After discovering KPFA in the early 1990s, I took the News Department training class... and soon wound up hosting the Sunday news. I stayed with that program for 20 years. Today I produce the Project Censored Show, and the Poor News segment of Hard Knock Radio. I'm glad to work on these programs, because for me they exemplify what KPFA should be about – covering stories that the corporate media ignore or distort. To KPFA's credit, there are many other shows that pursue this same purpose, each in its own way.
And, of course, the music: Jazz, Reggae, Soul, Funk, Gospel and more – where but KPFA could all these be found at one station?
But (despite its many fine programs) in some ways KPFA has been standing still, or even regressing. A few examples: the labor show was canceled, there's no LGBT show, and only one hour a week dedicated to Northern California's huge Asian communities. With radio being challenged as never before by new media, KPFA can't afford to do anything less than its best.
And we need to remain true to KPFA's heritage as the place for voices of peace, even when (especially when) the commercial media are spouting militarism. Demonizing another country is the usual prelude to an invasion, an air attack, an assassination, or other belligerent action. There should be no place for it on KPFA. As Chris Hedges says, "the greatest evil is war."
Another big loss: our vehicle for representative decision-making about programming – the Program Council – was dissolved by a previous management, more than a decade ago, and has never been restored. I believe, however, that KPFA needs more democracy, not less. The generosity of listeners, and the donated labor of unpaid staff, are the ingredients that make KPFA what it is. At a community radio station, the subscribers, and we staff, are entitled to a voice in what goes on-air.
The Local Station Board's powers are relatively limited, but for now it's the only representative institution we have at KPFA. Listeners and staff need an LSB that respects them! Please vote for Anthony Fest as your staff rep to the LSB. Thank you!