Award-winning broadcaster and journalist Larry Bensky is retiring from Pacifica Radio's KPFA after thirty eight years of working for the public radio network. The last program of his acclaimed weekly talk show, Sunday Salon, will air Sunday, April 29th.
Bensky will continue to do live national broadcasts for KPFA and the Pacifica Radio Network, for which he has won many accolades, including a George Polk award for gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Iran-Contra hearings. His career will be celebrated at a public event on June 3rd, where he will speak about his life and times with Pacifica historian Matthew Lasar.
Perhaps best known as national affairs correspondent for Pacifica Radio from 1987-1998, Bensky covered numerous national and international events for Pacifica, including the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, the confirmation hearings for four Supreme Court justices, the 1990 elections in Nicaragua, and numerous demonstrations and protests in Washington and elsewhere. Most recently, he anchored Pacifica's live coverage of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He won the prestigious George Polk award and five Gold Reel awards from the National Association of Community Broadcasters. Before his work for Pacifica, Bensky was one of the original "underground" newscasters and talk show hosts on "alternative rock" stations KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco. He has also been a political activist since the 1960's, working with nuclear disarmament and anti-war groups in New York, Paris, and San Francisco.
Before and during his broadcasting career, Bensky has been a print journalist and editor, including positions as managing editor of Ramparts Magazine in 1968, Paris editor of The Paris Review (1964-66) and as an editor of the New York Times Book Review. For fifteen years he was a political writer and columnist for the East Bay Express, and a contributor to the Los Angeles Times book review, and The Nation. He has also appeared as a guest journalist on C-Span, CNN, The Today Show, and MacNeil-Lehrer, as well as on San Francisco KQED's "Forum" and "This Week in Northern California."
He has won a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Golden Gadfly award from Media Alliance. He taught broadcast journalism classes for twelve years at Stanford, and retired in 2003 after twelve years as a teacher of mass communications, journalism, broadcasting, and political science at California State University, Hayward. A native of New York City, he graduated from Yale University. He and his wife and daughter live in Berkeley.
In a farewell statement to his listeners, Bensky wrote, "Throughout these many years, and in the many different types of programming I've done, I've never gone on the air without a thrilling sense of connectedness. And an equally deep sense of how much being a broadcaster is a privilege, as well as a responsibility."