KPFA’s GM Report: January 9th 2021  

General Manager’s State of the Station Report By Quincy McCoy  

Happy 2021!  

A big shout out, a sincere thank you, to our real-life heroes, KPFA’s essential workers. The staff who have kept the station performing at a high level through this pandemic. They met the challenges head-on confidently, determined, that failure was not an option.  

Despite the glimmer of hope that the arrival of the vaccines provides, with the skyrocketing coronavirus cases and overwhelmed hospitals in the Bay Area,  KPFA has no choice but to continue our stay-at-home policy. Only essential workers will be allowed in the station, who must follow our strict protocols that includes quarantining themselves 10-14 days if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.  

Things are likely to become worse before they get better. It’s likely California will see “a surge on top of a surge on top of a surge” following the holiday travel activity across the state.  

The current trajectory of the coronaviruses makes it difficult to imagine the U.S.  economic recovery getting back on track and heading closer to normal any time  soon.  

There are millions of unemployed people in the Bay Area. And this number is  going to go higher over the next month or two. We are already seeing an increase  in unemployment insurance claims at both the national and state levels,  consequently, weakening our local economy.  

I believe it’s clear our string of successful fund drives may soon come to an  abrupt end. This may steer management to either cut hours, lay off paid staff  or consolidate some positions. Indeed, some trimming may become  necessary, yet I hesitate, because cutting content, KPFA’s marvelous mix of  progressive culture, news, arts and music—the blood of our mission enters 

dangerous territory.  

Trust my 30 years of programming knowledge here — without talented, daily  programming, that listeners can connect to we’ll lose donors. Fewer donors equal  longer fund drives that will fall short of their goals and continue to burnout what little  listenership we have left. It’s been my priority for six years to avoid reaching this  point of diminishing returns and media insignificance.  

Yet KPFA has the agency to pivot in tough times. We proved it in 2020 with our  transition to remote broadcasting, with our social media campaigns, eliminating  costly premiums, and delivering on our mission to protect the health, wealth  and welfare of our listeners. In return our donor base generously rewarded us  from our birthday celebration through our year end drive.  

We all know the basic truth that fund drive revenue alone isn’t sufficient in providing enough financial stability for KPFA to sustain itself without the aid of  outside funding or more importantly regular injections of consistent funding from  new sources. Especially now without our CPB membership or funding. Jon  Almeleh, Pacifica’s director of Engineering and Compliance has projected that  each station will now have to pay nearly $4-thousand dollars a quarter for music  copyright fees. And more urgently, KPFA and KPFB licenses are up for renewal  in 2021 and at this moment Pacifica has yet to engage a law firm that specializes  in FCC license renewals to steward this process that begins in March. As the  song says, “There May be Trouble Ahead.”  

2020 was a year of major change for organizations across all spectrums. One  strong takeaway from all of this is that on-line giving is increasingly important  to nonprofits, and notably increased by 23% over the past year, up from 15%.  

KPFA’s new Development Director, Kevin H., is well aware of our station’s  listener supported history, he’s a long-time listener, whose non-profit and on-air  qualifications for the job is just what we need to move KPFA development  forward. Here’s a quote from Kevin H. “My first quarter goal is to identify and  expand all possible avenues for KPFA to receive donor gifts via on-line and  mobile avenues, from Venmo and Apple Pay to Bitcoin and PayPal, and to make  these options available to potential donors. I will also clarify instructions for  donors with an emphasis on sustainers, streamline the donation process for gifts 

of all types, but especially in the areas of Donor Advised Funds, Legacy Gifts,  Stock Donations and Employer Matching.” A short bio about Kevin H is attached  at the end of this report.  

The LSB’s primary responsibility is to focus on the big issues that management  brings forth—the important problems facing the station that need tackling. There  is a networking component to your position—a readiness to share contacts that  

may have valuable resources to offer and steer the organization towards a  sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical policies to ensure that KPFA has  adequate resources to advance its mission. Therefore, everyone serving on the  board must be enthusiastic and actively involved in raising monies.  

