Pacifica critics broadcast their complaints

As CL goes to press, a long-simmering battle between the board of directors of Pacifica Radio and many rank-and-file employees and their supporters — which has roiled the community radio network literally from coast to coast — is about to manifest locally.

Pacifica owns five stations, including Los Angeles' KPFA and New York's WBAI, and is affiliated with another 55 around the country. Pacifica's award-winning "Democracy NOW" airs locally on WRFG 89.3 FM. Among the complaints of critics of the current board are demands that the program rein in its hard-hitting progressive reporting on such issues as corporate globalization in favor of more centrist fare.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, members of The Pacifica Campaign will protest at the headquarters of the Georgia Homebuilders Association at 3015 Camp Creek Parkway as part of a protest aimed at Ken Ford, Pacifica's acting board chair, who also works for the National Association of Homebuilders. Ford is seen as a proponent of policies that critics say would push the network away from its activist roots, including several abrupt firings at Pacifica stations, speculation about selling off some stations, and threats against employees who speak out publicly. Several board members have already resigned this year.

"We are pressing the [homebuilders association] and its affiliates to use its influence to get Ford off the board of directors," says Roy Evritt, a leader of the local campaign. "If one more member of the board resigns, the renegade members of the board would lose control of Pacifica, and we would have our network back in hands dedicated to running Pacifica democratically, by and for its listeners."

Ford and others targeted by the protest have responded that they have no intention of selling any stations, and that their aim is not to stifle the two-fisted reporting that characterizes Pacifica, but to appeal to a wider range of listeners and make the organization more profitable over the long haul.??

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