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An Open Letter To Sonali Kolhatkar, Host Of Uprising On KPFK

by Peter Whittlesey Monday, May. 26, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Pacifica management and KPFK and KPFA's manager Richard Pirodsky has enlisted KPFK host Sonali Kolhtatkar to support the cancellation of the Morning MIx locally produced community radio shows on KPFA so she can have a drive time slot. This has brought a torrent of anger of listeners and supporters of KPFA in Norther California and many are calling on Kolhatkar to abandon her plans to support the removal of KPFA local community programming on prime time. The newly appointed executive director Bernard Duncan was brought in by Pacifica Board Chair Margy Wilkinson despite the fact that he was discharged from KPFK for financial malfeasance. This was also supported by Dan Siegel and his law firm which is backing the cancellation of local community programming.

An Open Letter To Sonali Kolhatkar, Host Of Uprising On KPFK, Interim KPFA/KPFK Manager Pirodsky Killed The Morning Mix Late Wednesday and Replaced It With Klhatkar's Show, Even As The Staff Of KPFA Had Just Completed Interviewing Three Candidates For The KPFA Manager's Position

Dear Sonali Kolhatkar,
I appreciate and applaud your programs and support your efforts, having been a regular listener for the 7 am on KPFA as well as on-line via KPFK archives. Regarding the placement by fiat of Uprising 5 days/week 8-9 am, in lieu of the Morning Mix, I appeal for you to stand up, decline and refuse to allow your program to be used to supplant the Five great local Morning mix programs at KPFA. The Morning Mix programs have played a vital role in energizing the Bay Area community with a signal which extends to more than 5 counties. These programs have changed the spectrum and participation in many areas and covering many issues which would never have been known by the people affected. These are the unique opportunities and resources for all of our community, which are not available anywhere else for direct and real time airing of issues affecting communities and issues which do not have voices.
The implanting of your program will silence all of this multidimensional communication and activity. I could give so many examples of ideas, issues, causes, struggles, celebrations, arts creations, understanding, bringing together of people, which never would have occurred in the absence of these programs, which represent so many different faces of people. There is no other place where varied communities of color and working persons can have and find platforms to be heard and the possibility of others to listen in hours when they can heard over the airwaves, particularly where this is more important than the digital realms and especially at this time when the basis of life is so disrupted by the increased economic stratification, gentrification and domination of the media by the powerful and anything which rubs against dominant paradigms even in “progressive liberal” realms which may touch upon race, class and corporate trajectory. There are many events where the cause of justice or heart in a community different from my own or in my own community have struck my own interest resulting in my lending a hand (along with many others I encountered, who had been informed via KPFA Morning Mix programs), participating, deepening my understanding, telling others whats going on or just knowing whats happening.
In accordance with the ethos and principles which you express in your programs, you will recognize that the step to refuse and not offer your support and not to countenance this move, (which was done without any input communication, discussion of any kind with people who create and produce programming, the volunteers and the member community, much as the US generals Bremmer, Garner and the proconsuls of the recent occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, who sent out memos noticing curfews and communication edicts, shocking the populace, upon "liberating'" the countries ), you will gain. By your action of deferring and resisting based on an ethic of greater good goodness , you will be heroic for many and importantly to your own soul and this will go far and do more for the forwarding of your future (and that of many others.) All this has major import in the daily lives and future of our community.
The elimination of the multiple diverse persons and the group efforts who put together each of the well produced highly popular Morning Mix programs to bring in Uprising, is surely not just one of those breaks or vagaries, just/unjust, well considered or illogical in other venues such as non-profit organizations, corporations, commercial radio stations or sports team line-ups, where one could say “it wasn't me, but whatever the tumult, I am still floating, as the river moves along”. This is not that. It is not out of your hands.
However noble, connected, well though, engaging with all the peace social-economic justice focuses etc of Uprising , the credos of motivating of listeners to take an active role in their communities and connecting global issues with local ones, the reality thatyour program, with one principal person, is based in Southern California, flies in the face of the contrasting large group of programs with large and growing audiences local to the Bay Region, which develop multiple specific issues and stories present with continuity, connected to and affecting the listeners and where they and multiple communities engage to bring authority to account, work together and help make positive change with their efforts. KPFA and the Bay Area would be diminished rather than enhanced by this change. Regarding your judgement in this matter, I wish to express that whatever transcendent faith guides you, I retain hopes in the basic goodness that we have agency to act on our better nature, as creatures of limited means who can sometimes form beliefs on the basis of evidence and act rationally upon them, along with our sympathetic and empathetic impulses and that this be honored and encouraged. I certainly wish you well in your endeavors with the syndicating of your successful KPFK program (for which many outlets and portals will develop) as well as continued work on the 7 am mornings at KPFA and the blooming of your family.
Yours truly,
Peter Whittlesey
Mill Valley, California

