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The great Pacifica radio election is on!

KPFA-FM, listener supported radio for northern and central California.While we’re on the subject of public radio station fundraiser marathons, there’s a related event in progress: board elections at the Pacifica radio network. Subscribers and staff at all five Pacifica stations in New York City, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Houston are voting for members of their respective local station boards. There are a slew of candidates for each of these listener-supported non-commercial signals. If you regularly subscribe to one of these stations, you’ve probably gotten or will get your ballot in the mail soon. Make sure it’s in the hands of the election team by October 14 via that enclosed, addressed envelope you’ll receive.

It should be noted that, unlike the local advisory boards at many public radio stations, the boards at Pacifica really matter. They have a host of responsibilities, including reviewing the station’s budget and screening and selecting the pool of candidates for the station’s Program Director and General Manager. They also choose from among themselves delegates to the governing board of the Pacifica Foundation, which owns the network’s five broadcast licenses.

Not a whole lot of news about this event so far, at least not at KPFA, the station to which I subscribe. But an interesting endorsement caught my eye. It came from the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and I’ve got to say that its editors, Willie and Mary Ratcliff, deserve credit for their openness. The two disclose that they’re supporting various contenders on the following criterion:

“All the candidates we endorse have agreed to do whatever they can to support Cynthia McKinney as the next executive director of the Pacifica radio network, a nationwide network founded at KPFA, and a Black public affairs show on KPFA in a regular, desirable time slot produced by a collective headed by Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View.”

The alleged program supporters in question include Henry Norr, Sasha Futran and Akio Tanaka of the Independents for Community Radio slate. It’s unclear to me whether they’ve made these commitments or not, since their candidate statements do not mention them. Beyond that, it would be interesting to know how many of the over 100 contenders around the network have pledged to try to obtain air time for somebody who has endorsed their bid for a board seat.

Full disclosure: I’ve endorsed the Concerned Listeners slate, whose candidates, I’m happy to say, have offered me nothing but their thanks.

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