History: Broadcasting on WBAI 99.5 FM and streaming live on the web every Monday from 9-10 pm, Asia Pacific Forum (APF) is “a progressive pan-Asian radio show” based in New York City focusing on culture and politics. APF’s broadcasts cover underreported stories from Asia and Asian America and explore topics including activism, civil and human rights, foreign policy, immigration, history, labor, literature, pop culture, and the performing arts. WBAI is part of the Pacifica Foundation, a non-commercial and listener-sponsored national radio network founded in 1946 with about 50 additional affiliates in Houston, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Washington, D.C., and other cities across the United States.
APF was founded in 1998, when Samori Marksman, program director of WBAI, and Sybil Wong, former business director of WBAI, brought together a group of journalists and activists to organize a weekly program focused on New York’s Asian communities. Founding members included Kil Huh, John Kim, Jungwon Kim, Suen-yi Meng, and Doualy Xaykaotao.
Soon after the founding of APF, the show began a partnership with SAMAR magazine, the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection, a New York-based publication that explores the politics and culture of South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. During this time, members of the SAMAR collective, including Ananya Bhattacharjee, Aniruddha Das, Satinder Jawanda, Chandana Mathur, S. Shankar, and others, produced and hosted one show per month. The arrangement ended in 2001, when several SAMAR members joined the APF collective. APF quickly expanded its coverage to encompass East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific as well as Asian America.
APF continues to be produced by both journalists and activists organized as a collective. A formal application process to join the collective was instituted in 2005. In 2006, APF began podcasting and making its weekly broadcasts available as downloads on the web, allowing the show to reach a broader audience both nationally and globally.
While APF is one of the few national media outlets focusing on Asia and Asian America, the show’s content and audiences are local, national, and international in scope and reach. Among the Asian and Asian American newsmakers that have been featured on APF are Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali, David Henry Hwang, Monique Truong, Edward Said, Maxine Hong Kingston, Vijay Prashad, Cathi Tactaquin, Grace Lee Boggs, Bhairavi Desai, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Margaret Fung, Mike Honda, John Liu, Stacey Ann Chin, Jeff Chang, and DJ Rekha.
Sources: Hsiao, Andrew and Leyla Mei. Conversation with Daniel Kim and Amita Manghnani. New York, New York, November 12, 2010.
Das, Aniruddha, Andrew Hsiao and Leyla Mei. Conversation with Daniel Kim and Amita Manghnani. New York, New York, January 28, 2010.
Asia Pacific Forum. “Asia Pacific Forum – About APF.” Accessed January 29, 2015. http://www.asiapacificforum.org/about.php.
99.5 FM in New York City: Your Peace and Justice Community Radio Station. “Asia Pacific Forum – Asia Pacific Forum Collective.” Accessed January 29, 2009. http://wbai.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=424&Itemid=141.
Summary: Chronicling the collective’s shows from 1998-2009, the Asia Pacific Forum Records measure 4.75 linear feet and document the collective’s approximately 500 on-air shows.
Of particular significance are the full-length unedited interviews with notable Asian Americans including activist Yuri Kochiyama, novelist Jessica Hagedorn, and musician and activist Chris Iijima. These interviews are recorded on cassette tapes, compact discs, mini-discs, and reel-to-reel audio tapes and are contained in approximately 1.75 linear feet, along with airchecks (recordings of APF’s live broadcasts) from 1998-2009. In addition, VHS tapes and DVDs, which were sent to APF for consideration, are contained within this measurement.
Also contained in APF’s records are scripts (some annotated with hand-written notes), preparatory materials, and research notes for shows (including biographies of guests and background articles), along with some documentation of APF’s publicity efforts.
APF’s electronic records consist of emails posted to the collective’s internal listserv and discussion board, as well as their public e-mail list. In addition, shows from August 2006 to the present are available on APF’s website.
Total Size: 4.75
APA-related Size: 4.75
Languages of materials: English
Location: Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University
Bibliographic Control: finding aid
Finding Aid Link: http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/tam_629/
Conditions Governing Access: Contact repository for detailed information on conditions governing access.