[News] KPFA's Hard Knock Radio needs your help

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 10 19:41:40 EST 2010

Knock Radio needs your help!

November 10, 2010

Rally to build KPFA’s audience in communities of 
color and diverse communities! Thursday, Nov. 11, 
4:30 p.m., KPFA, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley

by <http://www.facebook.com/hardknockradio>Hard 
Knock Radio – 94.1 to KPFA listeners and 
supporters from programmers of color at KPFA

Throughout its more than 61 years of existence, 
KPFA has served as an outlet for diverse 
communities whose voices otherwise would not have 
access to the medium of radio and especially 
listener sponsored radio. The formation of the 
Third World Department in 1973 came after a 
bitter strike and walkout by programmers who felt 
that the voices of their diverse communities were 
not being represented at KPFA.

The strike and lockout of 1999 was directly 
responsible for the establishment of both Apex 
Express, focusing on the Asian community, and 
Hard Knock Radio, a drive time hip hop public 
affairs show. These programs represented the 
culmination of months of struggle that included 
demonstrations, arrests and meetings by KPFA supporters.

We are all painfully aware that KPFA is currently 
undergoing both financial and program challenges 
that threaten to dramatically affect the type of 
programming and staff that is part of KPFA radio. 
These challenges will require that the KPFA paid 
and unpaid staff work together as hard as 
possible to ensure the survival and growth of 
listener sponsored KPFA radio. The programs and 
programmers that represent diverse communities 
and communities of color can play a crucial role 
in engaging new listeners and broadening the base of KPFA.

As programmers and staff of color who represent 
diverse communities, we are very concerned that 
programming and staffing decisions will be made 
without the type of transparent dialogue that 
best ensures our collective unity, survival and 
growth of the radio station. The use of the 
Arbitron radio rating system to assess the 
listenership of KPFA programs, especially those 
that might have a larger appeal to diverse 
communities, is flawed and not in the best 
interest of the growth and mission of KPFA.

It also gives validity to a system that was 
summarily sued by attorney generals in several 
states, including New York and Florida, and by 
urban outlets from all over the country because 
it has not reflected the diversity and full 
impact of minority communities. Why would KPFA, 
of all stations, use a tool with such a shoddy 
reputation? Flawed radio rating systems are not 
an effective tool to evaluate or build our audiences and programming.

The attempts to arbitrarily change the 7 p.m. 
weekday time slot and the attempts to eliminate 
the host of Transitions on Traditions are 
specific examples of unhealthy and undemocratic 
process. We are alarmed that other major changes 
are being proposed that will eliminate 
programmers of color without a process where the 
programmer, a program council, union or any other 
internal KPFA body would be involved in the decision process.

The potential elimination of Hard Knock Radio is 
a political insult to our communities and the 
mission of the Pacifica radio network. Hard Knock 
Radio has existed for more than a decade as the 
most prominent program addressing the hip hop 
generation and underserved communities. Its 
outstanding reputation is both national and international.

The programmers of color who work at KPFA have 
long standing contacts in the broader community 
and had have worked and supported KPFA in a 
variety of capacities. We are concerned that 
program changes for diverse programmers of color 
are being proposed and made as KPFA is in the 
process of selecting a new general manager and 
installing a new local station board.

The programs that speak to our diverse 
communities include a wide range of public 
affairs, music, arts and news programs. These 
programs and their hosts provide 
multi-dimensional programs that include music, 
interviews, analysis, news updates and direct 
participation by our local and national communities.

Programs such as Point of Departure, In Your Ear, 
Transitions on Traditions, Music of the World and 
the Women’s Magazine will be essential if we are 
to grow and build a new audience. An inclusive 
process that takes advantage of the wealth of 
skills and contacts that we have at the station 
will be essential to strengthening the station in all of our best interests.

These programs are NOT simply music programs or 
single issue focus programs but represent in the 
broadest sense programs that reflect the 
diversity of the KPFA listening community. As we 
consider the “aging out” of public radio, we need 
to use all available tools to strengthen our collective mission.

The voices of our diverse communities of color 
and gender should not fall prey to untransparent 
and undemocratic programming dialogues and thus 
face exclusion and elimination that would ignore 
the long history of the need for our voices to be 
represented on the airways. KPFA and Pacifica 
must continue to be media that is cognizant of 
the issues of race, gender and underrepresented 
communities. The best method for achieving this 
goal is to have a transparent, inclusive and 
honest set of processes that is respectful of our 
diverse communities and our collective struggle as a radio station.

Under no circumstance should we see these diverse 
voices as expendable or less valued in our 
process of “restructuring.” Syndicated programs 
proposed management, however excellent, cannot 
replace these voices, which are deeply connected 
to grassroots struggles of underrepresented and 
marginalized communities in the Bay Area.

Our communities have fought for, sacrificed for 
and worked hard for KPFA, and the station’s 
budget must not be balanced on their backs. They 
deserve and demand to be represented fairly and 
honestly. If we are to stand on principles of 
diversity and anti-racism, then those voices and 
those communities need to be treated with respect on KPFA and Pacifica airways.

Hands off Hard Knock Radio!

Hard Knock Radio, hosted by Davey D and Anita 
Johnson, is broadcast every weekday at 4-5 p.m. 
on KPFA 94.1 FM and kpfa.org, where archived 
shows are available for two weeks following their broadcast.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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