Saturday, August 27, 2016

CFO's report to the PNB--and more.

I picked up the following from Tracy Rosenberg:  PNB meeting last night. If you didn't hear it, check out kpftx or the summary reel here:

I wanted to bring to your attention two Berkeley things that came my way today. The first is a memo from the KPFA manager to station staff. It's attached below. Its emphasis is that KPFA's financial position is much worse than seems to have been previously communicated. 

I'll add a few things, which is that moving up the fund drive to September 7th, while presumably a short-time fix for inability to pay the September 15  payroll, is going to exacerbate the problem of getting all the way from September to December.

Shortening KPFA's fund drives so they do not make enough to pay 3 months of expenses was a management decision. While it did pop up the daily totals, the final result has been not enough money to make it to the start of the following fund drive. 

You may want to instruct KPFA they need to run this next fund drive for 20-25 days and/or extend it until KPFA  reaches a goal that approximates the amount of money needed to operate until the December fund drive. 

The second thing is to correct a mis-perception in the note. 

"Remember the Foundation is supposed to be there to help us financially, not the other way around". 

Not really. Pacifica was founded in 1946, 3 years before KPFA went on the air. It predates KPFA and was founded to hold the license and do the administrative schmutz. 

I can't encourage people enough to actually read the Theory of Listener-Sponsored Radio by Lew Hill. In it , he makes a strong case that fundraising rests with programmers, indicates the strength of relationship with their audiences, and argues for the meritocracy of the listener donation as the criteria for programming decisions:

"Listener sponsorship is an answer to the practical problem of getting better radio programs and keeping them. I will emphasize that neither a “Public Be Damned” nor a “Down with Commerce” attitude enters into this formulation.  It must have occurred to you that such a principle could easily revert to the fabled ivory tower.  Some self-determining group of broadcasters might find that no one, not the least minority of the minority audiences, gave a hang for their product, morally responsible or not.  What then?  Then, you will say, there would be no radio station—or not for long—and the various individualists involved could go scratch for a living.  But it is the reverse possibility that explains what is most important about listener sponsorship.  When we imagine the opposite situation, we are compelled to account for some conscious flow of influences, some creative tension between broadcaster and audience that constantly reaffirms their mutual relevance.  Listener sponsorship will require this mutual stimulus if it is to exist at all.  We make a considerable step forward, it seems to me, when we use a system of broadcasting which promises that the mediocre will not survive.  But the significance of what does survive increases in ways of the profoundest import to our times when it proceeds from voluntary action.  Anyone can listen to a listener-sponsored station.  Anyone can understand the rationale of listener sponsorship—that unless the station is supported by those who value it, no one can listen to it including those who value it.  This is common sense.  But beyond this, actually sending in the subscription, which one does not have to send in unless one particularly wants to, implies the kind of cultural engagement, as some French philosophers call it, that is surely indispensable for the sake of the whole culture.The survival of this station is based upon the necessity of voluntary subscriptions from 2 per cent of the total FM audience in the area in which it operates"


The second kerfluffle here today was with the broadcast of Dave Zirin's show Collision. I'll include the archive below.  Dave was absent and the show was hosted by Etan Thomas. The first 30 minutes consisted of an all-male panel discussing the 1999 Penn State rape case, specifically with regard to filmmaker Nate Parker. I got several emails from listeners extremely upset with the tenor of the conversation. After I listened to it myself, I could see why. The victim, who committed suicide in 2012, was tried and condemned ex-post facto by an all-male jury coming up with gems like: 

'The women change their minds about sex and we end up in handcuffs". 

"I'm not for reprimanding just one side". 

Basically it was 30 minutes of the argument that women make fake rape charges to bring men down and the now-deceased victim, who committed suicide in 2012, drank alcohol.

Finally, a woman guest, Karen Hunter, who has a show on Sirius XM, came on and vigorously argued with the host for the final half of the show.

It was an alienating and dehumanizing thing to listen to in a female body. You talk so much about younger listeners, but you cannot attract them when the host sounds like their crazy wUncle Freddy in the closet muttering about whores who entrap nice young men. Understanding of rape has progressed a lot since the 1950's and this was really way behind the times. 

So the question becomes how do you have some kind of discussion so there is improvement in a) how rape gets talked about and b) some ability to provide enough program direction and editorial guidance so that no one ever broadcasts again an all-male panel savaging a rape victim?




  1. Why did it take so long to prosecute anyone in the Penn State rape case? First, it was because to many, Paterno was GOD. And you don't f**k with God. Even to this day, despite all of the evidence that Paterno knew about Sandusky and did NOTHING, the deniers are still there. How dare you trash Paterno's name! After all he did for Penn State!

  2. Then when Sandusky was arrested and indicted, how did the media treat this? No thought whatsoever about how this affected the lives of innocent kids. Instead, we had people like Bob Costas doing an "interview" with Sandusky purely for shock value. Tell the truth. You get off on raping the s**t out of boys, don't you? Come on, admit it! All that mattered was getting that million dollar gotcha soundbite.

    The media and much of society treat rape survivors like garbage. But also, survivors are both men AND women. But the media can't be bothered to deal with that. UNLESS there's some hype factor involved that gets massive ratings.

  3. Almost 60 women say they were drugged and raped by Bill Cosby. Now, what if were 60 guys? How would the corporate media hype machine deal with that?

    1. The same way it handled Jerry Sandusky. That's about the right number for him, or maybe add a zero.


  4. I don't care about KPFK or KPFA or any of the alphabet soup stations of Pacifica except WBAI. That's the only one I listen to. I hope KPFK goes down and brings that blimp Dennis Bernstein with it.


    1. Don't forget, there is an umbilical cord.