Democracy Now features KPFA On the Air documentary
Part 1, 11 minutes, the other 5 episodes follow on Youtube
Pacifica Radio at 60: KPFA Remains a Sanctuary of Dissent Six Decades After Its Founding
Today marks the sixtieth anniversary of Pacifica Radio. On April 15th, 1949 at 3:00 p.m., a charismatic conscientious objector named Lewis Hill sat before a microphone and said, This is KPFA Berkeley. With that, KPFA went on the air, and the first listener-supported radio station in the United States was born. Pacifica Radio is the oldest independent media network in the United States, and its sixtieth birthday comes as a deepening crisis engulfs mainstream media. To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Pacifica Radio today, we feature a documentary about the first Pacifica Radio station: KPFA in Berkeley. Its called KPFA on the Air by filmmakers Veronica Selver and Sharon Wood and narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker.
A strategic planning working group — formed by the Pacifica Foundation Radio National Board of Directors, which oversees a network of nonprofit radio stations headquartered in Berkeley — held a planning meeting Thursday to try to keep its business alive.
At the meeting, the board’s leaders discussed the financial struggles ailing the company and potential contingency plans in case of short-term default. Jose Luis Fuentes-Roman, a member of the Pacifica National Board, or PNB, mentioned the selling of the Berkeley office — which serves as the national office — and financial swaps of broadcasting rights as possible ways to raise money in the face of mounting debt. …
“The best way to cultivate a sensibility of what makes for a good [radio] interview is to pre-tape your interviews and set aside large amounts of time to edit them down to half the length they start at. Because it makes you think really critically about where the wasted language is in that interview, when your questions have gone on too long, when your guest has gone off track, what you can fix with editing and what you can’t, and it cultivates the ear you need to start listening critically to other peoples interviews, to start editing in real time when you are listening to other people’s interviews and then to start editing yourself in real time when you are conducting interviews.”
This is a speech given by Phyllis Bennis last night (9/29) on her new book Understanding ISIS and The New Global War on Terror.
Bennis is a career journalist who has been active in the Middle East since the 1970s and who covered the United Nations in the 1980s. In 1987, she witnessed the First Intifada and began to take a serious interest in pro-Palestinian advocacy. …In 1999, Bennis accompanied a group of congressional aides to Iraq, examining the impact of U.S.-led economic sanctions on humanitarian conditions there….
Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C., and of its offshoot, the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. At IPS, Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project, which “works primarily on Middle East and United Nations issues,” focusing on “the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” The project makes use of “education and activism” in an effort to change American policy and also seeks to “democratize and empower” the UN and free it of “U.S. domination.”[3
He was a staff member early at KPFA. He now runs the archive of Alan Watts, but has a long storied history with avant garde music, world music, music production.
“Henry Jacobs is a living embodiment of the picaresque. He seems to have spent his life playing, but in the process kept inventing things for which his successors got the credit. He was fooling around with spacial sound distribution through loudspeakers before Varese’s Poeme Electronique took the 1959 Brussels World Fair by storm—in fact, he was there at the same time doing his thing in another building. He experimented early with multilayered tape loops, quite independently of Pierre Schaeffer in Paris. His free-form radio collages in the early fifties were a whole decade ahead of John Leonard’s Nightsounds, the program which is authoritatively identified as the first of this kind……”
“Riding the waves at Pacifica radio, by Andrew Leslie Phillips 8/13
Andrew Leslie Phillips has written a short history of the Pacifica radio network, published below. He is interim general manager of Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley, California. Phillips is a native of Australia. He spent seven years in Papua New Guinea as a government patrol officer, radio journalist and filmmaker before coming to New York in 1975. He produced award-winning investigative radio documentaries on a wide range of environmental and political issues for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and for Pacifica station WBAI in New York City. He taught journalism, radio and “sound image” as an adjunct professor at New York University for 10 years.
The Pacifica foundation was founded in 1946 by poet and journalist Lewis Hill and a small group of pacifists, intellectuals and experienced radio people. They did not have the same political or economic philosophy but shared a vision which supported a peaceful world, social justice and creativity. ….
