Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.
Two of KPFA’s long-term radical programmers have been unceremoniously purged this week.
On Tuesday evening, the Program Council voted 11-4 to dump Thinking Out Loud with Bill Mandel. They offered no explanation for this decision, nor even suggested what they intend to replace Bill’s show with.
On Monday, General Manager Roy Campanella II unilaterally cut Robert Knight’s time on Flashpoints by 25%, reducing his four five-minute slots per week to three.
The basis for these two decisions is far from clear.
PROGRAM COUNCIL AXES BILL
The Program Council refuses to report who voted yes or no on Bill’s program. However, from our investigation, it appears that those who voted to fire Bill were: Shahram Aghamir, Nick Alexander, Aileen Alfandary, Mary Berg, Amelia González-García, Annie Hallatt, Luis Medina, Lemlem Rijio, Tracy Rosenberg, Dev Ross and Kris Welch.
Those voting to keep Bill were: Anthony Fest, Sepideh Khosrowjah, Joe Wanzala and Stan Woods.
Nine of the eleven Program Council members who voted to can Bill are staff members. Three of the four who voted to continue Bill’s program are listener representatives. If the Program Council wasn’t so packed with staff members, Bill would probably still have his show.
It appears that a number of staff members are intensely jealous of Bill’s popularity and cutting-edge politics. Indeed, even as the Program Council was voting to cut Bill’s show, 25 of Bill’s supporters were picketing in front of the station. This was the second picket line organized by Mandelistas in the last week. Both of these pickets have gone unreported by the KPFA evening news.
Bill has two more scheduled shows before the ax comes down: Friday, December 9, and Friday, December 23, at 2:30 pm.
CAMPANELLA CUTS ROBERT KNIGHT
The nearly-simultaneous cutback in Robert Knight’s air time only serves to confirm that the purge is on. There has been no public statement by Campanella regarding this decision, and consequently no public explanation.
However, it is well-known that the news department has long been bitterly opposed to the Knight Report, which provides the excellent news headlines that the news department doesn’t.
Earlier this year, Knight was fired as a regular programmer on WBAI, Pacifica’s station in New York. This followed an incident which Knight has called a “black bag job,” during which a WBAI “management partisan inexplicably pored through, inspected and thoroughly rearranged my desk, file cabinet, recordings and confidential reporter’s notes, as well as tampered with my production computer.” When Knight objected to this behavior, he was threatened by another staff member who told him to “Stop acting like a bitch, you bitch, or I’ll kick your ass.” Incredibly, Knight is the one who was later fired.
Now it appears that Knight is also on the chopping block at KPFA. For more background on Knight’s troubles with WBAI, click here.
It is clear that tough times are ahead for KPFA, but the fight is far from over. Stay tuned…