Pacifica Radio

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					Pacifica Radio
               Pacifica Radio
• License
  – After World War II
  – The first non-commercial license that
    did not go to an educational or religious
Lewis K. Hill
       • Born 1919 - Kansas
       • Conscientious
         objector and peace
       • Civil libertarian
       • Broadcaster
       • ACLU counselor of
         draft resistors
              Lewis K. Hill:
• We must face the fact that the main
  use of university radio stations has
  not been to form a cultural bridge
  between centers of learning and
  occupational classes . . .
               Lewis K. Hill:
• Moreover, the people in charge of
  educational stations are tied either to
  state legislatures or to boards of
  trustees which inevitably represent
  tendencies close to the commercial
  and conservative part of the
           Pacifica Radio

Location: Bay Area because it was “a
haven for pacifists, anarchists, and
other nonconformists.”
              Pacifica Radio
• KPFA-FM Sign-on: 1949
• Berkeley, California
• A radical model for a non-profit
  community-based radio station
  outside the parameters of
  mainstream radio.
• Volunteer staff
             Pacifica Radio
• Hill:

  – Only a noncommercial broadcasting
    system financed by listener
    sponsorship could be free.
            Pacifica Radio
• An “alternative” radio station
• An electronic gadfly
• Providing access to groups and
  perspectives otherwise absent from
  the airwaves.
             Pacifica Objectives
• Cultural
  – Outlet for local musical, literary, and
    theatrical talent
• Journalistic
  – Comprehensive news coverage using
    wider variety of sources
           Pacifica Objectives
• Social
  – For lasting understanding between
    nations and between individuals of all
    nations, races, creeds, and colors
         Mission Statement
• (a) To establish a Foundation
  organized and operated
  exclusively for educational
  purposes no part of the net
  earnings of which inures to the
  benefit of any member of the
  Foundation. [*]
            Mission Statement
• (b) To establish and operate for
  educational purposes, in such manner
  that the facilities involved shall be as
  nearly self-sustaining as possible, one or
  more radio broadcasting stations licensed
  by the Federal Communications
  Commission and subject in their
  operation to the regulatory actions of the
  Commission under the Communications
  Act of 1934, As Amended.
             Mission Statement
• (c) In radio broadcasting operations to
  encourage and provide outlets for the
  creative skills and energies of the
  community; to conduct classes and
  workshops in the writing and producing
  of drama; to establish awards and
  scholarships for creative writing; to offer
  performance facilities to amateur
  instrumentalists, choral groups,
  orchestral groups and music students;
  and to promote and aid other creative
  activities which will serve the cultural
  welfare of the community.
             Mission Statement
• (d) In radio broadcasting operations to
  engage in any activity that shall
  contribute to a lasting understanding
  between nations and between the
  individuals of all nations, races, creeds
  and colors; to gather and disseminate
  information on the causes of conflict
  between any and all of such groups; and
  through any and all means compatible
  with the purposes of this corporation to
  promote the study of political and
  economic problems and of the causes of
  religious, philosophical and racial
           Mission Statement
• (e) In radio broadcasting
  operations to promote the full
  distribution of public information;
  to obtain access to sources of news
  not commonly brought together in
  the same medium; and to employ
  such varied sources in the public
  presentation of accurate, objective,
  comprehensive news on all matters
  vitally affecting the community.
            Mission Summary
• Promote cultural diversity and pluralistic
  community expression;
• Contribute to a lasting understanding
  between individuals of all nations, races,
  creeds and colors;
• Promote freedom of the press and serve
  as a forum for various viewpoints; and
• Maintain an independent funding base.
          Pacifica Conflicts
• Open ended vs. partisan approaches
  to programming
• Appeals to elite vs. mass audiences
• Hierarchical vs. egalitarian forms of
  station management
             Money Problems
•   Financial instability
•   Temporarily off the air
•   Lack of listener access to FM
•   Bail-out with grants from Ford
• Program distribution through NAEB
  (National Association of Educational
  Broadcasters) tape exchange
• Acquisition of Los Angeles FM
  station (1959)
• WBAI-FM, New York City (1960) - Gift
  from philanthropist Lewis Schweitzer
• Hill’s death (1957)
• “Center of the intellectual
• Award winning productions
• KPFA: Sole listener sponsored
  station until 1959
        Government Problems
• All three Pacifica stations were
  operating under “interim
• In 1963 - Senate Judiciary
  Subcommittee on Internal Security
  – Investigation of communist infiltration
    of mass media
          FCC Demands
• Loyalty oath for employees

• Compromise:
  – Adherence to U.S. Constitution
  – Right of individuals to refuse to answer
    government inquiries into their beliefs
    (First Amendment protection)
            Free-Form Radio
• Confrontation with governmental
• Cultural revolt
• Personal montages of talk, music,
  and call-ins
• Power of radio to mobilize people for
          First Amendment
Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably
to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of
        Continuing Problems
• Open Meetings

 Under the Communications Act,
 pubcasting boards and their
 committees must meet openly
         Continuing Problems
• Open Meetings Unless Discussing

  – individual employees
  – proprietary information
  – litigation
  – confidential commercial or financial
  – the purchase of property or services
        Continuing Problems
• Centralized control vs. autonomy
• Volunteers who are union members
  (90 percent of 180-member
  bargaining unit) - use airwaves for
  war against corporate control and
           Continuing Problems
• Opposition to Pacifica’s
  – Professionalism
  – Ratings-consciousness
  – Hierarchical management
  – Softening of once-radical programming
    •   Personal investment
    •   Cooking
    •   Health
    •   Spirituality
             Pacifica Today
• “Take Back KPFA!” - Free speech
  march against Pacifica - 10,000
  people in Berkeley (Summer 1999)
• Continuing internal problems
• Relocation of its national office to
  Washington (January 2000)
• Move back to Berkeley – Spring 2003
              Pacifica Today
• Board restructured - March 1999
  – Old: 10 appointees of Local Advisory
    Boards (LABs) and six at-large
  – New: 16 at-large members all nominated
    by the board’s Governance and
    Structure Committee
              Pacifica Today
• Five “sister” stations
  – Bay area
  – Los Angeles
  – New York
  – Washington
  – Houston
               Pacifica Today
• Affiliates

          Pacifica This Month
• See articles – linked from T242
• Listen to Pacifica on WWW.
• Read Engelman, Chapter 5 -
  “Community Radio”
• Keep up with entries on ONCOURSE
  Discussion Forums (preference this
  week to observations of community

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