Don't Nix the MIX

7 Days and 3 Rallies
The last week of May at KPFA

by Daniel Borgström
June 6, 2014

In the last week of May, SaveKPFA took the MORNING MIX off prime time, replacing it with a show piped in from Los Angeles hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar. During that week we held three rallies at the KPFA station, carrying signs and banners reading: "Bring back the Morning Mix," "Diversity or Monoculture?" and "Don't Nix the Mix you Dix."

By my count, each of these rallies drew 70 to 100 people. On Monday, May 26th, the first day of the piped in show, our rally began with speakers, then at 8 a.m. we went into the station and took over the airwaves for an hour, turning off the piped in show and putting the Morning Mix on the air at its usual time. The show hosts of the Mix took turns interviewing the people at the rally on the air, putting into practice the KPFA motto: Free Speech Radio.

Audio of the May 26 Morning Mix broadcast

The next morning, Tuesday the 27th, we again held a rally, and iGM Richard Pirodsky came out and told us, "It's about money." According to Richard, who seemed to be channeling SaveKPFA, the piped in show will raise more money for the station. Sonali's pitching had raised a huge amount of money during the recent fund drive, Richard insisted. He seemed not to understand that fund drive totals can be manipulated and inflated in various ways. We refuted the exaggerated claim, citing records showing that for the last decade Sonali has been raising approximately the same amount as the Morning Mix, averaging about $2,500 per hour.

Watch a video of the Tuesday rally

In a written statement, the manager (Richard Pirodsky) threatened to fire several popular programmers including: Dr. Peter Phillips, Andres Soto, Anthony Fest, Joy Moore, Frank Sterling, Dennis Bernstein and Miguel Molina. That was for participating in Monday's exercise in free speech radio. A few days later Anthony Fest was suspended for a month for announcing one of these rallies. This shows a blatant double standard since SaveKPFA programmers have a history of using KPFA's airwaves to broadcast their own agenda, an extreme example being their 2010 campaign against Arlene Engelhardt. But no SaveKPFA programmer was ever disciplined for such.

On Saturday we held a third rally. Most of the speakers at the three rallies were KPFA programmers; KPFA listeners also spoke. SaveKPFA did not attempt to hold counter-rallies, presumably because, as we've seen repeatedly this spring, they seem to have very few grassroots activists; they are however well funded and well connected to various bureaucracies and to the Democratic Party. SaveKPFA is part of the establishment left, and the programming changes reflect their style, a move towards becoming another NPR.

Video of Saturday rally

The new show differs from the Morning Mix in many ways. The Mix is community radio, hosted by a diverse group of 9 or 10 local programmers, most of them unpaid. And in the KPFA tradition, they oppose war. The replacement is not local, not about local issues, grassroots politics, or expanding KPFA's listenership. It's
not even clear cut antiwar. Among the featured guests on the piped in show are pseudo human rights activists such as John Prendergast who in effect advocate military intervention for supposedly humanitarian ends.

Meanwhile, the Pacifica network is being rushed headlong towards financial extinction. It appears that SaveKPFA and its allies may attempt to sell off some of the five stations, cannibalize the network, in order to gain control of KPFA.

daniel41 [at]

Hosts and programs of the MORNING MIX include:

Andres Soto. activist from the Richmond Progressive Alliance includes in-depth coverage of Richmond's cutting edge initiatives, regional environmental justice struggles, and the Poor News Network straight from the community.

Anthony Fest hosts Strike Debt segments exposing the economic web of personal and student debt . (Anthony just got temporarily suspended for talking about the elimination of the Morning Mix on the air.)

Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff from the legendary Project Censored , which covers the year's most-neglected news stories, and it GOT CENSORED!

Sabrina Jacobs covers issues of patriarchy, gender and equality .

Hard Knock Radio's Davey D, a nationally known African-American reporter and commentator cover many topics from racial profiling, police killings to community based health care.

Steve Zeltzer's labor program, Work Week has covered issues like the minimum wage, attacks on the postal service and unions, transportation strikes, and undocumented worker issues

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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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