Within this poor economic outlook our biggest area of need is fund raising. Yet we  don’t have a committee established to help brainstorm, create and assist with  successful fund-raising projects. That’s why it’s imperative that I make my annual  appeal for the formation of a Fundraising Committee, to work with me and our  Development Director to help this board raise a substantial annual giving goal.  Fact! That’s really what all Pacifica stations need, crave and desire from their LSB  members.  

If several of you could direct your energies in this direction, that would be a  major step forward. Off air fund-raising is crucial to our survival. Fund drives are  our lifeblood, and additional off-air funding offers us the flexibility to improve our  equipment and operational needs. I’ve made this pitch for the last 6 years so I’m  not expecting a miracle. So, let’s start here.  

How many board members are KPFA Sustainers? Donating a monthly amount  to support the station. Very few. You understand that’s a commitment dilemma,  if you’re not giving, you can’t ask other people to donate. 

Business Office Report by Maria Negret, Business Manager  

Fund Drive and Appeal Letter Pledges and Payments  

Goal Goal to Description Count Pledged Amount Paid to Percent Balance Projected  Pledged Avg Date Remaining Fulfillment 

Fall 2020  

$450,000 98.4%  $300,000 95.3%  

3,801 $117 $442,972 $372,554 84.1% $70,418 97.30%  Fund Drive  

Holiday  

2020 2,555 $112 $285,858 $232,680 81.4% $53,178 100.00%  Fund Drive  

-0- -0- Holiday  

2020 261 $131 $34,072 $33,687 98.9% $385 100.00%  

PROPERTY TAXES: We’re still waiting to pay.  

  1. On December 16, 2020, the county assessor’s inspector came to inspect the 1929 MLK and transmitter properties.
  2. In a Nov 2020 email the attorney explains the hold:  

There was an issue with amending the Articles because that  

requires member consent, and it is very difficult to achieve a quorum  of members to vote on matters that require their consent. As such,  to amend the Articles, Pacifica Foundation must file a writ of mandate  with the court. This process is time consuming and there will likely  be additional delays due to the pandemic. I do not have a timeline  regarding how long this will take, but once the Articles are amended,  it should only take a couple of weeks to have the Organizational Clearance  Certificate issued as the application has already been submitted and  we are just waiting on the amended Articles.  

  1. KPFA has been holding on to reserves for years to pay the back taxes, penalties and interest.
  2. Property tax bills:

Without the non-profit exemption, KPFA would have paid approx. $480,408   With the non-profit exemption, KPFA would have paid approx. $48,620  IF KPFA had paid the tax bills as is, only four years would have been  reimbursed, having lost approx.$234,384  

Because nothing was paid, ALL bills will be recalculated. However, the  exact amount is not yet known.

KPFA PENSION:  

  1. KPFA had always been able to fund our pension fund.
  2. KPFA has already paid through Fiscal Year18.
  3. KPFA has had reserves to pay the remaining FY19 & FY20 pension funds. Again, we’re waiting for the NETA to give us the final totals.

Operations Department: Report OM Antonio Ortiz  

2020 was a year of immense learning and growth for the Operations  Department and the team has stepped up to address challenges our station were ill-prepared to accomplish when I became Operations Manager in  2018. The department continues to evolve and meet the needs of the station and I want you all to know the accomplishments of each individual.  

Kirsten Thomas has done a superb job operating the board and continuing the smooth flow of content when programming staff transitioned to work from home in March and April of last year. Also, she and Rod Akil trained two interns to complete their Board Op Certification and both interns, EA and Jose  Gonzalez, have been successfully filling in during the Thanksgiving and Winter  Holidays. Rod is a reliable and dependable fill-in board operator, he’s been a  rock for the station and fills in when we were short staffed.  

Erica Bridgeman helped transition the Operations Department Internship program online and her consistent check in with the interns helped each individual overcome challenges. Also, Erica spotted the talent we needed for fill-in board operators and suggested we invest shadow time to both EA and Jose.  

Mike Biggz and Miguel Guerrero were integral to the continuing flow of content  to both the DAD and back up LibreTime automation systems and they  consistently communicated with programmers. Mike Biggz’ continued work at  the station grounded the department with the daily logs and Miguel was integral  in editing back up content for Music Programmers who did not have the tools to  produce their shows from home.  

