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"The idea behind Radiotopia is a simple one: strength in numbers.
"Radiotopia is a new podcast network launched this morning by PRX. Or it’s a “collective of the best story-driven shows on the planet…a new model for audience engagement and revenue growth in public radio,” to use its language. It brings together existing shows like Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible, Radio Diaries,Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything, and more.
"With $200,000 in funding from the Knight Foundation, PRX will attempt to create a new model for what they call “digital-first audio programming.” The seven shows will make up a collective, helping to market one another, providing guidance on technical issues, and sharing lessons on growing audiences. Radiotopia will provide the framework for raising money through grants or Kickstarter campaigns, selling sponsorships across the network, and sharing revenue between the shows."
Has Pacifica Foundation or KPFK applied for Knight Foundation funding to carry out similar projects? Or just affiliate with this one? There's money out there besides in the pockets of members.
...AND this is a very good idea!
I've been out of L.A. for six or seven years now, listening via the net and podcasts. I had no idea that this BS has been going down for over seven years at least! It's truly a cancer, as no attacks are coming from the conventional right-wing, not even the crazies: it's all internal, suicidal. This coverage on Bob Morris' Politics in the Zero blog tells the sad tale, from his perspective (and that of most program hosts, apparently). It's worth a read, all of it.
The question then is, what therapy is indicated -- and what can the patient tolerate?
There are some high quality shows like Ian's show and Margaret Prescod's show and Thom Hartman is a welcome addition. Beautiful Struggle also is great as is John Cromshow's show. But in between there are some flaky, marginal shows that should be replaced. Variety is a strength in KPFK programming but some shows are too short and some of the flakier ones are too long.
Allan Minsky is wonderful and hopefully he will stay
The events that KPFK puts on really help keep it cohesive. Richard Wolff's talk was wonderful and the event today, Twelve Years a Slave was also fantastic. These are needed to keep building an audience for KPFK.
Since I don't know anything about the inner workings of KPFK it is hard to offer suggestions other than the fund drives do go on too long but on the other hand they expose us to material we may be unaware of. For example, I pledged for a DVD on the Congo and use it in my classroom. I recently pledged for the Post -Traumatic Slave pack and will also use that. I just think the new agey stuff is too much and the recent promotion of some get rich quick quackery was embarrassing. KPFK needs to stick with the serious stuff.
I received this letter from an anonymous source upon my request. This is a letter from Gary Null addressing issues raised by Ian Masters.
A letter from Gary Null.
I want to correct inaccuracies circulating in the Pacifica blogosphere about me. These stem from Ian Masters’ on air and written personal attacks against me. I have never met nor spoken with Ian Masters and I would have assumed that if he had any issue, he would have reached out and shared his concerns with me personally. Instead, he used his forums to lash out against me directly by name as well as by innuendo.
Mr. Masters made unfounded accusations that smeared my reputation, qualifications and credentials. He also spread false rumors that I have substantial control over the programming at KPFK and possibly other Pacifica stations. He claimed that I am using Pacifica as an infomercial to exploit for my own personal financial gain.
First, a little background on my relationship with Pacifica is important before getting to Mr. Masters’ ridiculous statements. I started with Pacifica on WBAI on March 10, 1977. I am currently approaching 38 years of daily broadcasting, including over 30 years on KPFK in Los Angeles and WPFW in Washington. I have never accepted a salary or fee of any type from Pacifica. Throughout my tenure on Pacifica, I frequently invoiced Pacifica for premiums at my cost or below my cost. For more than 33 years, the premiums offered on my programs were only books, audio CDs and videos. It is only recently that this changed.
The pledge drives were handled quite differently in years past. Historically, WBAI would raise approximately $85,000 per day for a 14 day fund drive. The pledging segment of my program during a 14 day fund drive was 10-15 minutes per day and this segment was never repeated on anyone else’s show. Hence, there was no audience fatigue and no concern among producers and other hosts that their times were preempted. Also, my show was the only one that offered health related premiums. Each show offered a unique and different premium that was associated with that show’s primary theme. I valued this approach because it gave great diversity to premiums and the core message of the station. Even though a program may not have brought in much money, it still offered a unique and important piece of the tapestry of the station. No one’s program was ever preempted. This pledge drive policy created a Pacifica that was strong with individual stations presenting meaningful and relevant information even though there were ideological differences as to how the foundation and the individual stations should be managed. Normally, WBAI only had 3 fund drives per year and always made or exceeded its goals. I recall the highest amount raised during a 14 day drive was approximately $1.16 million and with approximately 90% of the amount raised was actually received by the station. With some exceptions, premiums were sent in a timely manner. This was also true for KPFK and WPFW as well.
