Saturday, September 20, 2008

KPFA meltdown and the opportunists

A few weeks ago KPFA management called the police to remove somebody from the studio. The ongoing drama from this incident has made for amusing reading, if only because it makes WPKN look like paradise.

Much to my surprise, a group from KPFA wrote a letter to the Berkeley Daily Planet that isn't completely crazy. In fact, it almost sounds sane.
They have used KPFA’s airwaves to launch sensationalized reports that are both false (reporting a sprained arm as a broken one, and a pregnancy that did not exist), mistargeted (calling for the resignation of two managers who had nothing to do with the decision to call the police), and self-serving (concluding one on-air segment with a demand for a regular show).
What a surprise--Nadra Foster and her supporters lied. 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KPFA Staffers Release No-Confidence Statement as Fall Fund Drive Begins

Berkeley, CA – Nine years have passed since Pacifica radio station KPFA, the seminal community radio outlet founded by pacifist Lew Hill in 1949, last had the police inside its doors to arrest its workers, but on August 20, 2008, the Berkeley police were again summoned to 1929 Martin Luther King Jr Way, and asked to eject programmer Nadra Foster, who had been allegedly banned for a disagreement involving usage of a copier.

Fifty six of the station’s workers, paid and unpaid alike, have joined together to condemn what they describe as a growing atmosphere of intimidation, including increased security measures, restrictions on airing discussion of internal issues, the return of banning individuals from the premises, and the use of police force to address non-violent policy issues.

Several prominent members of the progressive community the station serves have decried the use of force, including authors Michael Parenti and Norman Solomon, devorah major, former SF poet laureate, Jack Heyman of the ILWU, Mills College professor Julia Sudbury and advocacy groups Critical Resistance, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and Copwatch.

Project Censored Executive Director Peter Phillips commented "KPFA should only use outside police in the station when a serious life-threatening circumstance is evident or major crime is in progress. A progressive self-managed system of mutual respect and communication must take priority over outside force”.

After Pacifica Radio surmounted a major crisis in the late 1990’s that involved ousting a Board of Directors that planned to sell the stations, a subscriber-elected governance system was put into place, allowing listeners who pledge $25 annually to select the network’s directors. An attempt to replace the current interim manager, the station’s former development director, with a permanent hire was stymied last year and the hiring process is again underway.

Media Alliance director Tracy Rosenberg, an elected local board member, commented “It is way past time for KPFA, and Pacifica as a whole, to move away from discredited command and control tactics to manage its diverse workforce”.

The Unpaid Staff Organization, (UPSO) which from 1990-onwards organized the 160+ unpaid programmers, was de-recognized in August 2007, leaving the majority of the station’s producers and hosts with no avenue for internal appeal of disciplinary actions and/or loss of status.

Programmer Foster, who suffered a severe sprain and bruises during her arrest, is still facing five misdemeanor charges in Alameda County, including trespassing, resisting arrest and battery on an officer. Her pre-trial hearing is scheduled to resume on September 22nd. Fellow staffers are trying to arrange a
fundraiser to assist her with legal expenses stemming from the August 20th incident.

The Pacifica Radio network, one of the few national media outlets that features news, information and culture with a decidedly progressive slant, is said to be facing significant financial challenges in what is clearly a difficult economic environment for journalism.



We, the undersigned paid and unpaid KPFA staff do not have confidence in the management of KPFA’s Interim General Manager Lemlem Rijio. Rijio's actions during the past 2 years have caused the alienation of a large of number of staff members, have created turmoil within the station and have resulted in her losing credibility with many staff members. Her shift of KPFA’s culture away from one of collaboration and mutual support helped create the climate leading
to the tragic and unnecessary police arrest of unpaid staff member Nadra Foster. KPFA and Pacifica management’s transformation of a workplace dispute, internally resolvable through collaborative means, into a major police action violates KPFA’s mission to promote peaceful ways to solve conflicts. Moving toward a more restrictive work environment will distance the station further from grassroots communities that Pacifica aims to serve.

We look forward to the appointment of a new General Manager from the list of 11 candidates, prepared by KPFA’s Local Station Board, in order to bring comprehensive teamwork, support, and peace to the station. We agree with the nearly 80 staff members who signed a recent “Open Letter on New KPFA Leadership Attributes/Priorities” that it’s time for fresh leadership.

