News Release

Pacifica Crackdown at WBAI Radio


The Pacifica Foundation, which in the summer of 1999 locked out the staff of KPFA Radio in Berkeley, Calif., has recently begun a similar series of actions at WBAI Radio, its New York City station. Management changed locks over Christmas weekend and fired and banned several targeted workers from the station. There have been a series of protests in New York. The following people are available for interviews:

Longtime co-host of WBAI’s “Wakeup Call” and program director for the station, White was fired without explanation two days before Christmas.
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Producer for WBAI’s “Wakeup Call,” Harper was also fired without explanation. Both she and White have been threatened with arrest if they attempt to enter the station. Their possessions have been impounded.
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Co-host of “Wakeup Call” and of “Democracy Now!,” Pacifica’s flagship program, Goodman is winner of numerous awards including the George Polk Award. She recently told the Associated Press: “Many people feel like there’s a purging going on…and it is very frightening between the firings and the banning of people.”
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Laforest is on WBAI’s Local Advisory Board (he is also director of Haitian Constituency USA and a labor organizer). He said today: “Pacifica has a history of representing the views of the communities that the listeners are a part of. We have seen a change in the structure of Pacifica resulting in it being more centralized, diminishing the voice of the local stations and local boards and eliminating the role of the listeners.”
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Economist and media analyst, author of The Myth of the Liberal Media and co-author (with Noam Chomsky) of Manufacturing Consent, Herman said today: “The takeover of WBAI by the Pacifica Foundation is part of a continuing de-democratization of the radio network.”
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Chair of the WPFW (Pacifica’s D.C. station) Local Advisory Board, Husseini said today: “Pacifica management has used censorship to hide from its listeners what it has done to the network.”
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One of two board members bringing suit against the majority of the Pacifica board, Robinson said today: “The Pacifica Foundation Governing Board’s Executive Committee has engaged in a pattern of violations of the bylaws, has seized all decision-making power and refuses to be accountable to the listeners…”
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While his term is under dispute, Acosta continues to serve as chair of the Pacifica Foundation board.
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For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167