You need a score card these days to keep up with programming changes over at listener sponsored Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley. About four months after dumping the KPFA Morning Show and replacing it with a volunteer lineup called ‘The Morning Mix,’ the station’s management says it is ending that experiment, too. Pretty much everything else is getting moved around like tossed salad as well, according to a staff memo we just received.
Now the ‘Mix’ and the 9 am rebroadcast of Democracy Now! will be replaced by Flashpoints and Hard Knock Radio. Flashpoints will broadcast at 8 am. Hard Knock at 9. Against the Grain and Living Room will moved to 11 am. The Morning Music shows will air at noon with an extra half hour. And a new program called “Talk Back” will broadcast at five PM.
All this will happen following the May fund drive, write Interim General Manager Andrew Phillips and Interim Program Director Carrie Core.
Why is the ‘Morning Mix’ on the way out? The memo doesn’t say. The show was initially heralded as “a new day” for the station. In March, KPFA/Pacifica management stood down calls to restore the old Morning Show with Brian Edwards-Tiekert and Aimee Allison by insisting that its controversial removal “was the most cost-effective programming change we could make at KPFA.”
The 7-9 am time slot is a big fundraiser throughout public and listener-supported radio. We are still analyzing the results of the current fund drive, but even though there has been a concerted effort to undermine the new Morning Mix program and calls from some quarters for a boycott—our preliminary analysis shows the morning programming change is holding up pretty well financially.
We expect the new programming to continue to gain audience support over time, and we will continue to work with our staff to discontinue their efforts to undermine the new programming and the station. We support this experiment in bringing new community volunteer voices to our air, and we’ve heard from many of our listeners that they do too.
That was then. This is now:
“We want to thank and praise those who pitched in on the Morning Mix over these past months,” the memo says. “Most were unpaid staff and they did a good job under difficult circumstances.”
But despite the fact that Edwards-Tiekert has been rehired (following a union grievance) and Allison’s case is on the way to arbitration, their Morning Show is not coming back, Phillips and Core insist.
“Restoring the old Morning Show is not the answer,” the memo says. “We need to step into the future, not back to the past.”
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