KPFA, the first listener-sponsored, community radio station in the United States, endured a fierce struggle between 1999 and 2001 to preserve its local autonomy and its mission of peace and social justice. A major achievement of this struggle was the replacement of local advisory boards with elected local station boards at KPFA and throughout the Pacifica network.
The charge of the local station board (LSB) is to provide a means by which the KPFA listening community may exercise control over the general character and direction of the station. In contrast to the local advisory boards -- which, as their name indicates, were advisory in nature only -- the LSB has specific powers and duties enumerated in the Pacifica bylaws. These include formulating the annual station budget; interviewing and screening candidates for station management positions; communicating with listeners; providing a forum through which listeners can engage with the station; ensuring that the station is responsive to the communities served; and in general striving to meet the ideals of social justice and democracy envisioned by the founders of Pacifica.
Local station boards are composed of 18 members elected from the general listenership, plus 6 members elected from the paid and unpaid staff of the station. The board also includes a representative from KFCF as a voting member, and the station general manager as an ex-officio member. LSB terms of office are 3 years and are staggered: half the members are elected one year, the other half the next year, and elections are not held in the third year. Listeners must be KPFA members in order to vote in station board elections. Becoming a member is easy: all it takes is a minimum contribution of $25 per year. We encourage all listeners to join and have a voice in their station.
See our Elections Archive page for material related to LSB elections.
The local station board elects 4 representatives (3 listener members plus one staff member) to the Pacifica national board every year. The Pacifica national board sets policies for the network as a whole. Members of the LSB serve on standing committees of the local board, such as the Personnel Committee or Outreach Committee. In addition, members also volunteer or are appointed to standing committees of the Pacifica National Board, such as the Governance Committee or Finance Committee. See the current list of committees and committee assignments.
Local station board members are called "delegates," while those elected to the national board are called "directors." A complete description of the Pacifica governance system is detailed in the Pacifica bylaws.
Listeners wishing to learn more about the struggle that gave rise to the local station boards, and about the history of the Pacifica network, may wish to read historian Matthew Lasar's detailed narratives, Pacifica Radio: the rise of an alternative network (2000) and Uneasy Listening: Pacifica Radio's civil war (2005).