Station management inflicted another serious wound to KPFA’s goal of honest, free speech radio last week when it dropped a disciplinary letter and gag order on unpaid music programmer David Gans.
Gans made brief comments during his August 10 show that were critical of management, eliciting a written warning from interim program director Carrie Core not to discuss “internal issues.” Gans published his comments and Core’s letter on his blog, calling the incident “another salvo in an ongoing battle for the soul of KPFA,” and urging listeners to sign the recall petition against Tracy Rosenberg, a key supporter of management.
“Managers freely broadcast their own anti-union positions and Pacifica’s,” noted KPFAWorker.org, “but slap ‘disciplinary actions’ or gag rules on KPFA’s workers when they speak their minds about the radio network they have labored to build over decades.” Disciplinary letters have also been sent in recent months by Core to paid staffers Mitch Jeserich, John Hamilton and Mark Mericle for reporting on layoffs at the station.
Core also said she’s going to remove the popular Saturday morning program Uprising, hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar. A veteran Pacifica journalist working out of KPFK in Los Angeles, Kolhatkar has made several on-air statements of solidarity with KPFA’s workers.
What would replace Uprising? A “labor show” by management ally Steve Zeltzer. As KPFAWorker notes, “the same managers who supported paying over $70,000 to fight the station’s union workers” put Zeltzer forward to replace respected KPFA producer David Bacon.” Like most unpaid staff at the station, Bacon has refused to cooperate with management’s replacement of union staffers.