November 17, 2012

Recovered history: The Pacifica Radio Archives

Firedog Lake - Before there was MSNBC and Current TV, before there was The Huffington Post or The Daily Show, before there was the progressive blogosphere, before there was (and then wasn't) Air America, there was Pacifica Radio.

Pacifica Radio was born out of the peace movement of the World War II era. It was founded in Berkeley, California by Lewis Hill, a Quaker, conscientious objector and news reporter who refused to broadcast state propaganda and wanted to start a media outlet that was not controlled by war profiteers. Lewis founded KPFA in Berkeley in 1949. Ten years later, its sister station went on the air: KPFK in Los Angeles. Then over the next two decades came three more stations: WBAI in New York, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in the nation's capitol.

Over the nearly six and a half decades since KPFA's founding, Pacifica Radio has been an unapologetic and uncompromising mouthpiece of the anti-war movement, the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-colonial movement, the women's movement, the student movement, the free speech movement, the LGBT movement, the movement for a nuclear-free world, the anti-apartheid movement, the immigrant right's movement, the Central American solidarity movement, the sanctuary movement, the environmental movement, the prisoners' rights movement, the Occupy movement and the movement to get money and corporate influence out of American politics.

Over those years, Pacifica Radio brought the Beat poets to the public airwaves. It stood up to McCarthy and faced an investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee for Communist subversion. It sent volunteers to the South to cover the emerging Civil Rights Movement; the son of the network's then-President was murdered along with two other activists while registering black voters in Mississippi as part of Freedom Summer. It showcased some of the world's most prominent voices against the Vietnam War, and it put Seymour Hersch on the air breaking the story of the massacre at My Lai.

The Pacifica Radio Archives, housed in Los Angeles, preserves these voices of American history ....These voices include: Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Jane Fonda, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Rachel Carson, Betty Friedan, John Coltrane, Pete Seeger, Noam Chomsky, Bobby Kennedy, and hundreds more.

1 comment:

mike flugennock said...

You'll forgive my loud gagging at seeing the likes of MSNBC (Democratic Party mouthpiece), the Daily Show (another Democratic Party mouthpiece), and the Huffington Post (doesn't pay its writers) listed alongside Pacifica Radio.