Congress set to investigate Pacifica

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Apr 18 13:04:31 MDT 2001

NEWSDAY, Monday April 18

By Peter Goodman Staff Writer

Congress is planning to hold hearings soon on the state of community radio,
prodded by the battles over control of listener-sponsored WBAI/99.5 FM and
its parent, Pacifica Foundation.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio),
expects to discuss WBAI, Pacifica, and other issues including Low Power FM,
deleterious effects of the Telecommunications Act of 1995 and recent
changes at the Federal Communications Commission, according to a
spokeswoman for Rep. Major Ownes (D-Brooklyn), a caucus officer. Owens,
already concerned about the lack of radio access among his Haitian
constituents, was goaded into action after he was cut off the air during a
live broadcast on WBAI last month.

At the time, he said, "I think WBAI's fight for existence . . . over the
last few years is symbolic, and very important in the larger fight for
freedom of speech over the airwaves."

Neither the makeup of the hearing panel nor the dates of the hearings has
been set, Owens spokeswoman Deborah Stayers said yesterday, but they are
expected to be soon.

Meanwhile, the WBAI dissidents continue to rally. There was a demonstration
yesterday outside the Roosevelt Field offices of a real estate firm
connected with a Pacifica board member. This afternoon from 4:30 to 6,
protesters plan to picket WBAI's offices at 120 Wall St. And on Saturday,
there is to be a day-long party and rally, featuring most of the station
producers, announcers, staffers and volunteers fired since the "Christmas
Coup" which brought in the current management. The event is to be at the
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., Manhattan, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Louis Proyect
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