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Clowns and conspiracy nuts: an open letter to Michael Krasny, KQED Forum host

November 12, 2010

Three more important perspectives by KPFA folks plus Women’s Magazine on the crisis follow …

by Dennis Bernstein

Davey D, host of Hard Knock Radio and internationally renowned hip hop historian and political commentator, takes the mic at the Nov. 11 “Rally to Save Hard Knock Radio, Flashpoints and Full Circle at KPFA.” – Photo: Lisa Dettmer
Greetings, Mr. Krasny. I heard your segment (listen below) about KPFA produced by Judy Campbell, Larry Bensky’s former producer, who was trained by Aileen Alfandary and Mark Mericle. Must have been a nice reunion for them, but it surely betrays that kind of neutrality and fairness you profess on a daily basis.

I know you have great deal of respect for Larry Bensky, but why have someone who has been out of the network for four years debating someone who is in the daily thick of it, who can’t talk details, names, facts etc. Apple and oranges.

There are many people, Carol Spooner, soft-spoken lawyer, who beat back the corporate raid on KPFA in 1999, for instance, if as Judy said you wanted to have a “broader overview” of what is going on. Judy says you listened to Larry on the Morning Show free-for-all “and liked what he had to say.”

Given your own fine intellect and understanding of so many complex issues, I have to assume you didn’t have a chance to do your own research and get a better and fairer understanding of the complexities of a station that was founded, not to produce professional journalists, but as a place where the community may share ideas and issues and learn radio skills. We are not NPR or KQED.

Right now, there are about 35 paid staff and well over 150 unpaid staff – or volunteers. Are you interested in what any of the unpaid staff are thinking about all this, in the context of community radio? Interested in how they have been treated by the paid staff in recent years?

Are you interested in how paid staff engineered the end of the Program Council – the only way that unpaid staff had a shot at proposing a program – and excluded the unpaid staff from union representation by changing unions covertly in the name of professionalism?

I love public radio, Mr. Krasny, and have tremendous respect for your work, but KPFA is not KQED.

Bigger picture

In your presence, Larry Bensky asserted, with an arrogant, auditory swagger, that unpaid staff – who struggle, with great financial hardship, to work at KPFA and comprise some 60 to70 percent of staff, mostly people of color – are a bunch of “clowns” and “conspiracy nuts.” I have to assume I’m in that category as well, given what he said and how he parsed it.

So let me raise a few questions, please? Were you aware that aggrieved Morning Show host Brian Edwards Tiekert (BET), one of two or three callers who got through on air, was deeply engaged in the local and national finances at KPFA and Pacifica for the last three years and worked closely with the prior management, which crashed the budget and “misplaced” a $375,000 check in the midst of a budget freefall.

A new generation of media-makers listened intently and spoke passionately at the rally, giving new energy to the 61-year-old KPFA mission “to promote cultural diversity and pluralistic community expression.” From left are Nora Barrows Friedman, former senior producer of Flashpoints, an apprentice and Renee Geesler of KPFA’s First Voice Apprenticeship Program. – Photo: Lisa Dettmer
Larry Bensky, who’s been out of the station for four years, wildly speculates the missing check is a red herring. A little research by you or your producer would have led you, I’m sure, to a different conclusion. If that prior manager, who worked hand and glove with BET and the current aggrieved staff, had been doing such a great job, why did she leave so abruptly, only days before she was apparently about to fire me and finish the cutting job on Flashpoints?

You would have learned also, Mr. Krasny, with a little old fashioned journalist digging, that there have already been a slew of cuts and layoffs at KPFA that none of the currently aggrieved on-air vocalists care to talk about. Some were in the union and some were not.

Hard Knock Radio was cut. The apprenticeship program was cut. Full Circle was cut. Flashpoints lost two thirds of its budget under the prior manager, who was working very, very closely with BET. I care about all cuts, and I’m sure you do too. More than eight people chopped, and the current on-air vocalists were silent about this as the dew on a morning leaf.

As I said, Flashpoints lost 60 percent of its budget in the last five years. In the first year of the same manager’s tenure, according to the actual budget, KPFA’s News Department, with BET as a member of it, had its budget increased by over $55,000, administrative up $30,000, while Flashpoints was cut by nearly $20,000. That was just in the first year.

