For more than half a century, even in wartime,
listener-sponsored, community-based Pacifica Radio has always been a
trailblazer: uncovering the truth, questioning conventional wisdom
and promoting a real diversity of views. But not any
more -- Pacifica executives, beholden to a new leadership of
corporate raiders and Beltway politicians, are now wreaking havoc
with the network. They've fired and banned scores of dedicated
producers, replaced public affairs programs with hours of music,
diluted the political content of news at four of the five stations,
and moved Pacifica headquarters from Berkeley to Washington, D.C.
They've even tried to alter Pacifica's bylaws to make it easier to
sell five valuable FM frequencies estimated to be worth half a
billion dollars -- and pocket some of the proceeds themselves.
After five of their colleagues were forced to resign in the past
year, the clique that seized control of the Pacifica Board in 1999
engineered an "election" last month to add five new members. They
hired the most expensive and influential Beltway consultants and
lawyers, including President Clinton's impeachment trial lawyer,
Greg Craig of Williams & Connolly, and the PR firm of Westhill
Partners, which attempted to destroy tobacco industry whistleblower
Jeffrey Wigand (as depicted in the movie, The Insider). In 2000,
they spent a staggering $500,000 of listener money on anti-union law
firms and $440,000 more on security. One Board member estimates this
year's legal bills topped $1 million. Can we allow this cabal
to destroy the radio legacy established by several generations of
feisty rebels and dissenters like Pacifica founder Lew Hill?
The answer is clear: No, we can't. During the
stations' Fall Fund Drives, it's important to realize that every
cent contributed goes directly to Pacifica's Washington
headquarters. If you deny them the listener donations they
have taken for granted for so long, you can stop them in their
tracks. That's why we're asking you to join the boycott of fund
drives at all five Pacifica stations: WBAI (New York), WPFW
(Washington), KPFT (Houston), KPFK (Los Angeles) and KPFA
At the same time, we must continue to support the real Pacifica
-- the banished producers and programmers who are building a
network-in-exile and providing the kind of news and analysis that
you used to expect from Pacifica. While our foes harass and slander
Amy Goodman and the "Democracy Now!" staff, the Pacifica Campaign
has helped maintain and expand the award-winning program's outreach.
We helped launch Free Speech Radio News' daily 30-minute report,
prepared by striking Pacifica freelancers, that now airs on some 50
community stations nationwide. And we're actively supporting the
web-based station, WBIX.org, which features "fired and banned"
former producers from WBAI, WPFW and KPFK.
Actors like Danny Glover and Ben Affleck, writers like Lawrence
Ferlinghetti and Alice Walker and journalists like Mumia Abu-Jamal
and Nat Hentoff are among the thousands of listeners who have joined
the Pacifica reform movement. Labor unions, environmental defenders,
disability rights groups and media activists worldwide are pitching
in. Jack O'Dell, the former top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
who chaired the Pacifica Board for 20 years until 1997, recently
sent "warmest congratulations to all of you whose hard work, vision
and organizing skills have, at long last, opened the way to the
restoration of Pacifica as the flagship of informed, progressive,
listener-supported radio in our country."
In this struggle, we've been cast as David confronting Goliath.
As you know, David won -- and with your help, it will happen again.
Please contribute what you can to the Pacifica Campaign, and
boycott all Pacifica fund drives. Don't let the
ravenous vultures devour free-speech radio. Together we can win!