In 1985, a program was created to help alleviate this problem, Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend, a 30 hour special, featuring lectures and interviews from the most prominent Afrikan world scholars and thinkers on the globe, generally broadcast during a weekend in February, Black History Month. It has broadcast, off and on, for eight years, and evolved to become the most popular and listened to program in the history of the station. Part of the proof was demonstrated during the one time it participated in the station's on air fund drive in 1992. During that period, the station raising $10,000 in one whole day was considered a good day. Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend, without premiums, incentive gifts given to listeners pledging a certain monetary amount to the station, rose $15,000 in 45 minutes. This had never been done throughout the Pacifica five station network, and solidified the popularity and acceptance of the program by listeners of all cultural backgrounds.
Ironically, Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend was taken off the air the following year due to severe organized right wing conservative efforts. This was during a period when Black intellectuals were undergoing an intense fierce and brutal national attack for presenting and challenging information that had been disseminated throughout academia and the public for centuries, primarily from a European perspective, and denying the role of Afrikan peoples participation in world history and development.
After a ten year period, in 2003, Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend was allowed back on the air, but just like a decade ago, a very vicious right wing conservative attack was launched against the program, and subsequently has been taken off the air again for the February 2004 broadcast.. Credit must be given to the present management for allowing it back, but as the right wing challenges mounted, this same management became hostile towards the program, ultimately eliminating it.
Of course, there had to be some reasoning for this action. When a station's management wants to eliminate a program, all kinds of excuses must be manufactured. In discussions with the management, the most prevalent issue brought up the most is contained in an e-mail letter sent to me by KPFK's Program Director, in agreement with Eva Georgia, station manager. "Dr. Kwaku-Lynn as per our discussion previous to this letter, in addition to the above described reasons for rejection of broadcast is the fact that you are unwilling to allow the Pacifica Radio Archives and KPFK to be the ONLY entity to sell copies of the proposed broadcast of AMLW."
This, in light of other programs on the station allowed to make copies of their broadcast available through non-Archive outlets. It seems a separate policy was created just for Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend. As you will see, a compromise on my part was offered. My position was, the Archives can have non-copyrighted portions of the program, but that they must also be made available in the Afrikan community through one community resource, Eso Won Books, in Los Angeles, California. The Afrikan community does not really relate to the Pacifica Archives. Apparently, this was unacceptable to the KPFK management.
By the way, no due process was ever exercised, and I was not allowed to participate in a management meeting where the decision was made, though requested. This contradicts a Program Committee policy recently approved allowing for due process before a program can be eliminated. The policy states, "Programmers accused of objectionable conduct shall be provided with clearly described due process by which they can respond to accusations made against them prior to actions being taken against them by management." This policy was completely avoided by management. In addition, this issue was never presented to the Program Committee. To allow this oppressive action to succeed sets a precedence against serious Afrikan programming, and other programmers, putting KPFK in the lead role of suppressing information already proven to be very popular in Southern California.
Don't let the color of skin cloud your view. Remember the fable, "Wolf disguised in sheep's wool."
As you survey the website, you can clearly see the quality of programming you will not be able to hear because of KPFK management's intransigence against it.
1.) Just met with a leading member of the Leimert Park
Merchants Association. The discussion came up of doing the special live
in the Vision Theater or Leimert Park, coincided with Anti-KPFK rallies
throughout the community. The statement was made, "We cannot allow
that station to kill our best program and think they can get away with
it. Not this time" This person also came up with a slogan for bumper
stickers and is willing to finance them: KPFK HATES BLACK HISTORY, or
KPFK HATES BLACK PEOPLE LEARNING, or some relevant theme to be created.
KPFK's repressive management will not stop us. You will get the information, one way or another.
In service to you,
December 12, 2003
1. All programmers shall broadcast any and all on-air promos and carts
designated by the Traffic Coordinator and as indicated on the Traffic
Log, a copy of which will be located in the Broadcast booth/Master Control.
