GM Quarterly Report May 15, 2021
First, I’d like to take a moment to remember Barbara Whipperman, who recently passed at the age of 85. Barbara was a former KPFA LSB member, Treasurer, sustaining member and long-time listener. May she rest in peace.
State of the Station: A gradual return to normal
At KPFA our top priority is to keep our employees and their families healthy. We will continue to abide by the existing CDC and OSHA workplace protocols for covid safety, until they are revised. To establish a level of comfort for all of our staff, we will take the proper steps to phase in a return to the station when the time presents itself. We hope to reopen KPFA in the near future and will endeavor to keep all of our employees safe to the fullest extent possible.
We understand that every employee’s situation is different and encourage those with specific risks or concerns to reach out to their manager or to HR and discuss alternate arrangements, should they be necessary. In our recent negotiations with the Union—CWA we have come to an agreement that allows workers who wish to continue working remotely to do so, depending on their job responsibilities.
Also, the station’s Health and Safety Committee shall meet with Management to review policies, also as a part of our recent negotiations with the union. The committee will be composed of an equal number of staff and managers. They will meet as needed
to review appropriate policies, supplies, and communication to prevent the spread of infectious diseases as employees return to their on-site work assignments.
Our return-to-work timeline is dependent on the evolving nature of the pandemic, thus creating an exact timeline for resuming “normal” operations is not feasible. As stated KPFA will continue to monitor applicable national, state and local guidance to determine the next stages of reopening. Currently, the station remains open only to essential workers during this phase with mask mandates, disinfecting protocols, and visitors/guests are still not allowed. In conjunction with the safety protocols, we will continue to use our automation systems for uploading programming, especially for late and overnight broadcasts.
Area 941: Storytelling for Social Change
KPFA.ORG’s podcast network of channels is called AREA 941. Cleverly named after our radio dial position, this space-in development allows us to expand our progressive content, with on-demand programs allowing listeners to listen or download them at the time of their choice. Area 941 affords KPFA the opportunity to offer new voices from our staff and community and extend our popular content in this ubiquitous format. Essentially, it’s a new leading-edge body for work.
Area 941 Podcasts debuted in 2015 in an effort to push the scope of KPFA’s mission beyond the radio dial. Our purpose is to use this new medium to provide an opportunity for content producers to reach diverse audiences, especially people of color. A recent public radio study unveiled that nearly 33 percent of its podcast audience is comprised of people of color. This is
significant in light of radio’s present struggle trying to reach a younger and diverse audience.
KPFA developed Area 941 as a way to reach listeners that are drawn to an on-demand lifestyle as their source of information and cultural entertainment.
With on-demand, programmers can promote daily through social media their latest episodes and their archive of programs. With terrestrial listening falling quickly out of favor, it’s a smart move to invest in our podcast network. Podcasting is a vital tactic in extending our reach with growing communities of progressive listeners and our future as a media institution. Podcasts are cheaper and more flexible to create than typical broadcast shows, lowering the barrier of entry for content creators, which in turn allows for more diverse voices. In the near future, voices of the LBGQT community and new shows focusing on local culture will be represented.
For KPFA’s mission to stretch and transform, to be a part of this larger movement we must build out Area 941 with an astonishing schedule of channels that can truly create a meaningful and powerful impact in our cultural, social and political landscape.
Our greatest impediment will be to overcome forces of rigidity to change. For some, it’s easier to remain stuck in the old forms of communication. It takes a bit of courage to embrace new thinking to forge ahead into the new playing fields of the future.
KPFA Programming Department: Laura Prives
SPRING FUND DRIVE: Curation is the cure!
We are employing the tools of podcasting along with our website to create a new series of digital thank you gifts for our donors in this pledge drive. Cost-efficient, curated digital premiums is a big part of our fund drive strategy. With digital audio or video premiums, donors receive thank you gifts delivered immediately.
Our digital delivery system has been crucial for us during the pandemic. It’s given us a larger toolbox to draw from in offering our listeners incentives to donate with instant payback. We are really excited about the possibilities of curating our own content and the huge stores of audio from the Pacifica Radio Archives.
