5/25/01 New York Newsday, in the Flash!
The battle over listener-supported WBAI/99.5FM and its parent
station Pacifica Foundation rages on, with supporters and dissidents
The dissidents fear that the foundation is moving away from its
pacifist, frequently left-leaning origins. The foundation board says
it is only trying to run stations better and increase audiences by
modifying the programming.
During its current fund-raising drive, WBAI has dropped the news
program"Democracy Now", its most popular show, and forced
producer-reporter Amy Goodman to work out of a small, outmoded
studio, she said. Dissidents demonstrated yesterday outside the
station's Wall Street studios.
They also distributed evidence, in a purported fund-raising
letter frominterim station manager Utrice Leid, that a boycott is
working. "Since the beginning of this fiscal year, which began in
October 2000, we have a shortfall of $129,210," according to the
"Democracy Now" continues to be heard on three of the five
Pacifica stations - in Berkeley, Calif., Washington, D.C., and
Houston - and just yesterday the Los Angeles station reverted to the
live show after playing reruns.
Meanwhile, foundation treasurer Michael Palmer, who was the focus
of much of the dissidents' ire, resigned last week on the eve of
hearings about the conflict held by the Congressional Progressive
The dissidents have also stareted a rival news network, Free
Speech Radio News, to compete with Pacifica Network News. It can be
heard on more than 20 Pacifica affiliates, as well as on the
Internet, at http://www.fsrn.org/.
Pacifica officials did not return calls.