STOP PACIFICA'S TURN TO THE RIGHT
SAVE WBAI 99.5 FM
The Pacifica Foundation, which operates WBAI radio in NYC and four other listener-sponsored stations around the country, has begun moving dangerously to the Right in an attempt to reduce costs and garner corporate funds.
- As federal funding begins to dry up, the Pacifica National Board's strategy is to seek large grants from corporate foundations like the neo-liberal Ford Foundation and the overtly right wing Pew Charitable Trust. Pacifica says it needs more centralized programming, which would enable the Network to run single programs on all five of its stations and get rid of the sorts of community-based programs that foundations and corporate donors won't fund but which are the essence of community radio.
- Already Pacifica has purged dozens of the most important public affairs programs around the country, and threatens to do the same here in New York.
- In August 1995, Pacifica's KPFA in Berkeley eliminated more than 40 unpaid programmers. Canceled were shows on labor, Indian struggles, civil liberties, prisons, gay rights, women's issues, Central America and Cuba, drama and literature, and bi-lingual Spanish language programming.
- At Pacifica's KPFT-FM in Houston Programming Director Jeff Hanson reported “public affairs programming does not work in Houston and the decision has been made to be a music station featuring Texas based music.”
- WPFW-FM in Washington DC, which has the potential to expose government policies at the source, has instead switched to an 80% music format.
- Pacifica has paid more than $30,000 to The American Consulting Group - an aggressive provider of anti-union services to such satisfied clients as Kraft, TRW, Nissan, Coca-Cola, Sony, Union Carbide, and Dupont - in an attempt to bust the union at KPFK in Los Angeles and now at WBAI. These funds came from listeners, who sent in money to support their favorite programs and the concept of community radio.
- WBAI Management is also spending listener money to pay attorneys who are attempting to remove unpaid staff (read: most of the programs you listen to) be removed from the collective bargaining unit and thereby break the union. WBAI management has gone so far as to file a petition before the National Labor Relations Board not for anything the union has done, mind you, but simply for existing in it's current form.
- Pacifica has issued a gag-rule against any mention on air of what they are up to. They have fired Ron Wilkins, an African-American producer at KPFK in Los Angeles for the past 12 years, for talking about these issues on the air. Pacifica threatens to do the same elsewhere. (In NYC not a single radio personality at WBAI has dared to expose this hypocrisy on air).
- Pacifica is demanding a “No Strike clause,” which would prohibit even informational picket lines at what was formally described as “Free Speech Radio WBAI-New York,” along with give backs such as reduction of vacation times for paid staff and elimination of fair hiring practices.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: