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Report on the Conference "Community Access to Radio: KPFK/Pacifica"


Dear friends and activists, what follows is a brief report, first in about the bilingual conference on "Community Access to Radio: KPFK/Pacifica" that took place on Saturday, 08-25-01, at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, CA.

Many activists and members of the Chicano/Mexicano/Latino communities participated in this conference to analyze and debate community access to KPFK 90.7 FM and the Pacifica Radio Network. The conference lasted from 11 am to 4 PM and had the participation of five speakers and the musical participation of "Son Real". 4 of the 5 presentations were in Spanish and three of them submitted texts.

The first speaker was Arturo Lemus, a community radio activist, and he talked about the history, philosophy and importance of Pacifica Radio. He spoke of the need to continue reaching out and informing the various Spanish speaking communities about the importance of progressive community radio and their own right to access to this media.

The second speaker was Fernando Velásquez a purged radio producer and volunteer with KPFK since the late ‘79’s, now banned from the station. He started by talking about the dominance of a Euro-centric view in our society and how that view penetrates all mainstream media and, to a large extent also, Pacifica. He indicated that Pacifica as a whole has allowed very little Spanish programming. Even at KPFK, in Los Angeles, the Spanish programming has been reduced and is totally insufficient to meet the information and cultural needs of the Spanish speaking communities with in its signal area. In addition, Fernando made some important proposals about programming and Pacifica in the paper that he submitted.

The third speaker was Raymundo Reynoso, a journalist and founder of the alternative media agency: AMATE. The title of his talk was "Alternative Communication and Critical Consciousness". He indicated that in these times, when the mass media is controlled by fewer and fewer people, it is very important to create, support and multiply alternative media projects. More over, he said that journalists that are independent must also shake off the rules and behavioral patterns imposed by the corporate media.

The fourth speaker was Leonore Lizardo, a community activist and a previous member of the KPFK local Advisory Board and of the Pacifica National Board in the ‘80’s. She spoke about her experiences in those institutions. She explained that, even back then, the Pacifica National Board was operating as and exclusive group that tried to controlled new members and impose its program. She said that there was very little openness and that if new members did not submit they were treated as outsiders. She made a call for people to get involved and demand openness and democracy out of these institutions.

After about two hours of presentations, there was a break for lunch and every one enjoyed the food prepared by our volunteers and the beautiful music of "Son Real". Then came the fifth and main speaker of the day, Juan Gonzalez.

Juan Gonzalez’s participation lasted close to one hour, including questions and answers. He spoke, mostly, in Spanish and was very clear and to the point. He said that from the point of view of the commercial media, the Pacifica network is a very small network. It only has five radio stations and its listener base is very small. But in reality, Pacifica’s radio stations are located in five of the most important cities in the United States (New York, Washington D. C., Los Angeles, Berkeley and Houston) and, specially, here in Los Angeles Pacifica has one of the most powerful radio signals. So what one has to understand is the potential for communication in five of the most important cities in the United States.

On another point, Mr. Gonzalez explored the economic importance of Pacifica. He mentioned that recently a radio station in the AM band in New York city had been sold for about 78 million dollars to ESPN by a progressive Jewish community group. So the Pacifica radio station in New York, WBAI, and in the FM band is worth around 130 to 150 million dollars. If you add the value of all the other Pacifica radio stations then you find that Pacifica is the entity of most economic value of all the left in the United States. The economic value of the Pacifica radio signals has increased tremendously and the progressives that have sustained and supported them did not realize what they had and how others were trying to take it away.

From a political point of view, Juan Gonzalez indicated that after the civil rights movements of the 60’s and the upsurge of new immigrants to become citizens more and more people have the right to vote and the mass media becomes much more important. Not only because of the money that it brings in for the people that control it, but, also, in the way that it can controls and influences the citizenry. The U.S. is still a formal democracy and people have to go out and vote and there is still the danger that they will vote for some one that the people who are in power does not want them to vote for. That is why is very important to control what people think and the mass media and who controls it is very important.

Juan Gonzalez also explained that throughout its existence Pacifica had been considered a "gadfly" by the political and media establishment that could be tolerated. Then came the movement against "globalization" and Pacifica starts to report and inform about the movements that are rising up all over the world against corporate globalization. Pacifica’s national program "Democracy Now!" with its militant brand of journalism started developing a mass listening audience and becoming a threat to the political and economic establishment so it had to be stopped. The Pacifica network had to be brought under centralize controlled and "sanitized".


*Se encuentra en 2 sitios ciberneticos el sonido de las presentaciones del evento "La Partcipación de la Comunidad en la Radio: KPFK/Pacifica" el 25 de Agosto 2001 en Loyola Law School-Los Angeles CalifAztlan (detalles del programa abajo)

*At 2 sites you can find the sound from presentations during the event "Community Access to Radio: KPFK/Pacifica" August 25 2001 at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles CalifAztlan (details of the program below)

*Stream or download the audio from the Conference (217 minutes long):

Click to STREAM the audio at 32kbps - MP3 Format

Click to DOWNLOAD the mp3 (50MB Download) - right click on link and click "save target as"

Programa del 25 de Agosto 2001 (3 1/2 horas/hours):

-Michelle Taylor Comité Pro Democracia en México/Bienvenidos/Welcome (Español)

-Arturo Lemus 'Radio Comunitaria/Pacifica-Community Radio/Pacifica Radio' (Español)

-Fernando Velásquez 'Programación en Español/Pacifica & Spanish Language Programming' (Español)

-Raymundo Reynoso 'Medios Alternativos/Alternative Media' (Español)

-Leonore Lizardo 'Nuestra Experiencia en la Mesa Directiva Nacional y la Mesa Consejera Local de Pacifica/Our experience on the Pacifica National Board of Directors & the Local Advisory Board' (English)

-Juan Gonzalez 'La Crisis de Pacifica/The Pacifica Crisis' (Español)

-Diálogo Publico/Public Dialouge Bilingue/Bilingual

*Más info/Datos de organizadores del evento:

Arturo Lemus 213-382-4514 jpena13@lausd.k12.ca.us

John Martínez 323-261-4513 down4brown68@hotmail.com

Más info sobre la crisis de Pacifica/Info re: the Pacifica Crisis: http://www.boycottkpfk.org/