Bottom line, Mr. Krasny: Prior management simply busted the budget by supporting its friends, with the clear intention of paying for it by getting rid of Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio. Did you know that? Did Larry know that and purposely ignore it, or was it the fact that he was out of the loop for the last four years?

The case of Nora Barrows Friedman

Flashpoints senior producer Nora Barrows Friedman, with eight years seniority, was ambushed by KPFA former management and had her hours slashed in half, without even a shop steward present, in total violation of the union contract. She went to a staff meeting for support, after writing an open letter to the public about what was happening at Flashpoints.

Among those responding to a petition against the slashing of the Flashpoints budget was the late Howard Zinn, a fan of Nora’s, and Noam Chomsky, also a fan of Nora’s and of the show. At the staff meeting, she was, according to Nora, given a verbal beating by several of the current on-air vocalists for, can you imagine, going public.

According to Nora, “I was subjected to a barrage of very hurtful and abusive behavior by … It was a traumatic and troubling experience for me. It was the definition of being subjected to a hostile work environment.”

The plan was to bust the budget by expanding the budget of prior management’s close comrades and pay for it by getting rid of Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio.

Have your heard the name of Nora Barrows Friedman or those of the other eight KPFA workers who were chopped by prior management? If not, why not? Yes, the plan was to bust the budget by expanding the budget of prior management’s close comrades and pay for it by getting rid of Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio.

The alternative plan

BET talks about an “alternative plan” being put forth by aggrieved staff. According to three people in recent negotiations, the plan definitely was to get rid of Hard Knock Radio and Flashpoints, among other things, and pipe in NPR’s Michael Eric Dyson Show from Baltimore.

Tracy Rosenberg, a member of the local KPFA and national Pacifica boards and director of Media Alliance, who was also in the negotiations, wrote in a widely distributed “Open Letter on KPFA’s Budget” that on Sept. 20, “I reported the unsuccessful outcome of 15 hours of budgetary meetings to my colleagues on the Pacifica National Board. I reported that a balanced budget had not been achieved. I am grateful to Ms. Englehardt that she listened to the concerns and initiated conversations about them …

“On Sept. 22, I listened to and participated in a brainstorming session. At that session, this is what I did. I listened to KPFA’s interim management present a plan to deal with the budget deficit. That plan was to remove Flashpoints from the 5 p.m. evening slot and replace it with a syndicated news program from an external source. To remove Hard Knock Radio from the 4 p.m. evening slot and replace it with a syndicated Baltimore NPR program hosted by Michael Dyson …. And then I was sworn to confidentiality, accompanied by a rather loud table thump to emphasize the point.”

Clowns and conspiracy nuts

Your guest, Mr. Krasny, Larry Bensky, broad brushed all but a few us who work at KPFA as “clowns” and “conspiracy nuts,” as opposed to the real journalists on the Morning Show and KPFA News. Your producer, Judy Campbell, Bensky’s former producer, stated to me in a phone interview that “this was very unfortunate” but that she “had no control over what the guests say” and that she was in a “rush to get the segment on while working on another segment.”

A strong sense of solidarity united the crowd, serious about saving KPFA and making it speak ever more meaningfully to young people, people of color and all people seeking news and views not aired by corporate radio or NPR – attracting many more of the millions within its 59,000 watt signal area covering most of Northern and Central California. – Photo: Lisa Dettmer
But you were also silent on this point and Bensky was allowed to continue his tirade without being confronted. Why? Did you think this was an appropriate comment? Does your silence signify agreement?

“Clowns” and “conspiracy nuts,” hmmm. On Flashpoints in the last week or so we had stories on the spreading cholera epidemic in Haiti with our special correspondent, Ansel Herz, who broke the story a month ago regarding its spread to Port au Prince; on the banning of Professor Richard Shapiro from India for his work on the Kashmir tribunal.

We had Nation reporter Allan Nairn, again risking his life in Jakarta by releasing secret documents regarding the targeting by U.S.-supported Indonesian death squads as President Obama was touching down there; a segment on targeting civilian activists and church workers; one on border women hunger striking in front of the White House against the expanding police state at the border; and one from our courageous special correspondent, John Gibler in Mexico, risking his life daily to report on the cartel wars from one of the most dangerous regions in the world.

Clowns and conspiracy theorists. I myself have won many awards for investigative reports, cover stories and essays that have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Globe, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News, Kyoto Journal, Das Spiegel, Minneapolis Star Tribune, International Herald Tribune, Texas Observer, Pacific News Service/New America Media and many others.

