November 17, 2007

Peter Laufer Fired By KPFA

Snipped from the Jive 95 newsgroup:

On Nov 16, 2007, at 12:44 PM, Peter Laufer wrote:

Welcome to mob rule at KPFA, and the wild and weird world of radio.

KPFA just fired me as host of their Sunday morning current affairs program (example shows can be heard at


"Intangible," says (interim, as she is always identified) program director Sasha Lilley, adding, "it's just not right for Sunday." She cited "overwhelming negative audience feedback."

There has been an active campaign against me by a group of KPFA activists who were miffed from the day I was hired because I am not a "person of color" and because of my "mainstream" credentials.

"I really like what you do on the air," she told me when she fired me via telephone. "You are certainly a team player and I have really admired that during your tenure here, as I have admired what you have brought to the airwaves."

The firing came two days after I moderated a benefit for KPFA in Berkeley that raised thousands of dollars, where the hundreds in the audience broke into hoots and hollers of applause when I introduced myself from the stage as the anchor of the KPFA Sunday show.

Incredibly, Lilley offered to tell the public that I was leaving "to go on to bigger and better things." I told her she better tell the public she fired me, because that was what I was telling the public.

"Free speech radio," the KPFA bumper sticker says. I guess that means the freedom to lie to the audience about why a staff employee is no longer on the air. And that's the way it is. What's the frequency Kenneth? Onward.

UPDATE: Laufer was profiled by Ben Fong-Torres in "Radio Waves" this past weekend in the Chronicle's Sunday Datebook. Ben is occasionally victimized by the early deadline (a week-and-a-half before the paper lands on your doorstep)...

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