November 8, 2001
Pacifica Campaign/Los Angeles
For Immediate Release
MAJOR DONORS JOIN NATIONAL BOYCOTT OF L.A.
COMMUNITY RADIO STATION
Pledge to Withhold $100,000 in Funding to
Embattled Progressive Radio Network Until it Settles Lawsuits
Sponsors to Deliver Hundreds of Protest
Signatures to Station's General Manager
LOS ANGELES, (Nov. 8) -- A dozen long-time financial
supporters have pledged to withdraw their donations from Los
Angeles-based KPFK until the station's parent organization, the
Pacifica Foundation, returns the network to its pacifist mission of
peace and social justice.
"Our money has been used to destroy the only independent radio
network in the United States. We want to build community radio, not
destroy it," said A. J. Stasney, who has donated tens of thousands
of dollars over 25 years, "It's time for the Foundation to settle
the lawsuits so we can begin to repair the damage."
KPFK is part of the Pacifica Radio Network, a nonprofit
organization that has been embroiled in controversy since 1999, when
the network's managers shut down KPFK's sister station, KPFA in
Berkeley. That shut down caused the largest protests in Berkeley
since then Vietnam War. In December 2000, Pacifica "re-programmed"
its New York City station, WBAI, by firing and banning long-time
programmers and eviscerating the station's progressive political
Most recently, Pacifica suspended without pay Amy Goodman, host
of the network's award-winning show Democracy Now! and removed
Democracy Now! from the airwaves of KPFK and most of the other
WHAT: KPFK donors deliver letter of protest while
listeners hold picket
WHERE: KPFK Studio 3729 Cahuenga Blvd West in North
WHEN: Thursday, November 8, 2001 9:00-10:30 AM
In response to the evisceration of local democracy and the gross
mismanagment at the five-station network, four lawsuits have been
filed against the Pacifica Foundation. Freelance journalists refuse
to work for Pacifica because of its notorious censorship policies.
And a national campaign was launched earlier this year to boycott
Pacifica fundraising efforts and unseat the board of directors
members who are responsible for the imbroglio.
Late last week plaintiffs in four lawsuits filed against the
Pacifica Foundation announced that they expected to reach an
agreement with Pacifica that could put an end to the struggles at
Pacifica. As of today Pacifica Foundation has not signed which is of
great concern to many listeners across the nation.
KPFK's listener support and funding, like many public radio
stations nationwide, would normally swell during a time of war. But
the announcement by major donors that they will withhold their funds
from KPFK is just the latest of the station's fundraising problems.
Listeners are boycotting the fund drive and placed advertisements in
Los Angeles newspapers discouraging listeners from donating to KPFK.
"Hundreds of thousands of dollars in listener funds have been
used to pay high-prices lawyers who are working to destroy the
Pacifica Network. Not one more penny should be given to Pacifica
until democratic control of the network by the local community is
restored," said Farah Davari of the Pacifica Campaign's Los Angeles
According to the IRS and an independent audit of the Pacifica
Foundation, the network has spent:
$440,000 in 1999 to pay for security guards and related expenses
to lock down KPFA.
$525,000 in 2000 paid to Epstein Becker and Green and other
union-busting law firms.
In the year 2000, nearly 30 cents of every dollar donated to the
local stations was sent to the Washington, D.C.-based Pacifica. This
year, Pacifica has hired to fight its own listeners: Law firms such
as Williams & Connolly, Fulbright & Jawarski, and the public
relations firm Westhill Partners, which has whose founder John
Scanlon represented big tobacco companies against whistleblower
Jeffery Wigland and politicians with image problems.
LETTER FROM MAJOR DONORS TO PACIFICA
November 7, 2001
KPFK 90.7 FM
North Hollywood, CA 91604
We are writing as a group of listener-sponsors to inform you that
we have reached a decision to withhold financial support to KPFK due
to the significant change in direction of KPFK' s programming. Our
concerns about this change of direction are of sufficient magnitude
that we will actively seek to influence others not to support KPFK
until such time as our concerns are resolved. As longstanding and
loyal supporters of KPFK, we take this step with great reluctance.
We are in a very dangerous historical moment in which the need
for an alternative perspective in media is greater than ever. The
unavailability of programs such as Democracy Now! and Alternative
Radio at KPFK is simply unacceptable. We believe that you are in a
position to resume broadcasting these shows immediately, and that
your doing so would begin the process of restoring KPFK to the
important place it once held in the community.
While KPFK was once the one place on the radio dial a listener
could find a diverse and consistently provocative political
perspective, this is not the case any longer. On a local level,
while KPFK once played a central organizational role by informing
the community about important events and activities in Southern
California, it does so no longer. While the KPFK programming once
reflected the diverse communities of Los Angeles, this is no longer
the case. We believe that KPFK must make specific changes in
programming if it is to live up fully to the Pacifica mission.
Further, we are concerned that our donations would be used by
Pacifica to defend itself in lawsuits arising from the illegal
changes to the by-laws made by the Pacifica National Board (PNB). We
support these suits, and are not willing to risk our money being
used to finance the PNB's frivolous defense.