Letters: Broadcast Views
Wow, riveting and much-needed exposé of KPFK’s internal politics [“Night of the Living Dead,” September 7–13] by Marc Cooper (yawn, zzzz). Surely even an august institution like the L.A. Weekly has its occasional spat. Let’s consider much-maligned KPFK’s good side: Amy Goodman. Twice per morning, as she and we deserve. Music programs that actually feature local bands, and access to those shows by the less-than-major labels. Roy of Hollywood, a genuinely eclectic and hair-raising program for the mind that will keep you up till 4 a.m., if you dare to tune in at midnight. Hey, even the evening news, read by earnest, unpolished readers who somehow find a different set of headlines from the monoculture of NPRCNNABCNYT.
I am a regular KPFK listener, and frankly I do not recognize the station that Marc Cooper, still bitter over his faction’s defeat in the Pacifica power struggle, attempts to demonize. Has he actually been listening to the station? 9/11 conspiracy theories? You’re more likely to hear Ian Masters debunking them. Revolutionary Communist Party propaganda??! Well, I have heard some propaganda for Eric Mann’s Bus Riders Union, but not the RCP.
Cooper doesn’t seem to appreciate that free speech naturally lends itself to colorful, even wigged-out personalities. I have known several people involved in KPFK governance, from hippies to pacifists to hard leftists to non-white nationalists, and what they had in common was that not one was satisified with how things were going at the station. KPFK must be doing a pretty good job to keep so many people so dissatisfied with their unfulfilled agendas.
What I object to is Cooper trying to rewrite history. Six years ago, the “heavy-handed, brutish tactics” decried by Cooper were being employed by himself and his buddy Mark Schubb.
Today, despite whatever malign influence Cooper thinks the “zombies” have over the station, Roz Larman’s “Folkscene” is still on the air. Ian Masters is still on the air. So are Uncle Ruthie’s story hour, the car show, the gospel hour, and a plethora of hippie-ish milquetoast programs that the PC left supposedly despises. It’s a wide, wonderful world at KPFK — tune in and savor it!
I agree fully with Marc Cooper’s assessment of KPFK. This year, I did not make a contribution to KPFK for the first time in 21 years. I never listen to the station anymore. I spend my time with KCRW and KTLK. I love Stephanie Miller and Raul Campos. Randi Rhodes is more intelligent, analytical and interesting than any news analysis on KPFK today. It is a travesty that such an important resource has been wasted. I hope the changes Cooper mentions revive the relevancy of this station to people who hunger for news and information unavailable elsewhere.
I’m a listener/sponsor of KPFK, and have tuned in to the station, on and off, since its inception in 1959 (when there were two reel-to-reel tape recorders and two mikes — one for broadcast, one for practice). Many of the criticisms (accusations) made in Marc Cooper’s article are accurate, and I could add more, such as self-aggrandizement and lack of humility.
What he fails to mention is all the people KPFK gives voice to who try to change the social paradigm for the betterment of folks on this planet, and the planet itself.
The information provided makes the station worth listening to. While I don’t believe the neo-cons were behind 9/11, the “official” explanation of what caused the Twin Towers to crumble the way they did doesn’t jibe with the assertions many experts have made. Does wanting to know more make me a conspiracy theorist?
I’m a peripheral listener. I don’t see myself as part of a family. Sometimes I identify, sometimes I don’t. And when the occasional Jew-hater calls in, I get visions of an incipient fascism, especially when the programmer doesn’t seem to mind. Personally, I’m more concerned that you can’t sit out on your front lawn naked than I am about who gets on the station’s board. In other words, I’m a typical KPFK listener: I don’t vote.
If “every day” of Marc Cooper’s life for the last five years since he left KPFK has been a “good day,” including the day he wrote the strident article, then I hope he never has a bad day. At times, I too take issue with certain personalities at KPFK and have written strongly worded e-mails to voice my differences. Yet I do not hesitate to commend the station and its people when deserved, and that is often. Eva Georgia is one of those with whom I have disagreed. A flawed person? By all means, but clearly one who tried to do right by KPFK and the community it serves. KPFK provides an unembedded view that will be missed if the powers that be — whose interest Mr. Cooper seems willing to serve — have their way.
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