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My name is Roberta Eidman. I am a Progressive.

Professionally, I was a Healthcare IT consultant with a Master in Public Health from UCLA. For several years, I taught Adult Ed at LAUSD in the Older Adults and ESL programs.

Los Angeles is a diverse community of social justice and political activists. We care about environment, education, health and culture. Given the state of corporate media, Los Angeles must have a high-quality and reliable media source for the type of content Progressives and independent thinkers like KPFK subscribers demand. Unfortunately, KPFK is struggling to be that outlet.

Listeners are flipping the dial; never-ending fund drives frustrate even loyalists. Reliance on steroidal premiums is undermining our success; worse, we are not reliably fulfilling those premiums. We are close to broke. Conditions are worse than in 2012 when I first stepped forward to run for the Local Station Board. As we know, KPFK’s 2012 election failed due to lack of quorum. That is ominous.

In 2015, change could come. With new faces, less factionalism and greater flexibility a fresh start is possible. We can begin by treating each other with respect and professionalism. As a board member, I’d emphasize revenue, ethical and staff concerns. This is needed if we want to win back subscribers, grants and state funding. If Bylaws need review, we should review them.

Programming and ratings are problematic. Evidence suggests KPFK is falling behind in its mission to reach the public. Ratings are not published, but clearly subscriptions are down, and falling. There are many robust discussions as to schedules and placements. The public is letting us know: Ideology alone doesn’t create engaging. As a board member, I would hold station management and on-air hosts accountable for ratings, subscriber retention and listener feedback. Without that discipline, KPFK could fold.

Optional Questions (push the plus sign to see the answers)

In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?
There are excellent programs in the area of current events and politics.

The morning grid – Amy Goodman/Sonali Kolhatkar/Lila Garrett – and Ian Masters shows are all viewed enthusiastically by listeners I speak with. I don’t question the need for diverse voices, although I do question the schedule slots reserved for less popular, less professional shows. Evenings and drive time slots should go to the shows with the strongest audience and most robust fundraising. Sunday music programs have been popular for years – I would review how they are functioning in ratings and subscriber response.

In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?
No Response.

What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station’s mission?
I have many years of management consulting, time on the ground seeing how even solid organizations can go off the rails if they do not evolve and grow.

As a past Board Member of AIDS Project Los Angeles (6 years) I understand the obligations of governance, budgeting, event planning and fundraising. I was a charter member of Westside Progressives and authored its newsletter for several years. I have been active putting together local events and actions, often focused on economic matters. I advocate for worker/owner coops and the need to preserve the public commons.

What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?
I’d push for transparency and professionalism in personnel matters, contracting and compliance with government and grant entities. I’d want to see KPFK pilot new approaches that will attract more sophisticated and tech-savvy demographics, I’d like to see a more engaging web presence and some edgier, artistic events. I’d try to give a meaningful slot to communications majors at our local colleges and universities. I’d like to give them room to experiment and maybe start their careers here at KPFK.

I like the idea of working closely cultural and artistic communities. KPFK should be a vortex for things that are fun and stimulating. I’d like for the station to become a career starting place for local talent in several sectors. Wouldn’t it be great if future notables could point to their years at KPFK much like comics point to their start at the Groundlings?

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