I have always felt a distance, that seems deliberately erected and maintained, between us –us who are volunteer/donor/stakeholders and  those at KPFK - even when programmers or staff are in same space.

 This same separatist attitude from programmers to most volunteers – who don’t want a lot but a a small smile or nod - that would be friendly - as when both are in same room at same time. This rarely happens, even when working for free answering phones during money-drives.  

 It is  the unfriendliness emanating and defensiveness from all staff, not just from you, has continued. And not when they are ' doing programming' only, but also before and after too, when a gracious word or look would unite all who care and work for the station, then and there. 

If no one cares - that says how the separation by one side then reduces the responses of the others – others are  the mere volunteers.   Being a KPFK celebrity or assuming  that everyone wants to talk/touch them may not be the actuality, tho that may be the reasons most staff/ programmers use for the separating-social-walls. 

This wall erected speaks to the continual break down of social relations and elitism or possessiveness or whatever is secretly thought by those who "work" at the station - separated carefully from everyone else - the volunteers, donors, supporters. 

All that separation that  ‘no one cares’ that happens -- to alienate and reduce the connections between stakeholders and everyone ‘working’ at KPFK  --has brought us also to this, not just money incoming. They all ‘go together’. Even Watts said so.

I learned long ago in trainings  that I just do my ‘50%” and the rest is not my responsibility. I say and offer what I do and whatever happens over there - others’ reactions of any kind or none apparent - are not mine to take on or worry about. All these words, thoughts, concerns and reporting is on me, my part. And if anyone else cares, i can do nothing to create that part.     

so may you - an affected programmer - may slip and slide and fight and argue and balk and let-go and threaten and smile or whatever fits … as this whole shebang slips into………..

thanks for the good work you have been doing- so far, and for so long  - and if it is not the same or as much -  or if at all, that will be “ok too”, as all else is too.   good luck.! "
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(c) 2015  mj

1 comment:

  1. "such as when Adelman had a suit against Pacifica for wanting to steal parts off…" Lydia Brazon was also a plaintiff. And Dan Siegel the attorney. That suit was a shameless power grab. There was no evidence. It was a phony, ginned up, professional p.r. campaign to get rid of the board and give Amy Goodman her show. Unlike now with the revelation of KPFA Foundation. And empower some of the bad actors presently running the PNB (into the ground).