"KPFK does not condone, encourage, nor welcome any speech that expresses hostility to persons of any nation, creed, gender, sexual preference, race or ethnicity on the basis of their identity. This is distinct from KPFK's strong support for the right to critique positions or actions of any person, organization, nation or group of nations, and to advocate for change. KPFK asks our listeners and guests to respect this policy, and the mission of Pacifica, which is "to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all of such groups; and through any and all means . to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms."
Dr. Kwaku-Lynn as per our discussion previous to this letter, in addition to the above described reasons for rejection of broadcast is the fact that you are unwilling to allow the Pacifica Radio Archives and KPFK to be the ONLY entity to sell copies of the proposed broadcast of AMLW. The sale of material is a very important matter because the Archives depends on the sale of broadcast material for its continuing survival. KPFK does not condone nor support the use of broadcast time for the sale of any broadcast material for the purpose of economic profit for individuals and or companies and corporations including business establishments. This is a long standing policy by the Pacifica Foundation and a position KPFK is taking regardless of previous practices allowed by former administrations.
KPFK understands the need to broadcast the important and relevant issues that are addressed in your content and pre-recorded material. Therefore KPFK will allow a limited broadcast time for African Mental Liberation Weekend that totals six hours (6) per day Saturday and Sunday dates to be determined and agreed upon by station management and yourself. We will also require that any and all sales of broadcast material be conducted through KPFK and the Pacifica Archives. If you so choose to accept the broadcast proposal a binding document will be provided to you for your consideration prior to the finalization of any broadcast time.
In closing, I hope that you will consider the proposal that has been
extended in lieu of the fact that no other single programmer has or will
have the opportunity to have as much time allocated for broadcast.
On receiving the above e-mail letter from Armando Gudino, Program Director, regarding the status of broadcasting Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend in February, 2004, it is realized that the letter was purposely designed for rejecting such an oppressive proposition. But more importantly, the letter contains several contradictions that result in discriminatory treatment against me, the special and the Afrikan community as a whole. As many know, it is and has been the most important Afrikan historical broadcast at the station, which the present administration seemed determined to eliminate, and reflects what many have stated, "A hostile attitude against the Afrikan community by the present KPFK administration." This recent action seems to reinforce that sentiment. The proof is found in the letter from the Program Director. For instance, the so-called violations have absolutely no merit to even be called violations. I will specifically address each and every one.
1. The so-called first violation states that I did not air the promos designated. I stated to the Program Director that I not only aired all of the promos listed, but ran out of promos on the list given to me and had to improvise and add more promos, which were after each and every segment. If someone would check the station's air check, this would bare out. I do have to admit that on Saturday it was possible one or two may have been missed, and that was due to there being a station Open House with streams of people coming in and out of the studio, tours being conducted in the studio, with people asking questions and having to undergo media interviews. Add this to coming back on the air and running the board for the first time in ten years. Concentration was very difficult.
2. As far as the next so-called violation, this seems more a throw in to try to build a nebulous case. It states, "All programs shall include a program run-down sheet and specific instructions and time codes relevant to broadcast." I am not sure what this means, but I did have a specific cue sheet for each day, with start times, which were also on the flyer, and posted on my website, which was linked to the KPFK website. Also, with a producer/programmer coming back after ten years, the Program Director should have had a session with me to determine if there were any policies I did not understand. What written policies given to me were handed to me on the fly the morning of the broadcast, with no time to digest it or ask any questions for clarification. The Program Director should have met with me prior to the program for any questions I may have had. I was at the station several times prior to the broadcast.
3. The next so-called violation relates to the Program Disclaimer. This is particularly disturbing because there seems to be a double standard here. The questionable part is, " This Program Disclaimer is to be read prior to and after the broadcast of any and all live caller participation segments." First, I did read the statement before the open phones, as related to the Program Director, but not after. In listening to the station for a number years and recently, I have never heard any program with open phones read the statement at all, and especially at the beginning and end of open phones, even among the more controversial programs. Again, a separate stipulation created specifically for Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend.
