Pacifica’s executive director, Arlene Engelhardt, has axed KPFA’s Morning Show, dismissing its entire staff, and ordering it replaced with piped-in programs from KPFK, the network’s Los Angeles station.
The KPFA Morning Show is the station’s most popular locally-produced program. The show’s staff — Aimee Allison, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Laura Prives and Esther Manilla — bring in more money than any other KPFA program.
“This move shows utter incompetence,” said newly-elected SaveKPFA board member Margy Wilkinson. “KPFA desperately needs all the funding it can get. Targeting the station’s highest revenue-producing programming makes no sense at all. It is clear politics are at work here, not common sense.”
Manilla gave a first-hand account on tonight’s KPFA Evening News, saying the move came directly from Pacifica management, bypassing local KPFA managers. Manilla is a shop steward with KPFA’s staff union, CWA Local 9415. The union filed an unfair labor practice charge on Friday, charging Pacifica with unlawfully failing to bargain over alternatives to cuts.
Unpaid KPFA programmer David Bacon, who broadcasts a long-running labor segment on the Morning Show, had this exchange with Engelhardt. Morning Show staffer Brian Edwards-Tiekert posted this account.
The cuts follow less than a week after a spirited rally outside KPFA, in which listeners asked the highly-paid Engelhardt to reveal her own salary. This informative 7-minute video by KPFA reporter John Hamilton shows Engelhardt’s reaction, and clearly explains the key issues at stake.
Pacifica’s national board last week overruled KPFA’s local elected board, which had voted to support a Sustainable Budget drawn up by station staff that cuts the network’s bureaucracy instead of programming. That budget would net over $250,000 worth of cost-saving measures.
ACTION ALERT: Demand the return of the Morning Show! COME BY KPFA on TUESDAY at 11 AM. You can also write Engelhardt via this page. Call for her resignation immediately and reinstatement of the Morning Show staff. While you’re at it, demand the adoption of the Sustainable Budget. Engelhardt’s office number is (510) 849-2590, ext 208 and her cell number is (510) 402-9880.