2 KPFA Articles from The S.F. Chronicle 7/26, 27

Unions Ask Pacifica to End KPFA Lockout

Berkeley Council Measure Demands KPFA Be Reopened

******************************************* Copyright 1999 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
The San Francisco Chronicle


LENGTH: 192 words

Unions Ask Pacifica to End KPFA Lockout

Berkeley -- Five Bay Area labor organizations issued resolutions this weekend calling for an end to the lockout at radio station KPFA-FM as the stalemate between management and workers continues.

The National Writers Union, the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, the Contra Costa Central Labor Council, the San Francisco Labor Council and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are asking the Pacifica Foundation to reinstate its workers and restore KPFA's programming.

Earlier this month, Pacifica padlocked and boarded up the iconoclastic station for the first time in its 50-year history and placed all workers on involuntary leave.

The crisis began in March after Pacifica fired station manager Nicole Sawaya. Pacifica has said it wants to make KPFA more profitable and increase the station's audience, but listeners and employees fear that management will change the station's grassroots character.

After several days of stormy protests and numerous arrests, locked-out employees were holding their own broadcast yesterday in front of the station, offering salsa tunes and "free speech" activities.

LOAD-DATE: July 26, 1999



HEADLINE: Berkeley Council Measure Demands KPFA Be Reopened

Approval likely at emergency meeting

BYLINE: Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer


Interrupting its summer recess for an emergency meeting, the Berkeley City Council will consider a toughly worded measure tonight that criticizes the governing foundation of KPFA radio and calls for immediately reopening the shuttered station.

The measure has support of both sides of the partisan council and appears likely to pass. A different resolution on the KPFA crisis failed last week.

"It's a forceful resolution," Mayor Shirley Dean said of tonight's measure. "We're not mincing words here."

The item demands that KPFA's governing Pacifica Foundation unlock the station, remove the private guards inside, reinstate terminated staffers and resume its normal programming. It sets a 30-day deadline, although the city has no power to enforce its demands.

Listener-sponsored KPFA, the nation's pioneering radio outlet for left-wing dissent and alternative news, was closed two weeks ago by its governing Pacifica Foundation. Pacifica managers are broadcasting tapes from KPFA's spot at 94.1 on the FM dial.

A 24-hour "Camp KPFA" has been established in front of the station, and several demonstrations have been held. Nearly 100 people have been arrested.

The Berkeley measure states that 50-year-old KPFA is "a part of Berkeley's cultural heritage" and that the crisis and ensuing protests have created "a significant drain on the city's budget." Police overtime has exceeded $150,000 so far.

Dean gave special credit for the bipartisan resolution to Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek for her strong support of the station's locked-out staff, and to Council members Dona Spring and Diane Woolley for their work on the council's unsuccessful attempt last week to wrestle with the nettlesome problem.

Meanwhile, several organizations added their names in the past few days to the growing list of groups and people who are normally supportive of Pacifica's progressive values but who have criticized its handling of the KPFA dispute. Some call for Pacifica officials to resign.

The recent additions include the 5,000-member National Writers Union, the socially responsible telephone/credit card firm Working Assets, and the central labor councils of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Working Assets announced last week that it was pulling Pacifica from the list of 50 nonprofit organizations it planned to support this year. Each year the company gives a share of its profits to groups nominated by Working Assets members.

KPFA and Pacifica entered into mediation last week. The third day of talks is scheduled for today.

LOAD-DATE: July 27, 1999

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