Serious Concerns Raised About Belated, Truncated KPFK Local Station Board Election Process
Editor’s Note: Protests are mounting locally and nationally, due to the lack of consideration given to the listeners of the five Pacifica radio stations, KPFK, KPFA, KPFT, WPFW and WBAI, in order to be able to participate in the elections in less than two weeks!
The Oct. 1 deadline to become a member, and Oct. 24 to become a candidate, was announced on the radio and website on Mon Sep. 24. KPFK 90.7 FM will be undergoing its on-air fund drive for the duration of this election; an absurd time frame for folks to get involved and get informed about the critical issues at the station and foundation…–Ed.
KPFK Local Station Board Election Process Has Begun
by Michael Novick
The Pacifica Foundation, license holder for KPFK and four other FM radio stations in 5 of the most important metropolitan areas in the US, is a unique attempt at media democracy. Local station boards, which function as committees of the national board – but also elect the membership of the national board from their ranks – are elected by members of the listener-sponsor and paid-and-unpaid staff constituencies at each station. A new such election process is upon us, with little advance notice and well behind schedule.
As Change Links goes to press, the deadline for becoming a member eligible to vote or run for the board is set at October 1, 2018 at midnight. The nomination period has already opened, as of Sept. 24, and will remain open until October 24, by which time nominees must submit petitions with the requisite number of signatures for either a listener-sponsor or staff delegate on the local station board. One-half of the local station board (9 listener reps and 3 staff reps) are up for election at this time, and once the new board is seated, they will vote for 4 directors to fill seats on the Pacifica National Board [PNB], which have a one-year term, renewable. Local ‘delegates’, as station board members are called, serve 3-year terms, with a two consecutive term maximum, after which members must sit out at least a year before being eligible to run again.
After certification of the candidates by a local election supervisor [LES] (appointed by the National Election Supervisor [NES], Graeme Drew), the candidate list and access to an electronic ballot will be mailed out to members on Nov. 15, with a deadline of Dec. 20 to submit your vote. (December 7 is the deadline to request a paper ballot.) If you believe you are a member and do not receive a ballot, you must notify the LES.
The requirement for membership is donating at least $25 or working at least 3 volunteer hours (certified by a supervisor) for the station between Oct. 2 of last year and Oct. 1 of this year. In the past there has been a provision for waivers of this requirement for people incapable of making the financial or volunteer time donation (prisoners, shut-ins and others), but it is not clear if or how the current LSB will honor that provision.
Voting will close on Dec. 20 (assuming the station is able to reach a “quorum” of at least 10% of the listener-sponsors, and at least 25% of the staff members). If no quorum is reached, the NES must grant an extension to try to reach quorum. Absent a quorum, the existing board members will continue. This is a critical election, as listenership at KPFK has tumbled by half over the last decade, and by 70% at sister station WBAI in New York.
The Foundation is massively in debt, and the new local boards and PNB will have the responsibility of crafting policies and budgets, and evaluating or choosing personnel who can effectively rebuild and refresh the audience and donor base and fulfill the increasingly important Pacifica mission of peace, justice, news and information from sources not commonly heard in corporate media, and freedom of expression. You can get further information at elections.pacifica.org.