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Contact Devon G. Peña
Listener Candidate for the KPFK Local Station Board
The pathway to a model of radio as commons in service to community autonomy will require a board that is able to confront what are essentially the results of neoliberal attacks on all institutions of collective action and the violence of financial capitalism. This includes the tendency to adopt programming designed to appeal to the more narrow interests of wealthier patrons or repeat donors and more frequent and longer fundraising campaigns which eat up radio time. These are effects of the media/digital divide.

We are unaccustomed to thinking about the radio spectrum as a common property regime (CPR). It has been thought of and managed as a "public asset" rather than as a CPR. This has allowed creeping privatization of the sources of funding for so-called public radio just as has happened with our public universities and other vital sources of a wider range of citizen and alterNative knowledge and voices. Privatization has too often meant corporatization and this pressure is affecting public and independent radio stations like KPFK.

We need a board that can articulate and defend the radio spectrum as a CPR. The social science literature on radio as commons is vast and we need a board that understands this discourse and able to bridge the empirical and theoretical insights of this research to the voices and visions of those most marginalized by the neoliberal enclosure of the commons.

There are multiple pathways to the "re-commonization" of the radio spectrum and KPFK is strategically situated to be a profoundly influential and effective leader in such a movement.
Answers to Candidate Questionnaire
1. What experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the local station board to advance the station's mission?
  While I have never served on a board from the communications sector, I have served on numerous boards since the 1990s including the Council for Responsible Genetics, the Executive Committee of the 2nd National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit (Environmental Justice Summit, 2002), Food First, The Acequia Institute, Community Foundation of the San Luis Valley, Alianza Milpa, Indigenous Seed Keepers Network, and others.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  Programs like "Somos del Maiz" are suggestive of the types of programming that merit expansion because (1) these involve BIPOC producers, hosts, and guests; (2) focus on issues that are relevant and of concern to marginalized listeners including food sovereignty, the non-GMO struggle, climate justice, farm workers' struggles, Indigenous community struggles, etc.; and (3) have the potential to expand the donor community by including important members of the social finance community and other allies who understand the need to "decolonize wealth" as T. Villanueva has persuasively argued.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  Serving on the board will provide me with the information and knowledge needed to answer operational questions in any meaningful manner. I will defer for now.
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  1. A major priority would be expanding the podcasts produced and hosted by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ persons and groups;
2. Developing podcast themes focused on topics of concern to BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized listener communities such as food sovereignty (e.g., imagine a podcast hosted by some one like Luz Calvo of "Decolonize your Diet" fame), field reports from the frontlines of the environmental and climate justice movements, the rise of the "Motherworks" healing movement in resistance to obstetric violence; the rebuilding of the commons, the celebration of non-binary subjectivities and struggles for justice and equality (e.g., the Muxe in Oaxaca, Two-Spirit Pueblo in USA, etc.). Expanding coverage of the environmental and climate justice and food sovereignty movements.
3. Working to expand the permanent endowment via a strategy of outreach to the "social finance" community and funders receptive to "decolonizing wealth." This will require a decolonizing and indigenizing approach to KPFK programming that can be supported by this emergent donor movement.
5. Sustainability is an important part of any nonprofit operation. What are your thoughts on how the board can help to improve the station's financial footing?
  Again, I must mostly defer for now until, should I be elected, I gain access to the information and knowledge required for a sound approach to these vital issues. However, based on a review of the KPFK audits, the endowment, although stable, would benefit from a more aggressive push for new donors including those willing to make program-related investments to add to the permanent endowment. PRIs can include a combination of grants and loans and a growing number of funders are willing to arrange the loan part at zero percent interest with a payback schedule based on the organizations revenue rather than a set amount; this can help reduce the violence of financing practices.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  In am a lifelong activist scholar in the environmental and food justice movements. I am a tenured full professor at the Univ. of Washington but live and work out of my farm in Colorado's San Luis Valley on Nu Chuu-Dine-Tiwa ancestral territories. I am also a biodynamic farmer at The Acequia Institute's 181-acre acequia (communal irrigation ditch) farm which is managed under a conservation easement for open space, wildlife habitat, ecological restoration, and preservation of Indigenous agro-ecosystems and traditional native crops. The Acequia Institute, TAI (founded in 2005), has a solid record of grant-making, scholarships, and fellowships supporting the environmental justice and food sovereignty movements and has a significant endowment and net assets exceeding $1.3 million. TAI is the Northern Branch of Alianza Milpa and is the fiscal agent and grant-maker for $85,000 in annual funding to support Indigenous food sovereignty in Canada and the United States.
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