KPFA-FM 94.1 in Berkeley, California

History of KPFA-FM

KPFA is the brain child of pacifist Lewis Hill, a radio reporter and World War II conscientious objector. Together with a handful of broadcasters and other pacifists, he established in 1949 the first listener-sponsored, non-commercial radio station in the world. For nearly fifty years KPFA has provided people with access to diverse thoughts and values. Dedicated to providing cutting-edge radio, KPFA maintains its commitment "to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds, and colors. . . and to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms." Its mission is heard daily in programming dedicated to the arts, economic and social justice, informed international perspectives, and freedoms of speech. It encourages cultural diversity and pluralistic community expression.

KPFA's signal reaches from north of Sacramento, California to south of the Monterey Peninsula, with a repeater station in Fresno's central valley. It covers almost half the state of California 24 hours a day.

A pioneer and founder of on-air fundraising, KPFA's approach to fundraising became a model for public radio and eventually public television.

The station has been a training ground for noted journalists, artists and political commentators. Many began their careers at KPFA, later distinguished themselves at such venues as National Public Radio (Richard Gonzalez), the New Yorker (Pauline Kael), Z Magazine (Clarence Lusane), and Lucas Films (Randy Thom).

KPFA has a long history of supporting radio drama and experimental music. It has carried the NEW AMERICAN RADIO series from its beginning. In 1995 it joined New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. and WORT-FM (Madison, WI) in commissioning composers Terry Riley, Christine Baczewska, and Mikel Rouse to create new works for radio. The commissions were funded with a grant from the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. The programs will be distributed as part of NEW AMERICAN RADIO's 1996-97 season.