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Pacifica Chief Calls for Sale of KPFA and WBAI

October 24, 2001

Pacifica Campaign Action Alert

Ken Ford compares Pacifica Reform Movement To Sept. 11 Terrorists

Pacifica Campaign Urges Ken Ford's Immediate Resignation
Phone, Fax, E-mail Protests Set

NEW YORK, (Oct. 24) -- Pacifica Radio National Board Vice-Chair Ken Ford called yesterday for the 52-year-old network to sell its flagship station in Berkeley as well as its largest station, WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City. At the same time, Ken Ford denounced opponents of the sale as "zealots" and likened them to the terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks that killed some 6,000 people.

Ken Ford estimates the sale of KPFA and WBAI could fetch anywhere from $300-$500 million, the San Francisco Examiner reported Tuesday, October 23.

"KPFA in Berkeley and WBAI in New York are in the broadcast band reserved for commercial stations," Ford was quoted as saying. "I've been told non-commercial licenses sell for $30 to $40 million and commercial licenses sell for $150 to $250 million each. Think of what we could do with the difference! Let's parley these commercial licenses into more stations around the country. To me that's just common sense."

Ford also told The Examiner that community radio activists nationwide, who have criticized the fiscal mismanagement, censorship, and union-busting at the five-station Pacifica Radio network, were akin to the Sept. 11 terrorists.

"They're zealots," he said. "I see parallels between this group and Al-Qaeda, the terrorists who bombed New York. They have an innate anger towards society as a whole."

Given the current national and international climate, many civil libertarians are concerned that such reckless "terrorist-baiting" could make peace and social justice activists subject to police surveillance and investigation or even worse.

The Pacifica Campaign, a nationwide organization of listeners and staff alike fighting to preserve Pacifica's mission of community-based radio, immediately criticized Ford's call for the sale of stations and his slander of the Pacifica reform movement.

"This is further evidence that the present Pacifica leadership is aiming to sell community assets and, we believe, to pocket some of the proceeds themselves," said Bok-Keem Nyerere, a staffer with the Pacifica Campaign. "Just this past August, Pacifica Board member Bert Lee confirmed to us that financial rewards have been offered to Board members if they back a sale."

Pacifica's leadership has been attempting to amend the network's bylaws in order to permit a sale of stations without a board majority vote and for board members to financially benefit from such a sale.

Rep. Major Owens (D-NY) went on to the floor of the House of Representatives earlier this year to warn about a sale of Pacifica station WBAI in New York. "My knowledge of the reputation of certain recent appointments to the board of the Pacifica Network ... leads me to conclude that there is a clear and immediate danger that attempts will be made to sell WBAI to a commercial owner. Such a sale would mean the loss of a vital voice for working families in New York City."

For the full story:

See also Counterpunch's analysis and the full text of the notorious 1999 Micheal Palmer email to Mary Frances Berry that discusses plans to sell either KPFA or WBAI:


* Demand No Sale of KPFA and WBAI
* Demand Ken Ford's Immediate Resignation from the Pacifica Board
* Demand an Apology by Ken Ford for his Reckless Slander of the Pacifica Reform Movement


Ken Ford
National Association of Home Builders
Pacifica Foundation Board Vice Chair
Tel: 800-368-5242 x8228
Tel: 301-350-6388
Fax: 202-822-0369

Jerry Howard, Ken Ford's Boss
NAHB Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
Tel: 800-368-5242 x8257 or x8308
Fax: 202-266-8349

Robert Farrell
Pacifica Foundation Board Chair
Tel: 310-514-2052
Fax: 310-514-0967

John Murdock
Secretary, Pacifica Foundation
Tel: 202-861-0900
Fax: 202-296-2882

Wendell L. Johns
Treasurer, Pacifica Foundation
Fannie Mae
Washington, DC
Tel: 202-752-5355
Fax: 202-752-4281

Valrie Chambers
Board Member
Tel: 361-825-6012
Fax: 281-655-0266

Bert Lee
Board Member
Tel: 202-248-1896
Fax: 202-244-1151


Cut the below list of email addresses, paste it into the To: line of your email composition form, and then cut and paste the text of the letter or compose your own, and send it. Also go to:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Sample Text

Dear Pacifica Board member,

Pacifica Board Vice-Chair Ken Ford's reckless call in the San Francisco Examiner for the sale of Pacifica stations KPFA and WBAI for $300-$500 million represents an abrogation of his responsibility as a steward of the Pacifica Radio network. He should resign immediately.

Further, we are appalled that Ken Ford has compared critics of Pacifica management to those who've carried out the Sept. 11 attacks that killed 6,000 people.

"They're zealots," he said of the nationwide group of free speech and community radio activists who have criticized the mismanagement, chaos, censorship, and union-busting at the five-station Pacifica Radio network. "I see parallels between this group and al Qaeda, the terrorists who bombed New York. They have an innate anger towards society as a whole."

Ken Ford is being insensitive not only to those who have lost their lives and their family members in the Sept. 11 attacks. But he is insulting the tens of thousands of Pacifica listeners, staffers, national board members, and wide sectors of the community radio movement nationwide who have been peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights in urging accountability and democratic reform at the country's oldest listener-sponsored radio network.

Ken Ford has repeatedly sought to slander our movement as violent, as terrorists and extortionists. Not one shred of evidence has ever been offered to substantiate these allegations. He has also threatened members of the public with prosecution by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and says he reported some to the FBI for the crime of sending him a critical email. Clearly, he has no appreciation for the First Amendment or civil liberties. His term on the Board has expired. He should resign immediately.