Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Laufer in for Bensky

[ Excerpt from KPFT Program Director Ernesto Aguilar's blog, concerning two legendary freeform broadcasters: ]

Laufer Replaces Bensky

Berkeley, June 1st - KPFA Radio 94.1 FM has hired award-winning journalist, broadcaster and documentary filmmaker Peter Laufer. Laufer will host the popular Sunday morning program, formerly called Sunday Salon, following Larry Bensky’s retirement. Laufer, who got his start in KPFA’s news room, has won many of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism including a George Polk Award and Peabody Award.

Laufer worked at the legendary freeform rock station KSAN and was a member of the award-winning KSAN news team that reported on the shootout at San Quentin Prison that occurred during the attempt at breaking free George Jackson. While a correspondent for NBC News, he also reported, wrote, and produced several documentaries and special event broadcasts for the network that dealt in detail with crucial social issues, including the first nationwide live radio discussion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Healing the Wounds” was an analysis of ongoing problems afflicting Vietnam War veterans. “Hunger in America” documented malnutrition in our contemporary society. “A Loss for Words” exposed the magnitude and impact of illiteracy in America. “Cocaine Hunger” was the first network broadcast to literally trace the drug from the jungles of Bolivia to the streets of America, and alerted the nation to the avalanching crises caused by the consumption of crack cocaine.”Nightmare Abroad” was a pioneering study of Americans incarcerated overseas.

Laufer has written on issues ranging from the imprisonment of Lori Berenson in Peru to the rightwing Minutemen militia on the US-Mexico border for AlterNet, Mother Jones (where he set up Mother Jones Radio), and other alternative publications. Laufer’s books include “The Question of Consent: Innocence and Complicity in the Glen Ridge Rape Case” about the rape of a developmentally disabled schoolgirl by a gang of her classmates and the effect of the case of the health of the local community, “Inside Talk Radio: America’s Voice Or Just Hot Air” about the rise of conservative radio, and most recently “Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq”, published by Chelsea Green. Other books have focused on US-Mexico immigration, migration in Western Europe, and the US invasion of Iraq.

“Over the last several years my friend and colleague Larry Bensky performed radio magic Sunday mornings”,” says Laufer. “He combined an array of intriguing guests and audience participation with his own curiosity and thorough knowledge of current affairs to create a radio show that entertained while it informed. It is a privilege to seize the KPFA microphone now that Larry’s decided to retire from the show.”

“Peter brings a stellar background in journalism, strong progressive politics, and intellectual substance to the program,” says interim general manager Lemlem Rijio. “We are very pleased that he will continue the tradition of thoughtful, in-depth programming on Sunday mornings”.

Laufer... can be heard from 9-11am on KPFA 94.1 FM or KPFB 89.3FM in the Bay Area and KFCF 881.FM in California’s Central Valley, or online at

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