Sonali Kolhatkar, host of the program Uprising, spoke with the Executive Director of Pacifica about her decision to lay off the staff of KPFA’s Morning Show. Against the wishes of its host, Uprising is being piped into KPFA from Los Angeles during the time slot of the Morning Show. Kolhatkar questioned Engelhardt about Pacifica’s violation of KPFA’s union contract, the Unfair Labor Practice Charge filed with the NLRB, and how it was that Engelhardt chose whom to layoff at KPFA–rather than KPFA management. Engelhardt said that she had been given her “marching orders” by the Pacifica National Board to make deep cuts and declined to comment whether the Morning Show’s union staff would be replaced by volunteers. You can listen to the full conversation here.
In a piece titled “KPFA’s Morning Show Purged,” the San Francisco Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond weighs in on the layoffs of that program’s staff. He writes, “KPFA lives on listener support, and the Morning Show is the most lucrative program on the station when it comes to pledge drives. KPFA listeners want local content; in fact, since the Morning Show staff was laid off, listenership has plummeted. Figures I’ve obtained on web listenership (which is easy to track, and at KPFA ultimately tends to be similar to the overall listenership tends) show that the peak audience dropped more than 60 percent after the station started piping in outside content.”
Redmond adds, “I’ve tried in the past year to stay out of the drama at KPFA — I’m a KPFA member, a longtime supporter and a fan of what the station does, and I don’t think constant media scrutiny and leftist harping about every single cut and personnel decision in tough financial times does any good for the progressive cause. But this one seems to be a big mistake, and I don’t see how Englehardt is going to fix it.”