Tags Against the Grain
Tag: Against the Grain
Tracy Rosenberg is the executive director of Media Alliance, an action and resource organization in Oakland advocating just, accountable and diverse media. She has been a listener representative on the KPFA Local Station Board since 2007 and a member of the Pacifica National Board of Directors since 2010. We asked her to comment on the situation from her perch as an insider. Here’s what we talked about.
KPFA is not living up to its own creed when it ignores the fact that there are more Black people in prison now than were in slavery in 1850. The station is vacillating on whether or not to grant three hours of special coverage to the California prison hunger strike. Pacifica and KPFA are definitely ruining their brand of “progressive” radio with this racist activity. I want to thank all of you who signed the petition to restore me to the airwaves and contacted management at the station and the network on my behalf. But we can’t stop. We must loosen the grip of racism that is killing KPFA.
The 15th Annual San Francisco Black Film Festival was a huge success with hundreds in attendance. Some of the headlining films included documentaries on Iceberg Slim and Sly from the Family Stone. Tupac Shakur’s 42nd birthday was celebrated in style with a number of revolutionary and reality rap legends in the Fillmore celebrating him 17 years after his assassination in Las Vegas in ‘96.
On March 6, the Bay’s “Free Speech Radio” aka KPFA suspended one of the best broadcasters and shows that they had on the air because The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey of Block Report Radio, who’s also the associate editor of the SF Bay View, reported on the fact that members of management and of the CWA union, aka the “White Citizens Council” inside of KPFA, have been engaged in racist activities.
For the second week in a row, one of the largest audiences for any show on KPFA was disappointed not to hear the People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and his Block Report on the air Wednesday at 8 a.m. Instead we heard an announcement by interim general manager Andrew Phillips that JR has been suspended. Getting punished for doing “too well” happens to Black folks much too often. Sign the two petitions to end the suspension of JR Valrey from KPFA and attend the Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m. at Laney College. This story is constantly being updated with new signatures and comments.
For the past six months the people behind “KPFAWorker/SaveKPFA” have run a relentless, dishonest and destructive PR campaign – both on and off the air – against KPFA and Pacifica over the layoff last November of two KPFA staff members: Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Aimee Allison, the former co-hosts of KPFA’s Morning Show.
Recently, a white KPFA supporter asked me do I really think that KPFA as a station is racist and deserves to be categorized as apartheid radio? The answer was yes, because still in 2009 KPFA does not have a Black show that speaks to the issues of the Black community in the U.S. KPFA does have shows for the white community, like The Morning Show, Democracy Now and Against the Grain, and for other communities, like the Asians with APEX Express, the Latinos with La Onda and La Raza Chronicles, disabled people with Pushing Limits and so on, but Black people living in the United States are supposed to beg other programmers to air what is important to our community.