Urgent Appeal to So Cal’s Civil Society and Creative Communities on Behalf of KPFK

by Michael Novick

I am writing as the chair of the Local Station Board, a listener member elected to the governance of KPFK, listener-sponsored, non-commercial educational Pacifica free speech community radio (90.7 in L.A., 98.7 in Santa Barbara, 93.7 in San Diego, 99.5 in Ridgecrest/China Lake, and world-wide at kpfk.org). I am writing with a simple and immediate ask — if you want this unique democratic medium and community resource to be there for you in the future, please become a member-donor today by going online to https://kpfk.wedid.it/campaigns/10417-may-fund-drive-2022 or calling 818-985-5735 and pledging as little as $25 for a basic membership or a few dollars a month transferred from your bank account as a sustaining member. And please share this call and request with members of your community, your school or workplace, your union or community organization.

KPFK is one of five unique Pacifica radio stations. We accept no corporate underwriting, and we receive no subsidies from the private, taxpayer-supported Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We are not like social media, which are owned by tech giants who sell your eyes, ears, and personal data. We are distinct from commercial and even public non-commercial broadcast media, including NPR and PBS, that rely heavily on advertising income from for-profit businesses seeking to influence the content and public discourse. We are guided by a mission statement that emphasizes the need to facilitate community cultural expression and creativity, and to explore and help overcome the sources of racial, economic, and political conflict. In the first article in our Bylaws, we state: “The Foundation is committed to peace and social justice, and seeks to involve in its governance and operations individuals committed to these principles. The Foundation is committed to diversity and inclusion of all nations, races, ethnicities, creeds, colors, classes, genders, sexual orientations, ages and people with disabilities in its programming, staff, management, committees and governance.”

You are the key to enabling KPFK and Pacifica to uphold that commitment, and respond with impact to the demands of these times for accurate and uncensored information, insightful analysis and creative cultural expressions that can meet the growing challenges of violence, exploitation, repression and oppression. The changing media environment that has undermined many legacy media institutions, combined with the ravages of the pandemic, have created tremendous financial challenges for a station and foundation that rely almost exclusively on the free-will donations of individual donors. That’s why we need you more than ever today to help get your colleagues and co-workers, others in your faith community, in organized and massive numbers to join in the effort today by becoming basic or sustaining members of KPFK by going to https://kpfk.org where you can explore our content, our programs and our archives, and click on  the donate button to become a member.

If trade unionists, civil libertarians, peace and justice activists, tenants and others committed to housing justice in the tens of thousands answered this call this week and became members at the $25 basic rate, or sustainers for as little as $3 to $5 a month, that would produce a half-million dollars or more in unencumbered income that would allow the station to pay off debts, restore the local newscast, and conduct our next round of elections, in which you as a member would be entitled to vote or run for delegates who can help shape the future of the station.

I have been living in Los Angeles and listening to KPFK for 40 years now, while teaching in LAUSD, raising a family, and devoting myself to efforts for peace, justice and intercommunal and international solidarity, and I tell you frankly that KPFK and Pacifica have never been more necessary, or more imperiled, than they are today. You may know me from my work in United Teachers Los Angeles, or Anti-Racist Action, or Interfaith Communities for Justice and Peace, or producing the Change Links community calendar — or maybe, actually hopefully, you may not know me at all because someone forwarded you this email and appeal as a member of some other union, or some other faith, or some other organization.

Los Angeles County has the second largest population of people of African descent of any county in the U.S. This metropolitan area has the largest number of indigenous people of any urban area in the country. We have become home to people from Oceania, Asia, Africa, the Americas and every other continent and corner of the world. We have some of the greatest economic inequality, the least affordable housing, and the resulting ever-increasing numbers of unhoused people. KPFK is uniquely situated and committed to giving voice to the needs and interests of all those communities, and to seeking out and airing the solutions that those communities are crafting, sharing those voices and cultural and political expressions with you and enabling communities to communicate with each other. We give voice to Mumia Abu-Jamal when NPR wouldn’t. We broadcast Chris Hedges when YouTube de-platformed him. We air critical commentary that questions the dominant narrative; we bring you self-determined solutions and anti-fascist analysis, and voices for peace during times of war.

But to continue to do so, to live up to our commitment and to the demands of these troubled times, KPFK needs your support. Please donate today yourself by going to https://kpfk.org and share this message as widely and effectively as you can. Because if you don’t, we may very well wake up tomorrow without KPFK. Thanks for your time and attention, and your support!

In solidarity,

Michael Novick, KPFK Local Station Board chair, 2021-2022

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