April 2010 KPFK Report

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Interim General Manager

KPFK is moving forward. We are building our audience. Even in these tough financial times we have be able work out a new agreement with AFTRA. A new more secure and faster online pledge system has been instituted. Solutions for documenting and reporting online music are in operation. KPFK Facebook use is increasing. We are working to find better ways to secure the building and protect everyone in it without creating too many barriers for the many people involved in the station operation. We are working to catch up on some “differed building maintenance”. Our KPFK Film Club is back and off to a great start in the skilled hands of Donna Walker. With our media Sponsorship program and partnerships with other organizations, we are extending our reach further into the community. We are working ways of encouraging financial donations outside of on air fund drives. We are working to increase pledge fulfillment. And, there is much more to do. With our powerful broadcast reach and with all the millions of people in Southern California, KPFK can be the substantial and effective voice of the people. When our listenership increases and more and more people become familiar with KPFK, Pacifica and the Pacifica Mission, then we will have done our job.

Bob Conger, General Manager (Interim)


  • We are working on the completion of our HVAC plan that includes,

    • Re-ducting of the air ducts so units can run more efficiently and provide a more comfortable and healthy environment was completed in November 2009.
    • The replacing of 4 aging units that have surpassed their life expectancy has been put on hold until our financial situation improves. Doing so will also reduce impact to the environment, energy and repair costs.
    • It has been recommended that the A/C unit that serves our Master Control Room will need to be replaced within the next three years. It has had major problems since it was purchased. Over the last four years we have spent 2 – 5K on repairs each year. A replacement unit that will work and has higher energy saving standards will cost us approximately $9.5k

  • We have recently had a coffee machine and service donated to the station by Ken Kurisu, owner of All Pro Beverage. He has also offered to donate a portion of any sales made through reference by KPFK staff and or programmers.


  • We are working with our counter parts around the network to develop an Emergency Management Plan and Safety Program.
    • The purpose of the Pacifica Emergency Management Program/ Safety Plan is to provide guidance on developing or to periodically revise the emergency management program and safety plan for the Pacifica Network and all of its radio stations. This document will describe the policies that will direct actions to be taken by the Pacifica network in preparation and response to major events.
    • Use the national EMP/ SP as a foundation for each station to develop its own safety protocols and policies dependant on its working environment and local laws

  • Currently Pacifica is not in compliance with FTC in relation to privacy laws
    • Awareness training was provided to management in July ’09 and for most full time staff in December ‘09
    • As per the FTC the training was intended to inform paid staff that handles Non-Public information in late October or early November.
    • Pacifica must seriously consider brining us into compliance with all related FTC laws and regulations. We are grossly out of compliance and vulnerable to hefty fines and lawsuits.

Sound Exchange

  • As of March 1st we have began to fulfill the Sound Exchange Agreement.
  • All music programmers and board operators have been made familiar with the Sound Exchange web GUI and obligations.
  • We are looking at using Live 365 in addition to Copyright Confessor to do our Sound Exchange reporting. Their software has had millions put into development and will make it easier and more efficient in reporting.


  • We seem to have had more incidents of people sleeping at KPFK over night, particularly during the fund drive.
  • At 12AM we now shut down one of our studios that people usually slept in.
  • We will be shutting down all non-essential areas of the station at midnight once we finish installing the necessary equipment.
  • We are working to complete all the elements of our security plan.

In House Training

Over the past two quarters we have seen a rise in people utilize the training made available to programmers, volunteers, interns, and some folks from the community.

Zuberi Fields, Operation Director

KPFK Finance Department

The KPFK cash balance as of April 9 is $ 481,183.80 with payables of $ 29,000, Central Services amount to $ 315,932.99.

We paid $ 50,000 last month and the previous month and are set to pay another $40,000.00 within this month. Financial Statements have been updated.

Payroll/Benefits for the next 2 months will be $ 300,000 not to include anticipated increases in salary with new Union contract. We are hoping to get our share of the CPB Grant sometime in May.

Anthony Ibarrola, Business Manager


From autumn 2009 through the winter, KPFK dramatically improved its audience size. According to the Arbitrons, we went from a six month average of under 120,000 listeners per week in L A metro, to over 150,000 per week during the most recent six month period. Since LA metro only represents 65% of KPFK’s market, the station true weekly listenership is almost certainly above 200,000.

This increase in listeners coincided with the introduction of significant programming changes in September and October 2009. This represents a marked improvement, but still falls far short of an adequate listener base in such a dynamic market as L A where terrestrial radio remains tremendously popular. KPFK’s listener numbers are still dwarfed by both of the local NPR stations. The goal of KPFK’s current management is to further close, and then fully eliminate, this gap in the near future.

