September 30, 1999

Contact: Patty Heffley
(212) 929-7097

Teach-In on Community, Democracy and Freedom of Expression at Pacifica Radio Saturday, October 2nd, from noon to 4:00 p.m. in Washington Square Park.

Ownership and control of mass media in general and Pacifica radio in particular, free speech and censorship, listener and worker empowerment, and representation of women, queers and people of color will be among the issues explored at a teach-in to be held in New York City on Saturday, October 2nd. Timed to coincide with Banned Books Week , this teach-in is given further urgency by Mayor Giuliani's attacks on the Brooklyn Museum of Art . The event will take place from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Washington Square Park (West Fourth Street at Fifth Avenue) in Manhattan, and is sponsored by the Coalition for a Democratic Pacifica-New York.

Among the scheduled speakers is Dennis Bernstein , whose arrest by armed guards was broadcast live over the air last July at KPFA in Berkeley, California, and led to a 23-day staff lock-out and protests by as many as 15,000 listeners and supporters in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Pacifica Foundation's hostile takeover of KPFA galvanized Pacifica staff and listeners throughout the U.S. to organize in response to censorship, elimination of community programming and disenfranchisement of local representatives by the national board of the five-station network. This growing movement in support of listener-sponsored, community-based radio will be discussed by some of the leading progressive activists in New York.

Danny Schechter of Globalvision will speak about Pacifica radio within the context of broader issues of democracy, human rights and control of news and mass media by corporate conglomerates. During his 30-year career as a writer, journalist and producer at WBCN-FM, CNN, ABC's 20/20 and Globalvision, Schechter has received widespread acclaim, including two Emmy awards, for his work on such productions as South Africa Now and Rights & Wrongs: Human Rights Television. Schechter has also produced and directed seven independent films including Timothy Leary Lives, Seeds of Peace, Beyond JFK, Give Peace a Chance, Countdown to Freedom, Prisoners of Hope , Mandela in America, and The Making of Sun City . He filmed the Dalai Lama's visit to South Africa in l996. Schechter is also the author of The More You Watch, The Less You Know and of numerous magazine articles.

Other scheduled speakers include:
Joneil Adriano, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Iris Baez, Anthony Baez Foundation
Samiya Bashir, New York Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
Mitchel Cohen, Green Party
Randy Credico, William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice
Eddie Ellis, Community Justice Center
Bob Feldman, Investigative reporter
Lyn Gerry, Former shop steward at Pacifica station KPFK in Los Angeles
William Harrell, National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild
John Hocevar, Students for a Free Tibet
Elliot Hoffman, East Timor Action Network observer
Phil Josselyn, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Robert Lederman, Artist and activist
Steve Rendall, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Lynn Samuels, Former WBAI producer, now talk show host at WABC
Randi Steele, Mistress of Ceremonies, radio historian and microbroadcaster
Meredith Tax, Political activist, author, and president of Women's WORLD
Gabriel Torres, Former political prisoner active in Latino and black liberation struggles
WBAI Shop Steward R. Paul Martin
WBAI program producers including Elombe Brath, Janet Coleman and David Dozer (Cat Radio Cafe), Paul DeRienzo, Robert Knight, Robert Lederer, Joan Moossy, and Bill Weinberg
WBAI listeners and local advisory board members

Further information is available from the Coalition for a Democratic Pacifica-New York Hotline at (212) 465-7562 and at their website,

The Coalition for a Democratic Pacifica-New York is composed of listeners, staff and supporters of WBAI 99.5 FM, the Pacifica listener-sponsored, non-commercial station in New York, working in alliance with others throughout the country to keep the Pacifica network true to its mission of speaking truth to power and providing a progressive, alternative voice for the communities we serve.