KPFK liberation starting to roll
This informative update from a KPFK listener (posted on the WBAI Goodlights Board) gives us an indication that change is starting to happen at that station. For those who don't know, Ron Wilkins was a prominent KPFK broadcaster and activist in the African-American community before he was fired and banned by Mark Schubb in 1995. This report reminds us that a lot of the impetus behind the Pacifica-wide purge of the past decade was the old Board/management's desire to remove the voices of progressive activists of color -- with their internationalist, pro-working-class perspective -- from the airwaves.
Last night on KPFK (Thursday, 2-7-02), Jim Lafferty handed over his "National Lawyer's Guild" show to former KPFK Programmer, Ron Wilkins. Lafferty first did a brief intro to his show in which he described the crisis the station has been in, and the recent positive changes that have slowly been occurring due to the creation of a new national board. He also mentioned the fact that Marc Shubb has been relieved of his position and that there is a new Station Manager, Steven Starr.
Mr. Lafferty then went on to explain to his listening audience that he was turning his show over for the evening to Ron Wilkins. Lafferty stated quite clearly that Wilkins had contacted him, asking for access to broadcast air time. Lafferty consulted with Station Manager Steven Starr, who APPROVED the idea.
So... on Thursday evening, the former Programmer of "Continent to Continent" was back on the air, and his special guests were also African Americans who were former KPFK Programmers FIRED by Marc Shubb. Ron Wilkins and Friends described the situation at KPFK from their militant position, saying that African American Programmers as well as others recently banished from the station (Native American, Latino, and Asian Programmers), be reinstated as soon as possible. Wilkins and company also encouraged, no, URGED listeners to financially support KPFK and save the station from ruin. They called for listeners to respond generously to the upcoming station fund drive.
Ron Wilkins and guests only minimally addressed local and international politics on the broadcast, but it was made very clear that their political position was Working Class, and from an African perspective. Phones were opened and the many calls taken were positive and supportive. The overwhelming number of calls came from African Americans... who were thrilled to hear Ron Wilkins on the air once more. They pledged to support the ongoing struggle to democratize the station and heralded the brief return of Wilkins as a new day for KPFK. Personally, I was elated that Wilkins was one the air... and I applaud Jim Lafferty for his having given Wilkins the time he so richly deserves.
Marc Cooper, in closing his show this Friday afternoon (2-8-02), said he wanted to comment on "the controversial program of the proceeding evening."
The indignant Cooper took Lafferty to task for foolishly giving his program over to "Thugs" and "anti-Semites." Cooper said he was "deeply embarrassed" to be associated with a station that would give air time to "racists" who engaged in "personal slander." The flustered Cooper "apologized to the listeners" for Wilkins being given air time, and further stated that he wanted to completely "disassociate" and "distance" himself from the broadcast and the station that made it possible.
Cooper has exposed himself as someone willing to use race to divide the listenership of KPFK... all to preserve his own position.
In NO WAY do I support or condone anti-Semitism, and whenever I've encountered such venom I've condemned it. Cooper's assertion that Wilkins and his guests had broadcast anti-Jewish tirades on Lafferty's show was an OUTRIGHT LIE designed to undermine support... not only of Wilkins and other banned African American Programmers... but for the new Station Manager as well. Cooper's accusation that Ron Wilkins and his guests were "Thugs" smacks of the most OUTRAGEOUS Racism! Cooper's attempt to label Wilkins a "racist" (as in 'reverse racist'), was wholly despicable.
Not only did Marc Cooper arrogantly engage in the "personal slander" he condemned Ron Wilkins of... he also indirectly slammed the new Station Manager, who had approved Wilkins's appearance.
I suggest that the listeners of KPFK support Cooper's desire to be "disassociated" from the station! Call and write KPFK and DEMAND that Cooper be fired!
KPFK Main phone: (818) 985-2711
One infuriated listener of KPFK
From: Lyn Gerry
For a audio great series on the Pacifica Crisis on KPFK - at last !!!!!! - see KPFK ungagged http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=4145
I keep adding these as they happen - Roy's doing a new one each Monday night
*Jan 11 Interview with David Adelson, KPFK LAB Chair
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