Radio KPFK is not for sale

Ralph D. Hawkins

I served as the KPFK Local Board Secretary in 2022 and am currently serving as a Delegate on the Local Station Board and its Governance Committee. I have also been a Senior Steward and Bargaining Rep for SEIU Local 1000, serving workers for the State of California. I have found those who listen and help constructively are honorable and I will strive to serve in a spirit of quiet and efficient participation.

With 10 years’ experience as General Manager of two college stations at UC Irvine and UC San Diego, I believe I can serve as a voice of reason for the listener-members of KPFK. My primary responsibilities as a college GM were the training of new talent and securing funding for capital improvements. As a member of the LSB I would emphasize attention to the funding of engineering and production among other pressing needs. Improving the diversity of programming long term requires the fostering of a new generation of talent. This would begin with outreach to students who are already studying broadcasting and those who are producing live music and theatre that could be so helpful in fulfilling the Pacifica Mission and thereby increasing listener-member subscriptions.

KPFK is in dire straits like never before. For some time, the governance structure has been under attack from extremists on both the left and the right. Every barrel has its bad apples, but the LSB has 24 members, and it only takes a handful of people to muck up every meeting by hogging the floor and objecting to everything so that nothing gets done. Nevertheless, I support keeping the governance of KPFK under a Local Station Board and free of interference from the National Board. I have observed that the lack of adherence to reporting requirements by the Executives at the Pacifica Foundation and lack of co-operation from the National Board has hobbled any efforts by the local Board to manage the budget for KPFK.

I must note that very few LSB members have any experience running a 24/7 broadcast operation and so they don’t understand that their job is to craft policy and not to micro-manage the program grid. A successful programming schedule can only be achieved through the leadership of a skilled General Manager and Program Director. They will need to control those programmers who appear more interested in owning their space than they are cooperating with the rest of the staff to serve the larger community.

I will vote for any of the new faces running because some candidates are old politicos who seem unable to engage in consensus decision-making. They decry the loss of listeners and mediocre programming without admitting that they were players in the incompetent leadership of recent years.

I am not aligned with any faction or ideological bent and will work with any board member who is interested in non-factional positive change.