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Major Donors Join Boycott

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 programming.

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 Pacifica stations.

WHAT: KPFK donors deliver letter of protest while listeners hold picket

WHERE: KPFK Studio 3729 Cahuenga Blvd West in North Hollywood

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 office.

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 RADIO

November 7, 2001

Mark Schubb
General Manager
KPFK 90.7 FM
3729 Cahuenga Boulevard West
North Hollywood, CA 91604

Dear Mark:

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.

Sincerely,