I am Tom Voorhees, a member of UnitedForCommunityRadio.org. and a candidate for the KPFA local station board (LSB).
I will work to restore the former high level of KPFA’s news and public affairs programming necessary for all of us listeners to understand critical issues requiring our attention and action. KPFA’s longstanding policy has been to sponsor vigorous debate from all viewpoints, on controversial issues. Current management policy, by contrast, appears to avoid controversial issues via censorship. It has refused to air at least one program because of content. I am very concerned about the dumbing down of my hometown radio station by existing KPFA management and the current local station board majority.
An example of KPFA’s dumbing down is the partial replacement of FSRN grassroots national and international news by Feature Story News, a provider of mainstream news to commercial radio stations. Recently KPFA management and the LSB majority have chosen not to identify on air the source of news dispatches from FSN and other commercial news networks. The KPFA program council, representing listeners of all colors and local community interests, was eliminated. The program council needs to be reestablished for KPFA to be truly responsive to the overall Bay Area listener community.
For two years management has neglected to apply for millions of dollars in CPB grants, resulting in severe financial stress and degraded news content. I will work to restore the proper financial auditing so this funding can be regained.
I intend to restore KPFA and Pacifica’s important role in ending self perpetuating endless wars around the world.
I started in community radio through journalism and radio shop at El Cerrito High School. I was an engineering volunteer at KPFA in the 1960s. In the 1970s I assisted the startup of the Ink Works movement printers’ collective in Oakland. In the 1980s I was an engineering consultant to the Sandinista civil infrastructure for radio broadcasting and hydroelectric power in Nicaragua. In 1999 I was one of the organizers of the first independent media center as part of the WTO resistance in Seattle. Independent media centers now exist all over the world.
In recent years as an engineering volunteer, I have assisted many new community radio stations to get on air, with most becoming Pacifica affiliates. Recent on-air successes include KFFR in Colorado, KRFP, KDPI and KRBX in Idaho, WVQR on Vieques and Culebra islands in Puerto Rico, KHOI in Iowa, and KSJU in Washington State. As a result I was voted 2014 volunteer of the year by the National Association of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) membership.
Having been a community radio and alternative media startup activist most of my life, I promise to find a way to make KPFA and all five Pacifica stations financially viable again.
Endorsements (among many):
Michael Parenti, author
Joe Wanzala, former LSB/PNB member.
Veterans for Peace, East Bay Chapter #162
Marilyn Langlois, Richmond Planning Commissioner
Bruce Dixon, managing editor at Black Agenda Report