NEW KPFA SALE RUMOURS REPORTED TODAY
Foundation Denies KPFA to Be Sold City Council backs station workers
Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 28, 1999
A proposal to sell Berkeley radio station KPFA is expected to come today before the policy-making body of KPFA's governing Pacifica Foundation, sources told The Chronicle last night.
But Pacifica spokesman Michael Fineman said that Mary Francis Berry, chairwoman of the foundation's board, ``emphatically denied'' last night that sale of the 50-year-old radio station is ``an option being seriously considered.''
The reports of the station possibly being put up for sale coincided last night with a packed emergency meeting of the Berkeley City Council, which voted to support locked- out KPFA workers, to demand that Pacifica reopen the station and restore regular programming, and to call for the resignation of Pacifica's executive director, Lynn Chadwick.
The Oakland City Council, meanwhile, adopted a resolution calling on Pacifica to end the lockout and remove armed guards from the station.
KPFA, the flagship station of the five-station Pacifica network, has been shuttered for two weeks in the growing battle between the station and its governing foundation over local control.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources close to the crisis told The Chronicle that Pacifica's seven-member executive committee will meet by phone today and is expected to vote on the sale. The executive committee is drawn from members of Pacifica's 14-person board of directors.
Three sources said a majority of the committee appear inclined to support a sale. Unconfirmed reports said options could include re-establishing KPFA at a less-desirable spot on the FM dial with a nonunion staff.
The Chronicle attempted to get in contact with the 14 board members last night and reached four of them. Three acknowledged that the executive committee will meet by phone today but said a confidentiality agreement prevents them from confirming or denying consideration of a sale. The fourth refused to speak at all.
Rabbi Aaron Kriegel, a board member from Los Angeles, said the committee today will a discuss ``a proposal to solve the Pacifica crisis.''
Board member Rob Robinson of Washington, D.C., said the full board engaged in a ``stream of consciousness'' during a phone meeting yesterday that left matters uncertain for today's meeting.
Reports have surfaced in recent weeks of a bitter division on the board, with a majority apparently unsympathetic to what they view as recalcitrant protesters in Berkeley. Numerous demonstrations have all been directed at Pacifica.
Fears of a sale have been swirling for two weeks, after an e-mail to Berry from board member Michael Palmer was accidentally leaked. Palmer wrote that he was under the impression that ``a definite majority'' in ``the proper quarters'' supports ``shutting down that unit and re-programming immediately.''
Palmer said cash-strapped Pacifica could possibly realize $65 million to $75 million on the sale. San Francisco Chronicle
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