Tags Nicole Sawaya
Tag: Nicole Sawaya
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.
The job of the media is to hold the powerful accountable. To avoid hypocrisy, the media itself must be held accountable as well. In the past few days, KPFA has broadcast at least twice a brief announcement recorded by the interim general manager scolding Bay View associate editor JR Valrey for a passing mention in one of his Block Reports of KPFA’s former interim program manager, Sasha Lilley. The Bay View respectfully questions its timing and refutes its contentions.
Important communities such as African-Americans still do not have dedicated programs. By engaging with the communities that merit more attention and by adding fresh programs, KPFA could help alleviate its financial crunch - by attracting more listeners and more subscribers without expanding the payroll.
On Nov. 10, KPFA General Manager Lemlem Rijio announced through email that Lois Withers, KPFA's business manager, was resigning. Lois is the white woman who called the police on Black programmer Nadra Foster, falsely accusing her of being banned, on Aug. 20.
At 4 p.m. on her very last day of employment as the executive director of the Pacifica Foundation, Nicole Sawaya permanently appointed Lemlem Rijio as the general manager at KPFA-FM, a position Rijio has been occupying on an interim basis for two years. Rijio has been under fire as of late, with Berkeley police violently arresting a station programmer who had allegedly been banned in a dispute over copier usage. Seventy-four of 215 station staffers have signed a statement of no-confidence in her leadership.
Almost 20 years ago, we declared this KPFA building a sanctuary against violence, a new home for peace and a network that was created nearly six decade ago to promote peace and understanding among all communities. And here we have the Pacifica patrones mimicking their corporate twins, using police power to sustain their political point of view.
On Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, between 1 and 2 p.m., Nadra Foster, a young Black woman programmer and single mother, was beaten to the ground by the Berkeley police, arrested, hog-tied and taken to jail, after the management of KPFA radio and the Pacifica Foundation had called the police on her, falsely accusing her of being "banned" from the station.