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My name is Louis Wolf. I moved to Washington in 1977 and when I heard on the street that some people were just launching a progressive FM radio station centered around ‘Jazz and Justice’, I decided to work in any way possible, initially by helping plaster and paint the first two-room office on Vermont Avenue near Thomas Circle. As a jazz lover since my teens living in Duke Ellington’s birthplace, I am deeply committed to my “Jazz and Justice” station.

As a candidate today for the WPFW Local Station Board (LSB), it is my love for the station and the principles which led Lew Hill to found the Pacifica network in 1946 when he wrote: “It is about ideas, not products.”

I was a civil rights activist in Indianapolis, and then a conscientious objector to military service working in Laos (1964-67) during the Viet Nam War. I co-founded and co-edited the award-winning investigative magazine CovertAction Quarterly from 1978-2005, documenting the crimes of the U.S. intelligence apparatus at home and abroad and the human costs thereof. I volunteered with the Rock Creek Free Press (2006-2011) reporting on the events of 9/11 and exposing the Big Lie embedded in the Official Story of 9/11, and which in turn formed the pretext for the deadly wars, the assault on our rights, the rampant mass surveillance now in the U.S., and the dual scourges of American global imperial empire and exceptionalism.

At 74, as co-convenor of the Gray Panthers of Metro DC defending Social Security and Medicare, and an amputee with a lifetime of medical challenges, I have testified before the DC City Council about the rights of our disabled and elderly, and in defense of the valiant National Nurses United union.

Our esteemed WPFW veteran and volunteer since 1977, Askia Muhammed, asserted that “WPFW is the Village Voice on the Potomac,“ and observed that “there was an attempt [by elements locally and at the Pacifica national office] to lobotomize WPFW.”

Central to my platform is (a) an expanded and strengthened local news department enabling WPFW to reach beyond reading mainstream wire service reports to conducting live on-the-street interview and coverage of urgent local issues like affordable housing, public education, unemployment and poverty, gentrification, police brutality, DC statehood, returning citizens, etc., (b) convening regularized Town Meetings for WPFW listener-supporters, programmers and staff (paid and unpaid) all with a stake in our station to further democratize it, (c) expanding the training of young persons in radio skills, engineering, etc., and (d) formally empower the Local Station Board beyond being an advisory body to become a policy-making one.

Lew Hill’s vision in 1946 must motivate WPFW’s mission today. As the Rock Creek Free Press wrote in 2006: “Make no mistake about it, there is an information war underway. The battlefield is the American media landscape, the prize is your mind.”

Optional Questions

In what ways are the station moving in a positive direction, that you would want to continue or perhaps improve?
Pacifica founder Lew Hill’s vision in 1946 was of a network based on ideas, not products. Our station’s ‘Jazz and Justice’ motto is predicated on truly being the Voice for the Voiceless. I am happy that WPFW is on a path to include more programs that relate meaningfully to the daily lives of our listeners, rather than to a lowest common denominator model which can be seen on other local radio outlets. While I like most of the program grid, I really value such programs as ‘What’s At Stake’, ‘The Nightwolf Show’, ‘MyNDTALK’, ‘Crossroads’, ‘Arise!’ ‘Live At Five’, ‘Roots and Fruits’, ‘G-Strings’, ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’ and more.

In what ways are the station moving in a negative direction, that you would want to stop or change? What changes would you work for?
I fully understand and agree that WPFW needs and requires a revenue stream in order to meet its payroll and pay the $14,000 rent, as well as to pay for the electricity, telephone service, transmission tower fees, etc. However, I am uncomfortable with fundraising options which some are advocating such as underwriting and business sponsor projects, and may actually threaten our non-commercial FCC license.

What key experience, connections, skills or traits would you bring to the Local Station Board to advance the station's mission?
As a civil rights activist and investigative journalist about the crimes of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, I have learned over the years to recognize and identify the standard official rhetoric and sheer lies that are foisted on media consumers. My experience as co-convenor of the Metro DC Gray Panthers fighting to defend and preserve Social Security and Medicare has sensitized me to the extreme day-to-day sacrifice of our poor and economically-challenged citizens in our city and region. I have also testified before the DC City Council about the Red-Top parking meters for disable and elderly drivers, and supporting the valiant National Nurses United union.

What ideas do you have for helping the station and the Pacifica Foundation meet the financial challenges currently being faced?
While I fully realize that our longtime practice of four or more on-air fundraising drives raise some funds for our station, it has become clear that many listener supporters in this weakened economic climate feel fundraising fatigue. Our last fund drive fell far short of the goal. Therefore, we must forge new and better funding approaches beyond our standard model. And we must expand our Sustainer base.

So, what do you think ?