It’s never a dull moment over at listener supported radio station KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California. Here’s some of the latest poop:
Former WBAI-FM Program Director Andrew Phillips is headed to become the station’s interim manager, following the resignation of the last guy (who lasted about a month). You can find a brief mention of Phillips in my second book on Pacifica here.
Brian Edwards-Tiekert of the recently tanked KPFA Morning Show has been re-hired with back pay. The Pacifica Foundation, which owns KPFA, is not challenging his union appeal.
“Pacifica has basically conceded it can’t win the pending arbitration over my dismissal,” Edwards-Tiekert explained in a public letter.
But he’s been hired to work in the News Department, it should be noted, not on the Morning Show. And the job of his co-host Aimee Allison has not been restored.
Meanwhile KPFA News reporter John Hamilton has now been laid off, just as he returned from live coverage of the labor struggles in Wisconsin. Talented, dynamic, formerly with Democracy Now—Hamilton was a huge infusion of creative energy for KPFA. On the right check out his investigative report on the Byron Williams ACLU/Tides Foundation alleged assassination attempt.
Critics of the move question the need for the layoff. I’m going to skip the inevitable he said/she said on this decision. Bottom line, if you didn’t like these people, you’re happy about these developments. If you are like me and you loved them, well, it’s a problem.
I’ve been pretty discouraged about the station since Aimee and Brian’s version of the Morning Show got nuked, and listen a lot less. Still, despite the fact that I’ve drifted away, I have a strong emotional attachment to KPFA and want to help (I did write two books about the place, after all).
Some KPFA supporters seem to think that giving more to the station during pledge drives will somehow convince Pacifica to keep Hamilton on. Good luck with that.
As for me, I just don’t want to give any cash to the Pacifica Foundation, whose principals—Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt and CFO LaVarn Williams—very loudly supported the Morning Show purge. Pacifica gets a 20 percent chunk of KPFA’s pledge drive income.
But there are ways to give to KPFA while denying Caesar her fifth of the take. These suggestions are, presumably, applicable to the other five Pacifica stations as well—they being WBAI in New York City, KPFK in Los Angeles, WPFW in Washington, DC, and KPFT in Houston.
Give during non-pledge drive periods
Pacifica does not tithe non-pledge drive related income. So if you contribute via KPFA’s online form, your money goes entirely to the station, but only if (nota bene) you do it two weeks after the last fund drive ends.
The safest way to donate without giving to Pacifica is to mail KPFA an old school check or money order. Just make it out to KPFA and send it to 1929 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA, 94704. You can do that any time.
Buy tickets to KPFA events
Pacifica doesn’t tax KPFA events like speaker events and forums. So purchasing tickets to those occasions is a great way to support the station and, of course, enjoy an interesting evening.
Attend the Holiday KPFA Crafts Fair
The money from your purchase ticket to the fair goes entirely to the station, and not to Pacifica. Ditto for any non-pledge product you buy directly from KPFA there (a t-shirt, bumper sticker, book, etc).
Make in-kind donations
During a pledge drive, call a delivery restaurant near KPFA and order food for the volunteer pledge call takers. Or buy some kind of equipment for the station. Rest assured, KPFA can always use more office or equipment supplies. And you can get a tax deduction for that too.
Donate your old car or other dying transportation device
The next time your clunker reaches death’s door, donate it to Vehicles for Charity, specifying that the remaining net worth goes to KPFA. This will also get you a deduction from Uncle Sam.
Put KPFA in your will
In addition, when you reach death’s door, you can leave a chunk of your net worth to KPFA as well. This too will go entirely to the station.
There’s one more possibility: pledge to the SaveKPFA bring-back-the-morning-show fund, which has amassed a considerable chunk of change ready to hand over to KPFA if the old Morning Show is restored. But Pacifica seems pretty adamant about sticking with the status quo. So that’s a maybe strategy, not a sure thing.
Here’s the simple fix for this problem. Just directly donate to these venues yourself. They all have PayPal or similar donation buttons on their sites. Now your money is going to programming. None of it is headed for Pacifica central, with its crazy internal politics.
One final caveat—Pacifica can change or try to change these rules if it wants. Or it can just raid KPFA’s accounts if the Pacifica National Office is desperate. But generally these fund collecting protocols apply.
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