The Pacifica Radio network's corrupt management is afraid of you. They are afraid that you might joinin the growing movement to restore the Pacifica Foundation to its original mission of providing radical news, culture and information over the public airwaves (and now over the web). We at the Pacifica Campaign ask for a few minutes of your time to inform you of the situation at Pacifica, which is rapidly nearing its breaking point, and how you might participate in reclaiming this vital asset of the Left.
The Pacifica Foundation owns five radio licenses and stations in NYC, DC, Houston, LA and Berkeley. This is the only truly corporate-free, indépendant media network in the country. Pacifica has for over 50 years provided a vital outlet to those in the many struggles that define the radical, progressive movement in this country, from opposing the McCarthy hearings, nuclear arms, racism, Viet Nam, police brutality and in support of civil rights, women's rights, gay and lesbian rights, radical environmentalism and recently the growing resistance to corporate globalization.
Radio itself is a truly popular, inclusive medium. When the Zapatistas
held their first press
conference in 1994, Subcomandante Marcos tailored it for radio journalists. He felt radio was the most important medium for reaching the masses. It is relatively cheap to transmit, its reception cannot be traced, and it is accessible to people who have no access to TV or the internet, and to those who cannot read.
Forces outside and within Pacifica threaten the network's existence. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio are each controlled by graduates of the US State Department's radio propaganda machines. Bob Coonrad, President and CEO of the CPB, was formerly deputy managing director of the Voice of America, and NPR's President and CEO, Kevin Klose, managed the post-Cold War eastward push of Radio Free Eurpoe/Radio Liberty from Munich to Prague. These two men exert tremendous influence over the shape of public broadcasting and its relationship with the FCC and multinational corporations.
In 1998, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supplies Pacifica
with 15% of its budget, initiated changes to the Pacifica by-laws that
enabled the Foundation's board of directors to become self-selecting. Since
then, the board has become stacked with
pro-corporate individuals with no connection to progressive social justice causes. This board has overseen the installation of managers who are hostile to the union locals that represent
Pacifica paid and unpaid staff, who summarily fire and ban longtime producers, and who work to dismantle the political content of the airwaves under the pretense of professionalizing the staff and expanding the audience size.
This is on its face a fraud. Democracy Now!, the nnetwork's most successsful
show ever, has a constantly growing audience precisely because it gives
people the alternative coverage that is unavailable from corporate-controlled
media. Yet, rather than support the show, Pacifica management is engaged
in a daily campaign of harrassment against award-winning host Amy Goodman.
She has been yelled at by her supervisor in public, fired from her local
program at WBAI in NYC, subjected to a hostile workplace with viscious
insults directed at her both on air and off. In commenting on her coverage
of the Abner Louima case, Pacifica's KPFK station manager Mark Schubb said,
"I don't like to hear graphic details of police
brutality before my morning coffee." AFTRA and UE have filed grievances of harassment and censorship on her behalf. Pacifica board member John Murdock, an attorney with the anti-union law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green (which also represents Pacifica) called the charges "garbage" and said she should "take her show and leave."
In the latest, most illustrative excess of Pacifica management, Executive
Wash interrupted the Democracy Now! Satellite transmission on Monday, March 26th. While Pacifica station managers have locally censored unwanted content from Democracy Now!, never in its more than five years has the satellite signal been interfered with. In the five-minute taped diatribe, Wash claimed that the campaign against Pacifica management was violent and gave two examples. She claimed a Houston leafletter attacked a KPFT staffer during a fundraising event. Bessie Wash also claimed that the WBAI station manager was attacked "in her own studio" while conducting an interview with a US Congressman. The same line was subsequently satellite cast over the Pacifica network by Pacifica Board Chair David Acosta.
In each case, the opposite is true. In Houston, the leafletter was assaulted
by the KPFT station
manager and another man. It was the leafletter, however, who was charged with assault and who spent the night in jail (http://www.hal-pc.org/~edi/kpft.html). At WBAI, it was Ken Nash, the host of the NYC area's only community labor program, "Building Bridges," who
was in the midst of an interview with Congressman Major Owens when WBAI interim station manager Utrice Leid barged into the studio, canceled the show and fired Nash. Congressman Owens described the outrage from the floor of the House (http://pacificacampaign.org/congress.html). Join our email list for updates and calls to action. You will receive no more than one email per day, in what we hope to be a swift, coordinated expression of discontent directed at those members of the board who we feel have to go. Sign up on our website, by calling our hotline at 800-797-6229, or right now by clicking here: http://pacificacampaign.org/emailsignup.html
Critical to stopping the clique of hijackers on the Pacifica board is
to shut off their access to
listener money. Please withhold all financial support to Pacifica stations WBAI in NYC, WPFW in DC, KPFT in Houston, KPFK in LA, and KPFA in Berkeley, especially in their upcoming Spring fund drive. Pacifica management is profligate with its use of listener funds in hiring expensive law firms, PR firms, and in treating themselves in the manner of the corporate class with which they identify. We are NOT encouraging boycotts of non-Pacifica stations that carry Democracy Now! Or other Pacifica programs.
For more information, please see http://pacificacampaign.org and Znet's
compilation at http://www.zmag.org