What is KPFT?
We're an FM radio station, situated at 90.1 on your radio. We are one of the five stations that comprise what is called the Pacifica Radio Network.
Nearly 90 percent of our funding comes from individual listener- members. We have no large corporate sponsors. All too often, massive funding arrives with an agenda, not to mention all those commercials! Because of our independence from concentrated control, you can hear the difference between KPFT and any other station in the first 10 or 15 minutes of listening. We are definitely different, and we revel in it.
Why "Your Radio for Peace"?
Two very simple reasons:
(1) When you become a member of KPFT, it's your radio station. You are a voting member of the station and a stakeholder in its direction.
(2) All of the news, informative shows and mix of music you won't find anywhere else are aimed at one goal -- to help people like you and me understand the world around us, and through that understanding and respect, cause an outbreak of peace.
KPFT has set the standard for what listener-supported community radio can be. We serve the Greater Houston and Galveston population of nearly six million people, reaching almost 150,000 listeners every week and bringing to the airwaves an eclectic schedule of music, news, languages and information programming. In our 40+ year history, we've grown along with Houston, helping to foster cooperation among the various peoples of the community and becoming a unifying force in a city of great economic and cultural contrasts.
The Pacifica Radio Network
In addition to being a radio station in its own right, KPFT is also an important part of the nationwide Pacifica Radio Network. Maverick broadcaster and peace activist Lewis Hill founded Pacifica Radio, in 1949. Lew Hill's dream of a truly alternative media became a reality when its flagship station, KPFA in Berkeley, went on the air as a bold, alternative challenge to the market-driven airwaves. Hill's vision created the country's first audience-supported radio station and gave birth to public broadcasting as we know it today.
Lew and Pacifica's other founders sought to create independent, noncommercial radio in the service of peace, social and racial justice, and the arts. They saw, and we see, radio as a forum to ignite the democratic spirit. For over 60 years, Pacifica has produced challenging, courageous, smart and independent programs.
How KPFT got started
KPFT was founded by journalist Larry Lee, who convinced Pacifica to establish an independent listener-supported station in Houston. Lee felt it was important for the Houston community to have an alternative voice to standard radio fare and, as a realization of this vision, KPFT first took to the airwaves on March 1, 1970. The first sound to emanate from 90.1 FM was the song "Here Comes The Sun" from the then-brand-new "Abbey Road" album by The Beatles. Just two months later, however, on May 12, 1970, the KKK dynamited the KPFT transmitter, and the station was off the air for a few weeks until repairs could be made. Several months after returning to the air, on October 6, 1970 - the transmitter was bombed again! This time the damage was much more extensive, and KPFT was off the air for more than three and a half months!
Even they couldn't beat good radio
On January 21, 1971, with Arlo Guthrie live in the KPFT studios playing "Alice's Restaurant," the song that had been playing when the bombers first struck back in May, KPFT was back on the air -- again! And the entire country witnessed it, LIVE, thru PBS's public television program, "The Great American Dream Machine."
And KPFT remains on the air to this day, thanks to the thousands of listener-sponsors who believe in the mission of the Pacifica Radio Network. The network includes KPFT in Houston, as well as stations in Berkeley (KPFA), Los Angeles (KPFK), New York (WBAI) and Washington, D.C. (WPFW) with signals reaching 22% of American homes and an audience of over a million listeners each week. In addition, more than 200 other community and public radio stations across the country broadcast Pacifica's news and public affairs programs, Thanks to the internet, KPFT and its fellow Pacifica stations reach a truly worldwide audience. For more, go to http://www.pacifica.org.
KPFT vs. the truth vacuum
Most people have heard about big conglomerates concentrating media power into the hands of a few large entities with their own politically and economically motivated self-interests. That trend has produced a "truth vacuum," a lack of alternative views and voices that question the mainstream messages. Now is the time, and KPFT is the station, for gutsy programming that seeks to ask the hard questions in clear terms and tackle the issues behind deeply rooted social problems.
Media centralization is also producing a sameness in cultural, artistic, and music programming. Many stations sound the same no matter where you hear them. Not us. KPFT and Pacifica exist to challenge the intellectual and artistic monopoly of the few by expanding programming to serve the communities that have been locked out of the process. It is our goal to create and broadcast deep, wide-ranging programming that creates a better understanding among all peoples. Bottom line: Well-informed people don't wage war on each other.
To remain truly independent, Pacifica Radio and KPFT rely on voluntary contributions of time, money and energy from the community. To continue to provide the unique programming KPFT has offered to the upper Texas Gulf Coast for over 40 years, the station welcomes support from its listeners and like-minded community partners.
We invite you to become a member of the KPFT family, something you can do for as little as $40 ($25 for seniors/students). For that small amount, you not only enjoy 24/7 listening excellence, you are entitled to vote in station elections. You are empowered to participate in how KPFT operates and what it broadcasts. THAT is community-powered, and community-powerful, radio.
And that is KPFT! Your Radio for Peace.
<- return to the previous page