January 13, 2002
For Immediate Release:
New Pacifica National Radio Board Reinstates Fired and Banned
Staff at New Yorkıs WBAI
Chooses New National Executive Director
New York -- On Saturday, meeting in front of a cheering
standing-room only crowd of over 500, the Interim Pacifica National
Board (I-PNB) voted overwhelmingly to ³reinstate² thirty-seven
former WBAI staff and management fired, banned, suspended, or driven
from their former positions since December 22, 2000. Citing WBAI
Interim General Manager Robert Daughtryıs refusal to broadcast
³Democracy Now!,² the board removed Daughtry because he ³flagrantly
defied the I-PNB directive.²
³The resolution to undo the December 2000, ³Christmas Coup² is an
historic event in independent media history, and is the first step
in the reclaiming the network,² said Miguel Maldonado, WBAI Local
Advisory Chair. ³We look forward to the full democratization of the
network², he added.
In addition to addressing the WBAI crisis, the board appointed
former Pacifica Network News Director Dan Coughlin as interim
executive director. Coughlin had been removed from his position
because he authorized a story about the boycott of Pacifica stations
by affiliates to protest against network's managers shut down KPFA
of Berkeley in late 1999. That shut down caused the largest protests
in Berkeley since the Vietnam War. Coughlin joined the Pacifica
Campaign in January 2001.
Pacifica Radio has been embroiled in controversy since those
protests in 1999. 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.
Last August, Pacifica suspended Amy Goodman and removed Democracy
Now! from the Pacifica airwaves.
In dramatic point-counterpoint session the Pacifica Board
received detailed reports from the station managers, chairs of the
Local Advisory Board, and listeners from all five of the networks
stations: WBAI in New York, WPFW in Washington, DC, KPFA in
Berkeley, KPFT in Houston and KPFK in Los Angeles.
KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb reported that the Los Angeles
stationıs transmitter has been operating at a fraction of its normal
power because the networkıs national office had taken the
specifically allocated money for its replacement and used it for
their own purposes. Schubb speculated it was to pay the networkıs
legal fees from the lawsuits by listeners and local advisory board
KPFKıs Local Advisory Board chair David Adelson rebutted Schubbıs
claims of dramatically increasing listenership. Speakers
representing listener organizations from the Los Angeles area called
for Schubbıs immediate suspension for refusing to broadcast
Democracy Now! at both of itıs regular time-slots after being
directed to by the Pacifica management, broadcasting deliberate
misinformation to listeners regarding the current board and banning
and firing over 100 staff, volunteers and programmers in a
The national board scheduled its next meeting for the weekend of
March 9-11th in Los Angeles.
Houstonıs Local Advisory Board was directed to get in compliance
with PNB regulations regarding membership by weeks end.
IPNB member Wendell Johns, an Executive at Fannie Mae from the
former ruling majority, interim Executive Director JoAnn Meredith
and Houston General Manager Garland Ganter all resigned in the week
before the board meeting. Tomorrow Democracy Now! is slated to be
broadcast on all 5 stations at itıs regular times.