4 ARMED SECURITY GUARDS FOIL SINGING DUET AT KPFA FREE-SPEECH RADIO
Sunday, June 27, 1999
A new twist in the battle for the soul of Pacifica. The network has hired plain- clothes armed guards to "defend" the station round the clock. They refused to answer any questions, including their names.
A memo issued 6/26/99 by Pacifica's Executive Director, Lynn Chadwick, states that no more than one guest will be admitted and escorted at one time per staff person. According to a June 26 memo by Chadwick, "Security personnel will be stationed at the main entrance and parking lot rear entrance, around the clock...Authorized personnel will identfy themselves with picture idea...One guest will be admitted and escorted per authorized station staff member." Chadwick concluded her security enhancement memo by stating that "All staff and volunteers are expected to follow these procedures or face didciplinary action, including possible suspension or termination."
The new extreme security measures now in place make it impossible for most producers to do their work. On Sunday morning June 27, early-morning producer Mary Berg was prevented from bringing guests on her program. Two members of the noted vocal ensembleSoVoSó had been scheduled at 8:00 - 8:45 for a joint interview and performance of a duet especially for this program. SoVoSo member Melanie Rath, having arrived first, was in the studio when
Joey Blake, fellow member of the ensemble and a long-time collaborator with Bobby McFerrin, was refused entry into the building and prevented from appearing on-air .
"I have been producing programs at KPFA for approximately twenty years", said Mary Berg; "I feel violated and outraged that an artist on our air was abused in this way".
Performer and composer Joey Blake was traumatized by the experience. "I've never been to a station.where I couldn't even get access into a reception area", he said. "Since when do you need armed guards at a radio station?"
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