In September 2000, PBS broadcast the documentary "KPFA On The Air" as
part of its nationally distributed series POV. We the filmmakers were thrilled
that the history of America's oldest listener-sponsored community radio
station and network was shared by millions of viewers across the country.
The film has also received accolades at conferences and festivals
This past week, we have been informed that the Pacifica Foundation, owner
of KPFA's license, has forbidden KPFA and the other four stations in its
network from using our film as a fundraising premium. We must protest
this act of censorship. All Pacifica stations are listener supported, and
to deprive them of the opportunity to fundraise with our film is
economically insupportable as well as censorious. Unfortunately, the
station most harmed by this prohibition is KPFA, which has been locked in
battle with Pacifica since last year.
What is so alarming about our film that cash-strapped Pacifica prohibits
stations from raising urgently needed money? While most of the film's one
hour length explores KPFA and Pacifica's joint 50 year history, a few
minutes at the beginning and end are devoted to the crisis that erupted in
1999 and is still unresolved. Last year's events were unimaginable when
we began the film in 1991, but it would have been irresponsible for us as
documentarians to not include something that received international
coverage and represents the gravest crisis KPFA and Pacifica have ever
faced. Ironically, the most consistent criticism of the film is that it
is too even-handed and brief in dealing with these events.
Since the struggle between KPFA and Pacifica began, it has been our hope
that the film could stimulate much-needed public dialogue about Pacifica's
Still holding that hope, we urge Pacifica to reconsider, and not further
sully its name with this act of petty censorship. We remain ready to make
tapes available at no charge to stations and programmers who request them.