Letter from Concerned Staff at WBAI to Mary Frances Berry and Lynn Chadwick
Letter from Barbara Dane to Amy Goodman

The following memo (on WBAI letterhead), unfortunately not dated, was "faxed" to the Embassy Suite Hotel during the Pacifica NGB meeting in DC. It was read aloud at last night's General Staff meeting.  The letter, as I understand, was drafted in a hurry and not all staff members had an opportunity to sign it:

To:  Mary Frances Barry, Lynn Chadwick
From:  Concerned Staff

We note with increasing alarm and much pain the ongoing meltdown of order and trust between our sister station KPFA and the Pacifica National Office.  These events as reported in the press and related via the Internet have begun to exact a toll on our ability to maintain a position of trust with our own listeners at WBAI.  The confusion, suspicion and outrage so much in evidence in Berkeley has now spread to our local audience despite our efforts to maintain clarity on these matters.

The recent shooting into the offices of Pacifica National Headquarters is a serious matter, and we understand that such acts must be addressed seriously.  Nonetheless, we are deeply concerned over reports that names of those listeners who exercised their democratic rights of protest in written form might be turned over to the Berkeley Police.  Such actions are diametrically opposed to the principles upon which Pacifica was founded.  There are real fears that with this as precedent, subscriber lists may also become available to other arms of government (the alleged interest of the U.S. Attorney General's office can only deepen this fear).  The damage this can do to every facet of our listener-based support
system is incalculable.

The near silence of Pacifica National in the face of these developmentss casts a very long shadow over our work and our history.  It has released a cloud of suspicion that jeopardizes our integrity, the basis of our compact with the audience.  In short, the situation is untenable.

We believe that a mediated resolution to this crisis must be reached now.  We also assert our right to a full explanation of Pacifica National's position, its goals, tactics and its future direction. WBAI's staff is asking for a face-to-face meeting with both Ms. Berry and Ms. Chadwick as well as your participation in a Report to the Listener, both to be conducted as soon as possible.  Our staff needs to know what is going on and in whose name.  Our listeners need nothing less.


Bernard White, Program Administrator
Matthew Finch, Arts Director
Diabel Faye, Public Affairs Director
Errol Maitland, Producer
Greg Hendren, Development Director
Jose Santiago, News Director
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

Also, at last night's General Staff meeting, a proposal was made and by concensus the staff at WBAI have rejected the "1 hour per month discourse" offered by the NGB to "...air station matters..." A letter will be drafted on such and will be sent to MFB and NGB members this week...

Letter from Barbara Dane to Amy Goodman re: KPFA Situation

From:            bdane@webtv.net (Barbara Dane)
Date sent:       Fri, 2 Jul 1999 02:26:30 -0700 (PDT)
To:              amyg@pacifica.org
Copies to:       savepacifica@igc.org, jab@tucradio.org, Neuluther@aol.com, bdane@igc.org,
        bgrant@osborneny.org, mcconkey@lightlink.com, epearlag@jps.net,
        rhythmlover@juno.com, redlyn@loop.com, savepacifica@earthlink.net,
        Ronneleh@aol.com, isilber@igc.apc.org
Subject:         KPFA situation

Dear Amy Goodman,
Your program has become an essential for so many listeners, and your work is respected as few other investigators.  For this reason I'd rather be writing you to thank you for all you have done instead of asking you to do one more important thing.  But actually, this one thing has to do with FREE SPEECH RADIO and our right to know.  I think you will agree this issue is fundamental to all the rest.  We are witnessing nothing less than a frontal attack on the First Amendment.

I am referring, of course, to the coup at Pacifica that has resulted in, among other  horrors, the situation now persisting at KPFA.  Your apparent reluctance to tackle these issues is beginning to undermine your credibility.  In my opinion, you are being used as a poster-child by Mary Frances Berry and company, and I believe that if this is allowed to continue there will come a time when they no longer need you or your program to fill that role.  

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you dedicate your valuable abilities to the unmasking of this gang of opportunists and schemers, and do it at the earliest opportunity, while you still have the chance.  It seems quite clear now that this is not an abberation but rather a strategic plan to eliminate one of the nation's strongest avenues for questioning authority and dissent, the better to pursue policies such as the destruction of Yugoslavia, Iraq, etc. or whatever else suits the forces of corporate globalization.

I'm sure you have been made aware of the credentials of Robert Coonrod, present head of Corporation for Public Broadcasting: USIA, VOA and Radio Marti.  It really is unfortunate that most of us slept through the key period when we could have just said "no thanks" to any funding from these people.  And the argument that these funds would help "broaden the reach" is easily countered by the questions "with what? at what price?"

I am 72 years old and have been either listening to Pacifica Stations or running and being interviewed on shows, etc. for the whole 50 years.  I remember when nobody took FM radio seriously and few could receive it, and when KPFA sold a little FM radio at cost ($20) to the listeners in order to reach out. (I bought one.) It would be a damnable crime to allow the carpetbaggers to sell off the key spot on the dial held since then by KPFA (or WBAI for that matter).  It has been rumored that this possibility is being investigated.  We need to know if this is true.

It doesn't matter much if the main motivation  of the MFB forces is careerism, opportunism, greed, suppression of dissent, etc. the effect will be the same if this situation continues.  Given their lack of response to reason and community pressure , one can assume that the only recourse is exposure of their plans in order to be able to continue organizing against them.  One of the things that perhaps they haven't counted on is that at least with respect to KPFA they have insulted and misused a large population who cut their teeth on the Free Speech Movement and are now 35 years older, smarter and better connected. They've kicked a sleeping tiger and now have it by the tail.

Oh Amy, this is a hideous position for you to be in: you can do the investigation and maybe get canned right away, or you can hang in there doing great reports on everything else while making "them" look good and get canned later when they've finished their corporitization.  A dilemma nobody would want to have to face.  Just know that all your listeners send you enormous love and respect for all you've managed to do so far, and are with you now.  For me, I just want you to be able to live with the decision you make.  I know you will do a great job when the time comes. But will you be able to broadcast it?

With great respect, Barbara Dane   


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