The strategy for achieving our goal remains simple – improving programming while remaining absolutely true to the Pacifica Mission. In this spirit, management implemented a sweeping series of programming changes in the fall of 2009; a few more this spring; and we’re planning a few more changes in the summer of 2010. With each succession of changes, we seek to make KPFK even more attractive to its core of faithful listeners while attracting tens (even hundreds) of thousands more.

Adding to the recent success has been a steady increase in our web listeners, thanks in large part to the steady hand and vision of our webmaster Ali Lexa. Unfortunately, these gains were somewhat mitigated by the necessity of removing all music shows from the audio archives; a situation we’re working with the national office to rectify in some manner as soon as possible.

I look forward to meeting the board in person, which will provide an opportunity to speak at greater length about the station and, in particular, our plans to develop new programming.
Lastly, in the month of March the L A Times’ James Rainey wrote an article about KPFK, which focused on a particularly unruly recent LSB meeting. I felt compelled to respond to Mr. Rainey’s piece. The Times published my entire letter on latimes.com, while running a shorter version in the letters section of the print edition. My response reflects where I think the station is these days, so I’m reproducing it below. The “url” for Mr. Rainey’s original article is:


Here’s my response:

I was grateful to see Jim Rainey acknowledge the tremendous potential of KPFK Radio in his March 27 column, "Schism at KPFK leaves factions warring over programming, fundraising and leadership." KPFK/Pacifica Radio is certainly unique: Committed to real free speech and social justice, the station is absolutely free from any corporate, business or big-money influence, an exemplary model of democratic discourse. In this regard, it is unrivaled among significant media outlets in America.

And as the Founding Fathers themselves understood, real democracy is brilliantly untidy.

Indeed, almost all polls suggest that U.S. citizens are profoundly dissatisfied with both the political system and the mainstream media. I posit that these frustrations stem from feeling disempowered -- that the institutions of our democratic society don't work for them, that they don't have a voice. KPFK/Pacifica exists to give people a voice. It may seem messy for those that value protocol above insight; but this practice, combined with fact-based journalism, works wonders for us.

Taking an example from history, the litmus test for journalistic and civic integrity is not whether a media outlet covered Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 (everyone covered him by then), but whether someone saying similar things a decade or so earlier was given coverage. KPFK/Pacifica passes that test time and again, while National Public Radio and, yes, The Times consistently fail it. More recently, look at the buildup to the Iraq war, or the bubble that preceded the financial crisis, or the gaming of the system that produced the California energy crisis, the entire two terms of President George W. Bush, or President Obama's not-so-progressive first year in office -- we got all of those correct, while most mainstream outlets did not. It's not because we're uniquely prescient; it is because we allow the full breadth of social discourse to be heard. Social progress invariably occurs by allowing voices outside the mainstream into the dialogue.

Rainey focused on several challenges facing Southern California's original public broadcasting outlet, particularly the acrimony that all too often defines the station's democratic governance structure. It is important to note, however, that the chaos of KPFK's Local Station Board meetings does not appear on our airwaves.

These days, KPFK's programming reflects the station's commitment to re-establishing itself as Southern California's premier progressive media outlet, firmly grounded in the highest journalistic standards. KPFK remains equally committed to giving a voice to communities largely absent from other media; to airing the full range of contemporary social critics; and to providing a forum for cutting-edge artists, comics and musicians. This combination of inclusiveness with a renewed commitment to journalistic rigor has led to the substantial increase in audience that Rainey noted.

As for the gruesome length of our recent fund drives, there's only one antidote: continue to improve regular programming so that more people recognize KPFK as essential to their lives. In my current position, I strive to manage the challenges of a diverse body of content; maintain our dedicated listeners who tune in for spirited, but accepting, discussions; and expand our audience by developing new, incisive programming.

In a society as complex as ours, it should be no surprise that there are many competing visions for how best to improve the world. In the coming years, expect KPFK to provide the essential information, as well as the best forum, for people seeking to build a just society in Southern California.

Alan Minsky, Program Director (Interim)

On line

Here are highlights of online developments at KPFK over the last quarter, including a report of downloads, podcasts and live stream summary.

During the month of February a new online pledging system was built and launched.

The new system incorporates multiple levels of security, a cleaner, faster interface and the ability for online pledges to be designated for a specific program or host. This online pledging system brought in over $45, 000 in pledges at a 99.8% fulfillment rate.

The “Copyright Confessor” online music report system has been put in place and we just filed our first report to Sound Exchange. We continue to explore other methods of reporting such as automated ID detection software and solutions to restore online music archives.

KPFK’s Facebook page continues to grow. Gathering about 1,000 fans a month. This page is a great way for KPFK listeners to know what’s coming up on shows, interact with hosts and other listeners, create discussions, etc.

