What’s happening to Pacifica Radio?


Pacifica, a proudly left-wing independent radio network, has been wobbling noticeably lately. Endless fundraisers. Rumors of ultra-leftists trying to jack the leadership of WBAI in NY. KPFA in Berkeley was riven by factions when we lived in S.F. recently. The programming is suffering too.

On KPFK in L.A. on Friday, Sherry Beale of Healthy Planet Healthy Me fawningly inteviewed one Sheriff Richard Mack, who thinks the Brady Bill is icky and that Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix is a swell guy. WTF? Why is this on KPFK and not on the Birthers Conspiracy Show?

Judging from the programs listed on her website, Beale herself doesn’t appear to be right-wing but more from the conspiracy du jour crowd. What new Hideousness are They foisting on us today, that sort of thing. The problem with conspiracy theories is solutions are rarely proposed and after a while it just becomes a miasma of paranoia, rage, and hopelessness.

A hardcore socialist acquaintance in LA once said disgustedly to me after listening to KPFK news, I can hear better stuff on NPR now. That was three years ago too.

Fundraising is down everywhere, to be sure. Pacifica stations are in constant begging-for-money mode. Part of this has to be due to their increasingly inept and scattered programming. Sure, there are gems like Doug Henwood’s Behind The News on WBAI, but for the most part Pacifica is losing focus and listeners.