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Don't Nix the Mix - at KPFA
Bring back the MORNING MIX -- community radio by local show hosts at KPFA
7 DAYS AND 3 RALLIES
by Daniel Borgström
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 60 to 70 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 at: https://soundcloud.com/tracy-rosenberg/the-uprising-kpfa-monday-5-26
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. Tracy Rosenberg and others 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.
There's a video of the Tuesday rally at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8Y-icnckfo
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: http://www.unitedforcommunityradio.org/?p=1267
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 antiwar. Among the guests on the piped in show are pseudo human rights activists who in effect advocate military intervention supposedly to defend human rights.
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.
KPFA's MORNING MIX includes:
Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff of Project Censored,
Andres Soto from the Richmond Progressive Alliance
Hard Knock Radio's Davey D
Steve Zeltzer’s Work Week Radio
Strike Debt Radio
Poor News Network
Updates, Reports & Essays on KPFA/Pacifica at
UNITED FOR COMMUNITY RADIO