FM was a new, technology and Pacifica was backing the future, inventing an entirely new funding mechanism – the theory of listener sponsored radio. . . .
Equality of access to airtime has always been at the center of controversy at Pacifica and community radio everywhere. Most on-air people at Pacifica were not paid until the mid 1990’s. They volunteered and they made money to support the Foundation by pitching their programming on free-speech Pacifica radio. That was the deal. It was a tacit agreement – Pacifica provides opportunity and access whilst producers agreed to pitch and encourage on air pledges. By far the largest percentage of financial support for Pacifica still comes from listener donations.. . . ” http://www.radiosurvivor.com/2013/08/06/riding-the-waves-at-pacifica-radio-by-andrew-leslie-phillips/
Andrew Leslie Phillips [in a negative mood]: “I know many who follow this page [https://www.facebook.com/groups/PacRadioSupporters/] are, have been or aspire to “run” Pacifica but most of you are not qualified and there are too many of you on overcrowded ineffectual boards. I know why this clumsy governance system was originally implemented but it has not worked. We all know that now. Pacifica as an institution was always a tenuous affair but never more so than now. There seems little point to the institution any longer. The audience is old and growing older, the programming in most cases, second rate. Most information Pacifica carries is available elsewhere. Pacifica has been nit-picked to death by competing factions. I believe there maybe a place for individual stations to strike out on their own but the governance structure stands in the way of that. I spent some great years at WBAI (1979-1993) and in those days WBAI and Pacifica meant something. We did ground breaking programming and produced many fine producers, a lot of whom can now be heard on NPR (since there was no future even then at Pacifica, for talented broadcasters so they moved on). Amy Goodman may have been the best “thing” to come out of Pacifica (and Amy was forced out by noxious WBAI management) and when Amy say’s “From Pacifica” in her DemNow intro she is not really saying it as it is because DemNow comes “from Pacifica” only because Michael Yoshida at KPFA ensures DemNow get on the satellite on time every day. During my tenure at KPFA (2011-2013) I came to like and respect many in that community. But I too was skewered by some who came to disagree with me and manipulated me out of my position with unfounded accusations and deception. Unfortunately Pacifica under its current charter breeds a kind of Machiavellian environment and John Proffitt is just another victim.”
Poet and filmmaker Richard Moore, a co-founder of public radio station KPFA and a former president and chief executive of public television station KQED, died of natural causes March 25 at his home in Mill Valley. He was 95.”
Part 5 of KPFA On The Air, 8:22 minutes, where Alice Walker fought for KPFA, saying “this is something that is precious, this is something that is ours, this is something that we paid for, this is something we believe in, and this is something we intend to keep.” Word had spread that Pacifica had considered selling KPFA, and 10,000 people took to the streets in front of KPFA.
So thanks to Randy Thom, 94 year old Erik Bauersfeld (head of KPFA’s Drama and Literature Department in the 1970s and 1980s) is in London recording the voice of Admiral Ackbar, (as he did in Return of the Jedi) for the new Star Wars movie. Go, Erik!!
Why am I not listening to the radio station I support?
Because they are never out of pledge drive mode and they are quite ugly at it. I tried to listen this morning to the radio station that I support twice a year only to be told “come on people, it is time to cough up what this station is worth” and something about how much I might spend on coffee. The tone that they take is something between petulant and accusatory and the discourse sounded like a berating for not having given enough. There is also a pitch language that seems to treat the public as if we were all in the same place together listening to them. A few people call in, and it is a “rally” and nobody calls and we are not getting “with it”.
Now Denis Bernstien can be all of that any time he does a pitch and I have no idea how many listeners he has personally and permanently lost to the station, but the others don’t pitch much better. Somehow being told how exceptional the news will be whenever we stop this fund drive by Amy Goodman, who will have dinner with me for a cool thousand dollars does not sound like a radio station reaching out to its community.
