Friday, October 17, 2014

Pacifica Radio in Exile: Press Release 10-16-14

The following press release is from the Summer Reese faction of Pacifica, prepared by Tracy Rosenberg. 

October 16, 2014
For Immediate Release 
Donating to the Tea Party and 
Expelling Spanish Speakers

Berkeley-The new corporate call center collecting pledges for Pacifica stations KPFK in Los Angeles and KPFA in Berkeley is owned by Bruce Hough, an Oregon republican who runs a Tea Party campaign advertising/fundraising business called Impact Marketing with his partner, rabid Tea Party congressman Sal Esquivel. Esquivel traveled to Arizona to stand with Michelle Malkin, the Minutemen and others in support of Arizona's anti-immigrant law SB 1070. Hough (who regularly threatens to move his Medford-based call center Comnet to Nevada should the Oregon legislature raise taxes) and Esquivel are regularly called out for Tea Party shenanigans including funding vicious attack ads against local Democratic candidate and military veteran Jeff Scroggin. The ads were so disgusting that two out of three local Republican County commissioners refused to endorse Tea Party candidate Doug Briedenthal,  whose "Friends of" committee had the same address as Hough's Impact Marketing and paid for the mudslinging ads. Hough and Esquivel were labeled "Rogues of the Week" by the Williamette Weekly for an unethical scam to charge gulliable voters to email Congress. Hough and Esquivel also house conservative PACS (political action committees) at Impact Marketing giving aways hundreds of thousands of dollars to local and national Tea Party candidates.  Each call to donate to KPFA or KPFK routes .90 cents a minute to Hough's company or $3-5 per call.
On the East Coast, Pacifica is using a call center called Telerep, which is a subsidiary of cable giant Cox Communications. Anonymous comments by employees on a review website indicates poor working conditions at Telerep with comments like "grow a conscience", "compensation is terrible", "don't stay here or you'll hate your life", "run for the hills", "I was paid less than a Burger King line associate" and "the most traumatic and depressing work experience I have ever and will ever experience in my entire life". 

The rogue majority on the board is scheduling an annual allocation of $200,000+ in listener-sponsored funds to be paid out to Tea Party outfit Comnet and fast-food call center Telerep to expel fund drive volunteers from 4 of the networks 5  community radio stations, while laying off staff and refusing to hold board member elections.
Members objecting to the board majority’s actions over the past nine months can sign a petition here.

A pending complaint to the CA Attorney General Registry of Charitable Trusts by 8 former board members can be found here (in a slightly updated version). The AG is responsible for California charitable compliance. Pacifica members can send a note to the AG here. 

KPFA, the Berkeley Pacifica radio station received a scathing letter on October 14th (copied to author Naomi Klein) from Movement Generation, one of the groups central to the organizing effort that brought 400,000 people to New York for the world's biggest ever climate change rally.

The letter alleges blatantly anti-immigrant and racist behavior from KPFA's event staff in trying to prevent Spanish language interpretation at Klein's September 29th speaker series benefit.

The letter, which is signed by  Brooke Anderson and Mateo Nube, both prominent figures in the social justice movement (Nube was the NW Coordinator for the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and Anderson is former deputy director of East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy), stated they "were shocked to be told that we could not provide translation because it would be “annoying to English speakers” and “create a disturbance for attendees who had paid for tickets.” Despite repeatedly assuring the interpreter would not interrupt the program and that we would work on the placement of the interpreter so as not to impact the room acoustics or audio recording quality, X became quite belligerent with MG staff Mateo Nube and Brooke Anderson, and speaker Cynthia Muñoz Ramos, telling us that X wouldn’t make exceptions for people who needed “special treatment.” But let us be direct here: X's attempt to prevent Spanish translation was deeply problematic and the comments justifying the position blatantly anti-immigrant and racist. The behavior reflects poorly on KPFA as a station and jeopardizes the relationships and reputation of KPFA radio in a social justice movement in which immigrant and non-English-speaking communities are at the forefront". The letter can be found here.

Also at KPFA this week, AM host Brian Edwards-Tiekert and local 9415 of the Communications Workers of America sent a letter threatening a lawsuit to the San Francisco Bay Independent Media Center, demanding they remove an anonymous post.

The post referred to the planned staffing reductions at the station's investigative newsmagazine Flashpoints, which has been broadcasting daily on KPFA since the first Gulf War. The reductions of about a quarter of the programs staffing hours are being offset by the $25,000 acquisition of the Reuters-Thomson corporate wire copy news service to accompany an existing subscription to the Associated Press corporate wire copy news service.

The threatening letter was sent to the IMC's fiscal sponsor, Media Alliance, and forwarded by them on to the editorial collective at the Independent Media Center, as they are the only individuals who exercise editorial control over the content on the open publishing website, one of 150 that have criss-crossed the globe since the first Independent Media Center was launched in Seattle, WA in 1999 to cover the World Bank/International Monetary Fund protests.

As of press time, the post in question had not been removed by the IMC's editorial group. The letter threatening the lawsuit and the response sent by Media Alliance and forwarded on to the Bay Area Independent Media Center can be found online by clicking on the links.

The members of KPFA's bargaining unit do not appear to have been consulted or to have approved the use of union dues to pay a lawyer to threaten the Bay Area Independent Media Center.


  1. Too funny. Pay loads of money instead of having your own listeners take pledges AND support your enemies in the process. Very charitable, indeed. Maybe next they can do a clothing drive with the KKK?


    1. Didn't KPFKK do that? I seem to recall that they spent much of the income derived therefrom on boxes of iron-on linen and silk patches. You see, there were these oval holes...

  2. As we were saying about the hypocrisy of the left....

  3. Is it any wonder the "left" is now in the hands of the bourgeois liberals, and the far left is a novelty, at best?

    I had a funny idea. How about a vigil for the passing of WBAI? A bunch of us could go hold said vigil in front of WBAI offices, have a mariachi band, BBQ, burn Reimers in effigy, I could do my Bob Fass impersonation, etc. It could be a fun party.