There is an ongoing struggle over control at listener sponsored Pacifica radio right now, including an ongoing occupation of the national headquarters by supporters of the Pacifica Executive Director of Pacifica, Summer Reese that has been going on for the last week. The issues are very complicated, and came to a head when the Pacifica National Board (PNB) voted to fire Summer Reese despite the fact that she has a 3 year contract. Supporters of the PNG then padlocked the door to the Pacifica offices on March 14th. Summer Reese and her supporters cut off the padlock and went back to work.
You can read the positions of the PNB supporters here:
The occupiers and supporters of the Executive Director Reese have a web site here:
Anywho, after reading both sides I’m personally very disturbed by the actions of the Pacifica National Board, though I admit to not being particularly personally knowledgeable about the disputes involved.
Yet more info:
From a March 18th email from Steve Martinot:
Come help defend Pacifica Network
We call for honoring the Executive Director’s contract, no selling of any Pacifica stations and fiscal accountability.
Help resist the coup.
Come down to Pacifica, 1925 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near University Ave. Any time.
——————- Two press releases with more details below:
To: Pacifica station managers, staffers and programmers
From: Summer Reese, Executive Director, Pacifica Foundation Radio
I want to thank all of you for the work that you do everyday to keep Pacifica running.
Recently, we have experienced internal conflict between the board of directors and the executive director. I know that when these conflicts are expressed publicly, it creates a lot of organizational stress and makes it hard to concentrate on your work.
I want to assure you that I am in possession of a signed and valid contract for three years of employment from the Board of Directors and that I fully intend to complete that contract and work with all of you to make Pacifica bright and strong again.
The illegitimate actions of board members have, over the years, created a great deal of turmoil and financial stress on all of our stations and workplaces. It is time for that to come to an end.
The charges that I am going to seek hundreds of thousands dollars are ridiculous. What I am going to do is go back to work immediately and you will join me in doing so.
I deeply regret that the infighting on the board was not kept in the boardroom where it belongs.
I look forward to getting back to operating five precious and much-loved community radio stations. Thank you.
— Summer Reese Executive Director Pacifica Foundation Radio 1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way Berkeley, CA 94704 Ph: (510) 849-2590 ext 208 Cell: (510) 333-1965 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pacifica.org
Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica’s storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 0n-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin’s incendiary performances on WBAI.
This morning was okay (both Sandy and I were there), but some nasty stuff happened this afternoon. The group that illegally fired Summer Reese tried to freeze the Pacifica national bank accounts and they also contacted the alarm company to change the codes at the Pacifica national office in Berkeley that we have been defending for the past 8 or 9 days. And they also told the police that they thought there were guns inside the Pacifica office, but fortunately the police didn’t take their bait!
So obviously we need to be prepared for the possibility of more “dirty tricks”, including needing to have more people there tonight, overnight, and tomorrow morning (starting at 8:00 am)! If you can help, please call Sally Sommer (of Occupy the Farm) at: 517-3651. (If you haven’t been there before, let Sally know that you are a friend of Mike, Carol, Sandy, Dave, and/or myself, etc.!). The address is: 1925 Martin Luther King, Berkeley — one door North of the KPFA entrance — and about 3 blocks Northwest of the downtown Berkeley BART station. I’ll get over there within a few hours — hopefully I’ll see you then!