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Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Paul Palmer who commented on the article by Grace Aaron, "A Hostile Takeover of Pacifica Radio?."

Hostile Takeover of Pacifica Radio

I stopped contributing to KPFA years ago because of their anti-democratic stance against listeners. They have contempt for their listeners and when someone expresses contempt for me, I return the emotion. Still, I listen to KPFA 24/7. But I am very aware that there is NO WAY that any listener can contact any other listener using the power of the radio. Listeners who comment on air are identified – no accident – by name and city only. There is no way to contact a commenter whom you agree with. If the “host” doesn’t like what a commenter says, he’s got his finger on a cut-off button.

One obvious way to increase revenue for the radio station would be to have many support groups scattered around every local region.

There are no local Pacifica listener support groups. One obvious way to increase revenue for the radio station would be to have many support groups scattered around every local region. But the staff are terrified that local supporters might want to have a say in station operations, God forbid!

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Democratic management would demand that the listeners would have an hour a week or something similar to put on their own show. After all, listeners do have a unique perspective on the stations. But no, listeners are never allowed to have any original or uncontrolled viewpoints on the air. None of this is an accident.

I recognize that listener support groups could be exploited for right wing purposes. But there are ways to control that. I realize that the right wing will holler “no democracy” to try to get a nose under the tent flap. But the answer is not to eradicate listener democracy entirely. That leads to corporatization, as we are seeing now.

I think the programming is wonderful. I learn more than from any other source. But that is not enough, when the listeners are treated EXCLUSIVELY as cash machines. Listeners are more of a part of a successful station than merely sources of cash.

Until the staff loses some of its haughty arrogance, I will hold on to my wallet.