This pledge drive policy occurred without interruption until there was ideological conflict within Pacifica that changed the management, programming and direction of some of the stations. It started on WBAI when the powers that be at that time chose to load up the morning from 6AM to noon with health programming. I warned them not to do so, expressing my opinion that it was a counterintuitive and counterproductive move. My words fell on deaf ears as management felt the new direction would accomplish two goals: (1.) bring in more money; and (2.) decrease the significance of my program. I was resented because of the size and diversity of my audience and the fact that on a regular basis I raised approximately 40-50% of the funds raised. Throughout my entire career at Pacifica I have raised an estimated $40 million for Pacifica. The change in pledge premium content criteria was effected by management and not by me as Mr. Masters charges. When I heard of the change in policy, I strongly counseled against this as was concerned that the change would turn off listeners. The response from management was that the old criteria did not bring in the money necessary to finance station operations. It was not my idea, but rather it was the station manager who asked if I could bring in a few of the products I created that are not nationally advertised and marketed. On numerous occasions I asked the station manager to only pitch these premiums on my program and not repeat it throughout the schedule. Management’s response was that the other programs throughout the day were not raising money in the amount that they needed so the premiums would have to be repeated. I told management that this course of action was unwise, but in their desperation management chose to do it anyway. And we all know how this has worked out.
Mr. Masters ignorantly blamed me for the current debacle that is Pacifica programming. I have never had any input with management, nor has my opinion ever been invited for that matter, on programming decisions. The only thing I have done and said that is relevant to Pacifica programming is raise substantial sums of money for Pacifica that helps keep Pacifica stations on the air. Mr. Masters seems to take the unfortunate position that health programming on Pacifica stations as well as any associated premiums have no place on Pacifica, despite the fact that the audiences of KPFK, WBAI and WPFW have overwhelmingly supported both programming and pledging on these topics. Let’s just say I disagree with Mr. Masters since I believe it is paramount that Pacifica’s mandate is to provide listeners with programs dealing with issues that are relevant to their wellbeing and not just to provide programs meant to serve, first and foremost, the needs of the hosts and program directors with the audience as an afterthought.
While Mr. Masters impersonates the position of a non-biased journalist, I am disappointed but not surprised that he would not speak directly with me. I am sure one reason is that he knows the duplicity of his rants against me. As Roy Tuckman can verify, I invited Ian Masters on my radio program to discuss any issues that he finds objectionable, but he has not responded.
I support freedom of speech, but using the airwaves to attack me does nothing positive for Pacifica’s listenership. In defense of my reputation, I could spend time highlighting what I have done for Pacifica over the last 38 years. However, that would take away from the issue at hand. I see Pacifica as being at a critical juncture. It can allow hate mongering and personal attacks from hosts and management with personal agendas, with the result that Pacifica will further marginalize its message while alienating its dwindling audience. It can stay in the current chronic fundraising mode which will continue to exhibit disastrous results. Or it can change. Whatever route Pacifica chooses, my hope is that we have leadership with courage to make the changes necessary for Pacifica to survive. There are thousands of other venues for people to receive progressive information. Pacifica is not the only game in town and hasn’t been for 15 years. It no longer matters what Pacifica once was. What matters is what Pacifica is today.
Have you guys thought about forming an online political network that podcasts live (and past) show content?
There are others who have left the traditional media networks to form their own online network and have done quite well, a notable example being Leo Laporte of This Week in Tech (twit.tv). This would eliminate the vast overhead of powering a transmitter, even during times where the audience may not be listening.
As soon as I hear the voices of Christine Blosdale, Gary Null or Alan Minsky I turn to another station – for the rest of the day. Any of these people in small doses might be bearable but hour after hour, day after day, for weeks is exasperating.
