Following Pacifica in Exile?

Following Pacifica in Exile?

by Bob English and Linda Hewitt

We all remember the 1999 KPFA uprising, our listener-staff movement and a new Pacifica with democratic bylaws and elected boards. Many of you know the ongoing sad sequel, but if you haven't been paying attention (and you won't hear about it on air), it's basically "the struggle continues," but a new ballgame and we may be striking out. For the last decade Pacifica-KPFA has been badly eroded and transformed by another takeover/coup, and the end game of the power elite faction (and Democrat Party machine allies/supporters) appears to be the deliberate demise, bankruptcy and privatization of the network and KPFA.

To get informed, follow and act on the protracted, slow motion unfolding financial/political crisis, you can subscribe to
Pacifica Radio In Exile (PIE), published by Tracy Rosenberg (former National Board member/treasurer, Pacifica-KPFA activist from 1999), receive regular newsletters by email (sign up on home page) and read the website articles and items.

One posted recent article (sent separately) highlights the coup developments, a good summary and place to start:
Civil Liberty Alert: Listener-Funded Pacifica Radio Under Siege In N.Y. And D.C.?. As noted in PIE March 16, CFO Proposes Liquidating DC and NY in 60 Days.

"Pacifica’s new CFO Sam Agarwal reported to Pacifica’s national finance committee he anticipated a recommendation in a period of 60 days for the liquidation of Washington DC’s WPFW-FM and the sale, liquidation or lease of NY’s WBAI-FM … Interim board chair Tony Norman insisted on a 60-day window for WPFW’s local station board and GM to make a recovery plan. New York’s WBAI was not so lucky. The committee went straight to a national plan for “restructuring.” … Little mention was made of the bylaws requirements for membership authorization of any sale, swap or transfer of a radio license or the disposition of significant assets."

Although PIE is written in detail for those who know what's been happening, you can catch up and get a sense of the situation, players, dynamics and what we can do by reviewing back newsletters and the linked references. In the current, forwarded May 1 issue there's a link to "Stealing Save KPFA," an important statement from Curt Gray, Jeff Blankfort and other original Save KPFA/Take Back KPFA co-founders, including history of the previous Pacifica crisis and their organizing efforts in the 1990s, and how the current so called
"SaveKPFA" PAC has misappropriated and distorted the name to win KPFA board elections.

Re-reading this piece, we have to conclude that in addition to pending legal actions, only a comparable, revived, united listener-staff organizing movement can Save Pacifica. Sadly however, we don't see that happening much, least of all in Berkeley or United for Community Radio (UCR, not united, KPFA discussion group and election slate org); the listener democracy movement is barely recognizable, a ghost of 1999.

Also posted on PIE, our articles on
Joe Hill and Pacifica-KPFA unions, the latter with an addendum of linked chronicles and analysis, including key background pieces by Maria Gilardin, Isis Feral and Richard Phelps, more reading essential to understanding the current catastrophe:

The Old Regime’s Legacy at KPFA (Why Did the Staff Not Prevent the 10-Year Corporate Raid?) Seven Long Years 1992-1999.

KPFA’s Working Majority Gets Screwed by CWA Job Trust .

Ten Years After The Hijacking Attempt.

May 3, 2016

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For updates, reports & essays on KPFA/Pacifica, please visit these websites:





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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.