From 1999, History

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Excerpt from:  “FAIR Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting

Oct 1 1999

Selling Off Pacifica

 The U.S. media system has very few places where dissenting voices can be regularly heard, unconstrained by the interests of corporate owners or the censorship of advertiser dependence. There may be no more important exceptions to this rule than the five radio stations owned by the Pacifica Foundation–the Bay Area’s KPFA, Los Angeles’ KPFK, New York’s WBAI, D.C.’s WPFW and Houston’s KPFT. But how long these stations will continue to exist is very much an open question.

Pacifica has long been torn by charges that its national board, led by U.S. Civil Rights Commission chief Mary Frances Berry, is bent on taking the network in a more timid, ratings-driven, commercialized direction. Tensions mounted in February 1999, when the board completed a centralization of power that stripped away any governing role from the stations’ local advisory boards. Further protests were provoked on March 31, when popular KPFA station manager Nicole Sawaya was let go, and when long-time Pacifica host Larry Bensky was fired for discussing Sawaya’s ouster on-air, in apparent defiance of Pacifica‘s “dirty laundry” rule.

But perhaps the most damaging crisis at Pacifica was sparked by the accidental release of an email message from Pacifica board member (and Berry ally) Micheal Palmer–a message indicating that the sale of one or more stations might be on the Pacifica agenda. . . . ”

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