Son of the legendary Hall of Fame baseball player with the same name, Roy Campanella II attended Harvard and Columbia and worked as a filmmaker, producer and editor, notably as a programming executive with CBS Entertainment in Los Angeles, before joining KPFA as General Manager in the fall of 2004. Depending on the source of the story, he was either a victim of station politics who attempted to make some modest changes, or an incompetent who hit on female staff members. Either way, the job had been a political football for more than five years by the time he got it.
Roy conceded that he’d asked several subordinates, both men and women, out to movies (he told me that he was merely trying to be generous with comp tickets he received), but denied that he was trolling for dates. Hired to conduct an investigation, Oakland attorney Dan Siegel concluded that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to sustain the charges, yet suggested that the board might want to let Roy go anyway. Predictably, some people said that Siegel, a respected litigator who had helped lead the legal challenge against the Foundation several years before – and a potential candidate for Oakland Mayor at the time – wasn’t sufficiently neutral to be acting as counsel.
The reason for Roy’s “Zero Tolerance” e-mail was an incident in which a station engineer hurled metal chairs during a meeting of the KPFA Program Council. Former host Bill Mandel was about to get a new show and some staff, for whom Mandel represented the predominantly white old guard, were a bit upset. In a battle for air time, a war had broken out between “listener activists” who wanted to drop programming they saw as moderate and stale, and staff members who felt besieged in a “culture of complaints.”
Part Four of “Managing Pacifica: In the Bubble.”
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