Speaking of that community, where is KPFA? Are we doing anything to increase listenership? Are we doing anything to bring in new voices? Seems like I only hear from Pacifica when they want us to donate or when they are infighting. For anyone who is paying attention the infighting is vicious and destructive. On the one hand we here endless and misleading vitriol from the “Save KPFA” group and on the other, we have groups of people who seem to be holding on to some kind of turf. I do not watch it close enough to know who is entrenched and how but the shows do not change much and I have no idea who some of them are reaching out to. Serious HR practices are not being dealt with and programing seems more like a confederation of non-profits than a coherent radio station. It seems to me that as our national government is shut down and paralyzed by two similar groups fighting for turf something not so different happens throughout US culture.
So I switch off the radio station that I support and listen to the biased, high class version of the corporate news on KQED, which I tell people not to send money to. Is there any wonder why my son and girlfriend both have KQED membership gifts?
MOLLY IVINS IN CONVERSATION WITH RICHARD WOLINSKY
The nationally syndicated political columnist, co-author of “Shrub” and ” “Bushwhacked” and author of “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” and “You’ve Got to Dance With Them What Brung You,” discusses George W. Bush and his presidency and other topics in this special 37-minute web-edit interview with Richard Wolinsky. Recorded at KPFA, Berkeley on October 16, 2003 Click the picture to hear the Extended Web Edit About the interviewer: RICHARD WOLINSKY hosts “Bookwaves” on “Cover to Cover” heard every Thursday at 3:30 pm on KPFA-FM in Berkeley (www.kpfa.org) and in Pacifica syndication. Molly Ivins, October 2003
An All-Volunteer KPFA: A Recipe for Disaster On Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, on the KPFA Morning Show, Arlene Engelhardt, Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation, made the curious comment that (to paraphrase) KPFA needed to get back to its volunteer roots. The wording was vague enough to suggest pretty much anything, but there are some folks out there who believe eliminating the on-air paid staff, and their off-air support staff as well, could be right way to go. After all, bringing back volunteerism and ending the tyranny of staffers who stay forever sounds like a pretty good prescription for renewal. Nice philosophy, but is that what Arlene is really saying? First, let’s look at the history of KPFA. . . . .
Editorial from me: I have to say I think he exaggerates some about the unreliability of volunteers. I think there must be a balance between strip programming paid professionals and volunteers from the communities speaking in their own voices on the air. And there are always a few golden souls who volunteer behind the scenes, retired or unemployed or students, but students don’t last long. But firing good successful workers is corrupt, I think.
But/and the Morning Mix has been replaced by some extremely popular programming.
Uprising is a daily news program produced at KPFK Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles. We cover hard news and politics from an unabashedly progressive perspective….
“I was just nominated for the fourth year in a row for best Radio Anchor at the LA Press Club Awards – fourth time’s a charm? Also, for the first time, Best radio Talk/Public Affairs, and most excitingly, Best TV Anchor. More nominations still to be announced….” http://www.lapressclub.org/…/Docum…/SoCal_Finalists_2015.pdf
Hey KPFA listeners, don’t forget tomorrow will be another KPFA video broadcast. It’s the first in the series Critical Conversations on Emerging Technologies: How Private is Your DNA… Learn about what is being done with your DNA and how you can protect it… April 17th, 7:30pm at The Brower Center 2150 Allston Way in Berkeley, or watch live on the KPFA video channel: https://www.kpfa.org/kpfa-live-stream-channel
On the air, The Visionary Activist – True Lammas: Bonfire or Arson -take your pick. Let ritual contain conflagration. Caroline welcomes Rabbi Gershon Winkler, whose book “Magic of the Ordinary,” we are offering, ancient land-based wisdom welcomed back as antidote to the poison of hyper-yang death frenzy. www.kpfa.org
On the air, Making Contact – Robert Neuwirth, author of “Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World”, estimates that more than a billion people–thats 1 in 7–are squatters. This week, we visit squats in Venezuela and the Philippines, and find out why squatters aren’t just tolerated…they are crucial to the growth of major cities and national economies. www.kpfa.org
When Pacifica created the position of President, it transferred power to National, as this hierarchical culture assumes that the central is the top power, the ones assumed to be superior, not remembering how they came to be created. The National helped to facilitate license legalities, but it transformed the shape of Pacifica.
Past President of Pacifica Peter Frank reiterated my assertion that deregulating and leasing our subcarriers, with the income set up to go to National Office, vastly shifted the balance of power from the stations to National.