SAVE THE AUDIENCE FIRST!
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From an auditor's report for 2010-2011 - - "As discussed in Note 19, certain conditions indicate that the Foundation may not be able to continue as a going concern. The accompanying financial statements do not include any adjustments to the financial statements that might be necessary should the Foundation be unable to continue as a going concern."
Did I misunderstand the meaning of this audit when I read it two years ago? Please tell me that this is all a bad dream. Surely there's a reasonable explanation. Why do we live, listen in the dark? Connect the dots.
I'm aware that it costs a lot of money to run a radio station. I also know from personal experience that fund drives destroy the listener-subscriber audience.
I propose that KPFK take these steps as soon as possible and place income and expenses on the station's Internet pages:
The station needs surplus funds for unforeseen operation expenses, of course.
The Pacifica Foundation requires close scutiny on an ongong basis.
So meet operation expenses and save money for the transmitter first, then station hardware and software. I call this "biting the bullet." So as operational needs arise, pay for them without demanding money from listener-sponsors. Stop threatening the audience.
In the end, KPFK, Pacifica, has no bankers to claim "too big too fail." (return)
So that's why I want to serve on the board. To save the station by fiscal restraint. Whether or not I or anyone else can help make needed changes remains doubtful, in my opinion. Entrenched bureaucracies have a way of becoming self-absorbed while losing sight of their mission; many times "growth" becomes their social security, their mind set.
I'm about fiscal responsibility and accountability for KPFK. Fiscal transparency translates into KPFK's money handlers honoring their fiduciary responsibility to listener sponsors. Personalities, programs, and staffing have little interest to me over against the primacy of transparency and accountability.
This is what I'm saying:
KFPK spends more money than it takes in, obviously. In the last decade this trend has grown to threaten its existence. The station's listener subscribers die of old age and they leave no replacements; it's like a species going extinct. Younger audiences find their way to the dominant media, the corporate media, and become loyal consumers of corporate info news and consumerism ideologies.
More, handheld gadgets hold audience loyalty far beyond Pacifica's wildest dreams. This trend will continue to encompass a growing hoard of one-dimensional minds. They won't listen let alone contribute.
Our colleges and universities graduate technology graduates for this electronic age; the number of social science and humanities students prone to a KPFK message of education, social justice, and peace finds fewer listener sponsors. High school graduates will not fill the void with their textbook knowledge unless their parents instilled a love of knowledge, analysis, and critical thinking.
We no longer have a draft as we did during the Vietnam war. No single historical period in the history of Pacifica recruited more listener subscribers than this one historical moment. Some remained and the station prospered, but momentarily, overall.
For certain, most of us have lost income over the last decades. Young people now go into a labor market gutted by Reagonomics' attack on union jobs. The union wages that made the housing boom possible after World War II no longer exist. In fact, much of the technology of those years disappeared.
If anyone dreams of trade union organizing they might as well dream of golden eggs.
Then there's the corporate flight to cheaper labor around the world. Vietnamese peasants work for pennies an hour making running shoes. Chinese workers live in dormitories above, below, and around their factories. In the United States, oligarch, bozo billionaires attack the state apparatus. The open society and humane government policies become victims of ideological attacks.
Meanwhile, The Pacifica Foundation plays some sort of magical accounting and wish-fulfillment as the open society loses this profound leap into the public airwaves. We risk losing this means of sharing humanism's contributions to humanity.
So, taken together, these are the short-term and long-term killer problems, any one a terminator of a listener-sponsored, free-speech radio station:
Small does not mean weak. Cut expenses dramatically. Save the audience first.
Pacifica, KPFK, must adapt for sustainability. To save KPFK, Pacifica, will take some close, frequent accounting and accountability.
Keep in mind, any corporate sponsorship, no matter how minor, kills Pacifica's independence.
I have no slate but for the SAVE KPFK slate, which I outline here. I'm open to criticism, of course. If I've learned anything from KPFK over the last four decades, it's the importance of criticism and self-criticism in an open society. Save KPFK now and we can save KPFK for future generations. They will probably need it even more than we do.
-- 42 years of listener sponsorship and a deep commitment to KPFK's survival as a free speech, listener-sponsored radio station for the Internet and the 7th Generation. I say, "Let a thousand KPFK's bloom. We need long-term and short-term projects to bring the next generation of the 99 percent to our station.
I hear commentators from the station and contributors ask subscribers to persevere, to save KPFK by sending in more money, but to where, to whom, for what? "The wolf's at the door."
