The San Francisco Board of Supervisors went on the record yesterday to urge Pacifica to negotiate a “favorable conclusion” to the crisis over the removal of the KPFA Morning Show. The vote on the resolution was 7-4. Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Chris Daly, Sean Elsbernd, Eric Mar and Ross Mirkarimi voted for the resolution. Supervisors Carmen Chu, Bevan Dufty, Sophie Maxwell and Michela Alioto-Pier voted no.
The resolution noted that the KPFA Morning Show is an “important civic forum for the San Francisco Bay Area,” and said layoffs of senior staff had created “great disruption” at KPFA and concern among listeners. It was a response to Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt’s layoff of Morning Show hosts Aimee Allison and Brian Edwards-Tiekert, in violation of the Communications Workers of America Local 9415 union contract. The layoffs have sparked grievances and charges before the National Labor Relations Board.
Thousands of listeners have lodged complaints since the layoffs, asking for return of the Morning Show. Engelhardt’s selection of volunteers and unpaid staff to host a substitute 8 am program has caused a sharp decline in KPFA’s morning audience, with likely financial repercussions.
Engelhardt has claimed the layoffs were financially motivated and has told some listeners that if enough funding were available she would bring the program back. New KPFA general manager Amit Pendyal started work today at the station, and ultimately may be the one who makes a decision on reinstating the Morning Show.