WPFW Local station Board Meeting
Market 5 Gallery, Eastern Market
Seventh Street & North Carolina Avenue SE, Washington DC
13 June 2007
Public session convened 7:23 P.M., Zarinah Shakir serving as Chair.
Members present: Alonzo Brown, Jim Brown, Acie Byrd, Gail Dixon, Joni
Eisenberg, Zaccai Free, Jane Gatewood, Arturo Griffiths, Ayo Handy-Kendi, Ann
Hyslop, Ambrose Lane , Luzette King, Dan Logan, Thomas Ruffin, Zarinah Shakir,
Gloria Turner, Carol Wolfe.
Absent: Hakam Takash.
Excused Absences: Billy Ray Edwards, Adriane Jemmott, Norberto Martinez, Rob
Robinson, Michelle (Noodles) Smith, Marcello Tolliver.
Also present: Nathaniel Adams, LSB Parliamentarian, Carl Pfluger, LSB
Secretary, Bobby Hill, WPFW Program Director, Sidrach Franklin, WPFW Operations
Director. General Manager Ron Pinchback, who normally attends LSB meetings, was
absent due to a technical emergency affecting the Station's phone lines during
the pledge drive.
Amendment & Approval of Agenda: The Agenda was amended to postpone all New
Business to next month's meeting, and to move the Executive Session for the
Management Assessment & Search Committee (MASC) report to the end of the
current meeting. Thus amended, the agenda was approved without objection, as
moved by Zaccai Free and seconded by Jim Brown.
Approval of Minutes: Also postponed without objection to the next meeting, as
moved by Ambrose Lane and seconded by Carol Wolfe.
Community Comment: No members of the public offered any comments.
General Manager's Report: Ron Pinchback had previously distributed his written
report, in email and printed copies. In his absence, Sidrach Franklin gave a
brief oral report on the technical crisis at the station (involving the T-1
phone line, and other issues with Verizon.) Luzette then moved to postpone
discussion of the GM's report to the next meeting. Seconded by Ambrose Lane ,
this was agreed without objection.
Program Director's Report: Bobby Hill gave a brief oral summary of his written
report (which he had emailed to the LSB 8 days previously) largely about his
actions to tighten up and regularize procedures in airing Public Service
Announcements (PSAs), managing the record library, conducting on-air ticket
giveaways, and enforcing restrictions on indecent language and commercial
endorsements. He also reported on special programs recently aired: locally, a
show about the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM);
nationally, "The War on Immigrants" and "Cage," about Palestine . As part of
the effort to widen our listener-support base, WPFW hosted about 15 State
Department-sponsored foreign correspondents, to give them a sense of our
station and its mission; and Ron Pinchback, Askia Muhammed, and Zarinah Shakir
did interviews for a Voice of America (VOA) production about Muslim-American
programmers, Zarinah standing in at the last minute for Ryme Khatkhouda. In the
question period, Ayo asked for further clarification of the PSA process; Jim
asked if the station has a written Operation & Procedures Manual (we don't, not
yet); Zaccai asked if it was possible to "put the fun back into fund drive?"
(nobody has an answer for that!); and Acie Byrd asked if there were any plans
for liaisons with high schools or universities to develop training programs for
young people. Bobby passed that question over to Sidrach, who said he would
consider it. Acie and Luzette offered congratulations to Bobby on the quality
of his report, Luzette especially commending him for having distributed it well
in advance of the meeting.
PNB Reports: Acie Byrd, for the Archives Committee, reported on the success of
the Paul Robeson special, an example of the sort of thing Pacifica could do
very well if all our archival material were properly conserved and updated.
Thomas Ruffin reported that the PNB Governance Committee has proposed an
amendment to the Bylaws to change the timing of our elections: they would take
place in Autumn, every 2 years, for uniform 4-year terms. He also commented
generally on a "leadership vacuum" at the top level of Pacifica, point
amplified by Ambrose Lane, who went into some detail about the personal and
political wrangling surrounding the Executive Director. During the question
period, Carol Wolfe asked if the PNB might possibly learn something from such
experiences, and suggested that, at both the Station and National levels,
Pacifica 's Boards tend to become too involved in the sort of detailed
management decisions that should properly be handled by professional staff.
