Pacifica RadioPacifica Radio is a small radio network of independent, listener-supported radio stations in the United States. It is also known as Pacifica Foundation and Pacifica Radio Foundation.
It was founded by Lewis Hill who was born in Kansas City in 1919. He was a pacifist and during the Second World War; he filed as a conscientious objector. After the war he and a small group of ex-conscientious objectors created the Pacifica Foundation in 1946. Listener-supported KPFA-FM, the foundation's first project, was inaugurated in 1949, other stations followed.
For most of its history as a listener-supported radio network, Pacifica gave each station independent control of its own programming. The network consisted of arrangements to voluntarily share programs, but without any requirement that the stations use each other's material. During the 1990s, the national Pacifica board attempted to centralize control. This led to years of conflict, including court cases, firings of station staff, and demonstrations. Many people who listened to the individual stations --especially KPFA in Berkeley, California and WBAI in New York City --felt a strong attachment to their stations, and objected to what they saw as an attempt to turn the stations into a copy of National Public Radio. The board eventually backed down.
One example of Pacifica Radio's alternative programming is Democracy Now which covers democracy, human rights and justice issues in the United States and internationally on a daily basis. Hosted by Amy Goodman (winner of The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the George Polk Award and the Overseas Press Club Award) and Juan Gonzalez with the support of a team of WBAI workers, this program is a compilation of news, interviews, and documentaries. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Democracy Now provided listeners a reliable, alternative news outlet to pro-war, mainstream television broadcasts and newspapers such as CNN and The Washington Post. Unlike the vast majority of news programs in the for-profit media, Democracy Now actively questions and examines the motives for invasive U.S. foreign policies.