Meanwhile, KPFK's got a monkey on its back and it's been there for over 20 years as best as I can tell. Like any junky, it's in denial of the obvious. On their own, KPFK, Pacifica, have no way to stop abusing subscribers' money and trust.
To save KPFK means cutting pledge drives to a bare minimum for sustainability of the airwaves. I say, "no" to frivolous unrelated expenses. To save KPFK means transparency, accountability, and no more stupid contract negotiations and attorneys.
After all, "KPFK is all we have." And that is the point of this writing. KPFK is too important to run without transparency and accountability in matters of station finance, material, personnel, and operations. As important, the great sums of money paid out by Pacifica for inapt general managers, malfeasance, and who knows what else continue and will continue until one or two events come to exist.
Either Pacifica (KPFK) harness its expenses and displays updated accounting outcomes for all to see, and cuts spending to coinside with its supporters' donations, or its suicidal march to oblivion means the end to this wonderful threat to imperial capital. We cannot continue abusing chase our listener-sponsors' loyalty with fund drives. Reverse course now.
Within my first minutes as a KPFK listener, I became a subscriber. Mike Hodel from KPFK's Hour 24 science fiction program convinced me that I had found something akin to free-speech radio.
So when he said, "Send us your money, dam it!", I called and pledge $13.00. I have never regretted this relationship. A love for free-speech, radio news committed to facts, and radio programmers committed to their fields of expertise and critical thinking created a deep emotional bond quickly.
Now, what follows came to serve as a reminder of the station's vulnerabilities.
I volunteered at the station as a "lifter-mover" to help move material to the second floor in the early 70s. That's when I learned that thieves came into the station and boldly walked away with typewriters while in plain view, as if they were working for the station. How many other times, how many other people had done the same and similar acts with fixed and liquid assets?
How many of these heists were planned from insiders and outsiders we can never know.
Some time later the station held a music festival. In those days the station held large fund raisers. They were neat, interesting, and I gather profitable.
In the mid-1970s, the station chose a location in Palos Verdes with a beautiful park for a music festival. This location must have promised a good return, but without four walls, it presented too many vulnerabilities to thieves.
Logistically it made zero sense. Audience members were transported by commercial bus from a dirt parking lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Up a steep hill the buses chugged and down they sped on return trips.
By the end of the fair, KPFK's staff and volunteers were sun-burned, worn out by the many hours of festival activity, preparation and unforeseen problems. Worse, the station operated with poor communications for this size of endeavor.
By the end of the festival, concession stands were left without legitimate attendees. Security no longer stood guard at an exit gate.
Unauthorized "volunteers" made their way into festival and the concessions. Young men moved in and worked these booths as their own. Volunteers had no way to know what was what by this time. By the end of the festival these men walked away with some of the booths' receipts and even beer kegs.
Discovery of this loss of social control arrived late in the program and by chance. A pickup truck used for trash removal led to staff's discovery of their predicament. Quickly they drove around gathering the cash boxes. I had also seen this problem first-hand, but I had no radio with which to alert staff. Either the audience thieves or the intruders taking advantage of an abandoned exit gate had their way. Without the pickup truck losses would have been greater.
I had gone from the status of a paying attendee to a volunteer. I volunteered because I could see and hear the tension and frustration among staff and volunteers. I overheard the parking lot problem.
A staff member invited me to work for pay cleaning up the festival grounds. I did so and worked for three days cleaning up trash, removing stages and furniture, and cleaning. I received a fair wage for my efforts. Sometimes I wonder if I made more than KPFK from this music festival.
I shudder to think of the thieves that made their way into the station over the years, authorized and unauthorized. It troubles me deeply that people affiliated with KPFK see it as a larder for their own self-enrichment, as a means to ends other than those originally envisioned by Lew Hill and others.
Now I hear staff clammoring for more and more money while fewer and fewer listener-sponsors exist.
Overall, my experiences at the station and then at music fair serves as a metaphor for the station's financial problems, in part. These problems have internal and external sources. One day we may be faced with capital's threat. What principals will save our station?
Now I see and I say, "Without significant changes, like transparency and accountability," we will lose KPFK, Pacifica, without an iron fist for fiscal control. Vote for me, Eddie Evans, and come back and see what I've written about my new experiences, for good or ill.
Again, see this auditor's report for 2010-2011.
1. The station spends more than it takes in. As a consequence it relies on increased pledge drives. Changing Pacifica bylaws to require open and accessible accounting would help to change this business pattern.
2. Asset security
I have no special knowledge or experience in radio, let alone free-speech radio. I speak and write as a devoted listener-subscriber, nothing else. We need to colonize the future with free speech KPFK can help, if we save it from its short-sighted helpers and attackers.
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