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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pacifica Radio Lays off the Entire Staff of KPFA’s Morning Show
The Program is the Station’s Biggest Fund Raiser
BERKELEY - November 9 - Arlene Engelhardt, the Executive Director of Pacifica Radio, yesterday dismissed the entire staff of the KPFA Morning Show and ordered today’s program be taken off the air. The Morning Show is KPFA’s most popular locally produced program—as well as the station’s single biggest source of fund raising revenue.
The Morning Show is the only program targeted for cuts by Engelhardt. The layoffs violate the seniority protections in KPFA's union contract and appear to be retaliatory against staff who have been critics of Pacifica. In September, three members of the Pacifica National Board drew up a list of KPFA workers they wanted laid off. The staffers at the Morning Show were on that list.
The program’s staff–Aimee Allison, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Laura Prives, and Esther Manilla–were told that yesterday was their last day on the air, and that starting today, the Morning Show would be replaced by programming from a radio station in Los Angeles. KPFA 94.1 FM is America’s first listener-sponsored radio station.
“The Morning Show has the most listeners and raises the most money of any local KPFA program,” says Sasha Lilley, co-host of KPFA’s Against the Grain. “By cutting the Morning Show, Pacifica is virtually guaranteeing that more layoffs will follow, as the station’s fundraising and listenership shrinks.”
layoffs come in spite of a proposal by the union representing KPFA’s paid staff
for a “sustainable budget” that, along with making voluntary layoff packages
available, would have eliminated the need for all involuntary layoffs of KPFA
staff. On Friday, the union filed an Unfair
Labor Practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing
Pacifica management of unlawfully failing to negotiate alternatives to layoffs,
as required by the station’s union contract. Communications Workers of America Local 9415 charges
Pacifica with violating its obligation to bargain in good faith with the
The Pacifica Radio network is an independent, non-profit organization that operates five radio stations: KPFA in Berkeley, KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York City, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington, D.C. In 1999, a struggle between KPFA and Pacifica's National Office became a national and international news story and 10,000 people marched through the streets of Berkeley to save their station.
For more information about the labor conflict at KPFA, go to