1.Shahram Aghamir, Producer, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa
2. Nick Alexander, KPFA Producer, Reporter
3. Naji Ali, Graduate First Voice Apprenticeship, Co-producer, Full Circle, Executive Producer/Host Crossing The Line: Life in Occupied Palestine.
4. Rosie Austin- First Voice Group 33
5. Nora Barrows-Friedman, Senior Producer & Co-host, Flashpoints
6. Amanda Bellerby, Producer, Flashpoints
7. Donna Bellorado, First Voice Graduate 2007, pending Lead Segment Editor
8. Khalil Bendib, Producer & Co-host, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
9. Dennis Bernstein, Host, Senior Producer, Flashpoints
10. Allison Budner, First Voice Apprentice, Full Circle Producer
11. Erica Bridgeman, Engineer, Co-Producer, The Radio Chronicles
12. Greg Bridges, Host of Transitions on Traditions
13. Afrikahn Jahmal Dayvs, Producer/Host of BAJABA on JazzLine, substitute voice on KPFA
14. Darren J. de Leon, Producer/Co-Host Radio 2050
15. Angela Fautt-DeCastro- First Voice Group 33
16. Lisa Dettmer, KPFA Producer, Women's Magazine
17. Tara Dorabji, Co-Host La Onda Bajita
18. Doug Edwards, Programmer/Producer, Music of the World and Ear Thyme
19. Professor Samera Esmeir, Producer, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
20. Anthony Fest, News Anchor
21. Rainjita Geesler, First Voice Co-Director, Co-Host Apex Express
22. Victoria Gutierrez, Co-host, Radio Zapatista (La Onda Bajita)
23. Francisco Herrera, Co-host and Producer, Flashpoints, La Onda Bajita
24. Yvette Hochberg-producer Women's magazine
25. Shuka Klanatari, Producer, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa.
26. Kayumanggi' Kaloy, KPFA DJ, API Specials Lead Producer, Apprenticeship Grad '89
27. Wildecy de Fatima Jury, Apprentice, graduated from Quilombo Group
28. Rahul C, Lagura, Asian=Pacific Islander Annual Specials, Producer
29. Adrienne Lauby, Producer/Host Pushing Limits
30. Fabian Chavez Martinez, Live Music Engineer
31. M. Mayzes, Producer/Engineer
32. David McBurnie, Producer, Music of the World
33. Miguel Molina, Executive Producer, La Onda Bajita; Roving Producer, Flashpoints
34. Jill Montgomery First Voice Apprentice, KPFA Board Operator
35. Tony Moses, KPFA Reggae Programmer (Since 1974)
36. Emmit A. Powell, DJ and Programmer, The Gospel Experience
37. Kate Rafael, Producer, Womens Magazine
38. Malihe Razazan, Producer, Voices of the Middle East and North Africa
39. Alejandro Reyes, Radio Zapatista (La Onda Bajita) and Mexico correspondent, Flashpoints.
40. Rosi Reyes, Host, Ritmo de las Americas
41. Art Sato, Host, Producer, In Your Ear
42. Jan Santos, Producer, Pushing Limits
43. Doyle Saylor Host, Producer Pushing Limits
44. Adália M. Selket , Brazilian Music Program Producer , 1st Voice Graduate
45. Nina Serrano, Co-producer La Raza Chronicles, Monthly Host/Producer, Open Book
46. Preeti Shekar, Producer, Womens Magazine
47. Ruthanne Shpiner, News Reporter, Host, Producer, Pushing Limits
48. Frank Sterling- First Voice Technical Fellow
49. Kirsten Thomas, Board Op/Producer, Morning Show/Democracy Now! Apprentice Alumnus
50. Walter Turner, Producer, Host of Africa Today
51. JR Valrey, Producer of POCC: Block Report Radio
52. Gabrielle Wilson, Producer, Co-Host of The Gospel Experience
53. Ali Zadeh, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
54. Dr. Zeina Zaatari, Producer, Voices of the Middle East & North Africa
55. Carla West, Graduate, First Voic, News
56. Bonnie Faulkner – Host and producer, Guns and Butter


As part of the progressive community, we are appalled at the use of the Berkeley Police Department to remove unpaid programmer Nadra Foster from the KPFA premises on August 20th, 2008. This act is contrary to principles of justice, free speech, and peace that we expect KPFA to practice, on-air and off" (selected):

Peter Phillips, Project Censored Tim Durning, Treasurer, Harvey Milk GLBT
Democratic Club
devorah major, former poet laureate of San Francisco
Leslie Mullin, Haiti Action Committee
Karen Shain, Legal Services for Prisoners Tommi Avicolli Mecca, LGBT activist With Children
Michael Parenti, Author Janelle White, San Francisco Women Against Rape
Norman Solomon, Author
Audrey Hawley, Sonoma Valley Peace and Justice
Rose Braz, Critical Resistance Tom Lacy, Chair SF Peace and Freedom Party,
OPEIU Local #3
Julia Sudbury, Chair Ethnic Studies, Mills
Vicky Fouts – KFCF, Fresno FCF College
Andrea Pritchett, Copwatch
CT Weber, Region 3 Director, California State Employees Association, SEIU
Jack Heyman, ILWU Local 10