Berkeley headquarted Free Speech Radio News announced Monday that the Pacifica Foundation, owner of Los Angeles radio station KPFK, was cutting its funding by $13,500 a month effective immediately. "FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS IN CRISIS: Funding Cuts Bring Popular Grassroots Newscast to the Brink" http://www.fsrn.org/content/press-release/2517
The half hour weekday Free Speech Radio News runs on KPFK at 6:30 p.m. weekdays. It presents alternative radio news covering the U.S. and the world. It is a collective worker run organization. The program enjoys wide support in the KPFK listening community, though some listeners which it would devote more time to labor struggles within the U.S.
The program faces possible shut down because of the loss. The program cannot raise funds on the air. The stations who run it do not want it competing with their own funding appeals.
KPFK listeners and Pacifica supporters in Los Angeles immediately cited the situation as yet more evidence of the lack of transparency and the secrecy with which Pacifica and KPFK operate the foundation and station.
Reports have widely circulated of financial problems within Pacifica. However, listeners know little of the causes and origins of the problems because the foundation and stations don't communicate outside closed insider circles. They fear that generating grass roots interest and discussion in the problems of the foundation though generating more contributions might undermine their own security.
In Los Angeles, KPFK recently turned off its web listener discussion groups where users might debate such issues. The groups have stayed off as KPFK refuses to turn them on again.
The newly enacted KPFK Committee to Strengthen KPFK slate mailer local station board majority has done nothing to strengthen the local community. Community members continue to ask who funded Grace Aaron's slate mailer.
Cynics asked if the Pacifica Foundation was playing games and trying to eliminate FSRN so it could organize its own alternative weekday news program.
Many people believe the Pacifica problems reflect larger problems of the established political left in the U.S. For years leaders of the U.S. left establishment have formed organizations, advocated causes, conducted marches and demonstrations, provided films and videos, maintained web sites, operated Pacifica, sponsored campaign finance reform legislation, but stayed out of elections, carefully avoiding any political threats to the Democratic party.
However, in Washington policy, it has accomplished nothing, and Bush's wars continue unabated. Because of their ineffectiveness, these leaders have lost their followers, who no longer show up for rallys and ask what good has donating to Pacifica stations done.
Pacifica and KPFK show no interest in organizing a debate on how to turn this situation around or listening to those who say only wide spread independent political action might possibly change anything.
KPFK is now in fund raising. After six days, KPFK has raised $249,540 towards its goal of $1,085,000.