Radio community gives longtime producer hope

Mike Dinoffria Special to the Daily Planet Mike Dinoffria, Special to the Daily Planet
Wednesday July 03, 2002

Listeners of KPFA are raising money to help pay for an emergency, vision-saving procedure for the station’s longtime producer and contributor Mary Berg.  

Last week Berg was told she needed an expensive eye surgery, but was without health insurance. Members of the radio community came to her side and to make the procedure possible by temporarily footing the bill. 

“It is heartwarming that the KPFA community stepped up on such short notice, so generously and decisively,” said Phil Osegueda, KPFA’s assistant general manager. Now the Coalition for a democratic Pacifica has started raising funds to pay that bill. 

Two weeks ago Berg was experiencing some difficulty with her vision. She was seeing random, bright flashes and obstructive floating bodies.  

She went to see a doctor last Tuesday, and was diagnosed with a detached retina. The doctor said she would need to undergo a sclera bucket surgery immediately if she were to continue to see.  

Because she did not having health insurance she had to pay $14,000 before the hospital would go forward with the surgery.  

The KPFA community came to her rescue.  

“I was really lucky,” Berg said. “I had friends and KPFA came to my support.”  

The fund to help Berg is being conducted through the Agape Foundation. A benefit is planned July 21. 

Berg has been working at KPFA since the late 70s. KPFA listeners know her as the host and producer of “A Musical Offering,” a radio show that airs early on Sundays, 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. KPFA advisory board member Lewis Sawyer said Berg is a tireless worker and that her involvement with the station is unmatched.  

At KPFA Berg is a volunteer. She supports herself while working as a sound and editing free-lancer.  

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research estimates that 4.5 million California residents younger than 64 are uninsured. 



To help pay for Mary Berg’s eye surgery money can be sent to the Coalition for a democratic Pacifica (CdP), PO Box 2813, Berkeley, 94702