San Francisco Labor Council Resolution To Bring Back The Morning Mix

downloadAdopted June 9, 2014

Reinstate the “Morning Mix” drive-time radio show —

Say No to Cuts in Labor/Community Programming on KPFA Radio
Whereas, KPFA Radio 94.1 FM, with a powerful radio transmitter, has been a megaphone for community free speech radio throughout northern California for over 65 years, and is the flagship station of the Pacifica Radio Network; and

Whereas, for the last 3 and a half years KPFA has aired a ground-breaking labor and community program called the Morning Mix – broadcasting at a time when more working people could hear it, during “drive time” from 8 to 9 AM, Monday to Friday; and

Whereas, the rotating hosts of the Morning Mix radio shows on KPFA have featured the voices of Bay Area working people and their issues, to a degree not found on any other Northern California station with the reach and power of KPFA. This included regular reporting on labor and community struggles – about the postal workers’ fight against privatization; the concerns of teachers, dockworkers, transit and healthcare workers, and immigrant workers; as well as the community fight in the city of Richmond against toxic pollution by Chevron Corporation; and

Whereas, the Morning Mix provided regular announcements of Bay Area labor and community events, so working people could be aware of these activities and participate; and

Whereas, late in the evening on May 21, KPFA and Pacifica management abruptly, and without proper consultations, cancelled the Morning Mix and replaced it with a syndicated program “Uprising” produced in Los Angeles that does not cover Bay Area issues and events; and

Whereas, we need more local labor and community programming on KFPA radio, not less – especially since working peoples’ stories are almost completely ignored by the mainstream media. This program change is a tremendous loss for the radio listeners in the Bay Area.

Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council calls on KPFA/Pacifica management to reinstate the Morning Mix drive-time radio show. We need more labor and community programs on the radio – not less!

And be it further resolved, that this resolution be submitted to other Bay Area labor councils for concurrence and action.


KPFK's Facebook Logo

KPFK’s Facebook Logo

WHEREAS the powers, duties and responsibilities given to Local Station Boards in the Pacifica
Bylaws, Article Seven, Local Station Boards, Section 3: Specific Powers and Duties, include, “G.  To work with station management to ensure that station programming fulfills the purposes of the Foundation and is responsive to the diverse needs of the listeners (demographic) and communities (geographic) served by the station, and that station policies and procedures for making programming decisions and for program evaluation are working in a fair, collaborative and respectful manner to provide quality programming,” and

WHEREAS the Morning Mix aired on KPFA at 8 am Monday through Friday for approximately three-and-a-half years, and

WHEREAS the Morning Mix was produced and hosted by a diverse team of KPFA staff, and

WHEREAS KPFA’s interim General Manager canceled the Morning Mix without ever holding a meeting with the Mix hosts, nor was any evaluation of the Morning Mix prepared, and

WHEREAS KPFA’s interim General Manager notified the Morning Mix hosts by email on May 22, 2014 four days before the programming change was slated to begin, and did not explain why the Morning Mix was being canceled, except to say that the replacement show, Uprising from KPFK in Los Angeles, had “performed well” in the preceding three days of fund drive, when it preempted the Morning Mix,

WHEREAS the cancellation of the Morning Mix, with no prior consultation or program evaluation which was extremely disrespectful of the Morning Mix listeners and the KPFA staff who worked on the Mix, set a poor example of management-staff-listener relations, and

WHEREAS replacing a locally-produced program with a program from outside Northern California will inevitably diminish the quantity and quality of local coverage during the 8:00 am hour, and

WHEREAS, the restoration of the Morning Mix has been endorsed by the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 214, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10, and the San Francisco Labor Council,


The KPFA Local Station Board urges KPFA’s General Manager to promptly restore the Morning Mix to the 8:00 am hour, Monday through Friday, and

Before a locally-produced program is canceled or subjected to a major schedule change, a policy should be followed that includes a program evaluation, consultation between the programmer(s) and management, and a time period granted for remedying perceived problems.
(Offered on June 6, 2014 by Janet Kobren for June 6, 2014 Local Station Board agenda.  This is a modified version of the original motion.)

A Call for Solidarity at KPFA

Living Graveyard, Oakland, CA.  Anti-War Protest

Living Graveyard, Oakland, CA. Anti-War Protest

The Gray Panthers recently celebrated May Day with a musical account of the history of the struggle for the eight hour day, the people who were at the core of that struggle, the demonstration on May first, the Haymarket massacre a few days later and the repression that followed.

One thing that was so impressive about the organizing for the eight hour day, as portrayed by the Rockin’ Solidarity Labor Heritage Chorus, was the breadth of the community effort. This struggle crossed racial lines. It was supported by native-born and immigrants from many countries. Organizers from primarily male unions honored and respected female workers who were seamstresses and maids.  This kind of comradeship across social boundaries has been all too uncommon in many of our struggles, union and otherwise.

A friend . . . told me that I would get more respect for my work if I were paid for it.

One of the gaps in our comradeship has been between paid and unpaid workers. I am remembering a friend who had a responsible position for an internationally respected peace group who told me that I would get more respect for my work if I were paid for it. That was a reflection of her experience at the organization she volunteered her time with.

Now to the point I am leading up to, a look at the current controversy at KPFA. I think the basis for this controversy is a tug of war between paid program staff and unpaid program staff. Some in the KPFA community seem to think that paid staff do a more “professional” job than do volunteers. Some think that the volunteers, particularly those putting on the Morning Mix, have a closer connection with activists in the community.

KPFA's creepy surveillance camera pointing downwards toward a recent KPFA demonstration in support of the Morning Mix.

KPFA’s creepy surveillance camera pointing downwards toward a recent KPFA demonstration in support of the Morning Mix.