In past years, programmers did their own fundraising in their own unique style, offering ‘thank you gifts’ that were relevant to their own programs. Believe it or not, the fund drives were informative and entertaining … and I ALWAYS was inspired to contribute to my favorite shows.
Now the fund drives are an assault on the listener with mind-numbing repetition of the KPFK phone number as if yelling out that number every few minutes will somehow motivate people to give money. Alan Minsky barges into EVERY show, taking it over and turning it into his own personal show. Then comes Christine Blosdale hawking her carnival wares that have nothing to do with the normal KPFK programming, followed by the most boring person on earth, Gary Null, another non-KPFK programmer. Why do these three people take over the airwaves during the fund drives? I can’t stand it any more and have stopped giving money to KPFK.
Mitch Jeserich said during one of his fundraising appeals that if everyone who listens to the station gave $50 a year there would be no need for fund drives. Can we do that instead?
Let each programmer do his/her own fundraising like they did in the past. Their listeners obviously like those shows or they wouldn’t be listening. Keep the intruders OUT! They just ruin the programs, irritate the listeners and drive everyone away.
Back in the 1980s the information being broadcast on KPFK was really amazing. I was glued to the radio all day. Now there is so much nonsense and junk on KPFK I listen to just a few shows. Why not upgrade the content with John Barsamian’s Alternative Radio segments while you are looking for better programmers? Borrow some of KPFA’s content. Listen to other Pacifica programs and find some good ones to air on KPFK. Not all programs have to originate locally. It would be better to have more shows that are of high quality. Look for show hosts that have their egos under control. KPFK has too many opinionated, bombastic hosts that don’t know the difference between slander and information. No one wants to hear their rants. In my view, Mitch Jeserich exemplifies the ideal host. His shows are informative and he stays in the background, allowing his guests to educate the audience.
Apparently KPFK has such serious management dysfunction that implementing suggestions from the listeners may not even be possible. I have been watching this station deteriorate for years. What a shame. Once it is gone there will be nothing but NPR for radio addicts like me. I take the radio with me on a long extension cord all day long as I work outside. Can’t do that with a computer, alas.
This was once a great radio station – the only one of its kind. It could be great again if you all pull together and put your egos aside. You need a vision that calls forth the best in each of you. Stop these personal attacks and focus on high quality programming that educates the listeners. The money will follow.
Bernard Duncan announced months ago he wanted to return to New Zealand to be with his girlfriend who got a job there. She is leaving in February. Maybe that's why he resigned at this time?
To everyone who complains about the programming: the only people responsible for putting the programs you like and don't like on the air are the GM and PD. If you don't like Gary Null, that's who is responsible.
The former GM left KPFK with a $200,000+ deficit last year and a $160,000 deficit the year before. This is not a good record and makes things very difficult going forward. In my four years on KPFK's LSB, I have been on the Finance Committee all 4 years, Treasurer for 2 and Chair of the committee for 3. I am very familiar with the finances of KPFK and Pacifica. A manager must manage the finances in order to provide a place to air the programs that you all love to love and love to hate.
There's a lot of misinformation being spread. I think Summer is doing an excellent job under the most difficult conditions imaginable.
I happened to come across a television interview that I found on the Internet when I was trying to find out who Summer Reese is. That interview really made it crystal clear what the first step must be in resolving Pacifica's problems. I was absolutely appalled at Summer Reese's lack of everything required to be an effective leader. She obviously has no expertise and must be replaced before anything positive can happen at Pacifica. There have only been one or two fund raisers since I saw that interview, but whenever I think of donating money to KPFK now, I flash back to that interview and find myself unable to contribute until Summer Reese is no longer associated, in any way, with Pacifica. How do we get her removed from her position and get someone in place who can actually provide the leadership and expertise that Pacifica so desperately needs?
Hmm too many issues in Ian's latest letter. Would be better for conversation if broken into several posts.
It's not splitting hairs to raise why Gary Null might be "bad" and Lisa Garr is "good" because if there was no KPFK, a very likely format to fill the void would be a "health and lifestyle" station where both Null and Lisa Garr are back-to-back.
I've long imagined Whole Foods and Co-op America joining forces to fund a Green-themed radio network funded by green advertisers, ads chosen against criteria under control of local staff and hosts, not audiences.
