Lawrence Ferlinghetti Speaks
to Pacifica Board
At the [June 15, 1997] weekend meeting of the Governing Board (nee Board of Directors) of the Pacifica Foundation, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti made the following statement during the public comment period. (Other statements will also be added as time permits-Jeff Blankfort.)
"I'm of the generation of Lewis Hill and the founders of the station [KPFA] and the early programmers such as Kenneth Rexroth and Alan Watts and I find from this 50 year perspective that there is definitely a lowering of intellectual levels at the station, at Pacifica, I'm talking about.
"And I think the recent shocking shortfall [KPFA received approximately $330,000 of its $500,000 goal] of the funding campaign at KPFA was directly attributable to lack of any intellectual content in programming after 7 p.m. when most working people have the time to listen to the station."
Then Ferlinghetti announced that he was going to read the conclusion to a statement from the Save Our Station group of listeners and producers of WBAI in New York which I had begun but was not allowed to complete because of a two-minute rule laid down by the chair. Two would be-speakers had given Ferlinghetti their time to complete his presentation. In reading the statement, he actually went over some points I had read. making them yet more effective. This is what he read :
"During marathons at stations throughout the system, listeners are not as readily giving money because they are outraged at the totalitarian measures of a supposedly progressive organization. And, mark these words, listeners will not readily contribute to any capital campaign to finance WBAI's move to a new station until Pacifica publicly states that it will withdraw the appeal of the NLRB ruling and comply fully with CPB guidelines.
"It is for these reasons we call for the immediate removal of Pat Scott from the Pacifica Foundation [thunderous applause]. The National Board has clearly abdicated its responsibility and allowed Pat Scott to implement decisions that are contrary to Pacifica's stated mission.
"It is clear to us that choosing corporate, centralized strategies as Pat Scott and her supporters have will only result in corporate, sterilized programming. It has already taken place at our sister stations. This is precisely what Pacifica was created to protest. Not only is this a mockery of the idea of freedom of speech, it also eliminated the possibility of truth, fairness, accuracy, debate and giving voice to the voiceless."