The last point truly illustrates the discriminatory treatment and double standard that I and the special have undergone. In the letter it states, "Dr. Kwaku-Lynn as per our discussion previous to this letter, in addition to the above described reasons for rejection of broadcast is the fact that you are unwilling to allow the Pacifica Radio Archives and KPFK to be the ONLY entity to sell copies of the proposed broadcast of AMLW."
It also states, "The sale of material is a very important matter because the Archives depends on the sale of broadcast material for its continuing survival. KPFK does not condone nor support the use of broadcast time for the sale of any broadcast material for the purpose of economic profit for individuals and or companies and corporations including business establishments."
I will specifically address this issue because this clearly shows the discriminatory treatment towards me, the special, and especially the denial of information to the Afrikan community.
To start with, I mentioned to the Program Director that there were some segments that could not be given to the Pacifica Radio Archives, because they were copyrighted, published in a couple of my books and under contract between the publisher and myself. In addition, I also told the Program Director that when I stop broadcasting I was going to donate my entire collection that was not copyrighted to the Archives. It is unlikely this will happen now.
I also mentioned to the Program Director that the first three years of the program, the tapes were not offered after the broadcast, but there was such an outcry and demand for the tapes to be made available by those who could not record for one reason or another, that during the forth year, they were made available at the Aquarian Book Store, and after it was destroyed during the 1992 revolt, Eso Won Book Store, both in the Afrikan community in Los Angeles. The Afrikan community does not really relate to the Archives, and it is a known fact that if the CDs were not made available in the community, many people would never have access to this information. The most important aspect is that people make copies and send them to family and friends. This allows the information to spread far beyond the reach of the station. This has been successful, based on receiving e-mails from around the world in appreciation. This also helps to promote the station because the station ID is on each segment.
What management does not understand is that what little financial remuneration is gained from the sale of the CDs helps to continue the work that results in a very scholarly broadcast. Specifically, purchasing of equipment, travel to record lectures and conduct interviews, purchasing CDs, labels, and ink cartridges. One series of interviews even created a book, On My Journey Now: The Narrative And Works Of Dr. John Henrik Clarke. Without those resources, the travel necessary would not have been available and we would not have the documentation of the most important Afrikan world historian of the last century. This is a way of life for me.
The most convincing factor of discriminatory treatment towards me, the special and the denial of information to the Afrikan community is the hypocrisy and double standard implemented to only Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend. I was told by the Program Director "Anything played on the station, the station owns." I don't think there is an understanding of the concept of "intellectual property." Just recently, there have been programs: "Democracy Now," a health program and a Native American program, among several others, that offered copies of CDs of speeches aired. There are programs that air pre-recorded books-on-tape, and told they are available for purchase at books stores, but no violation has been administered to these programs. The question is, why is only Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend singled out for this special treatment or these ad hoc policies that are not enforced on any other programmers?
It is extremely unfortunate the Afrikan community, as well as the community-at-large, will be denied some of the most important Afrikan programming ever broadcast. However, in the face of this blatant attack against the Afrikan community, in the denial of information made available no where else, with the station offering some crumb of an alternative, which would require cutting out 3/5 of the programming, is rejected in the face of one of the most oppressive actions ever executed against the Afrikan community. Because of this, every effort will be made to make the special's listeners aware of this action. Some have called for a boycott of the station. One must search their own conscience to determine if a station that denies the listening audience an opportunity to hear some of the most informative and educational programming ever broadcast should receive their support.
It is hoped that due process is exercised as outlined in the station policy and an amicable resolution can be reached so that Southern California listerners are not once again denied some of the most important information ever broadcast. Afrikan Mental Liberation Weekend must be broadcast in its original form.