Right after Nora Barrows Friedman was run out of the station, Polk Award-winning reporter Robert Knight, who did the Flashpoints headlines, was fired via a Fedex letter sent by the prior manager, who, as I said, worked closely with Brian Edwards Tiekert. Have you heard any on-air lament for this African American Polk Award winner? Knight was the only journalist to track down Manuel Noriega while he was still in hiding and interview him – an interview, by the way, that was immediately aired on NPR. I guess NPR likes clowns and conspiracy nuts.

Hard Knock Radio features progressive hip hop and radical alternative reporting by renowned, award winning radio producers Davey D and Anita Johnson. Have you ever listened to Hard Knock Radio?

Has Bensky listened to their impressive reporting and moving interviews? If I’m not mistaken, Bensky actually co-hosted several national broadcasts with Davey D.

Have you, Mr. Krasny, ever listened to Hard Knock Radio, or do you just happen to listen to the KPFA Morning Show when Bensky’s on it?

Finally, Mr. Krasny, it’s very troubling, to say the least, that you and your producer, Judy Campbell, “rushed” into a complicated, difficult situation regarding a crucial Bay Area “community institution” in the midst of a deep struggle to survive, knowing so little about it. I suggest maybe you do a little of your own research and have Carol Spooner on, say, with Matthew Lasar, author of “Pacifica Radio” and an unabashed fan of BET and the Morning Show and also a graduate of the KPFA News Department, as are Judy Campbell and BET, and do it right.

All due respect, Dennis J. Bernstein, executive producer of (what’s left) of Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio and Flashpoints.net

Resources

Carol Spooner’s “What’s happening at KPFA?

Tracy Rosenberg’s “Open Letter on KPFA’s Budget

KQED’s Forum for Wednesday, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m., hosted by Michael Krasny with guests Arlene Engelhardt, executive director of the Pacifica Foundation, and Larry Bensky, former national affairs correspondent for Pacifica Radio and former host of KPFA’s Sunday Salon

In defense of Dennis Bernstein and Flashpoints

by Jeffrey Blankfort

KPFA is going through perhaps it most serious crisis, as a group of paid staff are attempting to take over the station. This is the equivalent of a rightwing coup, since many of these staff members were prime collaborators with former KPFA General Manager and Pacifica Executive Director Pat Scott back in the mid-‘90s when she purged over 100 volunteer programmers – replacing five with Jerry Brown – and earned praise from the former head of Voice of America and Radio Marti, who was then head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for her efforts to “professionalize” the programming and programmers.

Their failure to defend their unpaid colleagues paved the way for the brief shutdown of the station in 1999 when Pacifica had Dennis Bernstein arrested and dragged from the building while he was on the air and Pacifica hired goons from Atlanta to keep programmers out.

Now Pacifica, under Arlene Englehart, is the one, in cowboy movie parlance, wearing the white hat trying to save Pacifica from the spendthrifts at KPFA. Dennis, the best journalist among the lot of them at KPFA, was not a collaborator then. And now they are once again escalating their efforts to get him off the air. The program that he hosts, Flashpoints, has long been one of the station’s best fundraisers.

Any way you can show your support for Dennis and the true champions of community radio at KPFA will be appreciated.

Jeffrey Blankfort, internationally renowned expert on Palestine, can be reached at jblankfort@earthlink.net.

Status quo proponents would jettison Pacifica and democratic governance at KPFA

Open letter to Michael Krasny of KQED’s Forum by Max Blanchet

The brouhaha at KPFA must be put in its proper context, namely that it is an integral part of the struggle pitting the self-styled professional staff against the folks who fought for a democratic system of governance at Pacifica. From the get-go, the former have fought that system and done everything to undermine it.

The current financial crisis is the result of the financial mismanagement at KPFA. To wit: KPFA management squandered nearly $1,000,000 in reserves in fiscal year 2009 because it did not make the necessary cuts demanded by the Pacifica National Board and the previous chief financial officer and executive director. Had cuts been initiated two years ago, today’s painful cuts might have been avoided.

In addition, under previous management, a check in the amount of $375,000 was misplaced for 13 months.

Some of us genuinely believe that these two incidents of mismanagement were not an accident: They were maneuvers to force the station and Pacifica into bankruptcy with two goals in mind, namely to break the Pacifica network, set KPFA “free” and do away with democratic governance.

