Thursday, March 27, 2014

It is getting ugly at KPFA Dan

If Dan Siegel is going to show himself to be a leader of the progressives of Oakland he will need to show it at KPFA.  KPFA is our local community radio station in the Pacifica Network, in case you did not know.

And in case you did not know, as most don’t, there is a civil war going on at our community radio station.  The faction fight for control of the station and the network has reached a new shrill peak this week.  Unless he stands up and does something, Dan Siegel will be counted as one of the un-civil warriors.   He is very identified as a leader of one of the two groups, “Save” KPFA,  wanting to run the show. 

The other group is here  
Both websites will give you each side of this recent dispute and then some. 

This infighting disturbs me and makes me angry two ways.  First is because the station could go under. 

KPFA, our Pacifica Station, is one of the few media outlets in the whole country that belongs to the people.  It is precious, rare and needs a lot of support to survive in the recession economy. 

Right now the war drums are pounding out an Iraq invasion kind of beat with a one sided, distorted view of what is happening in the Ukraine.  Pacifica is one of the very few outlets in the US that is letting us know other parts of the news, not being told to us by the corporate press.  Where else will the public get alternative reporting on our economy, the environment, race relations, our legal system, and our foreign affairs in these days of Clear Channel?  

If KPFA went under, we would lose a lot.  We have depended on this radio station for generations now.   With the corporate giants controlling most of the airwaves and dissent so blacked out, it is time for Pacifica and KPFA to grow larger, grow more heard and grow better at what we do.  It is also time for us to reach more young people and listen to more young people.

The other part that disturbs me is the way this faction fight gets so extreme.  The tactics of the fight have become more of an issue than whatever opposing views each group has for the management of the station.  I am not sure I know what each side wants to do, mostly I hear about what the other has done wrong.  I do know people on both sides of some value.  One of them is Dan Siegel, who I have known for years.  I have seen some of the economic arguments and tend to agree more with the other group.  I also think that the other group has not been anywhere so cut throat about things. 

The image we are giving of community radio to the public with these kinds of antics is about as damaging as any the right wing would wish upon us.  Right now Fox news execs can uncork the champagne and laugh as we do ourselves in. All sides have done some of it, one side had done most of it. I think everyone who is so viciously fighting for power inside of KPFA and Pacifica needs to be held accountable for their viciousness.    Late night meetings, dubious votes, padlocking the offices, legal actions, calling the police (and the fire department?), trying to take over the bank account in some kind of lightning power grab all does not look good because it is not good.  It is recklessly irresponsible. 

Responsible would be to listen to all sides.  Seems that some sides want some financial audits, so let’s have all the audits people ask for, and let’s have them done by a neutral, professional, third party. 

Responsible would be to follow procedures and law.  If a vote is to be held to remove the executive director, then hold it with some time for everyone to hear the case that is being made. Hold the vote where it can be counted normally.  Follow protocol and law dealing with the director’s contract. 

Responsible would be to hold back.  If one only has a thin majority, one should not act like a G W Bush Republican and make deep changes that disrespect the significant minority.  The vote to remove an executive director and change course for the network needs a super majority.  The vote to sell a station license should require a consensus.

Responsible would be for everyone to act like adults and work on what the station needs to grow because the station urgently needs to grow adding more listeners and members. 

Responsible would be to treat each other with respect. 

If we want Unity, then we need to offer respect and some sense of restraint.  Dan, I do not think you should back down on the views you express in support of “Save” KPFA.  If that is the direction you advocate for the station, then advocate it openly and honestly, as we all should advocate our views.  

But could you help us control this kind of behavior?  As a leader of one of the two groups could you now offer some leadership to the whole community?   If you stood up for some restraint and mutual respect right now, we could back away from this abyss. 

Right now this LA Weekly article is correct; we are falling over the edge. 
I consider it suggested reading. 


1 comment:

  1. I suggest reading the article too, it is very ugly at KPFA and I am fully down with Don's take. What will we do? More of the same I fear but we few will always tell it straight. Oakland Green Party.*

    *The Oakland Green Party is an unofficial group within the Oakland Greens of the Alameda County Green Party