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Pacifica radio in the Age of Obama


Kellia Ramares-Watson, armed with microphone []

Long time KPFA staffer Kellia Ramares-Watson has an interesting piece in The Leftist Review on the present and future of Pacifica radio, which owns KPFA. Kellia worked for the News and Operations departments at the station for some time, but quit when cutbacks (in her words) “imposed by the interim GM at KPFA, under orders from the Pacifica National Board, reduced my paid hours from 11 per week to 6 while the station and the network were spending thousands of dollars on local station board elections that most listeners did not care about.”

The post raises interesting points and questions about Pacifica radio’s uphill struggle to keep its audience. “Programming and the loss of listenership were frequent topics of discussion among the staff over the years I was there,” Ramares-Watson writes:

There are myriad reasons why Pacifica stations are losing listenership. Some matters are beyond their control. For instance, the election of Barack Obama brought a decline in listenership and donations as progressives mistakenly thought our long national nightmare was over. The issue is how [the Pacifica stations] can reverse the trend. I think they can do it by stopping their attempts to represent as many of the disparate groups in their audience as they can cram into 168 hours a week. Instead they should focus on bringing those groups together to talk about problems that cross racial, ethnic and other ID politics lines.

Read the rest of the essay here.

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