I was grateful to see James Rainey acknowledge the tremendous potential of KPFK Radio [“Sparring Over What KPFK Should Be,” March 27]. His article also focused on several challenges facing Southern California’s original public broadcasting outlet, particularly the acrimony that all too often defines the station’s democratic governance structure. It is important to note, however, that the chaos of KPFK’s Local Station Board meetings does not appear on our airwaves.
These days, KPFK’s programming reflects the station’s commitment to reestablishing itself as Southern California’s premier progressive media outlet, firmly grounded in the highest journalistic standards. KPFK remains equally committed to giving voice to communities largely absent from other media; to airing the full range of contemporary social critics; and to providing a forum for cutting-edge artists, comics and musicians. This combination of inclusiveness with a renewed commitment to journalistic rigor has led to the substantial increase in audience that Rainey noted.
As for the gruesome length of our recent fund drives, there’s only one antidote: Continue to improve regular programming so that more and more people recognize KPFK as essential to their lives.
In a society as complex as ours, it should be no surprise that there are many competing visions to improve the world.
In the coming years, expect KPFK to provide the essential information, as well as the best forum, for people seeking to build a just society here in Southern California.
The writer is KPFK’s interim program director
For anyone connected with the Los Angeles Times to complain about a media outlet failing to live up to its potential would be highly ironic if it were not so laughable. It’s easy to take facile potshots at KPFK, but the station still has the most insightful reporter in Los Angeles in Ian Masters, and its music programs easily top the all-talk-and-nothing-but-talk format of KPCC and the empty pop and techno-bilge played on KCRW.
It is true that other stations offer local news and offbeat programming. It’s also true that KPFK has a long history of internal contentiousness. But despite that, it’s a gem. A university of the airwaves.
What other radio station has governance as open as KPFK? That should be a story by itself. Sure, it’s messy, but it has ideals -- a rare commodity in a popular media that too often chases ambulances and Kardashians.
The internal struggles at Pacifica radio station KPFK notwithstanding, KPFK remains one of the most important stations on the FM airwaves today. At a time when the views expressed in mainstream media do not reveal the diversity that is Los Angeles -- by which I include diverse opinions as well as race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. -- I rely on KPFK to bring me the voices I would not otherwise hear.
Paul McCartney review passes
I very much enjoyed Randy Lewis’ excellent review of Paul McCartney’s Hollywood Bowl “Rock Show” [“He’s Still Here Today,” April 1]. It’s easy to nitpick and become jaded in this day and age, and Lewis’ perceptive review was a refreshing affirmation of the special-ness of the event we experienced Tuesday.
I particularly enjoyed running his line about McCartney’s playlist -- “the least of which would be a career highlight for almost any other artist” -- through the “test mill” in my brain and was delighted when it quickly came back an unequivocally spot-on “correct.” It’s a statement just as amazing as it is true.
Architects of deficient spaces
I would like to offer an alternative view of the Venturi/Scott Brown design credo [“Still Dazzling,” by Christopher Hawthorne, March 31].
Las Vegas always has been a wasteland of neon blight and commercialism.
The designs of Venturi/Scott Brown are less flashy than Las Vegas but equally indifferent to human comfort. Given an opportunity to design an entire community -- the campus of the State University of New York at Purchase -- they created a sterile red-brick desert that was universally hated by the students. I attended SUNY at Purchase in the late ‘70s. A representative of the architects visited my environmental psychology class and was completely on the defensive. Among other deficiencies, he shamefacedly admitted that a spacious plaza in the middle of the main group of buildings was a “cold space” that did nothing to encourage people to linger there.
Evidently, success in the world of architecture depends less on an instinct for livable design than on self-promotion and a potentially “iconic” vision. Hawthorne’s admiration for Venturi and Scott Brown is cut from flawed cloth; it tells us what’s hip, not what should be valued for its own sake.