Pacifica Radio, one of America’s finest independent community media companies, turns 60 this year.
In 1970, in its first months of operation, KPFT became the only radio station in the United States whose transmitter was blown up. The Ku Klux Klan did it. The KKK’s grand wizard described the bombing as his proudest act. I think it was because he understood how dangerous Pacifica was, as it allowed people to speak for themselves. When you hear someone speaking from his or her own experience—a Palestinian child, an Israeli mother, a grandfather from Afghanistan—it breaks down stereotypes that fuel the hate groups that divide society. The media can build bridges between communities, rather than advocating the bombing of bridges.