State Senate considers Broadband survey

In the first week of the 2007 Washington State Legislative season, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and seven colleagues introduced a bill to survey residential broadband deployment across the state. Mike Weisman reports that the bill came up during the Northwest regional caucus at the Memphis media reform conference, and that folks there made some constructive suggestions to strengthen the bill:

1. There should be outside expert and citizen input to design of the survey, and to the goals of the survey.

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Julie Chang Schulman joins RTM board

RTM is pleased to announce the most recent addition to our volunteer board, Seattle hip-hop organizer, activist and teacher Julie Chang Schulman. Julie is Northwest Regional Coordinator for Hip Hop Congress, Assistant Chapter Head of 206Zulu, sits on the Education Commitee for H2Ed, and on the board for Seattle Urban Debate League.

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Winter reading list

Every year around Memorial Day, RTM publishes a summer reading list with capsule reviews of recommended books on media criticism, quality journalism, and media activism. But this year, so many great books came out in the fall that we couldn't resist putting together a Winter Reading List as well. We'll have printed copies to distribute at the Memphis media reform conference, or you can download a copy here (pdf).

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RTM represents at the Memphis NCMR

Like many media activists around the country, Reclaim the Media is beginning 2007 by getting ready for the third National Conference on Media Reform, taking place this month in Memphis. RTM’s Daniel Hannah, Susan Gleason, Karen Toering, Jonathan Lawson and Jan Strout will all be there, along with many more Seattle and Northwest folks.

RTM will be participating in the conference in several ways. Karen Toering will join Jenn Pozner (Women in Media & News), Thenmozhi Soundararajan (Third World Majority), Jessica Clark (In These Times and DeAnne Cuellar (Texas Media Empowerment Project) for the panel There Is No Media Justice Without Women: Models for Feminist Media Action. Another panel, Winning on the Ground: Strategies for Stopping Big Media, features Jonathan Lawson alongside

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Over 400 attend Seattle media ownership hearing

On Thursday, Nov. 30, over 400 people packed into the auditorium of Seattle's downtown library for a public hearing on the FCC's media ownership regulations (audio/photos/testimony). FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein presided over the event, which opened with comments from Congressman Jay Inslee. Most of the nearly four-hour hearing was devoted to public testimony; a wide range of community members came ready to voice their concerns about the impact of consolidated ownership on quality journalism, viewpoint diversity, and citizen access to the airwaves and electronic media platforms. Testimony at the Seattle hearing overwhelmingly supported maintaining - or strengthening - the FCC's current media ownership rules. Speakers included local musicians, commercial and noncommercial radio broadcasters, labor representatives, journalists, public servants and peace activists. For those who were not able to participate in the Seattle FCC hearing, the FCC will continue accepting written comments on media ownership through Jan. 16 (click here to file comments online). Together, we must continue to demonstrate massive public support for sensible, democratic media regulation. If we keep the pressure on the FCC (and, if necessary, Congress), we will win!

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Who spoke at the Seattle FCC hearing?

[Click names below for transcribed testimony]

At the Nov. 30 Seattle FCC Media Ownership hearing, event co-chairs Frank Blethen (publisher, The Seattle Times) and Sharon Maeda (Spectra Communications/Reclaim the Media) opened the hearing and introduced Congressman Jay Inslee. His comments were followed by remarks from the two FCC Commissioners in attendance, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein.

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Live, from the Seattle Public Library...

The Seattle FCC hearing is underway, with an over-capacity crowd in the auditorium of Seattle's downtown library. I'm motivated to post this live update just because I want to give props to two bloggers who are here covering the hearing live: Fernsehturm and Andrew from the the Northwest Progressive Institute. We're especially grateful to them due to some problems with our audio/video streams I've been getting email about--apparently an audio cable got kicked out of its connection for a few minutes!

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RTM statement at pre-hearing press conference

[RTM statement, Nov. 30 2006]

I'd like to offer my welcome and my thanks to Commissioners Adelstein and Copps for accepting Seattle's invitation to attend this forum--cosponsored by Reclaim the Media, The Seattle Times, KBCS Community Radio, the Minority Executive Directors Association and the UW Department of Communication--and largely organized by community volunteers. All cosponsors of tonight's event believe that the topic, the FCC's policies regulating consolidated ownership of media outlets, is an issue of overwhelming civic importance.

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Press Coverage of Seattle Public FCC Hearing - 30 Nov 06

The FCC Gets an Earful in Seattle
by Bruce Rutledge, Chin Music Press [1 Dec]

Media Consolidation
by Nikchick/MySpace blog [1 Dec]

Owning the Media

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Questions and answers on media ownership

Q: Why is "media ownership" an issue?

A: In past decades, the US government placed limits on the number of newspapers, radio and TV stations which a single company could own nationally, or within a particular market. These rules support democratic values by helping ensure the public has access to multiple voices and opinions in a diverse media culture. Since the Reagan administration, however, these rules have been under attack by corporate media owners who wish to expand without regulatory checks and balances. After the industry-supported Telecommunications Act of 1996 abolished limits on national radio ownership, hundreds of radio stations were gobbled up by increasingly large owners. Clear Channel ballooned from 40 stations to over 1200; local ownership became rare, and minority ownership nearly extinct. Concentrated ownership encourages owners to enact cost-saving measures such as shrinking or abolishing news departments, "voice-tracking" fake local DJs, reducing the number of independent voices on the air.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey