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Call for national Pacifica governance program

[ also check out the Democracy Now! petition and perhaps www.pacificamatters.net -ed. ]

[open letter to the iPNB, the Pacifica Executive Director, Pacifica National Programming, and Pacifica stations]

Dear All,

Every signal area has bitter divisions among its interested parties. National programming may be better positioned to fairly present the Pacifica story, and its current restructuring and democratization process, to Pacifica listeners and time and funds contributors.

Some say Pacifica listeners don't care about process, they care about programming. The most exciting programming I can imagine would tackle issues and solutions that may or may not save the venue of everyone's beloved programming. I can hear Amy Goodman, the "monster" of marketing (a complimentary reference she probably remembers), pitch such programming now:

If you think survival of free speech is important, if you think democracy for Pacifica now is important, and understand that rewriting its bylaws may save Pacifica as America's only independent, community-sponsored radio network, then listen to the unfolding drama and thorny exercise of the public gaining its own voice in the use of its own airwaves -- airwaves that were originally the public's domain before corporate "citizens" corralled them. Tune in to [you name it] and pledge to keep this network alive -- a progressive voice for us all.

Well, Amy does it better, but you get the idea. In Houston last year, I argued to the deposed board that the real marketing strategy, the kind of radio people are hungry for, is radical progressive programming -- the kind that drove record-breaking fund drives in Berkeley and New York before the "Christmas coup."

I still believe that. What's more radical and progressive than a network covering its own turbulent, radically progressive process? Pacifica has put alternate views of world politics in people's laps for years and has the skill to convey its own metamorphosis to its listeners and subscribers. If Pacifica fails, or fades into blandness, its listeners will lose. How exciting does it get?

Pacifica broadcasting its own drama could also capture a larger public's imagination. Who else discusses democracy in action in more than sound bites?

So that's my pitch. But you do it best. The Pacifica Foundation not only deserves but is obligated to produce vital national programming as it ushers a new era. I know, in your spare time, of course. But I believe it would pay off in many ways.

Robert Johnson
WBAI listener

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