Part of the controversy is based on the fact that paid staff are union members. I seem to recall that efforts by unpaid programmers to get union representation have been met with resistance from paid staff and their union. I am not quite sure of the reason for this resistance. If this is an accurate memory I will observe parenthetically that unions are not always on the right side of the struggle — recalling the unholy alliance between the AFL-CIO and the promotion of dictatorship in Latin America.

I would like to see an increase of comradeship between paid programmers and volunteers at KPFA. I want the programming of the Morning Mix that lets me know what is happening in our own local communities. That is what community radio is all about. As an activist, I have a much better chance of getting my work before KPFA’s listeners when at least some of the programmers are activists in our local community.

Remembering the words of one of my friends in the struggle: “The trouble with the left is they organize their firing squads in a circle.” Come on folks, let’s all get along together.

Carolyn Scarr
Local Bay Area Activist, major organizer of the Living Graveyard.

Living Graveyard

Oakland Federal Building
1301 Clay Street

Covered with sheets to represent the dead of the war of occupation on Iraq, people lie down on the city sidewalk in front of the Federal Building, This is legal, non-violent witness.  People stop, look and think.

Participants lie at least three feet apart and do not block entry to the building.The names of some of the Californians who have died in Iraq and the names of some of the Iraqi dead will be read.  A gong is sounded after each name.   People will hand out flyers, as we do each week at the Tuesday noon vigil.

Town Hall Community Advisory Board, Saturday, May 17, 1-3 pm

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 13 pm

The KPFA Community Advisory Board invites you to an information and music sharing Town Hall in West Oakland on  Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 1 to 3 pm. We especially want to hear from  youth and young adults, musicians, listeners, community members, and media activists about your radio interests.

Come tell us about your favorite music, community issues and programming ideas.
Learn about posting your community announcements on the air and about our apprenticeship program.
Help us make KPFA your free speech community station.

1485 8th St. Oakland, CA 94607 on May 17

Perspectives on the Crisis at KPFA and Pacifica Radio Network

By Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff,

Peter Philips (L) & Mickey Huff

Peter Philips (L) & Mickey Huff

The Pacifica Foundation is a 65-year old national progressive treasure in need of continuing attention and support. Pacifica’s flagship station KPFA in Berkeley, and four other stations KPFK-Los Angeles, KPFT-Houston, WBAI-New York, WPFW-Washington, D.C., are all owned by and under legal control of Pacifica Foundation Radio. Over 160-affiliate radio stations in the US and Canada carry various programs from the Pacifica Radio network.

The Pacifica Foundation is managed by an elected board of directors, which is comprised of twenty-two members. There are four members from each of the five principle stations plus two from affiliate stations. Meetings of Pacifica Foundation Radio’s Board of Directors are open to the public. Policy dictates that board meetings are to be posted at least one week in advance of the scheduled date and announced on-air at the five Pacifica stations.

The current board of directors of Pacifica is seriously divided into two contentious factions. The factions at KPFA are Support KPFA—United for Community Radio; and Save KPFA (formerly “Concerned Listeners”). Each faction has allies and/or representatives on the board from the collective stations with the Save KPFA faction recently obtaining a one-vote majority. It was this slim majority that lead to the late-night firing of Pacifica’s recently appointed Executive Director, Summer Reese, on March 13, in a telephone conference board meeting with an unannounced agenda. Summer Reese later occupied the Pacifica Foundation headquarters claiming the firing was in violation of her contract and the Bylaws of Pacifica.

Reese has been in control of the building with dozens of supporters for over a month. Lawsuits and countersuits have been filed and court battles are pending. Over 400 KPFA listeners, volunteers, and staff have signed a petition in support of due process for Summer Reese, including the two authors of this update.

Longtime KPFA supporter and Sonoma County attorney Carol Spooner stated recently,

I strongly support Summer Reese in her position as Executive Director of Pacifica and in her efforts to preserve and protect the network and five Pacifica stations and their mission, and to prevent the total collapse of Pacifica into bankruptcy court, pay-off its debts, clean-up the corruption and financial mess, and rebuild. I believe those Pacifica directors who voted to fire her without cause weeks after her contract was signed acted with gross abuse of their authority and have recklessly and/or intentionally placed Pacifica in grave peril.

For full text, click here.

We have been internal observers and volunteer program hosts at KPFA for the past three and half years. Our Project Censored show Fridays 8-9 AM is now aired on thirteen Pacifica affiliate stations including WBAI and WPFW. We think we represent what the Pacifica Foundation mission statement means where it says we are to:

…engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all of such groups…in radio broadcasting operations to promote the full distribution of public information; to obtain access to sources of news not commonly brought together in the same medium; and to employ such varied sources in the public presentation of accurate, objective, comprehensive news on all matters vitally affecting the community.

Given the long history of FBI COINTELPRO style disruptions among progressive/radical groups in Berkeley, documented by Seth Rosenfeld in his book Subversives (2012) among others, we think anyone would be naive to not consider that some elements of the national security state could be engaged in promoting dissension and disruption of Pacifica’s mission inside the network on a continuing basis. Therefore, we think that progressive people need to openly engage in the democratic process of choosing station representatives very seriously and call for immediate mediation for the Pacifica National Board.

We also strongly believe that adding and supporting volunteer programmers is part of the main mission of Pacifica. Pacifica was not created to have a full NPR-style paid professional staff, and that paid staff should act as supporters and trainers to community-based volunteers. Additionally, we strongly recommend that all listeners reach for their checkbooks during the current fund drive to help maintain a solidly listener-supported funding base, not only to keep Pacifica alive, but to help it thrive so that future generations can carry on its great and much-needed legacy.