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Hello!! I’m Dr. Thomas Halle. My involvement with KPFK-Pacifica Radio has spanned four decades. What first attracted me to the station was its distinctive atmosphere: keenly activist, experimental and egalitarian (with plenty of collaborative and volunteer spirit). Unusual arts and humor programming, too. In recent years, I can boast of solid participation in LSB and CAB functions…and “Grassroots” activism. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen me at many of the KPFK-related events.

You may remember my work in the KPFK News through the years…as well as my candidacy during the last–-FAILED—LSB election. During that election, I appeared during two Town Hall on-air panel discussions (and, arguably, “held my own” as we covered a number of critical issues).

Alternative, Activist—even RADICAL–Community based radio is what KPFK is all about, yet too often—in recent times—we’ve dramatically DROPPED THE BALL!! What are some key problem areas?

Countless financial irregularities, in conjunction with an absence of station transparency. Resultant loss of CPB funding. Never-ending hemorrhaging of money somewhere.

A prevailing tone of bland “Neo-Liberalism,” frequently leaving unchallenged the detestable, even diabolical policies of Washington—perpetual wars, Orwellian propaganda, extraordinary rendition and torture, domestic surveillance, abuse of undocumented refugees, and treacherous “free trade” treaties (in violation of Constitution guarantees)…which have reflected a decidedly fascistic, imperialistic national character, and have decimated the American Labor movement. Has the station lost its soul?

Paid “strip programmers” monopolizing the KFPK Radio line-up, representing an impediment to fresh, innovative and more relevant and compelling programming content (and attracting new listener populations, and new revenue).

Station Management characteristically acting in a cavalier, autocratic and arbitrary fashion, with little regard for the input of listener-subscriber stakeholders, the CAB or even the LSB. Overall lackluster performance with a conspicuous lack of LEADERSHIP.

  1. Endless fund-drives, featuring SOME important content, but—too often—bearing the distinct character of “snake oil peddling” and dishonesty…which has spelled an erosion of our station credibility. Unquestionably, in light of our seriously imperiled financial status, bold new directions must be pursued, not the same old—and alienating—ones.
  2. Much of the station’s original experimental and staunchly rebellious spirit (and joyous atmosphere of camaraderie) seems to have evaporated, which represents a sad state of affairs. The recent out-sourcing of our phone room operation during fund-drives felt—to many–like the final “death knell” of this original and distinctive spirit.

Our Local Station Board (LSB)—along with the Community Advisory Board (CAB)–must play a vigorous Partnership Role in realization of the Pacifica-KPFK “vision,” not merely function as a “rubber-stamp” for Station Management or the “status quo.”

Imagine a revitalized KPFK with vibrant new content, buoyantly rebellious and stimulating station environment, regular, ongoing training for prospective programmers and journalists, an actual Local News Department–proud of its transparency and accountability, and close links to the community. Radical, Relevant, Alternative Radio—which will not stomach the imperialist-corporate baloney coming out of Washington!!! (or anywhere else!!!).

Vote HALLE for the LSB!!

 

Optional Questions (push the plus sign to see the answers)


In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?
Recently, Ms. Leslie Radford ascended to the position of KPFK General Manager, a development I find very heartening. One can only hope she has the clout—and cajones—to make the sweeping changes necessary to render the station, once again, a vibrant and viable alternative radio outlet. Many would encourage her to act decisively in implementing a shift back to the historic “volunteer model” (one of Pacifica’s “core values”), and away from paid programmers.

Allegedly, much of the financial irregularity (and stalwart refusal of cooperation with the Finance Committee) stemmed from the incompetence of our last finance officer. His very belated replacement could be seen as a major step in the right direction. Somehow, sound financial practices and transparency are ALIEN concepts to Pacifica.

We witnessed a terrible decision of outsourcing our pledge-drive phone room operation, over the last few fund-drive cycles. This cost less than effective—and very costly move (to the tune of $100,000) was considered a stinging affront by our displaced volunteers—a key “station stakeholder” component. To finally see an installation of a volunteer—direct data input—system to replace this sad state of affairs has been encouraging. Hopefully we’ll also be able to retain an accounting company which will manage audits at less than the $60,000 price tag, recently quoted. Hopefully, we’ll also see a pattern of monies generated for the station remaining at our station, rather than being hemorrhaged off to other components of the Pacifica system (and possibly even to corruption)…along with other examples of enhanced station autonomy. We also have seen KPFK events which were poorly planned…as the Nokia event, which meant a loss of some $50,000, which we could hardly afford.

Our last GM seemed to exhibit a degree of honesty—and receptivity to new forms of marketing the station—in view of a dwindling, and aging, listenership–which I found refreshing, yet I would emphasize that a train and bus ad campaign might well be the best way to accomplish this, rather than an expensive freeway digital billboard. He was also honest enough to admit that our financial situation was DIRE.


In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?
KPFK-FM has a glorious past, full of vibrant programming and ideals..and consistent with the original, Lew Hill, Pacifica Radio Mission Statement. Compelling “core values” of terrific importance, to which–hopefully–we will be able to return.

What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission?
1. More than twenty years of professional experience as a Holistic Practitioner.
2. Forty years of involvement with the station (and as an opponent of war and imperialism).
3. Early work as KPFK News producer and journalist, as well as “board operator” (with a FCC “First Class Ticket”)
4. Phone room work during fund-drives on countless occasions.
5. Dependable, ongoing involvement with the CAB and LSB (and “Grassroots” activity) over the last ten years.
6. Critical thinking.
7. Willingness to serve on a program guest “vetting board,” in view of some very questionable guests featured by program hosts—particularly during fund-drives.
8. Willingness to confront station Management and the PNB over ill-conceived behavior and policies, in strong support for effective, participatory governance, and in opposition to entrenched power groups–and arrogance.
9. Robust support for Station Volunteers, the “life-blood” of the station.

What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?

  1. Eminently professional scrutiny of finances by national and local finance officers toward insuring that the “lion’s-share” of monies generated by individual stations remains at those stations, and elimination of unnecessary waste and corruption. We eventually lost CPB underwriting because of significant financial irregularities, which represents a sad state of affairs. Pacifica Radio has suffered from this “Achilles heel” over the decades. Refusal of the LSB to routinely “rubber stamp” budget proposals (which often feature missing documentation and mysterious entries). FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY (with accountability and general integrity) should be our watchword.
  1. Immediate rescinding/revoking of the “Democracy Now” agreement, based on an “unconscionable contract” (unreasonable terms and absence of ratification by the entire PNB, required by Board bylaws), and renegotiation of same.
  2. New forms of station marketing, such as bus and train ads, absolutely essential because of dwindling–and ageing–listenership.
  1. A shift from the current paid programmer model back to the original volunteer programmer model, saving tens of thousands of dollars every fiscal year.
  1. Openness to major scheduling changes, aimed at bringing in new, innovative and youth-oriented program content (designed to beef-up our listener-membership numbers and generate additional revenue).

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