Media Update
KPFK Press Conference
from Gil Contreras

With some 50 demonstrators chanting for free speech radio in front of KPFK's North Hollywood studios, former KPFK broadcast journalist, talk show host, and Golden Mike winner, Gil Contreras, met with reporters from Spanish television stations KVEA 52 and Channel 34 about his departure from KPFK airways.

"I resigned from my position as a reporter and morning news anchor in the newsroom, in protest of the cancellation of my afternoon drive time talk show," Contreras told reporters."There is a distinct movement by the general manager at KPFK to turn what was once progressive alternative radio, into moderate "Anglo male," 'ethnically clean,' talk radio."

"Just take a look at the KPFK schedule of shows," Contreras continued, "the talk programs, paid and non paid, are hosted by white males who also happen to be friends of either KPFK GM, Marc Schubb, or his good buddy, Marc Cooper, editor of The Nation Magazine. You will not find ONE Latino on paid status with a regular prime time radio talk show. Latinos at KPFK have been relegated to off hours and weekends. And when Alex Nogales, of the National Hispanic Media Coalition,  raised this issue with Schubb, Schubb told Nogales that morning talk show host Marcos Frommer was half Latino, and that his mom sent him tamales every year for Christmas! How much more Latino do we have to be?, Schubb wanted to know."

And although no one from inside KPFK would come out and talk to the media or Contreras, one KPFK insider sympathetic to the demonstrators, said that Schubb and company have ceased to have their weekly staff meetings as a way of avoiding discussion of the KPFA crisis in Berkeley, and the weekly demonstrations outside KPFK. The gag rule for KPFK programmers continues, as only Schubb and Cooper are allowed to address the issue on-air.

"What's happening here is appalling, the cronyism is incredible,"Contreras said, referring to the fact that Joe Dominck, a friend of Schubb & Cooper, has been given a consultant contract  to assess the needs of the KPFK newsroom, completely bypassing KPFK news director Frank Stoltze, who is not a friend of Schubb, Cooper or PD Kathy Lo. "Stoltze has been harassed by Lo for months," Contreras said, "with threatening memos and directives, while offering no guidance, assistance or hiring of paid news staff which Stoltze has been requesting for at least 3 years."

"I think the only thing that will make a difference," Contreras said, "is to hit KPFK in the pocket book. If  KPFK listener sponsors were aware of the racism, cronyism and mistreatment of workers inside the station, I think they would pull their financial support. If that were to happen, you would see immediate action by the National Board. Until that happens, however, you can expect to see what was once one of the premiere alternative media outlets in the country, move ever closer to looking and sounding like their corporate counterparts."

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