a head count

"The KPFA war has been going on as long as I can fucking remember. So what is this town hall about exactly?"

Someone asked that in an email. It was followed by a lot of back and forth, first explaining the Town Hall event itself, which had to do with JR Valrey's suspension from KPFA, then questions as to why radicals should even bother to get involved and take sides in a fight that never seemed to end. Finally, Richard Chen wrote this:

Well, let's do a head count, shall we?

On the Save KPFA side are Dan Siegel and the Wellstone Democratic Club, along with the CWA leadership.

On the other side are United for Community Radio: people like Stan Woods, Isis Feral, Jack Heyman, Dave Welsh and a bunch of other people.

On the staff side, Save KPFA are people like Aileen Alfandary, Mark Mericle, Sasha Lilley and Brian Edwards Tiekert. On the UCR side are Dennis Bernstein and JR Valrey.

Save KPFA doesn't give a shit about representing unpaid staff (which, by the way, UE used to, back in the 1990s).

The other side does. They say it was a tragedy that a union representing a community radio station doesn't represent the unpaid workers who do most of the work.

I won't be at the town hall because I have to work. I also don't support JR's politics which are black nationalist. But he supports our Mumia work and we defended him when the police came after him during the Oscar Grant march. There are many on the right wing of KPFA who don't support JR. Those same people will bury Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford, Raheim Brown and so on.

It's obviously not cut and dried as in everybody on one side is an angel and the other side isn't. But there is clearly a side in the issue for anybody who cares about radical politics. I know you're not really concerned with that, you're more concerned with "why should I go to this", and maybe there isn't a good reason this time. But I hope that at least shows why it is important.

Richard Chen
April 8, 2013


Broadcasters of Color & Unpaid Staff

Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, April 11 at 6 p.m.
Laney College Student Center RM 401
900 Fallon St., Oakland; near Lake Merritt BART

presentations by

Tracy Rosenberg of the Pacifica National Board
Gerald Smith, formerly of the KPFA Local Station Board
Frank Sterling of the KPFA Local Station Board
JR Valrey of Block Report Radio

We will talk about:

The arbitrary suspension of Black broadcaster JR Valrey

80% of the staff at KPFA are unpaid, the 20% that are paid use up most of the resources.

The Pseudo-union CWA represents only the paid staff; it pushed management to suspend JR Valrey.


Transcript & Audio

Transcript of JR Valrey's broadcast
of February 6, 2013 for which he was suspended from KPFA without due process

AUDIO of JR Valrey's broadcast

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Updates, reports & essays about KPFA & Pacifica Foundation Radio at

KPFA 94.1 FM is one of five stations of the Pacifica radio network which are located in major cities across the country. The other stations are WBAI 99.5 in New York, WPFW 89.3 in Washington DC, KPFT 90.1 in Houston, and KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles. There are also about 160 affiliate stations.

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