Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 15 on Women's Magazine: Another View of the Crisis at KPFA and Pacifica

The KPFA community is reeling from last week's announcement that most of the staff of the popular Morning Show had been laid off.  Charges of union busting and heavy-handed national control of local stations have been a drumbeat on KPFA's airwaves since.  What is the truth?  Were the layoffs done by seniority or not?  What was the process of communicating and negotiating with the union?  What is the history of unionization and professionalization at Pacifica, and how can we value both paid and unpaid workers?

Kate and Preeti are joined in studio by Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt, attorney and former board member Carol Spooner and Maria Gelardin, one of the founders of KPFA's Women's Department in the 1980s and producer of TUC Radio.  They discuss the history and roots of conflicts and power struggles at Pacifica, the process and reasons for the recent layoff, and the historical relationships between paid and unpaid staff.  We also discuss how this community radio station can best meet the needs of the many diverse communities it is intended to serve.

Then, Lisa Dettmer speaks with CUNY economist Stephanie Luce about how women's unpaid labor has historically been devalued in the U.S. economy.

Listen to the show

(Note:  Our conversation with Arlene, Carol and Maria was prerecorded and edited for time.  We will make the full discussion available here soon.)

For more information about the struggle for KPFA and Pacifica:
CWA contract

Laid off Morning Show host Brian Edwards-Tiekert wrote an email (shown at left; click on the image to enlarge) to acting Program Director Sasha Lilley suggesting various syndicated shows to replace our locally produced Women's Magazine.

Now Brian is one of the leading spokespeople for the unionized staff, whose website proclaims that one of their demands is:

"PRESERVE LOCAL PROGRAMMING. Stop all attempts to replace community-driven programs with syndicated content."

The justification for taking Women's Magazine off air was that we were not "professional" enough and our programs were not high quality. In our show today, Maria Gelardin raises the question: shouldn't the role of paid staff be to help unpaid programmers get our quality up to standards?

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