Programming Committee: Dan Logan reported on the Committee's discussions with
PD Bobby Hill, who has made a good start at putting things in order, but will
need help from the new staff members (Music & Cultural Affairs Coordinator and
Volunteer Coordinator, who will hopefully be hired by August 1 st.) He stressed
the need for strong and consistent enforcement of National policies (especially
on "indecency") to protect ourselves from lawsuits and FCC fines, even if some
regard this as "draconian." Fees for Internet broadcasting of music will triple
as of July 15 th, which will also add to our burden (and paperwork), but there
is some movement in Congress toward offering relief to smaller stations on this
score. He suggested that the process of systematically evaluating and
overhauling all our programming is so complex that we might do well to bring in
an outside consultant. Joni Eisenberg questioned the need for such a
consultant, suggesting that the programmers themselves should be consulted
more; to which Thomas Ruffin responded that programmers are already in a
position to approach Management, but they often fail to take the opportunities
Outreach & Development Committee: Gloria Turner reported on plans for the Town
Hall Meetings (two per year are required by the Bylaws) where the public will
be invited to meet and question the Station Management and the LSB leadership.
The first will be at the Oxon Hill Library Lecture Hall, Saturday June 30 th,
1:00-4:00 P.M. ( 6200 Oxon Hill Road , Oxon Hill , MD. Detailed directions are
at www.wpfw.org/calendar.) The second will probably be some time in October. In
September there will be many music festivals offering opportunities to get out
and promote the Station, so people should go out and get involved!
LSB Show Report: Carol Wolfe spoke about the last broadcast (largely devoted to
reporting on the May 5 th Retreat) and distributed a printed report on it.
The report included suggestions from listeners. Anyone with further information
or suggestions available in electronic form was invited to email them to the
Secretary ( email@example.com ) for incorporation into a centralized list.
30th Anniversary Task Force: Task Force Chair Acie Byrd distributed a printed
report, and he and Gail Dixon also reported orally on plans for the Anniversary
Gala at the Washington Convention Center to bring in contributions to the
Station's capital fund, particularly for the purchase a new facility to house
the Station. The tentative goal is 200,000 to 250,000 dollars. Cost of the
Convention center Ballroom is $16,000. We are trying to persuade the Mayor and
City Council to waive that rent for WPFW, but so far have reached no agreement
about it. In any case, whatever we may have to pay, Pacifica 's National Office
should cover half.
Executive session convened 9:50 p.m. to discuss the MASC Report: Jim Brown,
Chair of the Management Assessment & Search Committee, distributed a
preliminary report to the LSB, outlining the tentative schedule of the MASC's
activities, which are aimed at completing the process by August 3 rd. He also
distributed draft copies of the evaluation form to be used by Staff and LSB
Members in assessing the General Manager. It consists of two sections: "Duties
& Responsibilities," based directly on criteria spelled out in the GM's job
description; and "Goals for 2007-8," based partly on the concerns expressed in
the responses to last year's evaluation form, and partly on resolutions voted
by the LSB in its discussions of the MASC's previous work (especially in the
meetings of September 25 th, October 4 th, and October 11 th.) Ambrose argued
that the assessment need only be based on the job description criteria (to be
consistent with the Executive Director's assessment process), and that this in
fact was what the LSB had voted to do in its March 20 th resolution, which now
supersedes all earlier resolutions on the subject. There was some discussion of
particular items (especially the issue of codes of conduct, with some re-
wording of the question related to that) but nothing else was decided. Thomas
suggested continuing the discussion at the next regular meeting; Zarinah
suggested it might require a special meeting, but no date for one was set.
Adjournment: Moved about 10:40 by Gail, seconded by Zaccai, agreed without