Gil Contreras Responds to Marc Cooper

Below is a letter from former KPFK programmer Gil Contreras to KPFK programmer Marc "Radio Nation" Cooper. Some background on this:

At the recent Pacifica National Board Meeting in Washington DC, Chairperson Berry (as a supposed concession to the protests against the gag rule) said that each station would conduct a report to the listener where the issues about what's happening would be dicussed by both sides. Whether this was meant to be an honest effort toward openness on her part or not, we can see what an utter travesty it is, at least in how it played out at KPFK this week, when the first of these absurd exercises in spin was aired.

Marc Cooper, who is a management syncophant, was given the position of representing "the other side." Cooper has already on more than one occasion declared himeself the "spokesperson for the staff" - as such he purported to be qualified to give the "other side." Cooper does NOT represent the opinion of most of the staff, which, understanding he is a management surrogate who reports the discussions of union meetings to Manager Schubb, does not dare speak out against him at the risk of being targeted for termination.

Gil Contreras' resignation came up during the first program of this "forum" hosted by Cooper.Discussed was a resignation letter by Contreras where he charged prejudice against Latinos by KPFK management and made criticisms of the Schubb-Lo-Cooper regime at KPFK. In a letter to a listener, , Cooper questioned Contreras' sanity and credibility - he also claimed that Schubb had never received the May 14, 1999 resignation letter sent to him by Contreras.

Contreras was brought on to KPFK after the purges. He has never experienced KPFK as a free speech radio station. He is not even remotely radical politically from what I can tell. Nonetheless, one evidently doesn't have to be any of those things to understand that KPFK is now a gulag.

Contreras' comment about "off the rails" refers to a statement Cooper made about Contreras' charges.

Lyn Gerry


Date sent:       Fri, 09 Jul 1999 21:56:00 -0700
From:            Gil Contreras <>
Subject:         Gil Contreras

Hey Marc - it's the "off the rails" guy. Rather than engaging in e-wars, I'd rather talk with you about my letter to Schubb and the inappropriate and unprofessional manner in which I was treated. I'd like it even better if we had that conversation on-the-air.

I must say I am alittle surprised at how many people who listen to KPFK know about the internal conflicts between Schubb, Lo & their staff, and how many seem to really care. Contrary to what you said to Maggie in e-mail, I never thought my show was the best or only good show at KPFK. And, if you saw my website, you will see that I have learned a great lesson in all of this.

But, none of that changes the fact that on Monday afternoon at  5pm, the show is hosted by an Anglo, male, Tuesday by an Anglo female, Wednesday, African-American, and rounded out on Thursday & Friday with another Anglo, male. And of course, you host the hour prior to 5 pm, five days per week, you are heard twice on Friday's, and at least once on the weekend. Frommer hosts AM drive five day's per week, and because his mother sends Schubb homemade tamales at
Christmas, Schubb feels his station's programming is culturally diverse. And, at the 7 o'clock hour, Latino hosts don't fare any better. Sure it's not prime radio time, but it seems a Latino could do as well as the Lawyers Guild, Feminist Magazine and Earl Ofari live.

And, even though I don't have the years of experience you do, I do know that Latino listeners enjoy hearing one of their own, raising issues in a Latino way with a Latino flavor. I know most Anglo's in positions of power readily dismiss that notion, but it happens to be true.
The reason I put my situation onto the net, is because both Marc Schubb & Kathy Lo are two of the most disrespectful, arrogant individuals I have ever met. Their inability and/or unwillingness to speak and deal with simple issues in an appropriate manner, is remarkable. The lack of basic respect for fellow humans, which is a notion KPFK promotes, is almost not to be believed. But of course, all one has to do is talk to people who have experienced their wrath (Stoltze, Martinez, Sara Harris,
Contreras, Asian & Hip Hop programmers, et al).

The Schubb ranting at KPFK staff meetings is common knowledge. The petition in support of Sara Harris, a union protected employee who was harassed out of a job by Lo after violating her employee rights, which I'm told you would not sign, is also common knowledge. Management through intimidation. The inappropriate comments about staff people to other staff people and even strangers. Lo telling a local news reporter that she hates her news director and wishes she could get rid of him, or Schubb telling applicants for his personal assistant position during their job interview that his staff hate him.

I could go on, but frankly, it's nauseating. Everyone inside KPFK knows what goes on internally, and we all stayed, or continue to stay, silent. Most KPFK'ers on-the-air have decided that staying quiet and pretending all is well, is easier than losing your airtime because someone does not like you, or opinions you may have expressed. If you have decided that you will blindly support Schubb despite of his erratic behavior and non responsiveness to listeners, programmers and others who have contacted, or tried to contact him, in regards to my situation, then I must say I'm disappointed.

As for the cheap shots at me in the e-mail you sent to Maggie Knowles, I guess all is fair in love and e-wars, although I must
admit I did not understand the baseball reference. And, to say that yours or Frommer's Latino listenership was higher than mine, given the disparity in access to airtime, is a bit ridiculous.

Again, Marc, I would love to debate this on your show, with listener participation. Think of it, we could forward promote it, take two hours, take calls, and let the cards fall where they may. Since I was never an employee of KPFK or Pacifica, nor am I taking legal action against the station, my situation is not a confidential personnel matter! Hey that's great news, isn't it? My guess is the Schubb gag rule will prevail,  but should you be able to schedule such a show, I would make myself available.
The treatment of personnel by Schubb & Lo at KPFK is the issue, and using the lies about diversity, worker & union rights to raise money are the issue. Using volunteers and interns like slave labor, while denouncing Occidental Petroleum, ARCO and big tobacco for their corporate lies, those are the issues. Our personal feelings about each other are not as important as the fact that Latino's at KPFK, unless management freindly, are relegated to weekends and off hours, most on non paid status. Your freindship with Schubb changes none of that.

I truly have no beef with you, and have, for the most part, enjoyed your shows (especially the ones with Pat Cadell). I realize that I am a "rookie" to the broadcast business (only in radio since1994 & only one Golden Mike), but certainly not a "rookie" to life. I have served my community as a soldier, a cop, probation officer, social worker, and journalist, and deserve, at least minimal respect.

I hope we can stop the e-war, and perhaps talk about this like two grown men who just may agree, to disagree. I think we owe the listener sponsors that much.



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