Pacifica's Problems

Readers won't stop talking about Pacifica Radio. Two weeks after Hillel Aron's story about the left-wing radio company — which includes local KPFK — our mailbag continues to fill (“Pacifica's Permanent Revolution,” March 21).

Kim Carney of South Pasadena writes, “As a long-term listener and supporter of Pacifica Radio, I read your story with rapt interest. Kudos to Hillel Aron and the Weekly for publishing what is most likely an accurate yet depressing exposé on this perennial bastion of the left.

“Early on, I assumed Pacifica's managerial and organizational dysfunctionality would be corrected by the next 'successful' fund drive. Recently, I have come to view such maladies as commonplace for an organization that has spoken truth to power in excess of 50 years and still refuses to accept corporate underwriting as its life mission. No other station on the FM or AM dial can make this claim, including the so-called 'public' stations KPPC or KCRW. For this reason, I will remain a steadfast Pacifica listener and supporter. Pacifica Radio is the only media outlet with the guts and independence to bring inconvenient truths to the light of day.”

We also heard from Alan Minsky, interim program director at KPFK. He alleges that we “severely underrepresented” the size of the station's audience. “You wrote that KPFK has only 700 listeners per every quarter hour (known as AQH). The most recent reports in January and February 2014 were double this number, and KPFK's listenership is significantly greater than our AQH numbers reflect.

“The 700 number that was cited is a statistical outlier. It was KPFK's AQH for L.A. and Orange counties for the 2013 holiday season. It was by far the lowest number in recent times and it has to be put into context: Not only is the holiday season traditionally low for all radio stations, but KPFK was in a fund drive for much of the period, right up until Xmas week, and fund drives severely depress our 'numbers.' 

Minsky also notes that KPFK broadcasts on three other signals in the region, reaching Santa Barbara, San Diego and south of the Sierras, and has a “a significant online audience.”

“As you can see, the number of folks listening to KPFK far exceeds how this matter was represented in your article,” he continues. “Having said that, we acknowledge that KPFK faces many challenges and none more important than increasing the number of people listening live to our radio signal. We hope everyone in the region will check us out.”

Bill White won't be one of them. He writes, “Ian Masters is the only person working at KPFK who deserves to be called a journalist. The rest of the so-called on-air talent is a collection of 'Amateur Hour' clowns with their own personal agendas and axes to grind. As for Amy Goodman, she's a pompous, self-righteous, self-promoting phony, and a humorless egomaniac. And those are just her good points.”

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