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Pacifica Cutbacks Raise Questions About Progressivism

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July 26, 2010 -- On the night of July 16, 2010, I delivered the following statement to the regular quarterly meeting of the national board of the Pacifica Radio Foundation. What you read here is a transcript of the statement as I delivered it, so it differs a little bit from a version also on the Internet that is the speech as I had written it.

I'm Kellia Ramares, news tech, journalist and board op at KPFA, one of the reporters arrested in the newsroom on July 13,1999 and co-founder of Guns and Butter.

On June 29th, I was informed that my work hours would be cut from 11 per week to 6. A 45% reduction, mostly in my hours as the weekend news tech. Six hours a week is not enough to live on.

And I will also add, since Anthony Fest brought up Ann Garrison, Ann Garrison gives me credit for putting technically together her stories. And she's not the only one.

Is KPFA really so broke that it cannot pay me a little more than $1200 over the next three months? Because that's the difference between 11 hours and 6 for me until the end of the fiscal year. If so, what is the cause?

If KPFA's budget problem is that the payroll is too top-heavy with full-time, benefited employees, why make such devastating cuts to a quarter-time worker with NO benefits?

During a recent fund-raiser two Saturday news programs were pre-empted in an unprecedented move. Now the weekend news tech hours are almost entirely eliminated. Is this really an economic necessity or is it part of a plan to eventually ditch the weekend news altogether?

Or is it just further exploitation of non-union part-timers?

Or is it a mistake by our beancounting interim GM, whose Linked-in profile shows he's all HR and no radio? He shows no regard for the consequences to programming on a 24/7/365 operation of slashing someone who works weekends, and holidays, and who fills in when people are sick, on vacation, on special assignment or have a household emergency.

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Kellia is a freelance journalist in Oakland, CA who left the Pacifica Radio Network in July, 2010 after 11+ years in the KPFA news department and over 10 years with Free Speech Radio News. She is now in the odd position of needing a paid job while (more...)
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