Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network
PACIFICA RADIO: THE RISE OF AN ALTERNATIVE NETWORK
BY MATTHEW LASAR. TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PRESS. 277 PP. $34.95.
Pacifica Radio was an upstream effort from the beginning. Its chief creator was Lewis Hill, a pacifist and a World War II conscientious objector. Being noncommercial, it was doomed to be chronically short of money. Yet Pacifica has lasted fifty years, and has grown stronger, adding four more FM stations to its original San Francisco outlet. Moreover, it has withstood intense political pressure. Charged during the cold war with communist leanings, it was scrutinized by several committees and the FBI; the FCC held up its license renewals for three years. But it survived and celebrated its semicentennial bedecked with prizes for its aggressive, disputative journalism, notably in providing an antiwar platform. Lasar chronicles internal struggles, the most decisive the contest that decided that Pacifica would not be merely the advocate of pacifism but an exemplar of the First Amendment, open to views of many individuals and groups.
Copyright Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism May/Jun 1999
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