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Right now local board elections are underway at KPFK and other Pacifica stations around the country. Ballots are arriving in the mailboxes of members of these stations this week.

pacifica elections

Democratic Media: What a Concept!—Grace Aaron

The last election at KPFK failed to reach the required 10% threshold of voting members, making this election especially important. All 24 seats (18 listener member seats and 6 staff member seats) are open. This election could very well decide the future of KPFK and Pacifica. For democratic media to survive it is crucial that members of KPFK vote in this election.

KPFK Radio, 90.7 on the fm dial has 15,000 members. Only 1,500 of those members need to vote in order to validate the current election.

KPFK is one of the 5 radio stations owned by the Pacifica Radio Foundation, a nonprofit that is unique in two primary ways. First, it doesn't take any corporate funding or underwriting. Second, all 5 Pacifica stations have local boards that are democratically elected by their members. These boards each elect 4 people to serve on the Pacifica National Board. The National Board has the power to hire and fire chief executives, sell and acquire assets, adopt policy, etc. Pacifica's bylaws can be found here.

News and information media in this country is in a sorry state. Did you know that the Orange County Register is in bankruptcy?

According to the Pew Research Center newspaper ad revenue is declining as well as newsroom employment.

An article by Tony Rogers in 'About News', sites a survey of 2000 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center that was published in 2013 that found that nearly one-third of people say they have deserted a news outlet because it has stopped providing quality coverage.

Television, radio and print media have been adding more entertainment news and decreasing hard news and investigative reporting. Talking heads abound. According to Jim Naureckas, Editor of 'Extra!', a publication of Fairness and Accuracy in Media, "We did a couple of studies in the past year or so of the boards of public radio and public TV stations. And it is astonishing how packed these are with corporate interests."

While other media is being dumbed down, Pacifica remains uninfluenced by big money interests and provides the vital information those interests repress. As a long time anti-nuclear activist I can tell you that there is practically a media blackout on the effects of radiation exposure in Japan from Fukushima, the vulnerability of nuclear power plants to terrorist attacks, the long term effects of depleted uranium shell casings and tank armor used in military maneuvers and in our invasion of Iraq, and so on. And this is just one subject that is given short shrift by mainstream media, including public TV and radio, but is covered by Pacifica.

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A group of us who believe in democratic media that is not beholden to moneyed interests have stepped forward to serve on the local station board of KPFK. KPFK and Pacifica are on the brink of bankruptcy. A fresh, invigorated and skillful slate is needed because improving KPFK requires a team effort. The Committee to Strengthen KPFK is offering a slate of very qualified people. Our slate includes people experienced in law, information technology, accounting, fundraising, film/TV/radio production and being on non-profit boards. To read about our candidates, go here.

Some of your favorite Programmers and Community Leaders endorse our slate including: Lila Garrett, Roy "of Hollywood" Tuckman, Betto Arcos, Derek Rath, Yatrika Shah-Rais, John Wiener, Jackie Goldberg, Bill Rosendahl, Jay Levin, Ricco Ross, Mimi Kennedy, Harvey Wasserman, Shawn Casey O'Brien, Chipasha Luchembe, Lamont Yeakey, Donna Warren, David Clennon, Ed Pearl, Congressman Alan Grayson, Marcy Winograd, Tom Camarella, Joe Wanzala and Jerry Manpearl.

Concerned candidates are running at other Pacifica stations as well. We all understand how precious free and democratic media is and hope to preserve and strengthen it.

If you haven't ever listened to a Pacifica station I would like to invite you to tune in. The five stations are:

  • KPFK, 90.7 in Los Angeles, 98.7 in Santa Barbara, 93.7 in San Diego and 99.5 in Ridgecrest
  • KPFA, 94.1 in the San Francisco Bay area
  • WPFW, 89.3 in Washington, D.C.
  • KPFT, 90.1 in Houston,
  • WBAI, 99.5 in New York City

To summarize, if you're already a member, please make sure you vote in the current local station board election. Your vote is crucial because, as mentioned earlier, 10% of the membership has to vote in order for the election to be valid. We hope you will vote for our friends listed here but the most important thing is that you vote!!

It may become necessary to verify the accuracy of the vote count in this election. We would like to invite you to participate in a project to create the ability to collect copies of a few hundred ballots. This project is being assisted by Dr. King Reilly, MD, long time KPFK member and Judy Alter, Director of Protect California Ballots.

To be able to help us conduct an audit if it becomes necessary:

  1. Make and keep a copy of your voted paper ballot, then snail mail the original to the Oregon address.
  2. Keep a copy of your Paper Ballot Identification Number somewhere you can find it later. If you voted online, make sure you keep a copy of your receipt.
  3. Notify Dr. Reilly that you have voted (and whether by paper ballot or online). Dr. Reilly is at 323-839-0985 or kingreilly@roadrunner.com
  4. If we need to do an audit, we will then contact you and ask if you wish to participate.

As a last appeal, please support KPFK and Pacifica financially and by volunteering. We need to stay RadioACTIVE!

Grace Aaron