KPFA Local Station Board election campaign is underway


Bay View-endorsed candidates are listed below

by Renée Asteria Peñaloza

Since the late 1940s, this KPFA transmitter, rising 304 feet above the 1,500-foot Grizzley Peak in the Berkeley Hills, has broadcast a strong 59,000-watt signal, the main reason KPFA reaches most of Northern and Central California. With bolder, more progressive leadership and programming, millions more minds can be opened to ideas and movements that can transform our world.Greetings, fellow activists. As you may know, KPFA’s Local Station Board (LSB) election, one of the greatest experiments in media democracy, is currently underway. We have 29 candidates running to fill nine seats on the LSB, KPFA’s governing body, composed of elected listener and staff members. The LSB has real teeth as it must approve the budget, oversee programming and create policy. Given the weight of these responsibilities, it is important that people elected to the board represent the community that they serve – that means you.

We need your voice. We need your vote. The survival, relevance and diversity of Free Speech Radio are at stake. I urge you to look out for your ballot this first week of September. If you do not get one, please contact me, KPFA election supervisor, by writing to or calling (510) 848 6767, ext. 626.

You may wonder how to make your choice. Who are these candidates? How will they represent your voice? Meet the candidates, present your ideas, raise your concerns and challenge them with your questions at the debates and forums scheduled throughout the Bay between now and mid October. Visit for an updated calendar.

I invite you to read candidate statements on and to please listen to the first on-air forum which presents 26 of the 29 candidates in a series of six-hour debates (

In-person candidate forums

Meet the candidates. Ask them your toughest questions.

  • Friday, Sept. 11, 7–9 p.m. – Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot St., Sebastopol
  • Sunday, Sept. 13 1:30–3:30 p.m. – Theatre in the Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. # 8, San Francisco
  • Monday, Sept. 14, 7:30–9:30 p.m. – Methodist Church, San Rafael
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15 5:30–6:30 p.m. – Berkeley Community Media, 2239 Martin Luther King Way, Berkeley
  • Saturday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. – Milpitas Library Community Room, 160 Main St., Milpitas
  • Sunday, Sept. 20, 1:30–3:30 p.m. – Panama Red Cafe, 289 Mare Island Way, Vallejo
  • Monday,  Sept. 21, 7–9 p.m. – Unitarian Church, 505 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23, 7-9 p.m. – SF Green Party, 1028A Howard St., San Francisco
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30, 6:30–9:30 p.m. – 325 Civic Center Plaza at MacDonald Ave., Richmond

On-air candidate forums on KPFA 94.1FM

During each hour, four or five candidates will discuss questions and take calls.

  • Sunday,  Sept. 20, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 5, 7–8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7–8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7, 7–8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 7–8 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 9, 7–8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 10, 9–10 a.m.

On Oct. 14, all ballots are due.

For more information, contact KPFA Election Supervisor Renée Asteria Peñaloza at or (510) 848-6767, ext.626.

The Bay View recommends

Adam HudsonWillie and Mary Ratcliff, publisher and editor of the SF Bay View, count on KPFA to expand the Bay View’s revolutionary voice to reach millions of people in Northern and Central California. With bolder, more progressive leadership and programming at KPFA, we believe that millions more minds can be opened to the kinds of ideas and movements you read about in the Bay View.

We strongly recommend against voting for any of the candidates on the slate of the Concerned Listeners, whose members on the current Local Station Board have paralyzed it so as to maintain the status quo for the past three years.

Instead, we are supporting the Independents for Community Radio, who include two young men, Adam Hudson and Rahman Jamaal, who were well received when they spoke at the Bay View fundraiser featuring People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland on Aug. 20. We also have confidence in the three incumbents on the ICR slate: Henry Norr, Sasha Futran and Akio Tanaka. Go to to read the statements and see the photos of all the ICR candidates.

We also endorse long time Bay View supporter and well known labor journalist Steve Zeltzer. Learn more about Steve at

All the candidates we endorse have agreed to do whatever they can to support Cynthia McKinney as the next executive director of the Pacifica radio network, a nationwide network founded at KPFA, and a Black public affairs show on KPFA in a regular, desirable time slot produced by a collective headed by Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View.

We vigorously encourage all our readers who are KPFA members to cast their votes in this critical election. Readers who live within the sound of KPFA’s voice are urged to join KPFA – for $25 or three hours of volunteer service per year – and we’re asking all readers to forward our recommendations to all the KPFA members they know.


  1. How would these (or any) candidates have influence if it is not the role of the Local Station Board to engage in programming decisions?

    “All the candidates we endorse have agreed to do whatever they can to support…a Black public affairs show on KPFA in a regular, desirable time slot produced by a collective headed by Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View.”

  2. I’m unsure of the mechanism but the LSB can pressure for restoring the power of the Program Council to make programming decisions at KPFA. I believe the Program Council more or less crumbled because staff members were refusing to attend, meaning it didn’t meet quorum, and therefore had no power.

    This is one more example of doing nothig–not even showing up–as a form of aggression. It’s a very common, strategic form of legislative aggression.

    What the LSB could do to stop this, I’m not sure. But reviving the Program Council is part of the platform of every candidate truly committed to community radio.

  3. How “defanged”? What gave Sasha the power to invalidate the Program Council’s authority?

    If she simply grabbed the power, without authority, then don’t members of the Program Council have to take responsibility for letting her do so?

    There have to be some rules about who has what authority here, though I’ve sometimes head that decisions at KPFA are based on “who’s the biggest bully.” That what’s going on here, and if so, what’s the bully power based in?

  4. In response to ghandifan, first, it is the role of the Local Station Board to set policy. Secondly, if the Program Council, which used to be directly responsible for programming decisions, is resurrected in its previous form, some LSB members will be seated on it. We want to support candidates who support programming that is so valuable to the Black community and others who are interested in Black news and views that they will be drawn to KPFA and become regular listeners and active members.

    The Bay View newspaper and website, despite our financial woes, have proven our ability to reach that audience. Don’t you think, considering the virulent racism in the mainstream news – from increased police murders to Van Jones’ “resignation” to gun-toting threats against our Black president (aside from whether you agree with or support him) – that news and views of, by and for Black people could make a popular show?

    If the New York Times can run this op-ed (by Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad) as it did today, why are such viewpoints taboo on KPFA – or at least not deserving of their own time slot?

    The op-ed, “The Recession’s Racial Divide,” begins:

    WHAT do you get when you combine the worst economic downturn since the Depression with the first black president? A surge of white racial resentment, loosely disguised as a populist revolt. An article on the Fox News Web site has put forth the theory that health reform is a stealth version of reparations for slavery: whites will foot the bill and, by some undisclosed mechanism, blacks will get all the care. President Obama, in such fantasies, is a dictator and, in one image circulated among the anti-tax, anti-health reform “tea parties,” he is depicted as a befeathered African witch doctor with little tusks coming out of his nostrils. When you’re going down, as the white middle class has been doing for several years now, it’s all too easy to imagine that it’s because someone else is climbing up over your back.

    Despite the sense of white grievance, though, blacks are the ones who are taking the brunt of the recession, with disproportionately high levels of foreclosures and unemployment. And they weren’t doing so well to begin with. At the start of the recession, 33 percent of the black middle class was already in danger of falling to a lower economic level, according to a study by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University and Demos, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.

    Mary Ratcliff, editor
    SF Bay View

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