• From: Kim Grehn regarding
I have often heard staff and volunteers at stations like KFAI say something like, "But we're offering a true community service. We're doing programming nobody else is doing." There is no community service if nobody is listening. There's an intersection between content and community support. The first step in getting somebody to contribute is to have that someone listen. Does KFAI have listeners in sufficient numbers to support its efforts?
KEN: Well stated, Dr. Grehn. I don’t know if KFAI has enough contributing listeners to be sustainable. I wish Patti Walsh and her new crew at KFAI the best in this quest.
• From: Anonymous regarding NEW LIFE FOR PACIFICA? JOHN PROFFITT MIGHT MAKE ITHAPPEN
As a newcomer to public radio, I have no idea what you are talking about when you refer to Pacifica’s legendary history. What is it?
KEN: While doing research about Pacifica, I came across an excellent article from 2014 published in the LA WEEKLY. It provides a splendid history of the organization. You can see the full article at [LINK]
The article is an impeccably researched and reported piece by Hillel Aron. In addition to Pacifica’s history, it tells fascinating behind-the-scene stories including herbalist/healer Gary Null’s use of Pacifica’s airwaves to sell his products, a takeover of news programs by 9/11 skeptics and the nutty beliefs of Summer Reese, the temporary Executive Director who barricaded herself in her office after she had been fired To Save Pacifica.
CLIPS FROM THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF PACIFICA
KEN: There were few working FM radios after WW2. During and just after the War, the FCC changed the location of FM frequencies further up the dial, benefiting corporate interests who felt economically threatened by FM. This story is told in wonderful detail in Ken Burns’ 1992 PBS documentary Empire of the Air [LINK].
I did my Master’s Thesis on this topic and the related Channel Six interference problem.
KEN: I had forgotten that William F. Buckley made a name for himself and National Review via appearances on WBAI.
KEN: Here is a map of KFPK’s awesome coverage area:
KEN: The Patty Hearst/SLA incident was the last time I recall Pacifica making national news other than lockouts, petty internal politics and nearly constant turnover of Board members and management.
KEN: Ruth Seymour Hirschman and Will Lewis swapped positions when they went to KCRW – Hirschman became GM and Lewis was an unofficial consultant. Together they build KCRW into one of the most influential radio stations in America.
KEN: This happened more recently – I hadn’t known about it until I read the LA Weekly article. No wonder Amy Goodman thinks she is “larger” than Pacifica. She is.
• From: BJ Mora regarding
I subscribe to SiriusXM mainly for one channel only - but I disagree, the sonic fidelity on some of their channels is horrible.
KEN: I’ve heard this from other people, particularly regarding the older XM channels. I am not a current subscriber. Friends of mine who do listen tend to do a lot of driving. They listen for broadcasts of Major League Baseball, Howard Stern, The Loft and Little Steven. These channels apparently sound fine.