Ads from green biz, according to local criteria, is the funding model for the future and probably for NPR as well.
The bigger picture is relevant because our perception of it bears on shared values that will found the basis of whatever comes next after Pacifica-KPFK, if it does not re-found a healthy set of shared values.
It's okay if Pacifica and KPFK die. The magnitude of positive change required is likely to be re-founding the operation: revising or replacing the Pacifica charter according to shared values of the greatest number of interested stakeholders.
I could imagine two radio formats emerging: Green-holistic theme and Old Leftist politics theme.
The history of how the political left and the spiritual left split apart is view for many of us; I have written on this history. People can email me for it if of interest. Re-uniting the political and spiritual lefts is where the numbers and the strongest community lies.
A Green lifestyles radio station is plenty big enuf for both Null and Garr. The question for Ian may be, can he get behind both of them as superior to the corporate-commercial alternatives?
One reason KPFK is floundering is because it is too unresponsive. Emails and letters go unanswered. There is no appreciable discourse that includes those who do not toe the confused and arbitrary party line. At best the station is a nascent political party with a serious lack of definition. An estimated majority call it "left", but, left of what in principle speaking? By what principle does any concern get placed somewhere on this worse than useless political spectrum?
Ian said during an interview: "Well I understand Henry Giroux, the detrimental effects of identity politics on the left but I'm broadcasting from the Pacifica network that's going bankrupt because it's moving away from traditional left wing politics, and of course as you know, the media spectrum is entirely dominated by the right and by corporate power and right wing influence and this tiny little sliver on the left is extinguishing itself because it's gravitating toward conspiracy and quackery, and people, they think they're on the left, and many of them are adherence of the right wing nutcase Alex Jones. So what is happening to political literacy in the country?". There is much that is wrong with this statement. How can he use conspiracy as a pejorative if it remains an integral of law? It bears repeating once again that the official version of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory. It's a very poor and preposterous theory that can't hold up under scrutiny of the evidence. In this time however, from the first impression of prepostericity, there being incredible amounts of it, there is no reason to discontinue investigation. In a world of deception there is no shame in having to admit when you've been deceived. The shame comes when you've been shown the truth but continue in lies just because no one is likely to believe it and your precious credibility will take a hit. I sympathize for all who are discovering the shear enormity of the deception as even the ground of reality appears to be breaking up beneath them.
Anyway, there are much better theories that have led to conspiracy fact. The "attack" on the Pentagon for example has been proven to be a flyover in conjunction with explosives. Citizen Investigation Team and Graig Ranke are the search terms for the best investigation on that. I'm only pointing out that it's the sort of thing that is not allowed to be discussed or covered or anything except to ridicule any inquiry therein. That ridicule usually comes in the form of free lance mental diagnostics. Mr. Masters has a following for sure and all he has to do is use the bad magic phrase right-wing-nutcase to get the ditto nods he relies upon. There in a single term is the nonsense of a political right and left, and, the social control concept of sanity. If we should look for a moment at the farce of Sandy Hook, the main drive of all that phoney mayhem is to get more stringent background checks toward keeping the so called mentally ill from getting guns. In this, violence is the definition of mental illness. Yet, are we not sure that violence is the problem, in all of it's forms and guises, and that the laws and systems designed for justice, with the necessary procedural limitations to balance the rights of individuals against collective power and advantage, are undermined by a pseudomedical granted excuse from responsibility. Does that sound like justice to you? In the name of helping, the concept is a stealth attack on the Bill of Rights. "Mental illness" is no more than another front for the mental health establishment to destroy the culture of liberty. Once you get a sense of how deception is hugely comprehensive you start to think maybe it's coming from this station too. That it's a managed vector of brainwashing no more innocent than what's in the corporate MSM. I find it amusing that the pitch for funds based on corporate free programming does little more than scratch the surface of the echo chamber of the MSM. I think your audience is smarter than many of you educators think. (Search terms for Sandy Hook might include Sofia Smallstorm's youtube video titled Unraveling Sandy Hook)
Moreover on the issue of naming what Pacifica is about, as if pacifica or peace wasn't enough, certainly "the left" fails miserably. Whatever the issue, from economics and human rights, to tyranny and abortion, whatever, they are in place on the so called spectrum by convention established through repetition. We hear much airtime devoted to the wars, and it is good that Pacifica should. But why should peace be a left thing? This is probably the most pernicious form of identity politics that undermines the commonality and sanctity of human identity that forever stands against the attempt to round up all individuals into the collective identity of One. When Dumas had his Musketeers say one for all and all for one, did he really mean all is one? We have commonality of course but the core identity of which we are born is not equal to commonality. What has come to be called identity politics is when some aspect of the concept of identity, which by it's difference is suffered as disincluded or oppressed, defies the homogeneic propensity of the dominant culture, which in truth acts as an anticulture, is used to influence public policy for inclusion and advantage. If they are to succeed they must appeal to principles of inclusion that remain extant even though those principles conflict with a competing or dominant ethos that mimics the principles of the remnants of a culture that lies in ruins. This is dark, for the culture that I respect, with it's multidimensional need for structure, is best exemplified by our republic of liberty, which in principle is eternal and beyond corruption. The problem we all face, or not, is the pervasive acceptance of the imitation that is faithful to the outward form, but in truth is none of it.