I have served on the KPFA Local Station Board, have an MBA in finance from UC Berkeley and have followed closely the financial evolution of the institution.

Contrary to what Larry Bensky says, the current team of Arlene Englehardt and LaVarn Williams, Pacifica’s current executive director and chief financial officer, has done a tremendous job of trying to restore the financial health of the organization under very difficult conditions.

Max Blanchet, a former member of the KPFA Local Station Board, can be reached at maxjblanchet@att.net.

Brian Edwards Tiekert, Sasha Lilley plot to replace all-volunteer Women’s Magazine

by Kate Raphael

Many KPFA listeners and staff know that about a year and a half ago, station management decided to remove Women’s Magazine from the lineup. The plan at that time was to use our slot for a weekly best-of edition of Letters to Washington.

Our producers and listeners organized quickly and managed to embarrass management into realizing that they could not simply remove the only one-hour weekly program dedicated to women’s issues.

In the attached email to Sasha Lilley, Brian Edwards Tiekert, who brands himself as the voice of local programming, suggests replacing us with various syndicated shows – some admittedly not very good but “with women hosts.” I particularly like the line, “Then women’s magazine wouldn’t have a monopoly on women’s programming” – like that’s what we are trying to do.

This is Brian Edwards Tiekert's email to Sasha Lilley proposing shows not produced at KPFA to replace KPFA's Women's Magazine. The email wa sent on June 4, 2009, a year after KPFA was first told by its network, Pacifica, to cut its staff because salaries far exceeded income. Instead of considering cuts to paid staff, Brian and Sasha were planning to cancel an excellent, all-volunteer show and replacing it with a show that KPFA would probably have to pay for.

 

KPFA’s Women’s Magazine: Crisis at KPFA

 

Kate Raphael and Preeti Shekar are joined by Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt, lawyer and former board member Carol Spooner and former staff member Maria Gilardin to discuss Pacifica’s history of conflict, the tensions between paid and unpaid staff and how to best serve our communities.

This is the first half of the program, the part dealing with KPFA. Listen to the whole program at http://kpfa.org/archive/id/65370.

20 thoughts on “Clowns and conspiracy nuts: an open letter to Michael Krasny, KQED Forum host

  1. John Van Eyck

    Dennis is intentionally misleading about the earlier round of cuts, which he says affected Flashpoint's Barrows-Friedman and the Apprenticeship Program. The cuts were across the board to all programs. Against the Grain got cut, the Morning Show got cut, etc. See this open letter from union members that was written at the time: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/02/18/18638… And by the way, I support Flashpoints.

    Reply
  2. RIP KPFA

    How sad that instead of supporting all of KPFA's hard working staff, this group segregates itself and proves that the fight against staff cuts is not about the money, but about the individuals. "Save my show but screw everyone else" could not be laid out more clearly with this demonstration, and by Dennis.

    Reply
  3. Kate Gowen

    As a listener to ALL of the programs in question, aggrieved by ALL the cuts that have happened– I am truly sick at heart to see the ploy of 'management' — to have the victims fight among themselves over what's left of the pie, after management has blandly helped itself to a greatly disproportionate share– succeed.

    None of us wants KPFA to bleed out, while proponents for the heart argue with proponents for the lungs over which should be transfused. And, from where I sit watching in helpless horror, that's what it looks like.

    Reply
  4. Guest

    Mr Bernstein neglects in his "expose" several contributing factors ro the KPFA budgetary issues, such as the settlements paid for the sexual harrassment suits against him by present and former staff, or the electronic equipment installed for him under highly dubious circumstances…was that ever recovered from the New College, Dennis, or did it end up in someone's home studio?

    As for Nora's departure, wasn't her "removal" actually due to your refusal to allow any cutbacks, except her? And, as with the sexual harrassment suits, isn't it interesting how only women seem to be affected?

