As a long-time reporter for Pacifica Network News and KPFK, it was exhilarating to watch staff at sister station KPFA in Berkeley put their jobs on the line last spring and summer to demand a little of the free speech, justice, and democracy that the network has long advocated.
When KPFA Station Manager Nicole Sawaya and Pacifica correspondent Larry Bensky were fired last spring, staff took to the airwaves in defiance of Pacifica’s long-standing policy of not airing internal grievances. They told Bay Area listeners what many already suspected: The network was becoming a top-heavy bureaucracy hungry for mainstream legitimacy. It was unaccountable to the community and preoccupied with ratings and market share. The conflict escalated when Pacifica National Board member Pete Bramson confirmed rumors that the National Board was considering a sale of the station.