Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Archives
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives

    Independent radio is here to stay

    KPFA Program Director Prives steers through crises

    Within the walls of KPFA, the building is teeming with life of all sorts, fueled by sunlight let in by the massive skylights and Grateful Dead themed coffee. The home fort and flagship station of the Pacifica Radio Network houses a host of radio programs, both news and music, and various production offices to create and broadcast them to the masses at 94.1 FM. 
    KPFA features live and prerecorded programmingDespite the ratio of music to news and community programming skewing more heavily on the side of the sonically sublime than rabble rousing (a 60/40 split), drive times belong to freedom of the press, with emphasis on local activism and politics. 
    KPFA produces many of its shows in-house, and despite being an independent station boasts a professional staff of managers and handfuls of paid employees, because as the NFL, NBA and NCAA have proven, you can be a non-profit company and still pay your employees. 
    The station is funded almost entirely by listener donations and not through underwriting like many community and college stations because of the “slippery slope” fear that capitalistic interests in the station could skew its politics, a dystopian future that they’ve thankfully so far avoided. 
    Not having underwriting means the presenters can say whatever they want on the air, which is not the same as a frantic, spastic freak-out. Just the opposite, actually. KPFA prides itself with stellar journalism. Laura Prives, the station’s program director, said that although news and journalism had played a large role in her life, it was outrage over George W. Bush’s war in Iraq that prompted her to join the station and speak out, both against the war and the media paradigms that propagated it. 
    Prives started at KDHX in her hometown of St. Louis before coming to California and joining KALX. After joining a mass protest in San Francisco on March 19 2003 (the first official day of Operation Iraqi Freedom), Prives crossed back to the East Side of the bay and attended her first session of the KPFA News Training Program, and has been active ever since. 
    Prives wrote and produced a news show for several years as a volunteer before joining the staff in 2005 and has risen through the ranks to occupy the chair of Program Director, one of the most important jobs at any radio station. Like many management positions, there is no official job description because the PD ends up taking on so many tasks, but the main one is, of course, program direction, including determining who gets what show at what time slot, as well as directing air sound and station continuity. 
    Laura PrivesThere are only 30 paid staff members at KPFA, ranging from news staff to engineering and management. Contrast that with 150 volunteers and the thousands of listeners and supporters in local area and it becomes clear that it is truly a community station, one of the first in the nation to be completely supported by individual donation (they also receive the occasional grant, but no federal or corporate money). 
    Founded in 1949 by Lewis Hill in an era where the AM band was for your parents to listen to Lawrence Welk and Vincent Price-led dramas, and the FM band was a barren wasteland ripe for the picking, Hill bought the 94.1 frequency and set up shop in Pacifica. 
    The station has not been without its share of controversy and hard times, however. In the ’50’s they got in trouble with the then-adolescent FCC over playing a recoding of Alan Ginsberg’s notorious beat poem “Howl.” 
    More recently, the station seemed to be in dire straits in 1999 after the host of a popular show, “Flashpoints”, was arrested on-air after airing dissenting opinions regarding a labor dispute with the Pacifica Foundation, KPFA’s parent company. 
    The dispute resulted in the arrests of dozens of people including several staff members, and a lockout of the station, only resolved after litigious action. The station was eventually allowed to continue broadcasting as normal after several large protests staged by the community, including fundraising separately from the station to avoid the funds being appropriated for nefarious means by the Pacifica Foundation. 
    KPFA prides itself on airing music and news from all walks of life and providing airtime for all opinions and informing the public of news they might not have heard anywhere else. 
    The station continues to thrive to this day and if you would like to join its efforts, the News Training class is held on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings, beginning March 31. Email news(at)kpfa.org attn: Mark Mericle with your personal information (including mailing address) or call (510) 848–6767 ex. 228 and an application form will be mailed to you.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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