    Reply
  5. dennis bernstein

    Got it. When you can't win on the facts the attacks go personal. No courage to give your name, Senior El Anon. but I know who wrote this. I was waiting for the first attack like this, and am not surprised, at the willingness of the attacker to dissemble, and the cowardly nature of your nameless attack. I feel sorry for you. I dare you to identify yourself, and debate in the public square. Never, huh. That's what i thought. Dennis Bernstein

    Reply
  6. guest

    Add a Comment
    §Usually The Truth Will Make You Free…
    by Maggie Kaigler
    Tuesday Jan 12th, 2010 11:21 PM
    Not long after I retired from the City of Oakland Fire Department, Emergency Services/Communications Division, I took the KPFA writing course and ended up working with Aileen Alfandary for three years, from the fall of 2005 to 2008, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes on Fridays, in the KPFA news department as a volunteer reporter. Immediately upon our first meeting Aileen began a pattern of behavior culminating in the creation of a hostile work environment, in which she targeted me with vitrolic, condescending, racist insults designed to drive me from the newsroom and ultimately, to prevent me from reporting or working there, or gaining seniority or position as a volunteer news reporter. Aileen's covert and overt racist behavior was directed toward me, an African American female, with disabilities that are stroke related, and she knew no boundaries. She was comfortable in her arrogance, confident in my vulnerability and secure in her ability to get away with using low race based tactics intended to exclude me from working at KPFA. Her patterns of hostile behavior included but were not limited to screaming attacks, sabatoging or refusing me assignments, using race and gender based insults all of which together formed a pattern of behavior that created a hostile work enviromnment. On three separate occassions, I submitted written and verbal documentation including requests for protection, to KPFA Human Resources, they responded with attempts to "retrain and restrain" her. Aileen retaliated, the harrassment escalated and I continued to report her to H.R. When despite her actions targeting me, I remained at KPFA, , she then began interfering with my ability to complete my assignments by assigning me tasks late in the day, and only after I waited hours for the information and/or asked repeatedly for an assignment did she grudgingly hand me work, while pressuring me to make news deadliines. I continued making my deadlines despite her continued harassment. She responded by saying, "Ooo, you are speedy!" and she laughed when she said that. I did not respond. Eventually they had to move her to mornings so that I was no longer under her supervision, that's when she started calling me at home to give me assignments, she was also made to discontinue that inappropriate behavior.

    Aileen enjoys misusing her power to insult and humiliate, specifically, she routinely either ignored me or stood staring open mouthed at me, again, creating a hostile work enviroment. Early on when I explained that as a stroke survivor I had hidden disablities which would affect my ability to perform some computer related tasks and asked for assistance, she replied, "You look like you are doing alright to me". I knew that this was a violation of ADA state and federal law and reported her, again to Human Resources and asked that she be made to cease and desist, and she was again "retrained". After that her favorite method of targeting me was to "forget" or sabotage my assignments, delivering them in such a manner that I was unable to complete them, with or without assisistance. Her attempts to degrade me with covert and overt race and gender based comments, were continuous. Aileen is clever but intelligence without conscience only results in clever cruelty.

    In addition, throughout my three year tenure with KPFA , Aileen made it clear that certain men received preferential seating in the KPFA news room, this isn't something she alluded to, she showed me which men sat in reserved seats, pointing to chairs belonging to Brian Edwards-Tiekert and beside him, Christopher Martinez. I was told not ever to sit there. This practice is not upheld by the station handbook, rather is contrary to equality of staff and community as stated in the KPFA handbook and mission statement. Despite this, the custom of ranked seating based not on supervisory position or seniority but on gender and then race, persists to this day. I defy any one to deny it. I did not complain, I complied.

    Informed by some 35 years on the air in radio and television news, I responded then as I do now, by choosing my battles carefully, by refusing to respond in anger, by documenting my concerns in writing and submitting that documentation to proper authority, keeping copies of everything I wrote then and write now, and by writing here with the hope of someone seeing and knowing the truth. It was in such foul atmosphere that Nadra Foster was arrested, but I was not and am here to speak truth to power.

    Aileen Alfandary every thing you allege to have been done by others you yourself, Aileen took sick pleasure in doing to me. I survived and am here to publicly call you an arrogant liar and a hypocrite, comfortable in the belief that you can get away with it. And you may well continue to lie with impunity and fool people for another 30 years. But you don't fool me. Between me and you, Aileen, we know the truth. What you fail to know is that despite knowing the truth you prove to be an exception, for the twisted truth you tell will never make you or what soul you have left, sane, much less free.

    Maggie Kaigler
    KPFA News Reporter 2005-08, Loyal Listener since 1990

    Reply
  7. Guest

    Ah, Dennis, here is where you shine…

    A debate is done to sway opinion while facts are nothing more than truth. That you would demand debate instead of presenting fact also speaks volumes to your journalisric integrity as well as your historical perspective.