Lucrecia Burton consistently helped public affairs programmers with  recording pre-taped shows and she worked briefly with the Engineering 

Department providing needed technical support and training to weekend  Music Programmers.  

Mike Kohn jumped into the hot seat assisting the Engineering Department with upgrading the new News Control Room and Studio and he has also addressed many technical issues in the On-Air studio.  

The News Techs Jeannine Etter and Carla West adapted quickly to the new digital board. They ensured the continuous broadcast of News during the equipment transition which was an added challenge during the pandemic.  

Needless to say, our Operations Team deserve to be recognized for the hard  work they do to keep KPFA on the air.  

  1. Because of the pandemic our Internship Program could not complete the  January to June “semester” as planned, but half the interns were able to  continue learning online and create content from home. Also due to a need  for fill-in Board Operators plus ensuring we follow health and safety  protocols two interns were able to shadow and get board-op certification this  year.  
  2. Staff Training was moved online in March and we provided 20 classes in  the following: Building an Online Audience, Documentary  

Production,Field Production and Recording, Multi-Track Editing,  Music for Podcast and PA Programming, Remote Studio Setup and  Voice. The biggest hurdle for programmers was access to a multi-track  editing program and we were able to get a donation of over forty 3 and 6  month licenses to distribute.  

  1. Staff Orientation and resources – the Operations Department is tasked  with ensuring everyone who has any part in broadcasting content know of  station policies and protocols, and FCC rules and  

regulations. Also, we have begun giving all programmers @kpfa.org  email accounts in order to officially communicate within the station  staff, receive station memos and gain access to online classes  and materials. 

Goals for 2021  

  

  1. Ensure programmers complete the orientation and have access to the  necessary tools and training to successfully produce their programs.  Content producers will need to possess the following skills: editing and  mixing audio, uploading audio files to KPFA’s Dropbox, connecting to the  studios for live/remote broadcasts, and operating the digital boards for  recording interviews and music shows.  
  2. Provide programmers with more technical support in the On-Air Studio by  expanding the Operations Department Staff skillset on all the new  technology installed in the studios.  
  3. Reassess and reorganize the structure of the Operations Department to  better serve the needs of the station, programming staff and listeners.  4. Nurturing and growing the number of content producers at KPFA, via the  

station training programs. This is a good time to revisit the idea of KPFB  and Area 941 our Podcast network, being the testing ground for new talent.  

Programming Department Report from PD Laura Prives  

KPFA not only survived during this last year of pandemic and electoral struggle,  we innovated, we performed under pressure and we gave our best to our loyal  community, guided by our mission to be of service. How do you keep a  community radio station broadcasting during a pandemic? You show the  listeners what KPFA can do for the community in a crisis by acting as a hub of  intelligence and connection. Then when we asked for support, our listeners  responded heartily, because people want a way to help during a crisis and to  support institutions that are helping their community through it.  

Our goal to transition from a trusted community radio station to a trusted media  institution with local roots and international reach is being realized. The  constraints of social distancing helped us make a transition to the digital age  faster than we would have ever imagined.  

We had to pivot quickly to reduce the risk to essential staff by getting as many  programmers as possible out of the building and broadcasting from home. We 

had to set up new systems to get recorded programming sent in and on the air  and to allow programmers to broadcast live from home.  

We found new ways to incentivize giving, focusing on the gift of KPFA itself,  offering ways to help other nonprofits, curating digital content, with our Abolish  Racism Collection and the classic Alice Walker, Studs Terkel, Howard Zinn  event.  

We offered an instant gift of audio through our thank-you email to everyone who donates at any level and still raised sufficient funds. We talk directly to folks about our goals and aspirations through promos, email blasts and social media.  We’ve instigated Socia Media Monday during fund drives for staff to ask their followers for support on their own media channels in coordination with KPFA.  This also coordinated with mail-in appeals, sends a unified message to our community using both traditional and digital media.  

We’re more streamlined in our ability to put on Special Broadcasts. We have been able to successfully raise funds during these broadcasts and received positive feedback from donors during about our special programming.  

