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"Pacifica national program director" Yasko's spin on "Pacifica's" attack on Democracy Now! 8-21-01


The letter below was sent by National program director Stephen Yasko note to Pacifica affiliates re: Democracy Now! Affiliates have complained for years about the poor, disrespectful treatment they've received from National. Of late, Yasko has been changing his tone with the affiliates, trying to woo with warm and fuzzy language about inclusion, suggesting National is all of a sudden concerned about affiliate needs and concerns.

Important to note that more Pacifica affiliates are now carrying Free Speech Radio News--the PNN strikers' newcast--than the Pacifica Network News itself. And many affiliates only carry PNN because they want Democracy Now! (Pacifica made it a package deal so the affiliates must take both programs.)



[Editor's note: WARNING: Those with a weak stomach may want to avoid reading Yasko's memo. It's almost entirely bullshit.]

From: Stephen Yasko syasko@pacifica.org
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2001 2:59 PM
To: Brian Gibbons

To: Pacifica Affiliates
Fr: Stephen Yasko, National Program Director Dt: August 21, 2001

Re: Update on Democracy Now!

As you know, Pacifica has been feeding archive editions ofDemocracy Now! since last Wednesday, August 15, 2001. At about 4:00 pm the previous day, the staff of Democracy Now! decided to produce the program at a location other than their normal work location, without consulting their supervisor or other members of the Pacifica Foundation. based on what they perceive as an unsafe environment. Pacifica cannot, for various legal and managerial reasons, allow staff to make such decisions without prior discussion the Foundation or distribute programming to a national audience that is not produced at one of its own facilities or a facility authorized by the Foundation.

Pacifica and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) engaged in round the clock discussions with the Democracy Now! staff to ensure a safe and productive work environment at WBAI, the production location for the program. I am sorry that I have not been able to communicate with you sooner about this situation, but as part of the negotiations with AFTRA and the Democracy Now! staff, all parties agreed not discuss the status or content of the negotiations.

At the end of the day Friday, AFTRA and Pacifica reached agreement on the issues presented by the Democracy Now! staff. We, and AFTRA, believe a safe work environment can be and is maintained for all our employees at WBAI. AFTRA has informed the Democracy Now! staff of these successful negotiations and that the staff should report to workbeginning Monday, August 20, 2002. The Democracy Now! staff has not returned to work even though their union has reached agreement with Pacifica.

All of us at Pacifica look forward ther eturn live editions of Democracy Now! and I know you and your listeners do as well.

Because Democracy Now! is such a time sensitive program, we have been endevoring to choose shows that maintain their relevance and add enough tags indicating it is a rebroadcast as possible. Since the original programs contain a very time sensitive headline section, we have inserted additional music breaks for local promotion. This is complicated by the varying legnths of the original breaks. Some stations have indicated this construction has been helpful in local promotion. Some stations have indicated that this is too much time. We're trying to please everyone, especially the listener. To that end, we insert and live newscast in the original news cast hole. J. Marie Hall, a voice your listeners are familiar with, will be providing the news cast at 9:00 ET and updating it at noon ET.

Thanks, and I'll be in touch as this process develops.

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