This drive everyone who pledges any amount will receive Telling the Story an audio collection with Angela Davis titled A Lifetime of Revolution recorded at USC in 2015. Ms. Davis recounts the story of her life in activism. Telling the Story also includes a two-part interview with Al Young, former poet laureate of California and longtime friend of KPFA who just passed in April at the age of 81. This enlightening interview was conducted by KPFA’s Jack Foley in 2002.
I encourage you to go online to view our digital collections for this drive at KPFA’s donate page. Check out the digital Malcolm X and Alan Watts Collections, the Letters & Politics US History
Collection and Philosophy and the Good Life from Against the Grain.
The 3 PM Hour: Afternoon Drive
At January’s 2020 LSB meeting, I explained why programming made changes to our grid at 3 PM to bring in a “news-responsive” daily program, Rising Up with Sonali, with its news headlines to compete vigorously in that timeslot against the PBS News Hour and All Things Considered. Well, it was the right move proven by our increased online stats and fund drive revenue in that hour plus the increase of listeners into Hard Knock Radio and Flashpoints.
Sonali informed us in late March that she would be reformatting Rising Up from a daily to a weekly broadcast. In considering our options we took the opportunity to accomplish two goals at 3 PM. We believe that our replacement programming for Rising Up, Monday-Thursday accomplishes them.
We’re delighted to add Scott Baba as the anchor of The KPFA News at 3 PM Monday-Thursday. He has been a reporter and producer at KPFA since 2013. He’s a graduate of our News training program. Scott provides KPFA with a strong Asian American on-air presence, something we’ve been trying to accomplish for some time. On Fridays, the new weekly version of Rising Up will air. Hopefully, that will placate the many listeners we’ve had to inform of Sonali’s decision to broadcast only one day a week.
The rest of the hour will contain UpFront PM an edited version of the successful two-hour morning show. We’ve been waiting for an opportunity to repeat our most popular show to help elevate
our afternoon stats. We realize that most of KPFA’s afternoon drive listeners have never heard UpFront before and now have the chance to discover it. And discover it they have. Pledges are up 40% in just the first week of this drive. Also Letters and Politics with Mitch Jeserich is being aired in an encore presentation at 5 AM. It’s the first time in years that the 5AM hour has generated substantial funds.
KPFA’s news responsive programming, with information, analysis, and resources on the pandemic or our ongoing coverage of the Asian-American hate crimes, the Israelis/Palestinian violence, social and environmental justice issues, just to name a few; is what listeners expect and respect us for. So, with our curated 3 PM headline news and UpFront PM kicking off afternoon drive it’s a strong strategic maneuver that gets the most out of our reporting resources, our budget and establishes a time slot for training future anchors.
News Dept Update:
News responsive reporting is a skill that requires learning by doing. Developing hands-on media skills is a big part of what KPFA has to offer the community. We’re revising KPFA’s training programs and looking for new channels for recruiting more people of color into the process. We’re developing a relationship with the journalism department at Laney College to build a pipeline of students that could participate in training and reporting for KPFA.
While there is a trend toward a declining trust in journalism, KPFA remains steady in its integrity. This is our strength. Training reporters in practicing due diligence and having them
be from the community and work with the community is key. Engagement journalism is a new buzzword. It’s a concept that KPFA has already been practicing in various forms for decades. Engagement journalism is an inclusive practice that prioritizes the information needs and wants of the community it serves.
Operations Department Report: Antonio Ortiz
The Operations Department has begun reassessing our Internship Training Program on how to meet the needs of the interns and the station. We value the volunteer time that interns give in exchange for hands-on training and experience, yet we also understand that a large majority who are interested in pursuing a career in media can’t make the commitment to an unpaid internship. Kevin H our new Development Director is looking for grants that can be used for internship stipends and our hope is that this will provide people with some paid work after they have completed their 6 months volunteer time with Operations.
As we move forward the Operations Department Training Program will evolve into two separate courses.
- Our hope is to restart the 6-month Internship Program in January 2022, which is designed to train individuals for radio production. Interns will learn multi-track digital audio editing, engineering studio recordings, website and social media content posting, and producing live radio programs. The goal is to build a pool of producers who can potentially work with KPFA music and public affairs shows.
