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DAILY REPORTS and Documents | iPNB Berkeley meeting info
KPFT general manager report

Presented at the iPNB meeting in Berkeley June 21 - 23, 2002


At the previous board meeting in Los Angeles this March, I announced our plans for the upcoming drive which was postponed due to the changes in Houston following the January PNB meetings in New York. That drive was the most successful in KPFT's history, with nearly $390,000 in pledges coming from over 3600 listener-sponsors, over 1600 of them new subscribers to KPFT. As of early June, the fulfillment rate from this drive is about 72%, with over $270,000 received. Our Spring fund-drive has been similarly postponed and will begin on Monday morning June 24, running through Monday the 1st of July. The base goal of this drive is about $242,000 and we hope to see, if successful, somewhere between $250-300,000 raised over this drive. The short duration of this drive is intended to be hard-hitting, fast and furious and as hot and heavy as a Houston summer.

The staff at KPFT is being expanded and we are in the final stages of adding a permanent Program Director, a Membership Coordinator and an Administrative Assistant to the current full-time salaried staff of 5. Over 90 resumes were received for the 3 job postings and the search process is in its final stages currently. The intention was to have these positions filled before the June fund drive; however, it may be early in July before these decisions are finalized. We have, at present, 6 people working on an hourly contract basis, with 3 of them in positions to be filled through the current job search process.

The volunteer staff has expanded in the past few months from about 70 to over 160 persons working on actual on-air programming and board operations as well as production; with an ongoing development of relationships involving local universities to produce a local news half-hour, beginning one evening a week in early July, expected to add at least 6 more persons to the volunteer staff base. A basic board operations training as well as production training has been instituted and has helped greatly to expand the staff and operations numbers and community involvement.

These numbers are also reflected in the recent changes to the schedule which make a major step toward re-connecting KPFT with the greater community of Houston, particularly the "fired" listeners of Black, Latino and Asian heritage. We have just effected a program schedule which brings 30 new programs to the airwaves. Twenty-eight of these are locally produced, with 21 of them Public Affairs/News and 7 are Music. They reflect a wide range of interests and community involvement; from mothering to education issues; arts, spoken word, labor and feminist programs; news from Houston Indymedia Center; Arab voices, Latino voices, Black voices and Native American voices…voices not heard over the airwaves of KPFT for a decade in some cases. Music and culture representing Tejanos, Blacks and South Asians also returns to the air in Houston. These new programs largely fall into the 10am-1pm weekday or 8pm to midnight weekday timeslots. The evenings also feature a re-broadcast of "Democracy Now!" from 11pm to midnight. These changes come at the expense of some evening music programming from 10pm - 1am and the cancellation of a repeat of "World Café" from 4-6am weekdays. Several programs are set as alternate week broadcasts to maximize the available airtime. David Barsamian's "Alternative Radio" has found a home on Monday mornings at 10. While we feel very excited about these new programs, we also understand that this is an ongoing process of re-introducing mission-based programming to the airwaves in Houston. With the help of the KPFT LAB in performing outreach and helping bring KPFT and the community back together, we anticipate further adjustments to the schedule prior to the next fund drive in the fall.

The station continues to experience problems related to lack of equipment, shortages of space to effectively produce programs and issues with computer networking. Memsys and Great Plains both periodically give the business department headaches as they adjust to the new systems. Our Galveston repeater transmitter situation is the process of being resolved with the help of Don Mussel and John Crigler. We are in the process of re-situating our PRSS dish in the backyard and will be following that with the construction of a back fence to secure the property. The funds for this fence project come from a backyard concert fundraiser last month which netted the station over $3400. We now have a signed SCA contract for one of our channels bringing in $3500 monthly and are nearing a deal to lease the other SCA for about $5000 monthly as well. We are nearly finished with a digital on-air studio upgrade to WireReady which will eliminate the need for our cart machines and also the DAT machines to record satellite feeds.

We have the goal of creating a second audio stream from our website which would function as essentially a KPFT-X internet station and allow us the opportunity to "test-fly" new programs in a relatively "safe" space. We intend this to be a "live" training ground for all kinds of programming and another way for KPFT to be a community resource.

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