There were lots of excellent comments to my posts about KFAI and the reliance on communal governance to run Community Radio stations.
Here are samples of the comments I received:
• FROM CONFIDENTIAL:
Beware of the word “advisory” because people have different interpretations of the term. I heard of one PD at [NAME OF STATION] that was hounded out of the place by a Program Advisory Committee. The naysayers used the Program Advisory Committee to create a “paper trail” about him. He finally quit.
KEN: Scary. That truly sounds like The Pacifca Model – It’s not about the audience, it’s about petty politics and lawyers.
• FROM RYAN BRUCE, DIRECTOR, KBRP, BISBEE AZ:
I would be remiss not to mention that non-commercial radio in small markets is very different from a major metropolitan area. PCs [Program Committees] tend to thrive in smaller markets where audience numbers and feedback are much more anecdotal in nature.
KEN: Thank you for making this excellent point. In a place like Bisbee (population 7,000), you build support person-by-person, off the air and on the air. Inclusion in the station is a great way to make inroads into the community.
The key is (quoting Ryan Bruce):
...feedback [is] much more anecdotal in nature.
KEN: That’s the way it should be – anecdotal, person-to-person conversational. In Bisbee you can probably walk down the street to KBRP, stop in and talk with whomever you want to. You don’t need a committee to get feedback.
Reader Tip: Check out KBRP via their website [LINK]. The clear and concise KBRP Strategic Plan 2012-2015 is A+ work.
• FROM LARRY JOSPEHSON, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF PUBLIC RADIO AS WE KNOW IT:
Now I will read your blog to see if you have the answers. "Fire Your Programming Committee" is a no answer. Hire an all-powerful programming Czar? She would meet the same fate as Czar Nicholas II--assassinated by station volunteers and their individual audiences, if they attempted to change programming even slightly. (happens once-in- a-great while at NPR stations)
What's the frequency, Kenneth?
KEN: I am always pleased to hear from Larry Josephson. He is one of my public radio heroes – someone who changed my outlook on radio and influenced my career.
Back in 1969 – 1971 I visited friends at Columbia University often. I was an awkward nerdy college kid doing Top 40 radio in Sioux Falls. Listening to WBAI and Larry Josephson introduced me to the power and possibility of noncommercial radio. I never met Larry then, but he was like a companion and trip guide for me when I was in town. I used to hear the tone and tenor of his voice in my mind. I changed my announcing style because of Larry.
Larry, you know the frequency: 99.5 FM – maximum power in the middle of the dial. WBAI has the best signal in the nation’s Number One market:
The decline of WBAI is proof that the Pacifica governance and programming methods have failed.