- Operations will have a 2-month intensive training program to build our pool of Board Operators, Studio Engineers, Technical Producers and News Techs. This program is specifically designed to lead to paid fill-in work for all trainees and it will be limited to 2-3 individuals per year. Our goal is for Operations Interns, Graduate Apprentices, News and Programming Department Interns to help build a pool of fill-in technical producers and board operators.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training.
Beginning in October of 2020 through April 2021 Management completed training in “Managing Conflict for Inclusive and Equitable Leadership Teams.” Twelve classes taught by Nancy Kahn, co-host of Talk it Out Radio on KPFA. Nancy has over 20 years of experience as a facilitator in Nonviolent Communication, as well as racial equity, inclusion, and diversity consulting and coaching.
This class guided the management team through an examination of conceptual leadership, communication, and conflict resolution frameworks. Also, team building activities and conversations on managing conflict from equitable, inclusive, and values-based organizational practices.
In order to continue our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging work, we’ve hired Ahmad Anderson, 20-year HR veteran and owner of Designing Effective Organizations, to build and implement DEIB throughout all levels of our organization. Ahmad will be sending out a Diversity and Inclusion Survey in June to
staff to gather information to tailor and create a DEIB seminar that is germane for KPFA staff and management. He’ll evaluate and identify what changes our organization needs to make. KPFA will implement custom solutions and resources to help us embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging values.
ONE MORE THING
The Operations Department has worked with Engineering and Programming Departments to ensure a smooth transition from KPFA’s old analog boards to the new digital boards and equipment that have been installed in all studios. We continue to provide support and training to all essential staff in the building and those working offsite.
KPFA Engineering Report: Brian David
The installation of the Control Room and studio furniture has been successfully replaced and training on the digital board commenced. In coordination with the Operations we were able to train our daytime technical producer staff and a number of evening and weekend music DJ’s. The feedback we have received from our staff and volunteers on the operation and functionality of the digital boards has been overwhelmingly positive. There were some concerns regarding some of the CD Player functionality, but we have since made adjustments to mitigate complexity.
The new functionality allows technical producers to operate and manage simultaneous hosts and guests both in and out of the studio along with phone and web callers with ease.
The reduced complexity has allowed for a shorter learning curve and enthusiastic adoption.
All of this effort has allowed KPFA to run three successful fundraisers, that from a technical perspective, would not have previously been possible.
These updates also allow the Engineering Department to fully operate, manage and service the facility remotely. Great effort has been made to log, alert, and triage failure with the interconnected systems. This improves the overall quality of service and allows for better on-air sound quality.
We operate a translator on 97.5FM in Santa Cruz. Our broadcast facility is on the UC Santa Cruz campus. We are in the final stages of securing a formal arrangement with UCSC. We have since
replaced the transmitter and broadcast receiver with new equipment from BW Broadcast and Inovonics (pictured below)
We’re also expanding our broadcast reach in Monterey via 94.3 FM. We expect to begin construction on our new translator sometime in July.
Finalizing Control Room and Studio Upgrades:
As Q2 approaches we look forward to polishing the work we have done.
The Control Rooms are in need of new flooring to complete the look and feel. We have product samples and are exploring our options.
In Feb 2021 we were given a digital music console from Freight and Salvage. We are working to sell our old equipment to fund the new equipment and
New remote broadcast options:
The coronavirus outbreak has had a major impact on the operations of KPFA. It has necessitated us to innovate to respect social distancing and quarantine conditions. We have built portable touchscreen devices that send real-time high quality audio over the internet allowing broadcasters to connect directly to our studios with no monthly cost and a total equipment cost of ~$200. This will allow broadcasters to work from home indefinitely as well as give instant one button access to audio between hosts and our control rooms, just like a phone
extension. We look forward to testing in Q2 2021.
