PNN strike | Free Speech Radio News!
Free Speech Radio News Goes Daily 5-9-01
MAY 9, 2001
Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship: Aaron Glantz, (916) 705-7528/cell
PACIFICA CAMPAIGN SPONSORS
NEW YORK: Free Speech Radio News, with the support of the Campaign to Stop the Corporate Takeover Of Pacifica, says it will broadcast daily for one month beginning May 18th, 2001. Former veteran Pacifica Network News anchor Verna Avery-Brown has signed on as anchor. When she resigned after 11 years amidst the crisis at Pacifica Network News (PNN) in December of 1999, Avery-Brown was the only African-American, national-news anchor in public broadcasting.
The half-hour news cast, featuring the best of progressive reporting from around the world, was first created by dozens of reporters representing Pacifica's contingent labor pool, who struck PNN on January 31, 2000. These stringers, some of whom had won the industry's top awards, cited rampant censorship throughout the 51-year-old listener-sponsored network--censorship that the Washington Post called "Soviet-style journalism" and "cowardly radio." The pool of reporters that FSRN now draws from numbers over 90, hailing from 20 American states and 6 continents.
Since February, 2001, the cast has aired once weekly on 47 community stations nationally. Most of these stations are Pacifica affiliates. The broadcast is made available through a satellite link and via the strikers' web page.
The extended cast will include reports from Martha Baskin on labor in Seattle; Jeremy Scahill from Belgrade on the fighting in southern Serbia; Rupert Cook in Burundi and Rwanda on the Congolese war; Rafael Krafft on the fighting in the West Bank and Gaza; Travis Lea in Mexico City on the fight for indigenous rights; Eileen Sutton in New York on the plight of Mexican green-grocer workers; Fernando Velasquez on the Los Angeles mayoral race; Joshua Welsh in South Dakota on Native American rights and Miranda Kennedy in New York on Florida abortion provider Dr. James Pendegrapft.
"Free Speech Radio News represents the finest traditions of journalism first pioneered by Pacifica--fearless, critical, independent and honest, with respect for the integrity of the editorial process. That's why the Pacifica Campaign is delighted to support an effort that has tenaciously and bravely stood up for free speech and confronted the censorship that has rocked this network," said Pacifica Campaign head Juan Gonzalez.
Pacifica has long been a bastion of free speech--from broadcasting Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," to defying the HUAC witch hunts, to airing the commentaries of death-row journalist Mumia Abu Jamal. The Pacifica Campaign and others will fund the broadcast daily to coincide with Pacifica's upcoming May fund drive. FSRN has always paid its reporters the same story rate as PNN. Up to now, the cast was financed by the reporters' strike fund.
The strike has won support from some of the most important progressive thinkers and cultural workers in America, including Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Peter Franck, Michael Parenti, Alice Walker, Katha Politt, Mike Albert, Media Benjamin and many others. Labor and organizational support has poured in, including the California Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO), Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Indymedia Los Angeles, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (AFL-CIO), Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, National Writers Union (UAW, AFL-CIO), UE Local 404 at WBAI, and the Writers Guild of America/East (AFL-CIO). Hundreds of progressives still refuse to give comment to PNN.
The Pacifica Campaign was launched in February, 2001 by former Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily-News columnist Juan Gonzalez. The Campaign has called for the present Pacifica executive leadership to resign, citing malfeasance, political purges and censorship throughout the network. The Campaign intends this daily cast to put maximum pressure on the Pacifica national board, and in particular Pacifica Network News, which critics say has abandoned its community roots, reflecting a disturbing pro-corporate, pro-government slide in its news content.
FSRN will be produced out of Washington D.C., San Francisco and Tampa. Randi Zimmerman, who reports for community station WMNF in Tampa, will be Headlines Editor. FSRN will also be collaborating with the Independent Media Center in New York, which will provide critical production support for the cast's New York stringers.
FSRN on-line: www.savepacifica.net/strike
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20 STATIONS TO CARRY FREE SPEECH RADIO'S DAILY CAST...AND COUNTING
NEW YORK: Over 20 community radio stations from coast to coast have signed on to carry the daily news cast, "Free Speech Radio News" (FSRN). Even more stations are expected in the coming days. The half-hour alternative news program, featuring the best of progressive reporting from around the country and around the world, was first created by dozens of freelance reporters who struck Pacifica Network News (PNN) last year. FSRN's pool of reporters now numbers over 90, hailing from 20 American states and 6 continents.
With the support of the Campaign to Stop the Corporate Takeover Of Pacifica, FSRN will broadcast daily for one month beginning May 18th, 2001. The show will uplink to a satellite at 4:00 p.m., Eastern time. The coordinates are A72.7M. It will also be posted on the strikers' web site at www.fsrn.org. Since February of last year, the cast has aired once weekly on 45 community stations nationally (most are Pacifica affiliates). The cast is also broadcast through the Independent Media Center and throughout the shortwave world on Radio for Peace International.
Returning to community broadcasting, former veteran Pacifica Network News host Verna Avery-Brown will anchor the extended cast. When she resigned from PNN after eleven years in December, 1999, Avery-Brown was the only African-American, national-news anchor in public broadcasting. Promotional carts recorded by Avery-Brown will be available on the strike site, which stations can download.
The cast will feature daily national headlines, along with a number of breaking investigative reports. Investigations will include Rupert Cook from Kigali, Rwanda on the controversies surrounding U.S. drug companies and AIDS medications, and a report from Emily Bernhardt in Maine on the controversial new U.S.-Navy sonar that harms animals and humans. Listeners can also expect reports from Seattle, Belgrade, the West Bank and Gaza, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles and South Dakota.
FSRN will be produced out of Washington D.C., San Francisco and Tampa. Aaron Glantz will produce the cast, Randi Zimmerman will be Headlines Editor. FSRN will also collaborate with the Independent Media Center in New York, for critical New York production support.
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