"If the guy is saying he wants a smaller audience, he should resign as chair tomorrow," said Lila Garrett, host of KPFK's "Connect the Dots." "Our group, which is not a small group but a large group," she said about the petitioners, "want a strong KPFK with as many listeners as possible to help get the truth out about the war and what's going on in the country."
Georgia had previously served as an administrator at a gay and lesbian center in Long Beach after moving to Los Angeles in 1999. She had worked in community radio in her native South Africa during the struggle to end apartheid.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, August 16, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part Page Metro Desk 2 inches; 84 words Type of Material: Correction
KPFK-FM: An article in the Aug. 7 Calendar section about internal turmoil at KPFK-FM (90.7) misspelled the first name of former station general manager Mark Schubb as Marc. The article also said current General Manager Eva Georgia had reinstated what Pacifica national board Chairman David Adelson described as some "radical people of color" who had been "purged" by the previous management, including "Freedom Now" host Dedon Kamathi. In fact, Kamathi, then known as Ken Carr, was let go in 1994, during an earlier administration.
"She made some enemies when she first got here, and she was clumsy in some ways," Adelson said, "but she was able to accommodate people who didn't like her and bring people together who hated each other."
Some who work at KPFK counter that Georgia, who is black, has done little to mend the racial divide that remains a source of conflict at the famously progressive station.
Among the station's varied constituency, Georgia has had the support of "radical people of color," as Adelson puts it, some of whom were "purged" by the previous station management and have returned under her administration, including "Freedom Now" host Dedon Kamathi. She also made way for shows that opened up two new areas of controversy: daily newscasts in Spanish and programs devoted to the idea that the Sept. 11 attacks were carried out by a conspiracy involving agents of the U.S. government.
Ian Masters, whose shows "Background Briefing" and "Live From the Left Coast" have consistently been among the station's top fundraisers, argued that the 9/11 conspiracy programs were destroying the station's credibility, and he advocated for shows being on the air that have proved themselves through audience response and support.
"The new regime sued its way into power on a bogus issue," Masters said, "and their cure for a nonexistent problem has proved to be the real disaster. They've created a universe for themselves with this governing structure so that what goes on inside the corridors is more important than what goes out over the air. Meanwhile, we are the people who keep the place going," he said, suggesting that the signers of the petition represented shows that brought in a lion's share of subscriber pledges.
On Saturday, the petitioners got some good news about the nagging problem of illegal transmitter interference coming from radio station XLNC in Mexico, compromising KPFK's signal. Georgia announced that XLNC will be moving to a new frequency in the fall.
Garrett welcomed that news but said the other issues brought up in the petition remain unresolved. "The struggle is far from over," she said.