On Nov. 26, 2012, members and listeners of WPFW Pacifica Radio in Washington, DC first heard programmers announce on air—some tearfully—that they were doing their last shows. These abrupt cancellations were part of a destructive, unilateral grid change by station general manager John Hughes that saw the initial elimination of 25 hours of jazz weekly, the elimination of many quality public affairs shows and the planned import of corporate-funded, nationally syndicated programming.
This grid change was only the latest outrage that programmers and listeners have endured from Hughes, who has overseen so much destruction at the station. Starting on that same week last year, the Concerned Members and Supporters of WPFW came online, with independent community action. On Dec. 1, more than 200 people packed meetings at the 5th and V Busboys and Poets and Plymouth United Congregational Church, pastored by the Rev. Grayland Hagler. Founding CMS organizers included Bob Daughtry, Esther Iverem, Karen Spellman, Katea Stitt, Susan ‘Suji’ Sutler and Tom Porter. Since then, CMS has grown to include hundreds of members who insist that WPFW remain a place for jazz and justice. We have had many victories as we press on and insist that our station live up to its potential for speaking truth to power in the nation’s capital. See a list of our victories here.
CMS has also become an advocacy group among WPFW listeners and members who would like to see our listener-sponsored radio station serve as a catalyst for mobilizing the local community to confront the legacy and root causes of racism, sexism, and corporatism in our capitalist society which Gore Vidal cleverly characterized as the “United States of Amnesia”. This would distinguish WPFW from other public radio and commercial stations whose political agenda appears to distract the public from crucial social problems or channel their concerns into established political processes which favor the interests of those with unequal economic and political power. We believe that WPFW has a unique role within the Pacifica Radio Network, which has reflected a rich tradition of “Jazz and Justice”.
Facebook: The People For WPFW
Email: thepeople4pfw [at] gmail.com