Pacifica radio is running its semi-regular Local Station Board elections. If you subscribe to a Pacifica station, you should be getting a ballot soon for listener or staff candidates for your signal’s respective board.
Here at Pacifica outlet KPFA-FM in Berkeley, to which I donate money, there are two big slates running: SaveKPFA and Independents for Community Radio. I’m not endorsing anyone this year. In fact, I’m not a fan of these elections, which I think are a waste of Pacifica’s resources.
But I am a fan of Richard Wolinsky, whose “Cover-to-Cover” book author interview programs on KPFA are just terrific. Richard has an interesting essay that responds to the endless call for KPFA to go all or mostly volunteer. It’s definitely worth a read, since it narrates the station’s history since 1975:
KPFA today starts with its paid producers, engineers, and board operators, people whom you barely hear on the air but are doing their jobs quietly and professionally. Competent board ops: What a novelty in 1975. You were lucky if, when you dropped off your tape, the announcer didn’t completely mangle what was heard on the air. The simple transition…show to PSA to station ID to theme cart to tape…sounds simple, right? Guess again. The good board-ops stayed a few months, then got jobs and left. The bad ones usually just stopped showing up, often without notice. Remove the paid board ops and the sound quality drops precipitously. Remove the behind the scenes people and force the on-air hosts to do the production work, and you’ll lose half the hosts. Stop paying them, and they’re all gone because they have to earn a living. Their replacements? Again, once a week or once a month, the best of the rest gone the moment a real job in radio opens up.
Read the rest here.
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