Beloved Community Radio

| January 21, 2002 Issue

I n December 2000, years of internal disputes came to a head at Pacifica Radio when 37 members of staff and management were fired, banned, and suspended. More than a year later, those ousted employees are returning to work after an interim board at Pacifica voted last week to reinstate them, reports Laura Flanders of Working for Change.

Pacifica has been struggling to rebuild its internal structure for a few years, but change has come slowly. Last year there was a campaign to remove board of directors members who didn't support the network's progressive principles or grassroots structure. Most recently, the interim board voted to appoint a new interim executive director, to replace the general manager of WBAI -- the same station at which the 37 employees were terminated -- and to fire law firms the previous board had hired to fight lawsuits, says Flanders.

Pacifica has taken huge steps to return control of stations back to the communities they are in, says one board member. But the task is proving to be daunting, despite Pacifica's recent progress. The network faces debts of more than $3 million, according to Flanders, incurred mostly by the national office in the last couple of years.
--Kate Garsombke
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