On Leaving KPFT

After 11 years as program director, I’m moving on.

I wrote a public letter to listeners about my departure. You can read the text below.

I’ve been asked a lot about how I feel. I’m great. While all the bad stuff you hear about Pacifica is virtually all true, the good things are very good. I’ve enjoyed my time, and learned a great deal.

Thanks to all the well wishers and the support. More to come.

Late one night, I happened upon a radio station that would change my life, as I then knew it, forever. The eccentric music, the freedom to voice ideas and ideals and the wide breadth of diverse world views were unlike anything I ever heard.

Since that cool spring evening, KPFT has been a central part my life’s story. I can close my eyes today and still hear the silvery voice of the late Jimmy Carper, as he fought back tears intimating the tragic details of the murderous hate crime against Paul Broussard. I remember how the iconoclastic Chuck Roast introduced me to the gritty world of punk rock and how the late, fiery Kathleen Kern showed me how to really listen to the blues.

After joining KPFT as a member of its staff, it didn’t take me long to recognize that our members’ devotion to KPFT is as strong, if not more, as mine ever was. That faith is both humbling and uncommonly grand. You are here for KPFT in both our most marvelously good times and our precipitously low points. In fact, your passion is most astonishing during our titanic struggles. You believe in KPFT. Our flaws have never deterred you from caring, and they never will. You are truly this station’s very best friend.

I have never been more grateful for the life experiences this robust organization, its audience and its volunteers provided me, as a young man and still today. As a wanting kid from East Houston, I hoped to fulfill the dreams of a mother I still look up to, not only to make something of myself but, more importantly, to find purpose. Without KPFT, you and so many like you, I would have never realized those ambitions. You help so many like me, that boy sitting with his radio in a tiny bedroom, looking for answers and a way to make a difference.

Perhaps you have had a similar experience with KPFT. Perhaps it has changed your life, a friend’s life, or a family member’s. Remember that the fresh air you are breathing into this city and the lives of all of its residents mean absolutely everything to us and to them. You shine a light of hope for so many people, just outside of their bedroom windows. too.

After 14 years with KPFT, as program director, news co-director and volunteer, I am leaving to impart all of the light, love and peace you have shown me onto a whole new generation of inquisitive minds. If only I could hug each and every one of you — steadfast supporters, courageous admirers, generous contributors and lovers of KPFT — I would. You have truly changed my life, its meaning and my future evermore. My wish is that my story will inspire you to change the lives of countless others.

There is no amount of gratitude that I am able to express that will honestly convey what all of you mean to me, to Pacifica and to 90.1 KPFT. Mahatma Gandhi is famously quoted as saying, “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.” Nowhere is that more true than here. Thank you for supporting this remarkable station.

Ernesto Aguilar
Program Director, 2005-2016
90.1 FM KPFT Houston