Although KPFA did not participate in a recent nationwide boycott of parent company Pacifica News Network, workers there fully support the effort because they say the radio station’s quality is suffering.
“They’re mainstreaming and decreasing the quality of our programming,” said Matt Martin, KPFA programming coordinator. “They’ve made it difficult to do hiring and they’ve manipulated our resources.”
Last Thursday, 20 radio stations from as far away as Portland, Maine, boycotted Pacifica programming for what they called, “the on-going crisis,” at the network.
“[The protest] had a ripple effect that brought this more into the eye of the public,” said Cathy Mielo, one of the protest’s organizers.
Mielo said Pacifica’s programming quality is much lower after a KPFA lock-out and protest over staffing and control of the station’s editorial content in 1999. KPFA produces shows such as Democracy Now! that offer different viewpoints than traditional mainstream media shows. The shows are broadcast at affiliated stations across the country.
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! host, did not return a call for comment.
Martin said the general consensus around the station is that Pacifica is making it hard to put out quality shows.
“Everyday we live with their poor decisions,” he said.
The protest had little effect, said Patricia Guadelupe, news director for Pacifica Network News.
“I haven’t paid any attention to it,” she said. She then referred all calls to Steve Yiasko, national programming director for Pacifica Network News. Yiasko did not return a call for comment.
In the meantime, Mielo said the affiliated stations are planning additional protests .
“In each one of these efforts there’s a synergy involved with the other efforts,” she said.
Even though KPFA reported last week’s protest, Martin said the station did not participate because of network threats.
“We support it, but it was organized by affiliates and KPFA was not in the discussion. In fact, we didn’t know about it until the Friday before,” he said. “Also we’ve been told that PNN is a must-carry and we’ve had threats.
“Unfortunately we didn’t do more to show solidarity with the people showing solidarity with us.”