Here’s some of the Special broadcasts we put on in 2020:  

 The Senate Impeachment Trial  

 Black History Month and Grateful Dead Day  

 International Women’s Day  

 Special broadcast: Shelter in Place issued for 6 counties 

 Attorney General William Barr’s testimony  

 Hearing on the Oversight of the Trump Administration Response to   the Covid Epidemic  

 Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony  

 Senate Confirmation Hearing of Amy Coney Barrett  

 California Ballot Breakdown – debates on CA propositions and  issues  

 Special Election night broadcast 11/4  

 Special Election 2020 broadcasts – 11/4, 11/6, 11/7  

 Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates  

 DNC and RNC special broadcasts  

 Protests on Capital during Electoral College certification- 2021  KPFA’s Ratings  

In the latest Nielson ratings for the San Francisco radio media market, KPFA  ranked ahead of NPR station KALW which has not always been the case in  recent years. Nielsen uses a measure called Average Quarter Hour, AQH to  measure how many people are listening during an average 15-minute period.  

KPFA’s AQH % share of the market of potential listeners is up for the Fall 2020  Quarter, higher than this Summer and higher than last Fall 2019. The share of the  market is up because the number of people listening to KPFA increased at a  higher rate than the metro area as a whole. The cumulative number of people  listening and the “Time Spent Listening” (TSL)increased from the Fall 2019.  

KPFA’s AQH market share and “Time Spent Listening” was highest this year in  the Spring quarter at the beginning of the pandemic. This indicates that more  people were tuning into KPFA during the height of uncertainty at the beginning  of this health crisis. 

We also see an increase in the number of people listening online. KPFA’s online stats have doubled from 2019. In this graph below from Thursday, January 7th,  

2021, listeners peak at nearly 1000, when last year at this time the stats average a peak of around 450 online listeners. 

We are proud to see an increase in listening to KPFA during this tumultuous time. This is an essential part of our mission to bring news and information and cultural connection to our audience. We have expanded our avenues of communication with our listeners digitally through website, social media, email,  and digital premiums and events, while we still broadcast on the traditional radio dial and send missives in the US mail.  

In 2021 we want to focus on our role as a multi platformed media institution.  We’ve got work to do to continue to expand our programming’s digital reach and serve our community with practical and intelligent programming during these unprecedented and difficult times.  

Upcoming Special programming:  

  1. Black History Month Special programming – Saturday, February 6th, 2021  2. Grateful Dead Day – Saturday, February 20th, 2021  
  2. International Women’s Day Special programming, Sunday, March 7th, 2021  

Here’s some of the great comments we got from listeners during the End of the  Year drive 2020:  

KPFA and its California affiliates have played a crucial role in shaping the  informed and progressive politics of California! I’m so glad to be able to  listen online, here in Sacramento. Anonymous ~ Sacramento, CA 

Years ago I used to listen to Slocum Yocom playing his Bach collection  on Sunday mornings and of course the wonderful collection of lectures  on Zen (can’t think of his name) et al. Such a wonderful crazy station.  Anonymous ~ Albuquerque, NM  

Best news on the air. Ignacio ~ Oakland, CA  

I listen to KPFA daily as my only trusted radio station for meaningful  information and is my “professor” to understanding national and world  politics. I tune in almost all day long during the week from morning and  through to the end of six o’clock news either in my home or in my car. I  listen on the weekend, too to the fine music programming and Talk it  Out. I stay glued to Democracy Now, CS Soong, Brian, Davey D, Dennis  Bernstein and the 6 o’clock news, Kris Welch is a comfortable moderator  that I appreciate. Jane ~ San Francisco, CA 

KPFA Engineering Department Report from Brian David  

2020 was a year of exceptional growth and development at the station. Building  on infrastructure achievements made in 2019 the Engineering department of  KPFA was ready to handle the logistics required when COVID-19 struck. Laying  foundations and being prepared meant adaptation to a changing environment was  not only possible but opened up opportunities.  

Values held and applied in 2020:  

  1. Avoid crisis response by pre-planning 
  2. Invest in infrastructure that supports the future  
  3. Achieve long term stability through project management and  accountability  

The pandemic necessitated our staff to produce live and pre-recorded content  from home. We supplied the tools, resources, and policy necessary for shows to  produce and air important and timely content. 

