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Contact M. Kay Williams
Listener Candidate for the WBAI Local Station Board
Statement
At first, I wasn't sure I should apply to be on the WBAI board because I am a remote listener (via internet streaming). I lived in NYC for 23 years and was a loyal listener/sponsor of WBAI for 15 of those years and have continued being a friend of WBAI remotely, contributing monthly (when I can) or yearly. I am so tired of combatting the anti-democratic forces in Pacifica, I decided perhaps I am the right candidate for this board.
A little more about me. I was born and educated K thru 12 in Oklahoma. I went to Wellesley College on scholarship, graduating the same year as Hillary Rodham Clinton. I was one of two Wellesley graduates who went into union organizing, working in factories. I first started listening to BAI in the early 70's when I was a Physician's Assistant student at Long Island University. It helped me get through the long nights of studying! I became a PA and worked at hospitals in NYC for 13 years. Subsequently, I obtained my Masters of Public Health degree at Columbia University and worked at a refugee camp in Thailand. I came back to Oklahoma to help my parents who were having financial and health difficulties in the 1990's. I worked in Oklahoma another 21 years as a PA. I have stayed because we (my partner from New York) inherited a house here, and it's affordable on our retirement income. I also felt it was my karma to try to do something about the dismal politics here.
I was elected chair of the Free Speech Radio Alliance in the 1980's, which started out an organization of listeners 200 strong. I was recommended for this position due to my activities in the Coalition to Save Sydenham Hospital. I also organized a tour of health trade unionists from Nicaragua, in the 1980's. I did the fundraising and arranged speaking engagements for them on the eastern seaboard and in NYC. Here in Oklahoma I've been secretary of my county Democratic Party. We have had some successes through citizen petitions, if not through the ballot box. Got medical marijuana, expansion of Medicaid, and some criminal justice reform. Presently, I'm working to overturn a bill which legalizes vehicular homicide against protesters! I have been continuously politically active since the 1967 March on the Pentagon. I tend to be a pragmatist. While I may wish something will work, I understand what it takes to work in coalition with people of many different opinions and experience to actually get something done. Please contact me at katherinewill@earthlink.net if any questions. My official first name is Matilda, but most people call me by my nickname, which is Kay.
Sincerely, M. Kay Williams


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 chaired a listener group in the 1980's called the Free Speech Radio Alliance, which opened the WBAI board to listener participation, which had been closed since some other struggle in the 1970's. So I am intimately (sometimes painfully) aware of all the "sides" involved in radio programming.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  Free speech radio! The freedom of producers includes not only the content of radio programs, but the form. WBAI has been a pioneer in both and this freshness should be preserved. Not every type of radio needs to follow the same formats. At the same time, WBAI serves multiple communities, and many voices need representation.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  Better responsiveness to listener/sponsors emails and phone messages. It has taken four months or more to get someone's attention to changes in bank information, and then I had to prove my membership in order to vote. Fortunately, I save all that financial stuff, so I was able to do this. Better financial accountability.
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. First you listen: to the listeners, the staff, the Local Board members, and Pacifica officials.
2. Then you discuss with people you come to trust through this process, and recruit reliable volunteers.
3. Then you work hard!
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?
  Well, as I said above, persons responsible for tracking donations etc. need to account for their time. Should be checking voicemails and emails on a regular basis and responding. Need to plan some community events to publicize WBAI's existence. For example, Kevin Durant is a very popular NBA star now playing in Brooklyn. Interview him on the air. Get his endorsement, maybe even appear at a fundraiser for BAI. Just an example. Need to research other celebrities in New York who can help. I'm sure there are many. In the old days, there was Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, etc. There are new ones who would appeal to younger generations.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  No doubt, there will be a learning curve for me, and I will have to be participating in meetings remotely. I have learned I am one of two candidates who will have to do this. However, I've been known to meet challenges, do the research, put in the energy necessary. I never take on responsibilities I don't intend to fulfill to the best of my ability. I also am retired, so I have plenty of time. I have friends in New York and would be delighted to travel there if necessary, now that travel is safer. (I'm fully vaccinated!)
If not elected, I still want to help plan some fundraisers in NYC/Brooklyn for BAI.
I endorse and encourage everyone to also vote for the following candidates:

Ms Scottye Battle
Priscilla Cancar
Stephanie Byers
Benjamin Garron-Caine
James Dingeman
John Hoffmann
Katherine O’Sullivan
Matthew Reiss
Michael White
M. Kay Williams
Bruce Grief
Joseph Graziose
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