This week the 2007 National Conference for Media Reform kicks off in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 2,500 folks are expected to converge and discuss the future of media over what should be a grueling but fruitful weekend.
The day before the official start of the NCMR, a media policy pre-conference is taking place, hosted by the Social Science Research Council. I’ll be presenting on the dangers of digital radio. The rest of the weekend I expect to be running around, mic and portable recorder in hand, to gather soundbites of notables for special daily editions of Media Minutes.
One of these years I hope to be more participant than observer….
A confluence of busyness this semester has swept aside my site-update time. I’m almost caught up with the major stuff, though the regularity of updates will remain slow for the foreseeable future, and more general site-maintenance is on hiatus. Which is funny, because back when this site actually paid for itself, I only updated it about once a week, though it was a lot smaller lo those nearly ten years ago.
That being said, here’s a highlight of things that are now up to speed: Continue reading “News Potpourri”
Though Clear Channel may possibly be shopping itself around, the Mays family that runs the company sits quite pretty. Should the company be sold and Lowry and his two boys be asked to leave, their golden parachutes call for tens of millions of dollars in stock and cash payments each: even the taxes on that income will be paid for by the company.
There is some evidence that Clear Channel has begun quietly selling off selected properties, specifically involving “support businesses” and clusters of radio stations in smaller markets. This would make sense as the company cleans up its books to position itself in the best light for potential suitors to either take it private or buy it up to sell off piecemeal. Continue reading “Clear Channel: For Sale (and Selling)”
My friend Andrew recently forwarded me this message from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales:
Imagine there existed a budget of $100 million to purchase copyrights to be made available under a free license. What would you like to see purchased and released under a free license?
Photos libraries? Textbooks? Newspaper archives? Be bold, be specific, be general, brainstorm, have fun with it. Continue reading “$100 Million Worth of Copyright Liberation?”
Fresh from a skirmish with an overzealous state lawmaker on a liberal media witch-hunt, the Workers Independent News (Service) got a surprising bit of good news recently. WIN(S) can now be heard in New York on 1010 WINS-AM.
This is quite a turn of events, for three years ago the owner of 1010 WINS, the CBS Corporation (née Infinity Broadcasting, formerly a subsidiary of Viacom) threatened to sue WIN(S) not once, but twice, on spurious claims of trademark infringement. Continue reading “The Karmic Circle of WIN(S)”
Narconews has the information: many of the commercial radio stations occupied last week have been relinquished, leaving somewhere between two and five still in the hands of the populace. Radio Plantón, however, has apparently returned to the air with replacement gear.
Every year, for the last quarter-century, teachers in the Mexican state of Oaxaca converge on the capital city of the same name to remind the politicians that they exist. Oaxaca is very poor, mostly indigenous, and ruled like a colony by the Mexican central government. The teachers’ convergence is thus both widely-known and respected, but this year it’s taken a dramatic turn.
The teachers have been on strike since late May, seeking relief from a crumbling educational infrastructure and benefits for the students they serve. To force home the point, the teachers set up a tent metropolis in greater Oaxaca, effectively occupying the center city.
It should be noted here that Mexico has long embraced unlicensed broadcasting as an organizing and educational vehicle. In Oaxaca alone some three dozen stations broadcast regularly. They are openly operated and supported by a variety of groups, even though they are technically illegal. The teachers’ union set up a such a station, Radio Plantón, after last year’s convergence. Continue reading “When Media Ownership Means Life and Death”
Over the last couple of weeks friends in Madison have been forwarding me various correspondence between folks at the University of Wisconsin, the UW-Extension, the office of state representative Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), and the syndicated labor radio news service I helped create, the Workers Independent News Service (WIN(S)).
Rep. Nass, who is chair of the State Assembly’s Committee on Labor and also sits on various committees dealing with education issues and the UW System, apparently has a problem with WIN(S) and the fact that it reports business news from the perspective of working people. Continue reading “Liberal Media Witch-Hunting in Wisconsin”
The ethically-deficient crew behind BusRadio, looking to take the captive marketing of kids in school “to the next level,” have now put the most damaging of its marketing materials behind a “members-only” firewall. This after a slew of unfriendly press exploring its business model, which is to pipe advertisements for sponsors into school buses. Though BusRadio’s hyped its launch in a few Massachusetts school districts this fall, one has already backed out following parental backlash.
Queries to busradio.com now display a splash page, and access to busradio.net requires a username and password combination. It is extremely difficult to obtain a combination via the sign-up form (more than 85% of all requests are rejected). This content is apparently restricted to “sponsors” (read: ad clients). However, busradio.org is now chock full of information that heralds BusRadio’s efficacy at keeping kids quiet and in their seats. Continue reading “BusRadio Gets Deceptive”
The standard line, “pirate stations interfere with airplanes,” has been quickly assimilated into the TV news groupthink of Miami. Earlier this month CBS 4 ran a relatively long story on the busting of “Radio Energy,” a Haitian station in North Miami. The actual video report is pretty sick.
Although reporter Ileana Varela explicitly states more than once that the particular station serving as the hook of her story was not alleged to have interfered with anything, Varela kicks off her report with the threat unlicensed stations pose to air traffic communications, something the anchor-banter leading into the story calls “a problem police say is growing and as a result putting the community at risk.” Placement of information is a key element of reportage, especially in a medium as time-constrained and punchy as television news. Continue reading “Crashing Propaganda: Miami Redux”