Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Hi, Freedom Fighters:

OK, I'm not gong to lie to you, I was late to the meeting with Waxman about FCC deregulation. At least I went!

Now, Thursday, there's going to be a "National Day of Protest" against FCC deregulation. This is not just about good rock. This is about democracy. Who owns the media owns our information. In some cases, it's also about life and death.

The radio was invented and originally conceived as a publicly owned service, kind of a quasi-utility, that would connect people and entertain them, but most of all inform them and keep them safe. Like the fire department, the police, and voting polling places, it would be a free service available to all that would improve the people's quality of life and strengthen our democracy. For very good reasons, our fire departments, police and voting booths have not yet been privatized. (We've seen the disaster of deregulating utilities.) Radio has been. Here's an example of one of the many consequences of a privatized, deregulated media:

"It's like something out of a nightmare, but it really happened: At 1:30 on a cold January night, a train containing hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic ammonia derails in Minot, North Dakota. Town officials try to sound the emergency alert system, but it isn't working. Desperate to warn townspeople about the poisonous white cloud bearing down on them, the officials call their local radio stations. But no one answers any of the phones for an hour and a half. According to the New York Times, three hundred people are hospitalized, some are partially blinded, and pets and livestock are killed.

Where were Minot's DJs on January 18th, 2002? Where was the late night station crew? As it turns out, six of the seven local radio stations had recently been purchased by Clear Channel Communications, a radio giant with over 1,200 stations nationwide. Economies of scale dictated that most of the local staff be cut: Minot stations ran more or less on auto pilot, the programming largely dictated from further up the Clear Channel food chain. No one answered the phone because hardly anyone worked at the stations any more; the songs played in Minot were the same as those played on Clear Channel stations across the Midwest."

That's from MoveOn. Anyway, the vast majority of Americans are opposed to corporate control of the media (I hear, anyway), but they just don't know what the hell is going on because there's no coverage of the issues on TV. We have no choice but to do little shit like protests and stuff and hope that the issue will gradually snowball. I hope people who care aren't too jaded to get out and shout a little.


WHAT: Stop Clear Channel and the FCC

WHEN: Thursday, May 29th 2003 Noon - (the Thursday before the FCC votes to dramatically deregulate the media)

WHERE: Los Angeles, California

Location: Clear Channel's KFI AM, 610 S Ardmore Ave. Los Angeles California

Contact: Lorinda


(I have no idea who Lorinda is.)

For info on your local protest, go to MoveOn and sign up for action alerts. There's some way cool reporting there too on the whole deregulation shebang.



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