I received a heated comment from Sally Kane, Executive Director of the National Federation of Community Broadcasts (NFCB) regarding our coverage of KPFK and Pacifica. Kane was particularly enraged by an anonymous comment we published.
I re-read the comment she objected to and deleted it because it seemed too personal and spiteful for publication. Kane asked me to republish it so that remarks in her comment are in context. Here is the verbatim anonymous comment:
Sally Kane is not going to do anything because she was put in her position as CEO of NFCB by a board that has the same ideas about radio programming and organizational governance as the people that are grinding Pacifica into dust.
NFCB had a true professional when they had Maxie Jackson as CEO, but they abruptly fired him, without explanation. Why? Because he was pushing professionalism and real metrics as routes to success for community radio stations. That sounds too much like NPR and mainstream public radio, and community radio and the NFCB board are going full tilt away from that.
When Jackson was fired, NFCB made the turn that ensured its slow decline. Ginny Berson "retired", but she definitely objected to Jackson's removal and I think she was really resigning in protest. She hasn't retired and is still working as a consultant to non-profits today.
And how is NFCB doing under Sally Kane? It's flagship conference is dead, replaced by regional "convenings". The 5 x 5 Model is just links on the website with no staff support. Sally Kane is running NFCB out of her home (in the middle of nowhere), and the only other staff member is Sally's daughter, who has no professional radio experience.
Here is Sally Kane’s verbatim comment in reply:
NFCB has a completely new board since 2014 recruited from a broad spectrum of accomplished professionals in public media and representing the most diverse board in the public media system. The membership passed completely new bylaws in 2015, eliminating exactly the kind of governance dysfunction that plagues Pacifica.
Our 40th Annual Community Media Conference will be held in Denver June 8-10th of 2016. Regional Summits in lieu of a conference this year were attended by 328 people (a larger number than our largest conference in the past). A treasure trove of helpful data and feedback was collected and a summary report is in the final draft stages. All of this has been incorporated into strategic planning for the coming year and improved services are being rolled out based on this due diligence and field assessment. The effort was funded as a result of a successful grant request from an entirely new funder to NFCB.
NFCB has not received any funding from CPB since 2014. A full time Membership Services Coordinator has been hired who has many years of experience in radio and community organizing. Thanks to the talented and hard working Tara Prendergast for her invaluable help with the NFCB retool.
Both Ginny Berson and Maxie Jackson are valued colleagues who have been offering wise counsel and support as NFCB has retooled to meet new demands and move forward. NFCB's membership has grown by 30 stations in the past year alone. The 5x5 model is being used as a powerful station assessment tool and more plans are in in the works for that to be expanded in 2016.
NFCB has two of the 5 Pacifica stations on its membership rolls. There are 180 others from Native, Latino, African American, and Rural communities who do not have time or energy to pour into a situation they did not create and are not responsible for.
NFCB will not be putting together a "task Force" with the valuable resources of its members to distract us from the good work we are doing.
NFCB has an office and "in the middle of nowhere" is frankly a sickening and degrading sentiment that hasn't a single thing to do with anything except contributing to mean spirited, ill informed, pointless blather that "anonymous" aka chicken shit, finds worthy of cluttering this blog with.
How ironic that such a complete lack of professionalism from "anonymous" is publicly circulated while claiming to know anything whatsoever about what a " true professional" is. No doubt both Mr. Jackson and Ms. Berson would be disappointed to be associated with such bile.
DOES NFCB = PACIFICA?
Many people in public media believe that NFCB and Pacifica are closely aligned. After all many NFCB stations carry Pacifica programming and appear to have governance structures based on Pacifica’s model. KUSP, Santa Cruz is a prime example.
In her comment, Kane pushed back on the notion that NFCB and Pacifica are close cousins:
NFCB has two of the 5 Pacifica stations on its membership rolls. There are 180 other [NFCB members] …who do not have time or energy to pour into a situation they did not create and are not responsible for. NFCB will not [be putting] …the valuable resources of its members to distract us from the good work we are doing.
Kane seems to be saying “Pacifica is not our problem” and she is correct. It is a positive development that NFCB now is, in Kane’s words, eliminating exactly the kind of governance dysfunction that plagues Pacifica. Kane's comment seems to validate what I have been saying about the toxic affect of Pacifica's governance systems. This welcome news.
I’d like to learn more about NFCB’s new membership criteria and station governance recommendations. If Sally Kane will share the details I will include them in a future post. Noncom community radio has a much bigger role to play in public media and the national conversation. NFCB can play a vital role in making community radio and companion media platforms a true public service. Sally Kane hopefully will make this happen.