How foolish to accept this implied polarization by positioning oneself on a spectrum that is inherently devoid of definition or principle, and further confused by the concept of gradations of position which suggest some sort of freedom to move one way or the other. One way or the other between two forms of whimsical ascription.
But I'm afraid these distinctions are lost after mandatory "education" has trampled the very idea of education at liberty. Is the audience being conditioned to accept even earlier treatment of children in preschool as the answer to the deplorable results of the forced schooling that goes on now. This is not digression but instead another integral in the complexity of much needed context.
When I think of all the war that's been predicated on the tragic event of Sept. 11, I think that having only the inaccurate and laughable official version of that event leaves any peacemaker with a greatly weakened case against any war done in the name of that event. Mr. Masters uses conspiracy theory pejoratively as if there aren't any conspiracies, an integral part of law. But worse, he also blithely diagnoses according to his informal use of psychoanalysis. If he doesn't like your position you are a nutcase.
I can't understand how publicly widespread the preposterous sense of physics is. When I saw the towers destroyed on t.v. I saw a controlled demolition, but when I saw the still and motion frames of columns of steel turning to dust I knew this was no classic CD. This is very important. I don't mean in the smallest way a figurative turning to dust. I mean it most literally.
The perpetrators have done a very good job of confusing the general movement to discover 9.11 truth. With limited hangouts, honeypots, partial truth, a flood of hoaxes, misinformation and disinformation, it's little wonder that people turn off automatically and refuse to hear any of the evidence that a nearly completed independent investigation is providing. "Conspiracy theorist" is the bad magic term that shuts off the mind. A true investigator uses one conspiracy theory or another to aid the investigation. But when the evidence does not support the theory it must be abandoned. If you believe that the towers and consequently WTC 7 were destroyed by 19 Arabic hijackers then you have done nothing by way of investigation into that false flag operation. Please don't waste time looking for enemies in foreign countries when our enemies have thoroughly infiltrated what may have been called our government.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities -- Voltaire
Radio has been dying all over the country as the internet has grown. The internet is much more economical to maintain; it's two-way and immediate; it allows anyone to contribute media/opinions/facts. Sure, the frequencies are being bought up by conglomerates that have syndicated windbags and hypnotic elevator music 24/7. And they are the only ones able to afford to run the radio media circus because they will own all the infrastructure. As the internet becomes available everywhere and free of charge (often accompanied by commercials), Pacifica (if it survives in name) will once again have the opportunity to offer commercial free and independent media. Only it'll be coming in over your smartphone or some other home internet device instead of an FM radio. Most KPFK programmers already seem to have established their own web site with the same media they provide via KPFK.
Here's a link to the document Alan mentioned during the last fund drive.
Crowdfunding would be an excellent way to raise funds as well as to promote the station.
