hip hop music

June 28, 2005

Hip-Hop Radio Under Attack

From my brethren at KPFA in Cali:


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
of Public Radio. HKR is setting the standard by which HipHop on
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

As many of you know, funding for Public Radio is constantly
by government forces who do not value free speech and
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
a lightning rod, these audiences may abandon Pacifica and KPFA

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
the new General Manager, Roy Campanella II. Campanella has expressed
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
Southon with a threat of physical violence.

Campanella has made it clear -- through bullying and gossiping --
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
communities of color. We regret that it has come to this. But HKR
continue it’s mission and it’s message.

For many of our listeners who appreciate our work and
the fact that HKR has become a target of abuse at KPFA, probably
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
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

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
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@pacifica.org. Be sure to cc
all emails to HKR at hardknock@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

Posted by jsmooth995 at June 28, 2005 12:00 AM

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