Cross Roads at Pacifica Radio and KPFA

By Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff

Co-hosts of the Project Censored show on the Morning Mix at KPFA Berkeley

Late in the evening on Wednesday May 21 the volunteer hosts for the Morning Mix show (8:00-9:00 AM weekdays) were sent an e-mail stating that the program was being permanently replaced by a daily show from KPFK in LA. This was a total surprise to Mix producers as just the previous Friday the Interim General Manager of KPFA/KPFK told us in his office that program changes would be discussed and reviewed by the new KPFA manager to be hired in June and nothing would happen until a new manager was in place.

Instead, we received a top down administrative command without explanation or discussion, that provided alternative times slots for some of the Morning Mix producers but reduced our overall time on KPFA from five hours in the morning drive time to two and half hours in afternoon time slots. The Project Censored show fared the best with a one hour time slot on Fridays from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M., but the Tuesday and Wednesday Morning Mix hosts were not offered any additional air time. The three other Morning Mix hosts were scheduled for a half hour each later in the afternoon.

The Morning Mix has been on KPFA at 8:00 A.M. for three and half years. As the Morning Mix, we are men and women; black, white, and brown; we are gay and straight; radical scholars and labor activists; young, old, retirees, and we are all volunteers in service to the mission of KPFA and Pacifica as founded by Lew Hill for community free speech radio.

We are part of a KPFA Mix of volunteer programmers across the programming schedule here in Berkeley and other Pacifica stations around the county. Volunteer producers at KPFA are culturally diverse, socially just, and rooted in the Northern California community. Some of our programs are carried by Pacifica affiliate stations all over the country. We firmly believe Pacifica was established for community-based programming, not just establishment professionals. We are every bit as professional, yet unpaid, and we are as fully committed to the future of KPFA as those who would have us disbanded or replaced. We have a voice, we are the community, and we are the Mix.

We do not think that bringing in a daily program created in LA is what KPFA and Pacifica is about for a drive time program. There are procedures for program changes in place through our local democratically elected station councils. The current board of directors of Pacifica is seriously divided into two contentious factions. The factions at KPFA are Support KPFA—United for Community Radio; and Save KPFA (formerly “Concerned Listeners”). Each faction has allies and/or representatives on the board from the collective stations with the Save KPFA faction recently obtaining a small majority. It was this slim majority that lead to the late-night firing of Pacifica’s recently appointed Executive Director, Summer Reese, on March 13. Now this faction representing a small clique is acting undemocratically, non-transparently, and in violation of organizational by-laws and rules by eliminating the Morning Mix show.

We believe that openness is needed in Pacifica, not top down commands without discussion or transparency. We also believe that community based programming is the foundation of KPFA and Pacifica therefore any move in the direction of national-NPR style programs is a violation of our deep traditions. We need dialogue and understanding, we need cooperation and kindness, not sniping, not circular firing squads, not behavior that mirrors right wing agit-prop attacks, not from any side. We at KPFA and Pacifica have common goals, and our attention needs to be focused on the plutocratic corporatocracy that is killing our country, the world, and literally the planet. There is work to be done...and it is not about any of us as individuals. Together, at KPFA, we are strong, we can be the change we want to see. We are the Mix, and we need to work as one.


Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and President of Media freedom Foundation/Project Censored

Mickey Huff is a Professor and Department Chair of History at Diablo Valley College and Director of Project Censored

The crisis in Pacifica and at KPFA "What Is Going On At Pacifica"?
The Crisis in Pacifica and at KPFA and What Is Going On At Pacifica? was
the title of a forum and speak out held on April 27, 2014 in Berkeley, California.
Pacifica radio is the most important alternative radio network in the United
States and provides the most labor programming of any broadcast system in
the country. In most cases it is the only alternative broadcast voice nationally
on the air.
This presentations and discussion also looked at the ongoing occupation
that has been been taking place Pacifica Foundation offices for weeks after
the firing of Executive Director Summer Reese.
Speakers also addressed the financial crisis, transparency and accountability
how they should be addressed.
It was sponsored by Labor Video Project, BFUU Social Justice Committee,Media
Freedom Foundation and Project Censored.
Production of Labor Video Project
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Reese ousted by a faction ruling over, but not in the maj. Paul Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 at 2:57 PM

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