    Did you refuse to cut your own hours and force Nora to leave?

    Were you the subject of a sexual harrassment lawsuit at KPFA? Was there a second action on the same lawsuit because you allegedly violated the original terms of the settlement?

    Did you procure several thousands of dollars of electronics for your operation at the New College using KPFA funds, bypassing management oversight or authorization? What happened to all of that equipment when the New College shut down?

    How are these inquiries "debatable"? These are either true or false; so, on the record, which are these?

    Reply
    1. Dennis bernstein

      The fairy tale continues, and you, coward anon, remain in hiding….and i know, and you know why. Because, you and the rest of the KPFA ruling click that ran it into the ground, can make them up faster than i can counteract them, as long as you don't have to answer in public, and back up what you say with facts: but just to deal with one big lie at a time. Actually, on three different occasions, and in writing in a staff wide e-mail and open letter to management, i offered to take a cut in pay by half, to keep the show going, but never received a response from prior management at KPFA: Why? You know why, coward anon, because the real alternative plan we have heard so much of on the air, was to get rid of Flashpoints, Hardknoock radio, Full Circle, and all cutting edge programming at KPFA. Go public for debate and i'll bring the three e-mails stating this clearly with me…By the way, don't you think all of the management—former manager, former program director, now back in the union, and all of staff who either tried to block the filming of the Management initiated, staff defended police beating in the basement of KPFA, of a black woman producer named Nadra Foster, should have been fired on the spot. Were you one of those who tried to block the filming of the police beating and then defended the beating with your silence. The KPFA news, that you champion, didn't even report the police beating? Why? Because they didn't hear about it? Or because their news budget was increased by $56,000 dollars in the first year, by the cop-calling management? When Nadra was beaten and dragged out in a restraining jacket, none of you made a pip, nevermind going on the air and calling for justice for Nadra. The word from News: It was an internal matter. Internal matter? That's why nora was cut in half and then run out of the station by verbal abuse, and the cop-calling management was applauded for it. Because management busted the budget for its friends, and planned to pay for it with Flashpoints and Hardknock Radio. Again, as i said before, I feel sorry for you and your crew of dishonest dissemblers….I'll telling you this though, coward anon, the people will prevail, of that I am sure, In struggle, Dennis Bernstein, Flashpoints and Flashpoints.net

      p.s. no more responses for you, until you have the courage to show your face

      Reply
  8. Adrienne Lauby

    I am an unpaid staff member at KPFA. The program I help produce, Pushing Limits, is as well produced as any at KPFA and the people I work with are highly skilled people with deep roots in our communities. Click on my name above this comment and listen to some of our programming. The people I work with are just a few of those Larry Bensky characterized as "clowns” and “conspiracy nuts." I'm deeply offended.

    It's hard to express how it feels to have such disrespect in an institution where you work. I think of the faces of so many unpaid staff members I know at KPFA. One of them, a host for La Raza Chronicles, celebrates her 50-year anniversary next year. I honor them all.

    Larry Bensky apparently thought nothing of branding the unpaid staff and many listener media activists at KPFA with a broad brush. It shows the length he will go in his ongoing effort to sink the media democracy experiment Pacifica began in late 2001.

    Michael Krasney’s program with Larry Bensky and Arlene Engelhardt was a two against one situation. Krasney knows that he would never be allowed to bring any complaints about KQED, much less his personal employment issues, to the air. He also knows how on-air negativity about a non-profit deeply damages its ability to fund raise. He repeated the rhetoric that these 2 lay offs (2 out of 9) could not be a legitimate budget cutting measure because the program where these two were assigned raises money for the station. The obvious question: If these hosts care so much about fund raising, why are they now on air tanking fundraising for months and years to come?

    As I'm sure you can tell, it's my opinion that Aimee Allison and Brian Edwards-Tigart are simply two of the many hosts who do excellent radio on KPFA. Listen any day to Hard Knock Radio from 4-5 pm, for other examples.

    I've been watching the budgets. KPFA needed to make these cuts and had shown it was unwilling. Pacifica had no choice. It's a very tough transition due to these public divisions within the station, but KPFA will survive. Who knows, with the help of its incredible listeners, it may even thrive.

