Monthly Archives: March 2011

KPFA staff to picket Pacifica on April 4, as part of National Day of Action

KPFA’s workers are inviting listeners to join them for an informational picket on MONDAY, APRIL 4 from 7:30-8:30 AM at Pacifica’s offices, 1925 MLK Jr Way in Berkeley. April 4 is a national day of action to defend unions and bargaining rights. KPFA’s community is concerned that over $30,000 of the station’s funds have been spent on anti-union lawyers. Pacifica still refuses to enter mediation, even after multiple resolutions by the cities of Berkeley and San Francisco, dozens of elected officials, and three labor councils. Pacifica’s layoff of news anchor John Hamilton was averted yesterday at the last minute. Five … Continue reading

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Pacifica manager’s anti-worker comments; AIDS denier being considered for KPFA show

Workers at some of Pacifica’s stations have been speaking out about what they say is censorship, including political journalist Bill Weinberg of New York City’s WBAI. Weinberg’s show was taken off the air by WBAI’s interim general manager Tony Bates, who has removed or marginalized dozens of other programs, including left economist Doug Henwood‘s Behind the News. Postings by Bates on his Facebook page this week display an alarming anti-worker bias. (Bates wrote as “Tony Beezy” to KPFK staffer Zuberi Fields). “The Pacifica network should not tolerate this sort of behavior from any manager,” said Margy Wilkinson, chair of KPFA’s … Continue reading

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Listeners oppose censorship, want open discussion of KPFA/Pacifica relationship

A flood of emails arrived from listeners last week after KPFA and Pacifica managers issued a gag rule against staff talking about problems at the network. Here’s just one: “What are you doing to KPFA?” wrote UC Berkeley professor Richard Walker, “KPFA is the heart of Pacifica, yet you are at war with us. What madness is this? You won’t let the dispute between KPFA and Pacifica be discussed on Mitch Jeserich’s show? You won’t accept $60K in pledges to restore the Morning Show and the brilliant Aimee Allison? This is pig-headedness raised to an art form.” Many also raised … Continue reading

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Subscriber information misused in phony “Morning Mix” messages

In what appears to be a potential case of institutional identity theft, an outside organization has sent a series of deceptive emails to subscribers purporting to be from KPFA. The “KPFA Morning Mix” emails listeners received February 28 and March 7 advertised upcoming guests on the controversial morning program. The slick emails appeared to be from KPFA and feature station contact information and a soothing photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, the emails were actually sent by Media Alliance, a third party organization controlled by Pacifica National Board member Tracy Rosenberg — one of the architects of the removal … Continue reading

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Another injunction against Pacifica

On March 18, an Alameda County Superior Court judge issued an injunction against Pacifica after it voted to unseat SaveKPFA-affiliated station board member Dan Siegel. The court rejected all of Pacifica’s contentions and ordered Siegel reinstated to both the local KPFA and national Pacifica board seats he holds. Following Jean Quan‘s historic election as Oakland’s mayor, KPFA board member Tracy Rosenberg claimed that Siegel’s long-standing relationship as an informal advisor to Quan constituted a “political appointment” that disqualified him from serving KPFA or Pacifica. Rosenberg then used her position on the Pacifica national board to manipulate that board into stripping … Continue reading

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Pacifica management censors own journalists, spends $30K on anti-union lawyers

Another gag rule has been handed down by KPFA’s parent network Pacifica, as KPFA host Mitch Jeserich tried to bring listeners a discussion of what is happening at Free Speech Radio. The last time the network prohibited journalists from covering news about Pacifica itself was in 1999, right before it shut down KPFA. This comes on top of news that Pacifica has spent $30,000 of KPFA’s funds on anti-union consultants. In November, after illegally laying off Morning Show staff, Pacifica hired the “management-side” legal firm of Folger Levin at $400 an hour. KPFA’s local board treasurer has confirmed that the … Continue reading

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Remembering Pacifica’s history of censorship

Upon hearing about the new gag rule, listener Barbara Fitzpatrick wrote to Engelhardt, “You have to be kidding, have you no sense of history? Or for that matter any notion of decency, or appreciation of all those who struggled ten years ago? This is Pacifica, not Clear Channel. The hypocrisy of management at this time is disgusting.  Just leave, you are not going to win.” Pacifica last tried to silence reporting of developments in the network back in 1999, when it fired radio hosts Larry Bensky and Robbie Osman, among others, for speaking out on-air about Pacifica matters. The network … Continue reading

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News tops fundraising; an open letter from KPFA union members

After reporting that co-anchor John Hamilton had been given a 30-day layoff notice, the Evening News rocketed to the top of KPFA’s fundraising charts. The outpouring of support from listeners brought in over $48,000 in the final four days of the Winter Pledge Drive, bringing the Evening News total to $87,000 — the highest of any time slot during the fund drive. MORE HERE Management’s response? During the final hour of the fund drive, KPFA interim program director Carrie Core sent news co-anchors Mark Mericle and John Hamilton (as well as Letters and Politics host Mitch Jeserich) written disciplinary letters … Continue reading

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KPFA listeners vote with dollars

Amount KPFA raised during its Winter 2010 Fund Drive: $805,475 Length of that fund drive: 17.5 days Amount KPFA raised during its Winter 2011 Fund Drive: $759,000* Length of that fund drive: 19 days For Winter 2011, increase in amount pledged during Letters and Politics: +$29,377 Increase in amount pledged during the annual Grateful Dead Marathon: +$31,517 Increase in amount pledged during the Evening News, making it the top station fundraiser: +$42,643 Amount pledged during the Evening News in the four days following the announcement of anchor John Hamilton’s impending layoff: $48,719 Cost of John Hamilton’s salary and benefits, per … Continue reading

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Outpouring of support after Pacifica lays off news anchor and threatens to “restructure” newscast

Back from reporting on Wisconsin’s historic labor rally this weekend, KPFA news producer John Hamilton arrived in Berkeley to a layoff notice this week from the station’s interim program director Carrie Core. Hamilton, who has worked at KPFA for three years, was told his last work day would be March 30. When asked who made the layoff decision, Core admitted that it was Pacifica’s executive director Arlene Engelhardt. Core did not explain how much the station would save by laying off Hamilton, nor how KPFA would make up the shortfall that would come from dismissing one of the station’s most … Continue reading

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