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Firings and Bannings Continue at Pacifica

October 23, 2001

Pacifica Campaign Action Alert

Firings and Bannings Continue at Pacifica
Progressive African-American Staff Targetted
Pacifica Execs Can Only Destroy, Not Build

Call Pacifica station WBAI at 1-212-968-0500

* Protest the Firing of Producer Dred Scott Keyes
* Protest All the Firing and Bannings at WBAI
* Let WBAI Management Know that You Will Boycott the Station Until Fired, Banned and Exiled Staff Are Returned

Call 1-212-968-0500 this week

Call as many times as you feel necessary for your point of view to be heard.

The cleansing of Pacifica station WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City continues unabated with another long-term producer being banned and terminated. New station manager, Bob Daughtry, after consultation with former station manager Utrice Leid, has officially fired award winning producer Dred Scott Keyes from his position as WBAI's production engineer.

Dred returned October 22, 2001, from a two-week vacation and was promptly handed a termination notice that was effective immediately. He was told that if he attempted to re-enter the premises he would be considered a trespasser. He was also told that arrangements would be made so that he could retrieve his belongings. If the treatment of the other banned and fired producers is an example of how he will be treated, Dred may never see his possessions again.

This action comes on the heels of a letter he sent to Pacifica's National Board members detailing the destruction of WBAI under the leadership of Utrice Leid and his frustration with attempts to act professionally in what he considered to be an increasingly hostile atmosphere. His memo detailed a verbal attack by Djabel Faye during which time Djabel reportedly called him a "nigger," has not yet been responded to.

WBAI Destroyed

In December 2000, Pacifica executives launched the "Christmas Coup" at WBAI in New York City, changing all the locks overnight, bringing in security guards, and firing and banning more than 26 long-time producers and volunteers.

Five of the six paid staff members fired since December have been progressive African-American producers. "Although Utrice Leid and other managers have gone on the air claiming that Pacifica's critics are racists and white supremacists, the facts speak for themselves," said Bernard White, fired WBAI program director and now a staffer with the Pacifica Campaign. "They are seeking the political cleansing of the station no matter what the human and financial cost."

As a result of the on-going purges, WBAI's audience ratings have dropped dramatically and so has its on-air fundraising.

The station's share - or it's percentage of all radio listening in the New York area, the most commonly used Arbitron estimate - has plunged 40 percent since the Fall of 2000, the last Arbitron's released before December's "Christmas Coup." And the Time Spent Listening to the station by an average listener has declined from 7.6 hours a week in the Fall to 2000 to 4.6 hours in the Summer of 2001, a drop of 36 percent, according to Arbitron estimates released this past week.

WBAI used to be the largest fundraiser in the network, bringing in anywhere between $800,000 and a one million dollars per drive. But in 2001, its drives have brought no more than $350,000-$400,000, according to staff at the station. WBAI's programming line-up is chaotic, all WBAI's top journalists have been fired, banned or exiled, and the station cannot meet its bills and faces a huge operating deficit.

Dred Scott Keyes has been associated with WBAI for over 19 years. Some of the awards he has won include:

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF COMMUNITY BROADCASTERS
Chevron & Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship with Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill
The Southern Roots of Rhythm and Blues and Dreams of Freedom
What To the American Slave is the Fourth of July
Malcolm X Speaks to the Midnight Ravers
The 50th Anniversary of the Peekskill Riots
24-Hour Tribute to Tito Puente with Nancy Rodriguez, et al.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of BLACK JOURNALISTS
Bob Marley and the African-American Connection

POLK AWARD
Chevron & Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship with Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill