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Contact Mark Berlin
Listener Candidate for the KPFK Local Station Board
I grew up listening to KPFK. Back in the fifties, when I was four or five my father had the station on all the time and I really enjoyed the folk-music programming. During the Vietnam war era, KPFK was an invaluable source of information for on-going events that you couldn't get anywhere else. Currently, as right-wing news media has gone off the rails and so called progressive outlets are constrained by corporate funding, KPFK provides critical information that is simply not available anywhere else. I find Amy Goodman, Ian Masters, and Sonali Kolhatkar to be particularly informative.
I have to believe that given a chance non-corporate evidence based programming will prevail and fill an increasingly vital role in our community. I appreciate that KPFK and Pacifica face many challenges at the moment. We can't let these badly needed resources succumb to hate radio and "alternative facts". As a Board member I will do everything possible to help make KPFK better known, increasingly relevant to the Los Angeles listener community, and better funded so that the station cannot only survive, but thrive. This is quite personal to me. KPFK is part of my soul. I bring to KPFK 30 years of experience with several different Unitarian Universalist congregations as a Board member were I either helped with or lead several successful fundraising efforts. I have also been involved with membership and adult program development. My day time job as an engineer includes Program Management where I am responsible for the nuts and bolts of scheduling and budgeting. I am also responsible for developing and marketing innovative ideas. These skills blend detail oriented work with out-of-the-box thinking, both of which will help make me an effective Board member.
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?
  I have been on the Board of Trustees for several different Unitarian Universalist congregations over the past 30 years. This has including either helping with fundraising efforts or leading successful fund drives. I have also been on membership and adult program development committees. My day job is in engineering including program management with budget and scheduling responsibilities. Like KPFK, UU congregations are continuously challenged to maximize relevance to the communities that they serve, bring in new members, and develop effective fund-raising.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  I have been a KPFK listener for most of my life and highly value non-corporate programming as a truly rare and unique way to stay informed. This source of information has become increasingly critical in the last few years where right-wing media has gone off the rails and so called progressive outlets are very obviously constrained in what they can say due to corporate backing and lack of investment in investigative reporting. When is the last time that MSNBC suggested that the military budget be reduced by 50% or that some other alternative to our current kleptocratic economic system might actually be viable?
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  Periodic fund drives are the price to be paid for non-corporate programming. Over the years, KPFK has always been challenged to bring in desired amounts of revenue, but over the last 5 to 10 years, the situation has apparently become increasingly dire. The Board clearly needs to help with promoting what KPFK has to offer in more effective ways to a larger community.
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) Making the value of KPFK better known to a larger listening audience with corresponding recommendations for changing programming to better align with community needs
2) More effective fundraising
3) More transparent governance
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?
  More effective and creative use of social media. Improving the KPFK website. Increasing connections and adjusting programming to be better aligned with current and emerging progressive movements that already have a better media footprint then KPFK.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  Running for the Board is my way of giving back for several decades of being a KPFK listener. Loss of KPFK to the greater Los Angeles media mix would be a tragedy for our community and at the personal level would break my heart. We all want to change the world and we all bring different perspectives on how to do this. The key challenge for KPFK and Pacifica is to leverage those differences for the common good putting aside to the degree possible the petty politics that too often divide well intentioned progressive political groups. If elected to the Board, I will work hard to understand diverse viewpoints and hope to help formulate innovative and effective solutions to our challenges so that KPFK and the sister Pacifica stations can become the strong media outlets that they need to be.
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