To become a fan just go to kpfk.org, scroll down to the Facebook link on the right panel, click and join (you’ll need a Facebook account to become a fan).

Ali Lexa, Web Director

Summary Period: March 1 through March 31, 2010
Generated 1-April-2010 17:12 PST

Outreach, Promotion and Development

KPFK Radio is at last turning around in the areas of Programming and Community Outreach and Development. Previously KPFK experienced an adjustment in priorities and a reduction in staff and staff hours from July 2008 through August 2009, when we lost our Development Director, Volunteer Coordinator and GM, respectively. With the turnover of the Program Director as well, 2009 turned out to be quite a challenging year in the areas of Outreach and Development, as our efforts were principally focused on fund drives and the maintenance of community relationships through media sponsorships. In spite of the reduced staff, KPFK realized successful Million Dollar Plus drives in this period, thanks to an extremely talented and focused fund drive team of producers and support staff.

In the year Sean Heitkemper was our General Manager, the focus at the station was on improving listenership through programming changes. With several programming updates now in place, and with the inaugural Peace Awards and Concert at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre now under our collective belt, KPFK is in a position to expand its Outreach and Development into 2010. Some of the activities KPFK Radio is engaged in to promote and develop the station and the Pacifica Mission follow.


Live Remote Broadcasts

  • March 4 / Student Walk-out at UCLA
  • April 9 / Pocho Hour of Power at the National Association of Latino Producers
  • April 17 / Hutchinson Report at Leimert Park

KPFK Website

“On the Air” feature

Social Networking Tools are being used to promote events and programming at KPFK through our Facebook Fan Page and our “KPFK Updates” Twitter account.

The KPFK Film Club is back, and has expanded to include film festivals as well. On-air promotional radio spots, ticket giveaways and radio segments on arts and culture programs included, with festivals including our name and logo on their websites. The KPFK Film Club is also a premium for which members donate $150 to the station.


Our Media Sponsorship program allows KPFK strategic promotion of the radio station through the partnerships with grassroots social justice organizations, cultural and educational institutions, and film festivals. In exchange for web and on-air promotional radio spots, KPFK places its name and logotype on the websites and publicity of the participating organization. KPFK’s profile is raised in the listening area without the purchase of advertising, while creating good will in the community.

Some examples:

L.A. Times Festival of Books (with 130,000 visitors each year)

The John Anson Ford Summer Season 2010 (with training opportunities marketing provided to KPFK personnel)

2nd Annual Peace Awards and Concert (with potential earnings of $10 - $20)

In addition, KPFK is participating to a lesser degree in targeted publicity with ads purchased in the concert guide for the Coachella Music Festival guide (3-day rock festival with 80,000 visitors) and a special edition of the Daily News, chronicling "140 Years in the Valley" in their Jan.26, 2010 edition.


The KPFK Internship Program is officially in place with two local schools, LA Valley College and LA City College. Both of these schools are, from this Spring Semester forward, offering course credit to students that wish to intern at KPFK in some capacity. Although LAVC and LACC are the only schools that have given course credit, other schools have been contacted as listed below. Next, plans to contact all departments in hopes of finding out exactly how student interns could contribute are underway. There are currently 10 interns coming in on a regular basis to help with the production of several programs. Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator has planned on reaching out next to the rest of the UC campuses as well as all the Cal State schools, setting up meeting times at schools to talk to students, either in classes, by outreach table, and possibly by sitting in on any campus grass-roots organizations. Obviously we need to take advantage of the heat building up on campuses as far as fee hikes and program cuts, as our remote broadcast from UCLA on March 4th illustrated. Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator has observed that the best way to achieve this Internship Program is to take it directly to schools.

LA Valley College – KPFK has been in contact with Jason Beaton, a Journalism and Media Professor who came in to the station for a tour and was excited to leave about 10 resumes. Two of those students have started regular internships here. Starting Spring Semester LAVC students will be able to receive course credit as KPFK interns, 5 students have been accepted so far.

LACC – V/O Coord. has met with Devon Werble, Director of the Cooperative Education Program. She is extremely excited about this opportunity for LACC students to receive credit and has already sent out an email blast to students about the Internship Program.

Several students have shown interest in starting an internship at KPFK, 2 have started and will receive credit. There will also be a class of Communications Studies student here at the end of March to take a tour and learn more about the Internship Program.

ELAC - The same Professor Beaton (LAVC) also teaches at ELAC and hopefully by next semester ELAC students will be able to receive course credit (that has not been decided). One student from ELAC will be starting next week.

UCLA – I have contacted both the Career Center and the Academic Advancement Program (AAP). The Career Center has posted the KPFK call for Interns in their office. V/O Coord. has not heard back from AAP, and follow-up is scheduled since AAP seemed to be a valuable resource with a lot of students using it.