Development Department Report
|DRIVE||PLEDGED / PERCENT of Goal||GOAL||PAID / PERCENT of |
|WINTER 2021||$479,211 / 106%||$450,000||$400,174 / 83.5%|
|Grateful Dead Day||$42,147||n/a||n/a|
|B-Day 2021||$24,863 / 55%||$45,000||$21,222 / 85%|
|B-Day Mailing||$8,525 / 85%||$10,000||$8,525 / 100%|
Two highlights of our Winter Drive that are worth noting: KPFA was forced to begin the drive for a full week without the ability to accept donations over the phone – all donations had to be placed through our website donation destination. Thanks to our engineering staff as well as the considerate attention from show hosts, KPFA didn’t skip a beat and maintained a strong and
steady daily average that allowed us to not only meet our drive goal, but to exceed it by 6%. Also impacted by the lack of phone support, but also exceeding the previous year’s total donation amount was our annual 16-hour Grateful Dead Marathon, hosted by David Gans and Tim Lynch. Our investing in our website to improve its performance and rigor paid off big time. Interest in the Grateful Dead Marathon also extended into our general promotions, social media and email campaigns; the dedicated email blast that was sent out to 25,000 plus subscribers in anticipation on the marathon enjoyed an open rate of more than 39%, greatly eclipsing our previous high-water mark of 28%.
First Quarter 2021 was full of changes for the Development Department – In January, previous Director, was replaced by Kevin H and then in April, Donor Relations Director, Krystal Martinez was replaced by Lucrecia Burton. The learning curve for the Directorship position was considerable, Kevin has acquired the necessary skills for daily management, donor and financial reporting within the Allegiance database system.
He’s proficient in all basic operations within our StationAdmin database system and is currently learning querying language to better access financial and donor reporting there.
Kevin and Lucrecia have performed well in fund drives and are fully competent in managing all premiums, donations, website and database management necessary for our pledge periods.
Kevin pitches remotely and will continue to be an important, familiar voice in our Spring Appeal by joining Amy Goodman and appearing on several programs. In an effort to make our DD a
friendly familiar voice to our donor base Kevin can be heard on various station appeal promos.
Kevin has spent hours in educational sessions via webcasts and seminars such as The Salesforce Nonprofit Summit, Nonprofit Library and The Joan Garry Leadership Lab.
These sessions have provided crucial training and information needed to utilize donor data more efficiently, create sustaining donor campaigns, execute electronic mail, Donor Advised Funds and developments in stock & IRA rollovers.
A direct benefit of these educational sessions has been the introduction to “Double the Donation” – an API that automatically assists with employer matching and “Freewill” – a service that works with donors to streamline the inclusion of charitable living trusts. Both of these programs are in the process of being implemented and will provide immediate and sustaining fiscal benefits for KPFA.
Development and Engineering has worked to improve donation avenues such as car donations, which has seen record-setting donations in the first quarter. Future goals are for KPFA to begin accepting electronic payments such as PayPal, Venmo and ApplePay in a more streamlined manner. We’ve set up strategic partnerships to assist us in updating KPFA’s stock donation and bequests programs.
Speaking of partnerships. This drive We’re offering The Magical History Boat Tour with East Bay Yesterday host Liam O’Donoghue. It’s a journey through centuries of Bay Area history aboard the
Pacific Pearl. The ship will cruise from the Emeryville Marina out to the Berkeley Pier and Yerba Buena Island before heading towards the Oakland estuary for visits to the Port, Jack London Square and Alameda. Liam will be telling stories about literary legends, booming shipyards, sea creatures, buried treasure, Wild West showdowns, mysterious shipwrecks and more. Ticket donation for the tour is $500 bucks. But the cruise is already sold out.
New Membership Program: The main priority for Development in Q2 will be to refine and implement KPFA’s recurring giving program by re-branding and marketing KPFA’s new ‘Anchor Donor’ program. This membership promotion will offer a donor-portal on KPFA’s
website for direct donor subscription and payment management as well as perks such as advance invites to events, on-demand access to past audio premiums and event recordings. Anchor Donors will also have access to limited edition KPFA gear and promotional items and will receive exclusive email and physical mailings.
Development also seeks to increase all off-air fundraising by aggressively going after grants and project funding via family foundations, stock options, and trusts.
End of Report: