| Pacifica Campaign||0 comments|
|19 Nov 2001 @ 15:49, by Flemming Funch|
Activist groups amongst the listeners of four progressive U.S. radio stations have led an ongoing battle against the takeover of the stations by corporate or self-serving interests. The spectrum owned by the stations is worth a lot of money, and the message on the air from those stations is something that many corporate forces would prefer to extinguish. So, a long succession of people have managed to get on the board of Pacifica, with the sole purpose of either shutting them down, or profiting from the sale of the stations. See updates here: [link] The latest good news is that the whole board has now been forced to resign, and it seems like groups representing the listeners will finally get something to say.
November 18, 2001
Pacifica Campaign Release
Amidst Protest, Pacifica National Board Members Agree
New Accord May Open Way for Democratization of Network
Ratification Vote Slated for Later this Week
WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 18) -- The Pacifica National
Board agreed today to voluntarily dissolve,
reconstitute itself as an interim board with new
members, and then to implement a democratization
process for the five-station network.
Dissidents and majority factions on Pacifica's
embattled 15-member board agreed to each appoint five
of their members to a new interim board. In addition,
five entirely new members would be appointed by the
chairs of Pacifica's five Local Advisory Boards.
While the formula would effectively place majority
control of the board in the hands of the Pacifica
reform movement (four out of the five LABs are
dominated by reformers), all decisions of the interim
board must be agreed upon by two-thirds vote or 10 out
of the 15 members.
The interim board would be tasked with organizing
listener elections at each of the five LABs. These
elections would be modeled after KPFA's elected LAB,
which just last week sent out 30,000 ballots to
qualified voters. Each elected LAB would appoint one
member to a new permanent Pacifica national board,
which would then operate like a majority-rules
The new interim board could be constituted as early as
Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, Pacifica board
member Tomas Moran told a packed conference room at
the Doubletree Hotel in northern Virginia.
Moran also said that board was committed to returning
Democracy Now! to the air at all five Pacifica
stations. KPFA in Berkeley has been airing and
distributing the program since Amy Goodman and the
Democracy Now! team were forced out of WBAI as part of
a purge of some 26 staffers at the New York station.
The new accord is subject to review by attorney's for
majority and minority factions on the board. It also
needs to be ratified by the five board members who
could not attend this weekend's meeting (Marion Barry,
Dick Gregory, Valrie Chambers, Rabbi Aaron Kriegel,
and Krishna Roy).
If approved, the new deal will not necessarily end the
litigation by LAB members and listeners that is now
before Alameda Superior Court. In settlement
negotiations just two weeks ago, an agreement had been
reached that would essentially transfer a majority of
the board over to the control of reformers. But it
appears that today's announcement supercedes that
The new accord was made after a dramatic weekend board
meeting where more than a hundred listener-activists
converged on the Doubletree Hotel just outside of
Washington, DC. Activists demanded - among other
things -- the resignation of the board majority, the
democratization of the network's governance, and the
return of fired and banned programmers at New York
station WBAI 99.5 FM.
The most conservative forces at this weekend's meeting
were the station General Managers, the National
Program Director, and the Pacifica Network News (PNN)
staff. They have been the most militant advocates of
carrying the battle forward. Board member John Murdock
also seemed eager for confrontation.
But the fact remains that the network is functionally
insolvent and incapable of sustaining any more damage.
New reports this weekend say network execs have spent
$3 million -- or 30 percent of the organization's
annual budget - on the battle. PR firm Westhill
Partners is reported to have charged $230,000 alone.
Pacifica Board member Tomas Moran said the new interim
board would immediately focus on number of "hot
issues." He listed the following:
1) Democracy Now!, saying it will to return as soon as
possible to all Pacifica stations.
2) The Pacifica Network News (PNN) stringers strike
3) Audit of the finances of the network
4) Appointing a new executive director
5) Appointing a comptroller to deal with financial
6) Review of National Program Director Utrice Leid
7) Severance package of outgoing Executive Director
8) Formation of a Board committee to review the
situation at WBAI
9) Formation of an oversight committee of the Board to
evaluate and work with General Managers.
10) Deal with the lawsuits against the network
11) Dropping of all outstanding charges against
members of the Pacifica community
12) No new major expenditures
Moran also said there will be no executive committee
under the plan. A Chair and Treasurer will exist in
name only. Instead, the entire board has committed to
working together, through conference calls, to resolve
the outstanding issues affecting the network.
Wbix.org will replay their coverage of events this
week. Errol Maitland twice asked Board Chairman Bob
Farrell for permission to webcast the proceedings, and
was denied. Nevertheless, wbix.org, in conjunction
with the DC Independent Media Center, managed to
transmit the events with commentary, via cell phone.
In addition, the webstream carried live reports from
major protests at the School of the Americas at Fort
Benning, Georgia and at the IMF/World Bank protests in
Ottawa. Hear their coverage at [link]
Tuesday Nov. 20 11 am - 6 pm
Wednesday Nov. 21 11 am - 6 pm
9 pm onward
Friday Nov, 24 9 pm onward
2329 Champlain St. NW
Washington, DC 20009-2666
Category: Broadcasting, Media
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