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2nd Day of no Democracy Now! at WBAI

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

For the second day in a row, the rogue regime at WBAI is refusing to air Democracy Now! In it's place is a very smug Clayton Riley broadcasting lies, distortions and racist manipulation. A few protesting callers made it on to the air but unfortunately were not prepared or convincing.

Roger M


For Immediate Release
January 7, 2002

Democracy Now! Returns to the Pacifica Radio Network Debut Marred by Arbitrary Censorship from Pacifica Execs

Renegade WBAI Manager Bob Daughtry Refuses to Air Live Broadcast Defies Court Settlement and New Pacifica Board

NEW YORK (Jan. 7) -- After a five month ban, the award-winning national radio program Democracy Now! returned to Pacifica Radio's airwaves on Monday. But the show's home station WBAI in New York defied a directive by the new listener-backed Pacifica National Board and refused to air the program.

The board ordered the show back on the air in its original time-slot, 9-10am EST. The program was aired by Pacifica station KPFT in Houston. But WPFW in Washington began the program ten minutes into the broadcast and censored the end of the show in which host Amy Goodman dedicated the program to the banned and fired at WBAI and KPFK.

Pacifica station KPFK in Los Angeles aired the program at 6:00am Pacifica time, but failed to broadcast the program at its usual slot of 9:00am which has a much larger audience.

Democracy Now! was banished from Pacifica airwaves last August in the midst of an attempted corporate takeover of the only independent radio network in the United States. The only Pacifica station to air the program over the last five months has been KPFA in Berkeley. Democracy Now! has also continued to air on community radio stations nationwide.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the union which represents Democracy Now!, filed grievances charging harassment, unpaid wages, and an unsafe workplace. But Pacifica management has steadfastly fought the complaints, spending more than $200,000 on legal fees in battling the union and the Democracy Now! team.

Today's return came as a result of a two-thirds majority vote of the new board, required by last month's legal settlement that averted a lengthy and costly legal battle between reformers and a corporate leadership on the national board. The settlement, approved by Alameda Superior Court in Oakland, handed control of the network over to reformers and also called on the national board to resolve the Democracy Now! conflict.

New Pacifica National Board Chair Leslie Cagan said the return of Democracy Now! was an important step in rebuilding the network. "This is a critical day in the history of Pacifica Radio," Cagan said.

"I just want to say how much I love you, how much I like your show," said activist-comedian Dick Gregory, who was the swing vote on the board mandating that the ban be lifted and that Democracy Now! be restored. "I'm glad you're back."

After discovering that Democracy Now! was not airing live on WBAI, filmmaker Michael Moore, a guest on the program, called the radio station from Democracy Now!'s studio as the show broadcast live to ask "Where am I? I don't hear myself on WBAI."

Moore was attempting to reach WBAI's General Manager Robert Daughtry. Moore's call was put through to the public affairs director, who said the station would not air the program. Moore's on-air confrontation with the only Pacifica station that refused to air Democracy Now! comes days before the new Pacifica National Board will meet face to face in New York this weekend.

Also appearing on the program were activist-comedian Dick Gregory, a new member of the Pacifica National Board, Professor Noam Chomsky, Leslie Cagan, the new Chair of the Pacifica board. New York Daily News columnist and Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez returned to the program after a year of leading a campaign to win back Pacifica. Fired WBAI programmer Bernard White also appeared on the program.

"Today was a tremendous victory for pro-democracy media activists around the country who have fought tirelessly to return Pacifica to its original mission: to go to where the silence is and say something," said Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. "It is not surprising that our home station WBAI censored today's live broadcast. This is a station that continues to fire and ban producers."

Tel: 646-230-9588

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