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Contact Thomas Lord
Listener Candidate for the KPFA Local Station Board
Statement
Please vote for me if you believe KPFA faces difficult challenges related to the Pacifica Network's debt and would like to see a hard-working local station board that can push for focusing more on the geographically local community, focusing more on the climate emergency, and on developing an expanded audience by replacing purchased syndicated programs with local talent.

My responses to the online candidate questionnaire expand on what I am trying to convey here.

In my previous experience as an appointed City of Berkeley commissioner (the Housing Advisory Commission) I learned the value of being patient, resolute, and hard-working. I also learned how to take my lumps and keep working when my views did not prevail. I am energized by collegial engagement and cooperation on hard problems to which no one individual has a perfect solution. And I commit myself to not bowing to lazy, corrupt, or simply withering inaction by an elected or appointed board.

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 am a decent, if unconventional, communicator. I listen to
people and read with great care in areas where I am there to
do work. I put in many hours on the job when I volunteer for
roles such as this.

I have experience as a former Housing Commissioner for the
City of Berkeley.

I have some experience from my high school years hosting a
radio program and operating my own board. It was a licensed,
modest wattage transmitter with a broadcast radius of perhaps
10 miles on a good day. I did a Sunday morning show of
eclectic orchestral, chamber, and avant garde music, mainly
focused on 20th century composers. (I'm sure my program was
every bit as good as you would expect from a
knows-very-little high school kid who got to join the radio
club.)

I do not bring "connections", and consider the question an
invitation to corruption.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  The studios, the building designed around and for them, appear
to be a gem that was built with talented love and is kept from
utter decay with talent and love. There are obvious signs of
wear and under-investment -- the harms of which are dealt with
intelligently, at least. This is nothing that can't be
restored and brought forward to the present if the station's
revenue can be improved.

There are very few programs I'm not inclined to listen to yet
even those few programs I switch away from seem to me like
something that some people would likely greatly appreciate.

As I think about the question, I newly realize how much I
appreciate the brief news updates throughout the day. Hard
Knock Radio, Flashpoints, and The Evening News are often
rewarding.

If I could only take the ability to listen to one show to a
desert island, I would cheat and call three shows a single:
The Bonnie Simmons and Hear and Now shows with the History of
Funk sitting in and joined by the Gospel Experience Across the
Great Divide.... I guess that's more than three.

3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  The facilities will benefit if revenues are improved.

I am sad to say that in recent years it feels to me like much
of the daytime content, while often quite useful or at least
interesting, nevertheless has fallen into a tone and focus of
attention that seems strained, overly-insistent, and
vicariously uncomfortable. There is no sense, any longer,
that something big and socially potent is happening inside the
KPFA community and then being reflected and projected out into
the broadcasts. Rather -- it feels more stifled, scattered,
and nervous. Sign of the times, I'm sure.

I am disappointed by a growing reliance on syndicated shows
purchased elsewhere, especially with cliched content such
as Ralph Nader and Richard Wolff. Those shows aren't
representative of the modern left, never mind the radical left.
They are mainly promotional opportunities for the hosts' side
businesses.

The station's coverage of marxian perspectives tends to be
trapped in "gee whiz, what is marxism" mode rather than
offering marxian analysis of current events, particularly
various social and ecological crises and what to do about
them.

Coverage of the climate emergency is wildly inadequate.

There is too little community-based and local content - too
much reliance on providing national news or local news of
national relevance for syndication elsewhere.

It is in some sense as if the station has lost any clear idea
of who is their "community" in "community supported radio".

Lastly, it is puzzling why, in spite of having such
facilities, the station's multi-media presence online and its
web site are so behind the times. The facilities can be used
to produce and publish online-only audio content, video
content, and writing. Expanding audience, relevance, impact,
and revenue suggests the station must work hard to improve in
these directions.


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) Coping with whatever the outcome of the by-laws vote
happens to be.

(2) Improving programming and online presence as described
above.

(3) Promoting a greater emphasis on the local community,
trying to involve more people in the station meant to serve
them.

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?
  The fund-drive goals are SO LOW that it suggests the station has mostly lost
touch with the geographically local community. The bland NPR-ization that seems
to be creeping through KPFA news and the lack of local community participation
or adequate coverage of local government may have something to do with that.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  Non sibi ("not for one's self"). If elected my aim is to
benefit the people by listening, advancing creative reforms,
and generally trying to help people do good.

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