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Contact Karina Stenquist
Listener Candidate
for the KPFA Local Station Board
Greetings, KPFA listeners! I'm Karina Stenquist and I'm asking for your vote -- for myself and for my Rescue-Pacifica allies. As KPFA enters its 71st year, we aim to ensure that the station remains a vital, innovative source of news, music and more. In addition to journalists and political activists, our talented candidates also include a radio-transmitter engineer and an actress / voice-over artist. Read more about us at

With the concentration of media into fewer and fewer hands than ever before, the need for independent, community-controlled broadcasting is greater than ever. Media outlets like KPFA offer the people of Northern California information they can't get from corporate-sponsored outlets that keep reproducing the same old story lines.

I'm a Bay Area native who grew up in Kensington, proud daughter of a public school teacher. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2002 with an interdisciplinary degree focusing on political theory, and also have an MA in Broadcast Journalism and Public Affairs from American University. I've done freelance writing and video production during several years living in Spain, and worked in RT network's Washington newsroom.

In Washington, D.C. I stepped out of grad school and into political action during the Occupy movement: helping to produce a print newspaper, and teaching people how to report on their communities. Back in the Bay and active in the Democratic Socialists of America, I'm currently working as a bartender (as AOC knows, it's better than polling for understanding people's concerns!).

After living away from California for 12 years, I've appreciated community media like KPFA helping me re-acquaint myself with what is happening around the Bay. If elected to the Local Station Board, I will do my best to ensure that KPFA remains a community-focused institution: that means the airwaves must be open to the many, not limited to the few. Media must be for kids, for elders - for listeners, and storytellers, from all walks of life - rather than being limited to a special class of "professionals." KPFA's First Voice Apprenticeship Program epitomizes that commitment to a diversity of voices.

My involvement in Occupy, and in DSA, also taught me the importance of practicing democracy, not merely talking about it. Every day, we see the ill effects of concentrated power, especially executive power. The most important decisions at KPFA -- what programs to air -- should be subject to thoroughly democratic processes, including the return of KPFA's Program Council.

For a community to organize, to grow, to fight, to learn, it needs to hear itself; it needs media that reflects the conversations on the ground, not just in the halls of power. We need to hear our neighbors, our students, our houseless, our struggling, our champions, our scholars. But we can't trust corporate media to reach out to parts of our community that are locked in battle against corporate powers. If you agree, please support the Rescue Pacifica candidates, to ensure a dynamic and independent media outlet for the Bay Area.
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?
  In addition to experience producing media abroad during my time in Spain, I have a master's in broadcast journalism from American University, as well as 3 years experience in newsrooms in DC. My work as a teacher has always informed my view that good media is educational, even when it purports to entertain, and that an audience (as with students) need to see themselves reflected in and involved in the material you present or produce. More than anything else, bartending has taught me how to connect with almost anyone, given me an ear to the ground wherever I've lived, and especially tunes me into the concerns and questions of working people from all walks of life. I'm also active in the Democratic Socialists of America where I've learned a lot about how internal democratic dynamics shape an organization's character. I'm also fluent in Spanish.
2. What do you appreciate and value in the station's current operations?
  It's so Bay Area! It doesn't shy away from the quirky, it's not over-concerned with being mainstream, there's a recognition that media isn't just some neutral force that exists in a void: it comes from a place, with a perspective, or many perspectives.
3. What would you like to see improved or changed in the station's current operations?
  As almost any long-standing media outlet does: it needs to adapt to changing listening patterns and habits as our lives become more digital and less analog. KPFA already makes itself accessible in digital platforms for current listeners but could maybe improve it's connections with listeners who haven't yet discovered it by pushing out more, engaging more on social media and irl to build listenership outside those who are already dedicated long-time supporters. Expansion into video content would be a great step on this path.
4. Describe what you anticipate would be your top three priorities or areas of focus if you were elected to the local station board.
  First, I think internal democratic dynamics are a key part of making sure KPFA stays robust and relevant. Finding ways to keep programming open and connected to community, while not sacrificing operational integrity is key to making sure KPFA has the strength to stay a unique and independent Bay Area resource. Second, of course any media outlet wants to expand audience, but if KPFA is to remain true to its roots and mission it should seek to do this by building community connections: involving more voices from local organizations and people particular to our lives and politics, not rehashing newswire stories. Third, since producing that unique local media takes a lot of work - and since so much of that work at KPFA is done by unpaid staff, we need to make sure that they are valued and heard and empowered in all aspects of station operations.
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?
  Transparency and timely budgets and reporting are a prerequisite for any serious assessment of the station's financial footing. As is a commitment toremaining free of corporate donations. Once those priorities are firmly in place, seriously dedicated research into the stations options can go forward. Accepting corporate money, and the chilling effects that would likely have on the unique voice of the station and its programming would be a counter-productive step in the long run, diluting the station's most valuable asset: it's unique, grassroots, independent character.
6. Is there anything else you would like prospective voters to know?
  My playlists are jumping between a lot of Rosalía and Sturgill Simpson these days, I'm diving into Wendy Brown's Undoing the Demos, and my fave cocktail to make is, fittingly, The Last Word. :)
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