The desire to set things right at KPFK and Pacifica seems may be widely shared, but their inability to become open, inclusive, and transparent is dooming the effort. I see fewer comments posted on this board -- and for the first time, realized I am listening less often to KPFK these days, getting most of my useful information from podcasts of favored shows ("Democracy Now!", Terrence McNally, Ian Masters, etc.). If you want to talk death spiral, well here is one and you don't need to listen long to know where it's coming out. Some semi-commercial or right-wing religious interest will soon be running the station, as KFPK or as something else, and all those who, like me, have been with the station for years or decades can do will be to grit our teeth and say, "Remember when....?" We are an exceptionally flawed species unable to be altruistic except in rare and often hackneyed situations.
This is my tentative obituary for KPFK. I hope it's premature and undeserved. I truly do.
Love your ideas re: saving Pacifica? But they are nothing new. Chris Condon and I proposed them back in 2010 when we were both on the PNB Governance Committee.
Love to see them enacted, but with elections that rarely make quorum, the same crazies that the current system produced get to hang around for years, obstructing any and all that attempt to re-vamp the system.
Along with rigging our hiring processes for insiders and incompetents.
Happy to work with anyone to make these changes. But it may very well take a new Bylaws convention, as the current Bylaws are poorly crafted and led to this Rube Goldburg contraption we call Pacifica governance.
Please tell Ian to stop attacking people on the air -- mostly because he doesn't know much of what he is talking about and it is against KPFK's standards to have people air our 'dirty laundry' on the air.
The blowhard should have been suspended. He really isn't helping the situation.
Call to Order
Roll Call/ Establish Quorum
Approval of Minutes
I. Bylaws amendment-as amended at last Gov Com meeting (Chris Condon)
1. That Local Station Board (LSB) size be reduced from 25 members to
13, plus GM. That this reduction be accomplished by attrition with no
alternates seated until the board size drops below thirteen, over one
three year elections cycle, and,
PNB, as a reduction in the size of the PNB, elected annually, and,
times every three years, and,
ended in favor of a simple and transparent winner take all system,
and, functions and authority of an Assembly of Delegates, and,
statement of these proposed changes within 30 days.
KPFK should dump the new age 'love to all' senders, quack health healers, Spanish music and talk that is the purview of most of AM radio in LA, and stick to programming that is the only real counter view providing essential truth by real experts with years of credentials and experience in their fields that is so lacking on mainstream stations.
I was quite disappointed the other day to find that Ian Masters' Background Briefing show had been replaced with an interview by some nutcase that claimed that if we would only divest ourselves of the collective memories of our past seven generations we could heal ourselves and then he proceeded to claim that after a number of years with an immobile arm, he went to another nutcase that healed his arm to full function from across the room. I thought I lost six hours and was listening to George Nory.
Keep the crazy talk away from the station because it only serves to distract from the seriousness and presentation of important information that we the public need to allow us to have opposing views from that which has been bought and paid for by the right wing on almost everywhere else.
As much as I abhore some of Roy of Hollywood's ventures into the absurd. After all he's the one who started bringing Gary Null on. And he's had some regulars that bordered on being Neo-Nazis. Roy does balance these experiments with sound, informative programming, and time proven "alternative" practitioners. And most of all, Roy does a "pretty" good job of keeping said practitioners from turning the show into the aforementioned 'personal home shopping network.' Roy rightly seems to avoid becoming involved in station politics. I'm afraid that if he did, I might not come down on his side. But he gives all sides a share of whatever may seem weird to the rest of us without letting it hijack the microphone. And I do resent two hours of Roy's Wednesday night/Thursday morning show being lost to the kind of content many have registered their opposition to here.
Thom Hartmann is a great addition, and there's probably a couple of others out there at loose ends who could broaden the audience and at the same time, embarrass listeners less than the new age, Gary Null stuff.
I think Ian mentioned it before, but the show has essentially four different formats:
public affairs/news in English
New age self-help quackery
public affairs/news in Spanish
Most people start listening to a station by scanning through the dial, listening for a few seconds, and then moving on. So if it isn't the time of day for the format they want, they will move on.
Likewise, regular listeners will tune away during these format changes. I switch away when the music starts, and if I come back at 2 or 3 pm and hear new age stuff, I feel actively disgusted.
So people's support can be "set it and forget it." I've had this with a couple of other progressive groups for years, and it allows me to give more since it's small amounts every time instead of one big chunk every year or season.