All is not well with Pacifica public station KPFK (90.7 FM). According to sources, employees were told in August that salaries would be cut in half for a period of four months ... and that the move was made due to a staggering debt in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now that debt is chump change to companies like Cumulus (owner of KABC 790 AM and KLOS 95.5 FM) and the other major players. But it’s huge to a small station like KPFK and Pacifica, a company that has essentially been hanging by a thread for at least a decade.
This is unfortunate, as unlike college stations that were originally intended as educational outreaches or student radio laboratories, KPFK was conceived as a public (service) station and has a long history of fighting for what it considers social justice. Perhaps it at times comes off as leaning so far left it is actually communist, it is also the only station in town to take on institutions and people that KPFK staffers and management feel are doing things wrong. LAUSD’s former superintendent John Deasy is but one example.
Of course those managers and staffers are what also made KPFK so irrelevant to much of Southern California.
This will be difficult to fix.
Building a Program
Over at Cal State Long Beach, the radio program that was gutted when student-run radio station KSUL was shut down in 1981 in favor of professionally-run KLON (now KKJZ, 88.1 FM) is slowly but surely making a return.
Sources tell me that at least one class is in the works at the university, and that the hope is for a full radio-television major of study to return. Danny Lemus, the driving force behind student-run K-Beach (heard on the digital HD3 stream of KKJZ as well as on line) is the driving force behind this development as well.
SPERDVAC Convention Update
Recreations of classic episodes of radio’s Fibber McGee and Molly; the Lux Radio Theater; Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; and Sherlock Holmes are on tap for the annual convention of SPERDVAC, the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy.
In addition, there will be panel discussions featuring Noel Blanc (speaking of his father Mel), new radio dramas, celebrating the life of Spike Jones, the history of KABC (790 AM) and more.
The convention is November 6th, 7th and 8th at the Holiday Inn Media Center, 150 E. Angeleno Avenue in Burbank. For details on the convention, or on how to join SPERDVAC, head over to www.sperdvac.com or call 877-251-5771
“Your comments regarding ‘automatic sound' due to strong radio signals took me back to 1959 when as a ten year old I saved up enough money to buy an early transistor radio. The first portables featured two transistor circuitry that lacked much selectivity.
“I hurriedly rushed home to La Mirada to try out my new radio only to discover that I received KFI across the whole dial. Turns out that their broadcasting antenna was only about a mile from our home. Their 50,000 watt signal was too much for my humble radio.” -- Joe Paire, Long Beach
“I grew up on 178th street perhaps less than a mile from the KNX transmitters. We could all hear KNX whenever we picked up the telephone. A neighbor kid made a receiver out of a pair of headphones and about two feet of wire. And there were a couple of adults in the neighborhood who claimed they could "not not" hear KNX because of the number of metal fillings in their teeth. Our telephone experience gave their claims a lot of credibility. -- John Billings, Long Beach