    Reply
    1. Dyani

      Thank you Adrienne. KQED is corporate funded and also screens all their calls. I have not listened to KQED for over 15 years! Michael Krasny was a morning host then. I believe in the 9:00 a.m. slot. I think he's holding out for retirement. In my opinion Larry Bensky has been arrogant and cantankerous and has made flippant remarks for a long time. His statements about clowns well projections are valid!

      Reply
  9. Marlon Crump

    While I agree that there should not be any competition considering that this is supposed to be the "People's Radio" unfortunately too many corrupt forces make this a sad reality. Politics, greed, covert agendas, and enormous egos that refuses to take it out of their equation for the sake of exposing the true issues at hand that affect our communities, locally and globally.

    Its already bad, too bad enough that poor people's voices are silenced, locally and globally. To have their voices displaced because of the above said categories brings light to "Gentrification Journalism" as Brother Jr. Valrey would say. My family of POOR Magazine/PNN cut off completely from the morning show, despite having given communities a voice for a very long time. Tragically, the main people who're going to suffer the most are the listeners.

    Reply
  10. Guest

    In other words, Dennis, you don't want people to know that you retained your own attorney in the sexual harrassment lawsuits, who then billed Pacifica and KPFA in addition to their own attorney, and left KPFA to pay your entire legal defense and settlements (both of them)? So how much of that deficit are you personally responsible for creating, Dennis?

    Would KPFA be in this deficit were it not for Dennis Bernstein?

    And past offers don't amount to much with respect to Nora's departure; all of the other programs at KPFA shared the cuts amongst the staff…except Flashpoints which cut a woman of color completely instead of sharing the pain.

    As for news, most people realize that this was an election year when coverage is a bit more heavy than usual. Unless you can show someone's pay was increased, such an increase in funding is expected for journalistic action and coverage.

    It is sad to see that you've dumped journalistic ethics for this power play, Dennis. Maybe this time the faction that wins will see how much you have cost KPFA and Pacifica, and let you try and make it on your own like Amy Goodman has managed to do.

    Reply
  11. Guest

    Not to get in the middle of all this brawling, but isn't one of the points that Amy Goodman in fact, gets a big fat six figure check from the "vast Pacifica bureaucracy" a few times a year?

    I'm still trying to figure out how a department with almost 40 employees looks at a department with 7 employees and calls them a vast bureaucracy.

    It's so Orwellian. Surely "bureaucracy" and "bigger than" have some meaning in common, no?

    Reply
  12. Aaron Aarons

    Dennis Bernstein may be a difficult person to get along with and, in my limited encounters with him, he has not been at all friendly towards me, so I have no personal reason to defend him. And I have no inside information about the conflict he had with Noelle Hanrahan, though I can't imagine her being a shrinking violet in a personal conflict, and, unless he has hidden muscles somewhere, Dennis wouldn't last 30 seconds in a physical fight with Noelle. (Noelle, like Dennis, has also had conflicts with other people she has worked with and, like Dennis, she mostly does good work in spite of it.)

    By the way, as the article that Guest hit-man refers to states, Hanrahan sued for sex discrimination, not sexual harassment. (I think a suit on the latter charge would have been laughed out of court.)

    In any case, Dennis is spot-on about the politics of what's going on at KPFA. And I would suggest that if management wants to save money by bringing in a syndicated news show in the evening, the time to do it would be from 6 to 7 pm, in place of the mixture of Associated Press wire copy and repeats from (the generally pretty good) Free Speech Radio News that we get from the KPFA News Department. However much it would cost to retire Aileen Alfandary and Mark Mericle, it would be worth it. Or, when Democracy Now! is finally moved to 7 am, let AIleen and Mark do a 6 am Morning Show.

    Reply
  13. Aaron Aarons

    @Guest: "A debate is done to sway opinion while facts are nothing more than truth. That you would demand debate instead of presenting fact also speaks volumes to your journalisric integrity as well as your historical perspective."

    Wrong! Facts, even when true, are only selected pieces of truth. When there is a conflict, debate is necessary regarding which asserted facts are true and, even more, how they are selected from the infinite number of possible facts and what is their relevance to the issue(s) being discussed. Just piling a lot of 'facts' together is not a sign of journalistic integrity, but of journalistic laziness and incompetence, and a lack of historical perspective.

    Reply
  14. sherryl-annette snyder

    I support Dennis Burnstein and want his program with Flashpoints which is the news that puts us listeners in the center. He and the ones reporting are HEROS.

    Reply

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