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Cross Roads at Pacifica Radio and KPFA
This is the response of the hosts of Project Censored to the unilateral decision of management to cancel th Morning Mix shows in a "top down administrative command without explanation or discussion".
Cross Roads at Pacifica Radio and KPFA
By Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff
Co-hosts of the Project Censored show on the Morning Mix at KPFA Berkeley
Late in the evening on Wednesday May 21 the volunteer hosts for the Morning Mix show (8:00-9:00 AM weekdays) were sent an e-mail stating that the program was being permanently replaced by a daily show from KPFK in LA. This was a total surprise to Mix producers as just the previous Friday the Interim General Manager of KPFA/KPFK told us in his office that program changes would be discussed and reviewed by the new KPFA manager to be hired in June and nothing would happen until a new manager was in place.
Instead, we received a top down administrative command without explanation or discussion, that provided alternative times slots for some of the Morning Mix producers but reduced our overall time on KPFA from five hours in the morning drive time to two and half hours in afternoon time slots. The Project Censored show fared the best with a one hour time slot on Fridays from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M., but the Tuesday and Wednesday Morning Mix hosts were not offered any additional air time. The three other Morning Mix hosts were scheduled for a half hour each later in the afternoon.
The Morning Mix has been on KPFA at 8:00 A.M. for three and half years. As the Morning Mix, we are men and women; black, white, and brown; we are gay and straight; radical scholars and labor activists; young, old, retirees, and we are all volunteers in service to the mission of KPFA and Pacifica as founded by Lew Hill for community free speech radio.
We are part of a KPFA Mix of volunteer programmers across the programming schedule here in Berkeley and other Pacifica stations around the county. Volunteer producers at KPFA are culturally diverse, socially just, and rooted in the Northern California community. Some of our programs are carried by Pacifica affiliate stations all over the country. We firmly believe Pacifica was established for community-based programming, not just establishment professionals. We are every bit as professional, yet unpaid, and we are as fully committed to the future of KPFA as those who would have us disbanded or replaced. We have a voice, we are the community, and we are the Mix.
We do not think that bringing in a daily program created in LA is what KPFA and Pacifica is about for a drive time program. There are procedures for program changes in place through our local democratically elected station councils. The current board of directors of Pacifica is seriously divided into two contentious factions. The factions at KPFA are Support KPFA—United for Community Radio; and Save KPFA (formerly “Concerned Listeners”). Each faction has allies and/or representatives on the board from the collective stations with the Save KPFA faction recently obtaining a small majority. It was this slim majority that lead to the late-night firing of Pacifica’s recently appointed Executive Director, Summer Reese, on March 13. Now this faction representing a small clique is acting undemocratically, non-transparently, and in violation of organizational by-laws and rules by eliminating the Morning Mix show.
We believe that openness is needed in Pacifica, not top down commands without discussion or transparency. We also believe that community based programming is the foundation of KPFA and Pacifica therefore any move in the direction of national-NPR style programs is a violation of our deep traditions. We need dialogue and understanding, we need cooperation and kindness, not sniping, not circular firing squads, not behavior that mirrors right wing agit-prop attacks, not from any side. We at KPFA and Pacifica have common goals, and our attention needs to be focused on the plutocratic corporatocracy that is killing our country, the world, and literally the planet. There is work to be done...and it is not about any of us as individuals. Together, at KPFA, we are strong, we can be the change we want to see. We are the Mix, and we need to work as one.
Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and President of Media freedom Foundation/Project Censored
Mickey Huff is a Professor and Department Chair of History at Diablo Valley College and Director of Project Censored