A delegation of listeners delivered a huge stack of petitions containing signatures of over 800 KPFA members during the September 10 meeting of the station’s elected Local Station Board. | KPFA News coverage (audio mp3) | Public comment (7 min audio clip)
Listeners are upset with the loss of local control at KPFA Radio 94.1 FM in Berkeley. The Pacifica network, which owns KPFA’s license, has made controversial changes to programming, including canceling the popular Morning Show at 7-9 AM, severely affecting fundraising during the station’s morning drive time. The petitions demand a vote among KPFA listener-members on the question of recalling board member Tracy Rosenberg, who has been a key ally of Pacifica’s heavy-handed management of KPFA.
“We fought — and won — a similar battle for KPFA back in 1999 when Pacifica tried to take over our station,” recalls listener-activist Barrie Mason. “Tracy Rosenberg has consistently used unethical means to undermine local control,” she added. “Removing her is the first step in saving KPFA.”
“Thousands of listeners have written, called and picketed at KPFA in recent months, demanding a return of the Morning Show and an end to Pacifica’s meddling in the station’s autonomy, but the network’s management refuses to listen,” said KPFA local board member Pamela Drake.
The charges against Rosenberg, who sits on both KPFA’s local board and Pacifica’s national board, include drawing up a secret layoff list that was used to cancel the Morning Show, pressuring Pacifica management to mount legal challenges to seating her opponents on the board (all of which were later overturned in the courts), and falsely obtaining and using KPFA listener-subscribers’ personal emails.
Local station management must review the petitions to insure that the signatures are those of actual KPFA members (people who have given at least $25 in the last year). The Pacifica bylaws simply state that a recall election will be triggered by petitions from 2% of the station’s members — in this case, less than 400 valid signatures are needed.