[News] Letter From Hard Knock Radio

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 27 08:34:33 EDT 2005


Family, Friends, Allies, Supporters, All Concerned and Involved:
It is with profound urgency that we write this letter to the people with
whom we have built this great community institution we call Hard Knock
Radio (HKR). Without your genuine love and support, we never would have
made it this far.

HKR was birthed from the struggle to save KPFA in 1999. We represent
part of the promise KPFA made to listeners then to transform and
diversify its airwaves. Since those early days, we have become one of
the most cutting-edge, unique and innovative hour-long programs in all
of Public Radio. HKR is setting the standard by which HipHop on Public
Radio will be measured. HKR represents a savvy generational shift in
progressive programming -- mixing culture and politics in a new way that
makes the social justice movement attractive to the HipHop Generation.

As many of you know, funding for Public Radio is constantly threatened
by government forces who do not value free speech and community-minded
media. The people who stand to lose the most are the next generation of
listeners: people of color and youth, poor folks, and immigrants.  These
audiences -- grossly under-served by Public Radio, but readily courted
by Commercial Radio -- are being reached and politicized by HKR, because
we understand how to speak to their concerns, engage in sincere outreach
to their communities, and provide them with  programming that is neither
patronizing nor alienating. Without HKR as
a lightning rod, these audiences may abandon Pacifica and KPFA entirely.

Contrary to almost all of Pacifica/KPFA’s public affairs programming,
HKR is not designed to be an alternative to NPR; HKR is the alternative
to Commercial Radio, and we are rooted in the principles of Media
Justice. Part of our mission is to remedy the failure of progressive
radio and the progressive movement to bring the most marginalized
communities to the table.

Unfortunately, even at a community radio station such as KPFA, our
efforts to press for inclusion and Media Justice are being thwarted by
the new General Manager, Roy Campanella II. Campanella has expressed a
desire to take ownership of the name ‘Hard Knock Radio’ from us; he has
revoked promised staffing resources; he has helped foster a hostile
workplace for women and HKR Staff in particular; and he has made
attempts to divide HKR Staff. There is increasing evidence indicating
Campanella has spread harmful lies about HKR Staff,
apparently in an effort to build a case to take certain HKR Staff off
the air. On May 5, Campanella assaulted HKR Executive Producer Weyland
Southon with a threat of physical violence.

Campanella has made it clear -- through bullying and gossiping -- that
his intention is to crush HKR. We refuse to abandon all that we have
done in the last five years to build a NEW audience for KPFA, Pacifica,
and Public Radio. We will not allow such progressives to continue to
marginalize and ghettoize programming for young people and communities
of color. We regret that it has come to this. But HKR must continue it’s
mission and it’s message.

For many of our listeners who appreciate our work and accomplishments,
the fact that HKR has become a target of abuse at KPFA, probably comes
as a complete shock. For us, there is little mystery. Our very existence
has challenged mediocrity. Since graduating from KPFA’s Apprenticeship
Program in 1995, HKR Executive Producer Weyland Southon has been a very
outspoken critic of KPFA’s status quo. HKR has been targeted because we
have emerged as a direct threat to KPFA’s entrenched powers that be.

As employees of a progressive institution, we are alarmed by the lack of
due process afforded us in this crisis. We have received no indication
from Pacifica or KPFA leadership that our concerns about workplace
safety are being given any validity. The unapologetic conspiracy of
silence and overall inaction of Pacifica management and the Local
Station Board is suspect.

This crisis has seriously disrupted our production, and is imposing
incredible hardships on the HKR Staff who still work at KPFA daily. The
unwillingness of Pacifica and KPFA’s Local Station Board to resolve
these issues effectively is literally jeopardizing the future existence
of Hard Knock Radio on the Pacifica Network. We have exhausted all
internal processes regarding this matter. Our
last resort is to fully inform our listener-supporters and ask that you
have our backs.

Our demands and needs are simple and fair:

1) Roy Campanella II should resign for creating and fostering a hostile
workplace for KPFA workers ­ especially women and HKR Staff. His
monumental mismanagement of KPFA puts our FCC license renewal at risk.
We need and deserve professional, responsible, and visionary leadership
that is willing to build a team that will KPFA into the future. We
demand a safe and equitable workplace.

2) HKR has been victimized by neglect and gross mismanagement at
Pacifica and KPFA since our inception. We demand honest, efficient, and
transparent management practices. We demand fair and supportive
supervision. We demand an end to management favoritism and cronyism.

3) We want an equitable distribution of resources, and demand that HKR
be given the highest possible budget priority. We want Pacifica and KPFA
to support and implement our innovative off-air fundraising strategies
so we can be more self-sufficient. We demand the necessary institutional
support to reach our goals so that HKR can realize its fullest potential
as a tool for social change. We demand the right of self-determination.

4) All persons responsible for this attack on HKR should be held
accountable for their words and actions. Write letters in support of HKR
directly to KPFA’s Local Station Board. Letters typed on letterhead
carry more weight than emails, so we are encouraging people to fax
letters to 510.532.8461 and/or send mail C/O Tumi’s, 3028 International
Blvd, Oakland, CA, 94601. For emails, go to
www.kpfa.org/lsb and fill out the prompt. Email the Pacifica Foundation
National Board direct at board at pacifica.org. Be sure to cc all emails to
HKR at hardknock at kpfa.org so that we can make your support public.

Yours in Struggle,

HKR Staff
Weyland Southon, Executive Producer
Anita Johnson, Senior Producer
David ‘Davey D’ Cook, Host
Favianna Rodriguez, Correspondent
Thenmozhi Soundarajan, Correspondent
Nishat Kurwa, Correspondent
Michael ‘Mike Biggz’ McKenna, Board Operator

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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