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Pacifica

By Kevin O'Neill | November 16, 2001 | Page 11

THE PACIFICA Foundation board may be backing out of an expected agreement that was being hailed as a victory by listener groups and employees victimized by management.

Plaintiffs in lawsuits against the Pacifica board–which runs the left-wing Pacifica Radio Network–announced November 3 that they were on the verge of a settlement. But more than a week later, the board had yet to sign the deal.

Listeners groups and supporters of fired workers were continuing to build for demonstrations at the Pacifica board meeting in Washington, D.C., in mid-November.

Over the past several years, the board–which is dominated by a mix of business representatives and Democratic Party heavyweights–has been pressuring Pacifica member stations to adopt more corporate-friendly, politically "mainstream" programming. At New York City's WBAI, some two dozen producers were driven out over the past year alone as a result of the board's attack on station leftists.

But radio workers and station listeners organized a fight to put pressure on the board. The apparent settlement was hailed at a November 3 benefit for Democracy Now!, the network's flagship news program that was removed from the airwaves as part of the board's crackdown.

Now, the pro-corporate board has started cracking. On October 31, board member Ken Ford, a housing industry lobbyist, announced his resignation–only a week after attacking the board's opponents in the media.

And the fight to save Pacifica has grown, despite the board's decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire anti-union law firms, a security company and a PR firm to polish its image.

Busloads of people are planning to rally at the board's November 17-18 meetings. "It's very important to get as many people as possible out there," organizer Denis Moynihan told Socialist Worker.

Call 800-797-6229 or 973-762-3682 for information about the Washington demonstrations.

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