The governing paradigm in contemporary U.S. communications policy is genuflection to principles that invoke the “free market,” especially post-1980 when economics captured the policymaking process. As such, all Federal Communications Commissioners, regardless of party, will couch their positions and rationales in this language, though nearly all also make the effort to connect their rationales to something akin to “the public interest,” which has been the principal ideal as mandated by the agency’s own authorizing statute.
But the FCC’s also been a safe space for the occasional ideologue who worships capitalism as the human condition most worthy of emulation. It is not a radical notion to believe that an economic theory may not be an appropriate paradigm by which to organize all of the workings of an entire society. Folks who do believe that are market-fundamentalists; and whether it comes in economic, political, or religious flavors, fundamentalism is an extreme that the act of being civilized tends to temper. Continue reading “The FCC's Trumpian Shift is On”
After seven and a half years, Free Press has discontinued the production of Media Minutes, its weekly headline radio newscast that examined issues at the intersection of media and democracy.
I developed and launched Media Minutes in 2004, as a doctoral student at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Communications Research. I’d left the broadcast industry in 2000 out of disgust at what it had done to stymie the rollout of LPFM, and had thought that my days as a radio journalist were behind me.
This was not to be. During my master’s work at the University of Wisconsin, I co-founded Workers Independent News, the first labor-centric radio news program to be launched in the U.S. in more than 50 years. My work with WIN caught the ear of Bob McChesney, then a professor at ICR, and when I was accepted into that program he e-mailed me out of the blue to ask whether I’d be interested in starting a similar program focused on issues of media policy and reform. Continue reading “Media Minutes: 2004-2012”
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”
Tom Compagnoni first dropped the world-leaders-as-rappers tip last year with WMD…and other distractions. He’s back (with crew) as Wax Audio, featuring a new album, Mediacracy. It’s a broader sonic critique of the geopolitical follies of the last couple of years, with special attention given to the media’s role in them. Not as much rapping, save GWB’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which is a feat in and of itself. Several of the cuts will eventually make their way into Truthful Translations this week but you can get ’em direct at a better bitrate from the link above. Continue reading “New Tracks from Wax Audio; Free Passes to Free Press Conference”
A lot has happened during this latest hiatus.
Site-wise, the Enforcement Action Database is up to date. The Database includes FCC activity reported in August as well as some significant backfilling. If you check the yearly graph, 2003 now almost matches 1998 in the amount of FCC activity: significant because that was the year the NAB declared war on microradio, forcing the FCC to ramp up its pirate-busting. Draw your own conclusions (mine are still mostly unformed). Updates to Truthful Translations and the Schnazz to follow soon.
As for news, here’s the highlight breakdown: Continue reading “Back In Action: Scene Report Summary (August)”
Many activists (especially those involved in progressive/radical causes) are intimately familiar with doing hard work for little or no money or recognition. I’ve unfortunately watched friends burn out on causes for change because of this. However, my hiatus of late has taught me an important lesson: people do notice your work and, if you keep plugging away at it, you will reap rewards (above and beyond altruistic satisfaction, which still unfortunately is not yet considered a form of currency).
When I decided to move to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois from Madison several months ago, I had little idea what I’d be doing when I got here (outside of the higher-learning thing). It was the first time I’d apartment-hunted with no clue as to how I’d manage the rent, an experience I’d recommend to nobody. Continue reading “The Voice of Media Reform?”
S. 2505 – the bill to expand LPFM back out to its original parameters as defined in 2000 – is expected to clear the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday. This is somewhat of a no-brainer as S. 2505’s sponsor, John McCain (R-AZ) also happens to be committee chairman.
At present the bill has just two co-sponsors. Remember that it must still clear both the House and Senate and survive a presidential veto (expected but not yet promised). There’s always a chance that S. 2505 could become a “rider” to other legislation, a common legislative shortcut used when Congress has a backlog (as is the case presently). Then again, it could always be scuttled in exchange for the support of other measures with more political capital. Continue reading “LPFM Expansion Bill to Clear Committee”
Outgoing Amherst Alliance president Don Schellhardt breaks things down micro-legislatively with regard to S.2505, the Low Power Radio Act. He also notes that Senator Maria Cantwell has introduced promised leigslation to protect certain “Class D” old-style LPFM stations from being bumped off the air. That bill, the “Educational Radio Protection Act,” currently has no sponsors. Continue reading “LPFM Tidbits of Note”
With reports of the FCC veto effort stalling on Capitol Hill, the lobbying begins again in earnest. These shenanigans often take place as correspondence between congresscritters; one can often gauge the level of political support certain bills have by the number of signatures on a letter of support for it circulating the House or Senate.
Such a letter is now making its way around the House, which is where much of the resistance to this particular media reform campaign is coming from. Free Press continues to gather signatures on its petition to Congress, but now they’d like folks to pick up the phones. Why? Bob McChesney sez because it’s quick, painless and may actually do some good (and the record so far is no small feat):
“If your Representative hasn’t signed it, please call them and ask him/her to do so. Over 120 (out of 435) have signed already. Instructions are provided.”
Another member of Thursday’s panel on campus was Free Press co-founder John Nichols. After finishing up with Kevin Klose I pigeonholed him as well, wondering what the f*ck the deal was with possibly charging journalists to attend the National Conference on Media Reform.
Nichols did not know this, and did not believe it. Of course journalists would not be required to pay for entry. He said they will not make distinctions between news organizations, either – the New York Times and Indymedia will get equal treatment, although there is concern lots of folks may show up and claim to be IMC reporters just for a free pass. Continue reading “Media Reform Conference Will Let Journalists In For Free”