NEW YORK - January 13 - On Saturday, meeting in front of a cheering standing-room only
crowd of over 500, the Interim Pacifica National Board (I-PNB) voted
overwhelmingly to “reinstate” thirty-seven former WBAI staff and management
fired, banned, suspended, or driven from their former positions since
December 22, 2000. Citing WBAI Interim General Manager Robert Daughtry’s
refusal to broadcast “Democracy Now!,” the board removed Daughtry because he
“flagrantly defied the I-PNB directive.”
“The resolution to undo the December 2000, “Christmas Coup” is an historic
event in independent media history, and is the first step in the reclaiming
the network,” said Miguel Maldonado, WBAI Local Advisory Chair. “We look
forward to the full democratization of the network”, he added.
In addition to addressing the WBAI crisis, the board appointed former
Pacifica Network News Director Dan Coughlin as interim executive director.
Coughlin had been removed from his position because he authorized a story
about the boycott of Pacifica stations by affiliates to protest against
network's managers shut down KPFA of Berkeley in late 1999. That shut down
caused the largest protests in Berkeley since the Vietnam War. Coughlin
joined the Pacifica Campaign in January 2001.
Pacifica Radio has been embroiled in controversy since those protests in
1999. In December 2000, Pacifica "re-programmed" its New York City station,
WBAI, by firing and banning long-time programmers and eviscerating the
station's progressive political programming. Last August, Pacifica suspended
Amy Goodman and removed Democracy Now! from the Pacifica airwaves.
In dramatic point-counterpoint session the Pacifica Board received detailed
reports from the station managers, chairs of the Local Advisory Board, and
listeners from all five of the networks stations: WBAI in New York, WPFW in
Washington, DC, KPFA in Berkeley, KPFT in Houston and KPFK in Los Angeles.
KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb reported that the Los Angeles station’s
transmitter has been operating at a fraction of its normal power because the
network’s national office had taken the specifically allocated money for its
replacement and used it for their own purposes. Schubb speculated it was to
pay the network’s legal fees from the lawsuits by listeners and local
advisory board members.
KPFK’s Local Advisory Board chair David Adelson rebutted Schubb’s claims of
dramatically increasing listenership. Speakers representing listener
organizations from the Los Angeles area called for Schubb’s immediate
suspension for refusing to broadcast Democracy Now! at both of it’s regular
time-slots after being directed to by the Pacifica management, broadcasting
deliberate misinformation to listeners regarding the current board and
banning and firing over 100 staff, volunteers and programmers in a
The national board scheduled its next meeting for the weekend of March 9-11th
in Los Angeles.
Houston’s Local Advisory Board was directed to get in compliance with PNB
regulations regarding membership by weeks end.
IPNB member Wendell Johns, an Executive at Fannie Mae from the former ruling
majority, interim Executive Director JoAnn Meredith and Houston General
Manager Garland Ganter all resigned in the week before the board meeting.
Tomorrow Democracy Now! is slated to be broadcast on all 5 stations at it’s