KPFA FM in Berkeley, California is the first "public" radio station in the country, predecessor of NPR, PBS and all the other various entities providing non-commercial broadcasting. Except that KPFA is even more left wing.
But KPFA has now discovered the perils of the tort bar. It has been forced to cough up more than a quarter million dollars in settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit that it claims was "cheaper to settle out of court than to take to trial" according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Noelle Hanrahan, who worked at the station on and off for more than a decade before being fired in 2002, says the images of the station and its parent Pacifica network as beacons of equality are contradicted by their treatment of her and several other women who have filed suits or discrimination complaints against Pacifica stations in other cities.
"KPFA has had a history of treating female employees in a way that's both illegal and contrary to Pacifica's mission," said Hanrahan, an elected member of the station's local advisory board. [snip]
The issue is difficult for a station and a network that promote themselves as progressive alternatives to the broadcasting and political establishments.
This is one of those arguments I wish both sides could lose. I would encourage other members of the KPFA staff who might have ruffled feelings to litigate, now that the station has shown it will pay off rather than fight. At some point or other, the virtues of the tort reform movement may become evident to the operators of KPFA. Perhaps they will even be the buyers of the license in a bankruptcy auction.