Another twist in the KPFA tale

Protest at KPFA in November/Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

The long-running dispute over management of local non-commercial radio station KPFA took another turn yesterday. The Pacifica Foundation, which owns and runs the station, reinstated former Morning Show co-host Brian Edwards-Tiekert with back pay and benefits. But Edwards-Tiekert will return to the station as a news reporter, not as a show host.

In a letter to supporters, Edwards-Tiekert wrote, “Legally speaking, Pacifica management is throwing in the towel… Pacifica has basically conceded it can’t win the pending arbitration over my dismissal.” Edwards-Tiekert and co-host Aimee Allison were laid off last year out of seniority order. Allison’s arbitration hearing is still going forward. Pacifica claimed the involuntary lay-offs were necessary to cut costs. An additional seven staff members took voluntary lay offs.

The staff ructions are part of a larger dispute over the running of Pacifica. On Wednesday, an Alameda County Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Pacifica from discussing KPFA issues at its national meeting in Houston which starts today. Three members of Save KPFA, Andrea Turner, Dan Siegel and Laura Prives, won election to the Pacifica national board in January. The incumbent members of the Pacifica national board then threw Siegel off both the local and national board. A date for a full hearing in the Superior Court has been set for March 18.