Since our very beginning, Pacifica Radio has been a tumultuous and controversial experiment, striving to mesh together divergent views and passionate factions. As a result, there have always been conflicts and contradictions behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, some make alarming charges–and use hateful rhetoric–to gain advantage by heightening internal conflict. We urge you to think critically before you believe or follow those who claim they must “save Pacifica” but use tactics completely counter to the Pacifica mission.
MYTH: There’s been a corporate takeover of the Pacifica National Board.
Reality: Untrue. Pacifica’s board is little different than any other progressive non-profit. There is no corporate influence or formal corporate presence on the board. Unlike any other public stations, Pacifica does not solicit or accept any corporate donations or underwriting for its programming.
MYTH: Pacifica wants to sell off one of its radio stations.
Reality: Absolutely untrue. Pacifica’s board of directors are unpaid volunteers. Even if they desired, there is no way they could personally profit from such a sale. In recent years, as this rumor grew in to an often repeated lie, the Pacifica National Board has passed multiple unanimous motions declaring that no station is for sale.
It is true that two years ago one board member wrote a memo exploring the value of a sale, primarily as an evaluation of Pacifica’s assets. He thought Pacifica might consider the idea of trading one of its commercial frequencies for a non-commercial frequency in the same community, while turning the valuable commercial license into a multi-million dollar endowment for Pacifica’s historically under-funded mission. This idea found no support. The board has repeatedly–and unanimously–rejected selling any station.
MYTH: Pacifica wants to water down or mainstream its programming by tilting toward the Democratic Party.
Reality: This is an absurdity. The National Board has no direct authority over programming and has not made any directives or suggestions to any staff about the content of such. Neither has the national executive staff intervened to alter or modify any programming. Left of center and radical views still abound on Pacifica stations with absolutely no interference from program management. Trust your ears and not the rumor mill.
MYTH: KPFA in Berkeley was shut down by Pacifica after programmers were yanked from the air because they criticized Pacifica management.
Reality: Not true. After KPFA’s manager was not renewed by Pacifica in the spring of 1999, programming staff was on the air for 100 days–unchecked – agitating for her return and making one-sided accusations against Pacifica management. Finally, Pacifica called for programmers to stop agitating on the air about the dispute. That evening, one programmer went on the air – disrupting a live news cast–and passionately claimed that he was in physical danger from management thugs. This was immediately followed by a physical occupation of the station by demonstrators let in by this programmer’s producer. Acting in defense of its federal license–which requires broadcasters be in control of airwaves and facilities–Pacifica pulled KPFA’s live programming and replaced it with archive tapes. Many hours later, after the occupiers repeatedly refused to leave the station, they were arrested by Berkeley police. Weeks later, station staff returned to the air. It’s now two years later, and some KPFA staff and volunteers still use programs they host to agitate against Pacifica on air.