 Real time, high quality audio was achieved by supplying our staff with Blue –  Yeti Microphones and transporting the audio to the station via ipDTL and  Cleanfeed.  

 Real time collaboration was achieved through the use of Slack – a mobile  channel-based messaging platform.  

Continuing on with infrastructure overhaul in 2020 we accomplished the following:  

 New KPFB Transmitter – Nautel VS300. It’s compact size and ability to  scale to 300 watts allows us the option to remotely broadcast in the event of  an earthquake or other disaster scenario. Our old Tx has been retired from  service.  

 Upgrade our Analog Air chain to Audio over IP. Our analog air chain  was designed for a station operated by a team of engineers patching  cables and meticulously managing its affairs. This is untenable in 2020  and to meet the demands of the 99 shows we serve without usurping  engineers time, so we replaced large portions with hardware from  Wheatstone.  

 Created a Network Operations Center to prepare for an increase in digitally  distributed content (archives, podcasts, live streams). We forged relationships  with local Internet Service Providers and positioned KPFA to lean more  heavily on internet streaming to cars, phones, virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa,  Google. We are now an ISP operating AS397715.  

 Upgraded to 4K and HD security cameras at the transmitter site. The CCTV  infrastructure at the Transmitter site was failing to meet needs. Our cameras  are now accessible to Engineering staff via the internet to monitor and  respond to situations.

 Inventory management on all new equipment via NetBox. As we retire  and replace equipment we are utilizing a tool to log its location,  

connections, and configurations. 

 Deployed project management infrastructure. This has allowed  us to organize the tracking of issues and focus on delivering  

business value in the shortest time. We deployed self-hosted Git and  Jira instances to track software development and utilize the Scrum  development process. As we continue to develop StationAdmin,  KPFA API, and refine existing infrastructure operations this is  essential.  

 Deploy a virtualized, remote, KPFA studio via LibreTime. This allows  us to deliver live and pre-recorded content in the event of a complete  studio shutdown or off-air situation. 

 Automated station logging and alerting of critical infrastructure keeping  us in regulatory compliance and control via LibreNMS. We no longer  require board operators to take station logs. Our records are digitized and  backed up. 

 Upgrade the News Control Room and Studio with new furniture from a  local supplier – Omnirax, digital console from Wheatstone. We connected  to our internal cameras to show On-Air and Newsroom so board operators  can be fully aware and in control. Further refinement via lighting controls  in 2021! 

First-quarter 2021 plans:  

 Renovate the On-Air and Production Control Rooms and  

Studios A, B, C  

 Complete renovation including furniture and equipment.  

 DJ Equipment upgrades:  

o Turntables: Technics SL-1200MK7  

o CD Players: Tascam CD-500B & Denon DN 500CB (BT/USB/Aux)  o Cassette players: Tascam 202 MK7  

 Software development of StationAdmin to include real time reports for  accountability and transparency of station income.  

 Expand FM broadcast service via K232FZ – 94.3 FM to Monterey,  California. We have secured a license and rental agreement in 2020 and  will begin construction of the transmitter + antenna in Q1 2021. Air by April  2021. 

Long-range department ideas:  

With significant infrastructure improvements, new opportunities become available.  Careful consideration will be given to monetize existing assets, expand depth of  experience and experiments to find new possibilities.  

 Visual Radio – Offer live shows  and performance with video +  

audio. Streaming live & produced  multimedia.  

 Premier Studio Rental facility –  Monetize our investment with  

equipment and staff available.  

 KPFB for Ops. Dept. Training -\  B sides?  

 Offer internet service to the  local community KPFA.net:  

Secure & local ISP for MLK &  

Berkeley Way 

 

*Kevin H. (Hunsanger) Short Bio  

Kevin Hunsanger held the helm as co-owner and operator of San Francisco’s  venerable Green Apple Books and Music from 1991 – 2019, when he departed to  co-found the nonprofit San Francisco Cultural History Museum. A previous KFOG  Morning Show on-air regular (The Book Guy 2000 – 2013), Kevin was also the  Northern California Wine Country editor for the Nile Travel guides and is currently  serving on the advisory council for The Litquake Foundation. He lives in San  Francisco with his wife, the author, Alia Volz. 

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