Academic journal article Journalism History

"KPFA on the Air."

Academic journal article Journalism History

"KPFA on the Air."

Article excerpt

"KPFA on the Air." Filmed documentary produced by Veronica Selver. San Francisco: California Newsreel, 2000, 56-minute VHS tape. Purchase $195. Web site: www.newsreel.org.

Of the nation's 15,000 local radio stations, only a handful have a history worthy of note. Berkeley's KPFA is a well known member of this group. As the flagship voice of Pacifica broadcasting, KPFA's contribution to both alternative radio and social change is treated in much of the written literature. Now, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, KPFA takes video form.

Like the station, the documentary plies an alternative tack. Rather than casting KPFA as a beacon of the counter culture, producer Veronica Selver probes its often storied internal affairs. KPFA's survival as every person's intellectual soap box is the program's main theme. Allegations of Communist subversion, which were investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, delayed KPFA's license renewal in 1962. Yet outside opposition was not the station's perennial challenge. The hallmark of KPFA was its front against the commercial broadcast establishment. To stay on the air, the station turned to its listeners for money. The uncertainties this created are repeatedly conveyed.

Selver's approach nicely revises the orthodoxKPFA account. The SLA, Black Panthers, and Berkeley Free Speech Movement are seen only briefly. A more telling juncture was the station's transformation from a multi-political to a multi-cultural instrument. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.