Statement of The Fresno Free College Foundation and KFCF Radio

April 14, 1999

On April 11, 1999 the Board of Directors of the Fresno Free College Foundation and KFCF - 88.1 FM, adopted the following letter of concern:

To:  The Board of Directors and Staff of the Pacifica Foundation
From:  The Fresno Free College Foundation and KFCF Radio

Pacifica Radio and KFCF have had an amicable and productive partnership of bringing KPFA and Pacifica programming into the San Joaquin Valley for 25 years.  Our broadcasting of KPFA, as well as local programs, has significantly enhanced the social and cultural life of our region.  Thus, the current crisis at KPFA and within Pacifica is of great concern to us. It is particularly unfortunate that this is happening at the very time KPFA, Pacifica and KFCF should be celebrating 50 years of community radio service.

We are shocked and saddened by the abrupt firing of Nicole Sawaya, who has been a successful and dedicated manager by any measure.  She was popular with staff and listeners, exceeded fundraising goals and had high regard for the well being of  listeners in our region. She exhibited leadership and vision and warmth in the working relationship between KPFA and KFCF. We are equally upset about the firing of Larry Bensky, whose value to our audience and to Pacifca subscribers everywhere, is beyond measure.  We are concerned about the well being of the paid and unpaid staff, which has been alienated by the management of Pacifica. We are concerned on behalf of listeners and subscribers, including major donors, who are angry and disillusioned by the actions of Pacifica management.  Last but not least, we are concerned about the thousands of listeners in the San Joaquin Valley who depend upon KPFA and Pacifica Radio for news, information and cultural programming that is unique and irreplacable.

The Fresno Free College Foundation and KFCF cherish the original mission envisioned by KPFA and Pacifica Radio to encourage and provide outlets for the creative skills and energies of the communities in which they broadcast. The backbone of that mission is the listener-sponsors that support us. Without them Pacifica would not exist.  We ask you to step back from the brink of potential disaster. You can take the first step by reinstating Nicole Sawaya and Larry Bensky, and participating in a mediated settlement of this dispute.  We urge you to resolve this crisis peacefully.

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