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Hiring of Station Managers


Presented at the iPNB meeting in L.A. March 10, 2002

PROPOSAL FOR THE SEARCH AND HIRING PROCESS OF STATION MANAGERS

Three of the Pacifica stations - WPFW, KPFK, KPFA - have interim or acting station managers, and the station manager at WBAI has just announced her resignation effective May 1st. It is time to put into place a process for the hiring of permanent managers at each of these stations. This proposal is based on several important assumptions:

a) There should be a common process used throughout Pacifica. The process and the committees might have to have some variation, depending on the realities of each area but the underpinnings should be the same at each station.

b) The process for selecting new station managers will be coordinated by the LAB at each station. The LABs will have the responsibility to bring together the search committee in a timely fashion and ensure that the steps of the process are carried out in accordance with the time frame agreed on.

c) The process must be inclusive of the various constituent parts of each station's community. More specifically, in addition to the LAB the process has to include representation from paid and non-paid staff or programmers, from the activist listener groups and from the Foundation's executive staff. And there needs to be a fair and workable balance amongst the constituent parts.

d) There are different ideas about how public the whole process is. While it is true that the station manager positions are critical and therefore who fills those slots is of great interest to people throughout the Pacifica network, this proposal focuses on the need for broad involvement within each listening area.

e) We must encourage people of color and women to apply for these positions, and we must, as a national organization, make a commitment to diversify the ethnic and gender make up of our station managers.

TASKS OF THE SEARCH/HIRING COMMITTEE
1 - Develop a clear job description.
2 - Set a specific time line for the entire process: posting/announcing the job, initial selection of candidates, interviews, etc.
3 - Give public notice that the job is available, including using the air to make announcements, ads in appropriate publications and announcements via the internet and on appropriate web sites.
(These first three items should be done with the coordination with the Foundation's Human Resources staff person.)
4 - Read through all applications with the goal of selecting 5 or 6 people to be interviewed.
5 - Set up and carry out the interviews: schedule them, establish questions that will be asked, etc.
6 - Narrow the field of candidates to 2 or 3 for final consideration. 7 - Inform applicants about their status in a timely manner.

COMPOSTION OF THE SEARCH/HIRING COMMITTEE
Each of the station committees should include the following:
- 2 people from the Local Advisory Board (not staff reps. on the LAB)
- 1 person selected by the paid staff at the station
- 1 person selected by the non-paid staff at the station
- 1 person from the National Board from that area (selected by the Board members in that area)
- 1 person from the major listener groups in the area
(in some areas there is more than one active listener group so more detailed consideration will have to be given to how this selection is made.)

The national Executive Director should be an ex officio member of each station's committee. The ED will make sure the work is moving ahead in an orderly and timely fashion, and then will take an active role in the last part of the process ... the interviews of the final 2 or 3 candidates. The final decision about who to hire for the station manager position will be made by Pacifica's Executive Director.

BROADER COMMMUNITYAND STAFF INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROCESS
We must respect the right of privacy of any and all applicants for these positions. That means that the search/hiring committees will NOT make public either a list of who has applied nor anyone's resumes or application letters.

The search/hiring committee should consider convening a series of discussions, one with each of the 2 or 3 finalists. This could be an evening where the finalists discuss their interest in the position, their vision for the station, as well as their histories. This would allow the broader community to ask questions and get to know the people being considered, but it would not be an interview, an interrogation or a cross-examination. At the end of such a session people could indicate via a written form their preference .... but this would in no way be a formal vote or a decision making process.

The committee should also consider asking the finalists to write anonymous vision/policy statements for circulation within the community and collect community responses. This would protect their privacy and prevent them from feeling that they must reveal, perhaps to a current employer, the fact that they are applying for another job. At the same time, it would allow the larger community to have some role in the process.

Finally, the search/hiring committee should consider either or both of these possibilities with the station staff. Again, the staff could indicate their preference but this would not be a formal vote nor a part of the final decision making process.

(Submitted by Leslie Cagan)
[passed unanimously]


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