KPFA staff were shocked to receive an email yesterday evening from two interim KPFA managers, Andrew Phillips and Carrie Core, announcing the most sweeping programming changes to KPFA’s grid in at least a decade, including removing the 9 AM broadcast of the station’s most popular program, Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.
The changes were announced without input from unpaid and paid staff, listeners, the Local Station Board, or KPFA’s sister station in Fresno, KFCF, which takes 85% of KPFA’s programming. Phillips and Core were both appointed to their temporary jobs only a few months ago by Pacifica’s Arlene Engelhardt, an action also taken without any input from the KPFA community.
Management intends to move Flashpoints to 8am and Hard Knock Radio to 9am, while Against the Grain and Living Room would be moved to 11am and music moved to the noontime for an hour and a half. FSRN and Al Jazeera, which often duplicate coverage, would be put back-to-back at 4pm. And an unformulated program, which sounds a lot like the concept of the unpopular Morning Mix, would be on from 5-6pm with five rotating hosts.
The changes would effectively remove all local coverage from KPFA’s morning programming. And they promise to drive away floods of listeners–and their fundraising donations–at a time when KPFA can least afford it. Phillips and Core made these programming decisions without any input from KPFA’s community right before the start of the May fund drive.
What process did Phillips and Core follow to make their decision? Did they contact listeners to do a survey of when and how they listen? No, rather, they have disregarded feedback from listeners, who have inundated the station with thousands of letters, protesting the autocratic removal of the Morning Show and raising over $63,000 in pledges to bring it back. Did they look at listener data collected by Arbtiron to see when and how KPFA listeners tune in? No, in fact they discontinued the station’s subscription to that service. Did they check online listening statistics to see how listeners listen online? No, neither Phillips or Core have bothered to learn how to check such numbers. Did they check how and when listeners donate during fund drives? Nope.
In their email, Phillips and Core acknowledged that “We all know that a controversial program change was made by Pacifica’s Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt when the KPFA Morning Show was removed from the air,” but added, without explanation, “Restoring the old Morning Show is not the answer.”
PLEASE WRITE INTERIM MANAGERS ANDREW PHILLIPS AND CARRIE CORE and demand a halt to these disasterous changes. You can write via KPFA’s contact page here, or call them by phone at (510) 848-6767 x 203 (Phillips) or x 209 (Core). Ask how they came to make this decision without the input of the larger KPFA community (and let us know what they tell you at firstname.lastname@example.org).
ALSO: KPFA staff began circulating this letter yesterday, before the programming proposals were announced, calling on management to work cooperatively to bring Aimee Allison back, instead of wasting money (so far over $30,000!) on legal proceedings and anti-union lawyers.