Pacifica radio station KPFK is in the midst of an election that, once again, has divided the staff, show programmers and listeners over politics and personality issues. Rival slates are throwing around accusations, and it seems that belief (or not) in the 9-11 government conspiracy theories is a big part of it all. Anyway, there's a long thread of back-and-forth at LA Indymedia. Now interim general manager Jim Lafferty has weighed in with a state of KPFK message that says "given the growing monopolization of the mainstream media, the frightening increase in governmental repression, and the ever-expanding state of permanent war, there has never been a time in U.S. history when KPFK and Pacifica are as essential to our well-being as now. I shudder to think of where the broad movement for progressive social change would be at in this City if we were to lose KPFK." Whole thing after the jump.
This is Jim Lafferty, the Interim General Manager of KPFK and the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild in L.A.
I’m a big fan of Indymedia, and so I’m happy to see it being used by our listeners to discuss and debate the issues impacting the station. In this regard, I thought it might be helpful for your readers to know how I think the station is doing at this time of transition.
First and foremost, your readers should know that the staff, paid and
un-paid at KPFK, are a wonderfully dedicated, progressive, professional and inspiring bunch of people to work with. Every day they give their all to the station; in the case of the paid staff, for far less money then they deserve.
Second, given the growing monopolization of the mainstream media, the frightening increase in governmental repression, and the ever-expanding state of permanent war, there has never been a time in U.S. history when KPFK and Pacifica are as essential to our well-being as now. I shudder to think of where the broad movement for progressive social change would be at in this City if we were to lose KPFK. To borrow a phrase from Mumia Abu-Jamal, today KPFK remains a rather lonely, “voice of the voiceless.”
Third, there is so much that KPFK has to be proud of, and that makes me so proud to have this brief opportunity to be of service to the station. I am proud of the fact that ours is the only largely English language radio station in town (and one of only two among all radio stations) that carries breaking news of ICE raids and check-points. I am proud of the fact that ours is the only radio station in town that carries, live, anti-war rallies and other progressive events. That regularly reports on the San Francisco 8 Black Panther case. That followed from beginning to end the story of the valiant struggle of the South Central farmers. That is the only public radio station in town with Spanish language programming. Or that regularly reports on the Bus Riders Union. The only station that regularly brings you the voices of activists from the immigrants’ rights movement, women’s movement, civil rights movement, labor movement, LGBT movement, and many other progressive movements virtually shut out from the mainstream media.
And I am proud of the fact that KPFK and Pacifica are the only radio stations in the nation that provide their listeners with a voice in the over-all direction of the station, through an elected listener-sponsored Local Station Board. Mind you, we know we still have a ways to go to handle these elections as well as we should. But we do conduct them! And they are under the direction and control of a National Pacifica Elections Supervisor, not the local stations. And whatever mistakes are made are not made because anyone is trying to make them. Or because someone favors one candidate over another. Indeed, in the case of this year’s election, while I cannot for obvious reasons declare my favorites amongst the candidates, I can say that I, personally, find many worthy candidates on all of the various slates and on the independent list of candidates.
Besides, irrespective of the outcome of the LSB election, I can assure your readers that KPFK will continue to provide the same kind of programming and coverage of the progressive movements that we have provided throughout the last few years. This is not only my commitment, but, I can assure you, a commitment shared by the KPFK staff, as well.
Finally, it truly saddens me when one or more members of the “KPFK family” question the bona fides, or motives, of another member of the family. In my experience, while I sometimes disagree with staff members, or Local Station Board members, or candidates for the Board, or volunteers, to this day I have not encountered one of them who I did not feel was motivated by a sincere love of the station and a desire to improve it as they deemed best. So, while we may all, from time-to-time, disagree as to what’s best for the station, we are not one another’s enemies. Rather, as we debate the issues and work to improve the station, let’s remember who our real enemies are: The war mongers. The racists and sexists. Corporate America and the global media giants. (And the list goes on and on.)
So let the debate continue, but let it continue in the spirit of Lew Hill, our founder, and in the spirit of mutual respect for one and all!
Interim General Manager, KPFK