R. Paul Martin (Chief Steward) email@example.com
Christy Costello (Union Representative)
February 23, 1999
P r e s s R e l e a s e
For immediate release
Picket Line Outside WBAI-FM
Wednesday, February 24, from 12 to 2 PM
120 Wall St.
Demonstration to Protest Theft of Pacifica Foundation
On Wednesday February 24, 1999, starting at noon, Paid and Unpaid Staff from
WBAI-FM, joined by listeners to the station and other supporters, will stage a demonstration
picket line outside 120 Wall St., site of the progressive radio station's offices and studios.
The demonstration will be to protest the planned changes in the bylaws of the Pacifica
Foundation, owner of WBAI and four other radio stations around the United States, which
would remove community participation in the governance of the Pacifica Foundation and
create a self selecting Governance Board which would be answerable to no one.
The new Governance Board created by this bylaws change would remove
representatives from the Local Advisory Boards (LAB) of the five Pacifica owned stations
leaving only "At-Large" members who would have unlimited terms of office and who would
then operate as a central committee which would own the Pacifica Foundation and its assets,
which may total $300 million or more.
Among concerns are that the new Governance Board would sell WBAI, for which the
Pacifica Foundation was offered $90 million in 1996, leaving New York City without its
premiere community radio station. There is also concern that the Board would change
Pacifica into a carbon copy of the corporate, homogenous radio networks which Pacifica was
originally founded to serve as an alternative to; such an abandonment of Pacifica's mission
would deny coverage of local community interests, as well as remove community
participation in the broadcast content of the five Pacifica owned radio stations.
Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Chair of the Pacifica Foundation, claims that these changes
are necessary for the retention of Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funds.
However, this is not the case. The CPB does not require the abandonment of true community
participation which the bylaws change would affect. The bylaws change is seen as a naked
power grab aimed at concentrating the ownership of the Pacifica Foundation in the hands of a
very few people, some of whom are from areas where they can't even hear a Pacifica station,
and many of whom have never helped build the Pacifica Foundation over its 50 years of
The Pacifica Governance Board meeting will take on February 26 - 28, in Berkeley,
Designated Union spokespersons will be available to the press during this action.