Enthusiastic crowd at Saturday’s breakfast with the Morning Show

Larry Bensky (in orange) speaking to the group
Larry Bensky (in orange) speaking to the group

A friendly, upbeat, standing-room-only crowd gathered for Saturday’s “Breakfast with the Morning Show.” (CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS). Attendees included Larry Bensky (former Pacifica National Affairs correspondent), Aileen Alfandary (KPFA News co-director), Aimee Allison (former co-host of the Morning Show), Brian Edwards-Tiekert (former co-host of the Morning Show), Mitch Jeserich (host of KPFA’s Letters & Politics), Ying Lee (long-time KPFA listener), Laura Prives (Morning Show producer), Agustin Ramirez (ILWU) — and an enthusiastic group of listeners who love KPFA and want to put it back on the right track.

Pam Drake and Aimee Allison

After the breakfast discussion and local station board meeting, listeners took a giant check representing $61,200 in pledges over to KPFA and left it in the former Morning Show office (if you’d like, you can still pledge here). Even though the Morning Show was the station’s biggest money-marker, raising three times what it cost to produce, Pacifica management axed the popular, long-running show in November. “Listeners were stunned hear Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt claiming that canceling the Morning Show and laying off its co-hosts was necessary to address KPFA’s financial problems,” said Arpi Kupelian, a KPFA listener. The move elicted thousands of letters of protest from the station’s supporters, many of whom are also concerned that the layoffs violated the station’s union contract. The community fundraising effort to return the show to the air has so far been ignored by management.

Agustin Ramirez (ILWU), speaking about the labor show
Agustin Ramirez (ILWU), speaking about the labor show

Casualties of the Morning Show’s cancellation also include several unpaid staff, such as labor programmer David Bacon. Bacon hosted one of the few weekly Bay Area programs reporting on labor. “Bacon is the premier labor journalist in the US,” said UC Santa Cruz history professor Dana Frank. “His program is of vital importance for all of us in the labor and social justice movements throughout Northern California.”

Bacon was travelling and couldn’t make the meeting, but the ILWU’s Agustin Ramirez attended to talk about the labor show. “David’s show is a crucial resource for organized labor, and we want it back on the air,” said Peter Olney, organizing director of the International Longshore Workers Union.

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