USC – V/O Coord. contacted both the Annenberg School and the USC Career Center. They both said they have posted the call for interns but unfortunately I have not gotten a response from any students.

CSUN- On March 27th KPFK will take part in the 12th annual Raza Youth Conference

Updates from last time - We were looking for interns to work on the Music Library, web page development and publicity. Since that time, Sound Exchange has become the issue of priority, and we’re actively recruiting volunteers to log the music data for music shows on KPFK. Programmer Penni Wilson brought her Announcing Class from Cal State Los Angeles to the station for a tour, and we introduced this group of young people to the opportunities we now have.


KPFK regularly evaluates the station items available to donors, with the idea of creating specialty items that would be easy to produce and distribute, and that would create excitement for the listener. Anniversary T-shirts with a unique design, signed posters from KPFK host and syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, a license plate frame and easy station giveaways of CDs are part of this type of promotion.

To enhance our visibility while tabling at events, we’re investing in stand-up displays which hold schedules and bumper stickers, as well as stand-up banners.


Car donations remain a significant source of income for the station. KPFK frequently runs radio spots for vehicle donations, which generated $66,000 in 2009. We also receive company matching funds from companies whose employees have named KFPK Radio 90.7 FM as their preferred non-profit organization.

We have no major grants at this time, nor do we have a Planned Giving campaign in place to address the Baby Boom generation. Now that our programming has been refreshed, we are now exploring these possibilities actively, pursuing experienced grant writers and the training to create grants in-house.

In the area of Major Donors, we have only just begun to explore our contacts with the Hollywood “Left”, those politically progressive individuals who have regularly supported

the station financially, but who have not been asked to support in a significant way through a targeted campaign. We have called upon a few experienced fundraisers in our midst who have the connections to actors, directors, producers and filmmakers. From this effort we have had one Celebrity Meet and Greet with Elliot Gould and another one with Ed Asner. So far these Meet and Greets have been structured for major donors, but we’ll soon be able to cultivate them further to encourage higher donations and more sustained financial commitments.


KPFK has continued to rely on successful fund drives for the bulk of our income, and they are successful thanks to a strong fund drive producing team, popular premiums and a well-designed fund drive programming schedule. In February, KPFK experienced a longer-than-average fund drive of 28 days, and for this reason is under pressure to develop other streams of revenue.

Jennifer Kiser, Assistant General Manager (Interim)

Jessica Wood, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Membership Department

Following are basic figures for KPFK’s Fund Drives over the past year and for some of our other income.

February Fund Drive 2/2 – 2/28/10 (Web pledging until 3/31/10):

Fulfillment: Payments in: $703,009 Pledges paid, 69.4% per $1,012,654 pledged

Premium shipment: 3415 Items mailed or 44.87% of 7611 paid of 9106 requests

December Mini-Drive 12/15-12/17/09:

Fulfillment: Payment in: $94,222 Pledges paid, 81.5 % per $115,550 pledged

Premium shipment: 674 Items mailed or 94% of 716 paid of 784 requests

Fall Fund Drive 9/15 – 10/10/09:

Fulfillment: Payment in: $865,521 Pledges paid, 71.1 % per $1,217,266 pledged

Premium shipment: 7339 Items mailed or 98.54% of 7448 paid of 8964 requests

August Mini-Drive 4 days:

Fulfillment: Payment in: $59,088 Pledges paid, 75.1 % per $78,614 pledged

Premium shipment: 326 Items mailed or 100% of 326 paid of 368 requests

Spring Fund Drive 6/2-6/21/09:

Fulfillment: Payment in: $744,032 Pledges paid, 79.8% per $931,643 pledged

Premium shipment: 5978 Items mailed, 97.44% fulfillment of 6135 paid of 7051 requests

February Fund Drive 2/6 – 2/22/09

Fulfillment: Payments in: $849,112 Pledges paid, 81.2% per $1,045,326 pledged

Premium shipment: 5366 Items mailed or 91% of 5366 paid of 6441 requests

Major Donors (non-Fund Drive): $21,750 since 10/1/09

Direct Mail:

January 2010 Tax Statement mailing: $9,075 per 16146 mailed

February 2010 Lapsed Mailing: $16,230 per 11190 mailed

Car Donations:

Total since 10/01/09: $45,023

In the summary I gave last month, I kvetched about having to take time out from work on our most recent Fund Drive to produce various documents and reports requested for an audit for the National Office. However, one of the byproducts of that process was determining that pledges we receive that are paid by installment on average have a 69% payup rate, which was rather less than I’d expected. I think that with more follow-up on those pledges, we may boost fulfillment by a few points.

Terry Guy, Membership Director