The New York Times recently ran a canonizing profile on the afternoon-drive DJ at WRIP-FM, a locally-owned Top 40-format commercial radio station in Windham, New York. He conducted a 13-hour broadcast marathon during the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene last month, taking phone calls and disseminating emergency information the old fashioned way – listener by listener.
The Times piece is but the latest in a long string of articles that have justifiably recognized the outstanding local service broadcasters have provided in the wake of this year’s natural disasters. Continue reading “"Heroic" Localism”
Not a month back in Madison, and already in the thick of it.
Next weekend, the city plays host to the inaugural Democracy Convention, designed to build on this year’s popular uprising in Wisconsin and foster collaboration among like-minded folks nationwide. (That should be just about anyone: it is hard to hate on democracy.) Continue reading “Democracy Convention is Radioactive”
The anti-corporate uprising in Wisconsin continues. Much credit is due to WisconsinEye for showing the inner workings of a corrupt state government with such depth and clarity.
Since 2007, the nonpartisan public-affairs network has live-covered the business of the Wisconsin Legislature and Supreme Court, and features a wide variety of original programs produced around the state. It’s available to most cable television subscribers in Wisconsin and also streams online. Continue reading “State-level C-SPAN: WisconsinEye Develops Fanbase”
A lightly-edited version of this article was re-published on the Isthmus Daily Page.
The ongoing protests in Wisconsin over Governor Scott Walker’s plans to corporatize the state still resonate in Madison’s media environment. Unsurprisingly, the active involvement of unions in an issue that directly affects their future relevancy has been fodder galore for right-wing media pundits.
One of those pundits is Vicki McKenna, the host of some shrill demagoguery on Clear Channel-owned WIBA-AM, Madison’s bastion of reactionary talk radio. Last week, Vicki thought she had a sure thing in hand to punk organized labor – but it turns out she’s the one more likely to get stung. Continue reading “Nailed 'Em: Station Flaunts FCC in Pursuit of Partisan Politics”
Last Thursday night, when I heard of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plans to forcibly evict those who have occupied the state Capitol building for nearly two weeks, I couldn’t not go home.
I ended up in Madison not just to add my voice to the hundreds of thousands who rallied in protest last weekend of the corporatization of Wisconsin, but to help my friend at the Isthmus, Kristian Knutsen, who has nearly-singlehandedly held down the alt-weekly’s real-time online coverage of the massively fluid events.
It felt nice to put the journalistic shoes on again. During the threat of a “forcible evacuation” of the Capitol building on Sunday afternoon, I perched my netbook on the marble railing on the building’s second floor in the Rotunda and hunkered down, with thousands of my newly-found best friends. The police, who are working people, too, made no move and the Capitol remains occupied today. Continue reading “Being the Media: Covering Wisconsin's Uprising”
I’ve tried for years to explain the seemingly inordinate amount of state pride I exude, and if you know a Wisconsinite you’ve probably come up against this at least once. Typically it’s brushed off as a superiority complex among inferior states (we’re “flyover country” and “the Rust Belt” to those on the coasts).
Now you know it’s more than that.
To learn the basics behind why Wisconsinites have occupied the state Capitol Building in Madison and return in the tens of thousands every day, visit the local media outlets who are helping to hold down the fort (the mainstream media has hopelessly painted this controversy into a frame of ignorance), or follow the Twitter feeds. Continue reading “Wisconsin's Insurrection Began in the Fourth Grade”
In less than three weeks, Free Speech Radio News has raised more than $75,000, saving itself from the brink of silence…for now.
This is enough to keep the newscast operation floating until the end of January, but nowhere near the amount necessary to offset existing incurred costs and secure the future of this vital decade-old journalistic endeavor. Continue reading “Free Speech Radio News Gets Reprieve”
Barring significant divine fiscal intervention, the United States’ only collectively-produced progressive daily radio news program, Free Speech Radio News, will suspend production on December 20.
FSRN has been an amazing accomplishment of independent journalism. Founded in the ashes of the Pacifica Radio network’s self-immolation of the late 1990s (which also led to the independence of Pacifica’s primary nationally-syndicated show, Democracy Now!), FSRN runs on the efforts of community radio stations and grassroots journalists from around the world, and airs on more than 100 stations domestically. Continue reading “The Unfortunate Death Watch of FSRN”
The folks over at Free Press are looking for perspectives and opinions on the state of community/independent media in the United States. It’s part of the organization’s “New Public Media” initiative, which is a long-term campaign to reform the existing public broadcasting structure in the U.S. and, in so doing, perhaps put some of the “public” into public media. Continue reading “A Survey on Community Media”
From the inestimable Jerry Del Colliano: a former employee of Cumulus Media is pursuing a class-action lawsuit against the company (common share stock price as of today: $2.55) alleging several violations of employment law. The suit is in the very preliminary stages now, but if any of Jerry’s other informants inside Cumulus (and other large radio conglomerates) can back up their “believe it or not” horror-stories, the company – and perhaps the entire industry – is in for some serious trouble.
A quick history recap: after the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the radio industry went on a station-buying binge. This led to massively inflated prices for stations across the nation. Flush with cash from investment banks, radio companies bought other radio companies, leading to a situation where less ten major broadcast conglomerates controlled some two-thirds of the industry’s total revenue. Continue reading “Striking Back At The Empire?”