jonathan's blog

DTV assistance providers praise Fred Meyer, call on other retailers to offer no-cost box

On April 17, community groups and DTV Assistance Center providers in Seattle called upon retailers to take the "Socially Responsible Retailer" pledge, by agreeing to offer a $40 "no-cost box" option for local DTV consumers. Only Fred Meyer stores have taken the pledge - Company officials committed that Seattle-area Fred Meyer stores will offer $40 boxes as a special promotion, on at least one occasion before the June 12 transition.

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Listen Up! Northwest program 43: Canada's local grain CSA

In Listen Up! Northwest program 43, we ride along with British Columbia sailors who are bringing together local wheat growers and consumers, in a new take on locally-delivered produce. (Jonathan Steinman, CJLY Nelson BC)

Music by Northwest artists, DJ B-Girl

* download program 43
* general Listen Up! NW promo

Listen Up! NW is produced by Yuko Kodama at KBCS for Reclaim the Media, and distributed by the Northwest Community Radio Network.

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DTV day of action: it’s time for a socially responsible DTV transition

On Friday April 17th, local community organizations gathered at Seattle Housing Authority's Center Park facility calling for a Socially Responsible DTV Transition; helping community members apply for DTV converter box coupons, answering questions about the upcoming transition, and calling upon local retailers to provide a “no-cost box” option for local consumers. City Councilmembers Richard Conlin and Bruce Harrell provided an update on their January letter to local retailers, asking for a no-cost box. To date, few local retailers have answered the community's call for affordable box options.

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Public interest groups advise feds on broadband stimulus spending

Today, Reclaim the Media and twenty-seven other public interest and media democracy organizations submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service, the primary two Federal agency offices charged with distributing $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funds.

The comments made recommendations on definitions of "underserved" and "unserved" areas, the role of state and local governments and commmunity organizations in broadband deployment, and other topics.

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Listen Up Northwest encore: Motherhood

This week, we present an encore presentation of Listen Up! Northwest: a program on motherhood and birthing originally broadcast on July 3, 2008. Segments include:

• Why some people choose home birth (Julie Sabatier, Destination DIY-Portland)
• Canadian government sterilization practices of First Nations people (Kevin Annett, Vancouver Coop Radio)
• When is the right time to have a child? (Julia Donk & Sasha Summer Cousineau, KBCS-Seattle)
• Your mom: she's a real person too. (Sandi Billings, KRFP-Moscow)

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program 3 promo

Listen Up! NW is produced by Yuko Kodama at KBCS for Reclaim the Media, and distributed by the Northwest Community Radio Network.

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State legislation lays groundwork for broadband in Washington's underserved areas

Washington's state legislature is getting closer to passing legislation which could help dramatically expand high-speed broadband Internet in underserved rural and urban areas. While details are still being worked out, the legislation (see 1701 and 5916) would allow the state's Department of Information Technology to help increase broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas across the state, to map existing broadband coverage to homes, businesses, and state agencies, and to create new programs for promoting Internet adoption and digital literacy. The primary anticipated funding source - and the new legislation's raison d'etre -- is $7.2 billion in broadband funds included in the recent federal stimulus package.

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Reel Grrls launches "Generation of Consolidation" website

The award-winning short documentary A Generation of Consolidation, created by Seattle Reel Grrls teen filmmakers Sami Muilenburg and Brooke Noel, explores the impact of media consolidation on news content and its effects on youth&emdash;both as viewers and media makers. The film highlights youth testimony from the 2007 Seattle FCC hearing on Media Ownership, and features the voices of Reclaim the Media, author Anne Elizabeth Moore, UW Professor Lance Bennett, and young people taking stock of their role in a shifting media landscape.

Now Muilenberg has teamed up with designer Jessica Spiegel to create, a website created by youth and for youth, aimed at using the film as a jumping-off point into broader discussions of media justice.

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Listen Up! Northwest program 42: Ravens

Listen Up! Northwest is a collaboratively produced radio magazine featuring stories of communities in action throughout the Northwest. Each broadcast highlights the work of skilled community radio producers and artists from our region, including Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Listen Up! Northwest program 42 focuses on ravens, in the natural world and in myths and stories.

Depending on your culture or point of view, ravens are seen as gods or bad omens. In this feature we observe ravens in Alaska (Lisa Busch, Encounters North)

Music by Northwest artists, DJ B-Girl and Outback

* download program 42
* general Listen Up! NW promo

Listen Up! NW is produced by Yuko Kodama at KBCS for Reclaim the Media, and distributed by the Northwest Community Radio Network.

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Pacifica clumsily asserts oversight at WBAI

UPDATE 2: On the April 6 edition of Wakeup Call, WBAI announcer Don Debarr gave an update on the station's situation, citing a weekend interview with Pacifica counsel Ricardo De Anda. According to Debarr, the attorney stated that the network's move to secure transmitter locations at the five Pacifica stations came in response to listener complaints of 'anti-semitic remarks' aired at another Pacifica station, although De Anda was unable to quote or specifically characterize the remarks. Debarr also reported a suspiciously unsourced suggestion that "a group within Pacifica is reportedly recruiting producers to fill what they call the morning grid with new programming across the board."

RTM comment: The Pacifica national board's decision to assert control over their transmitter locations predictably elicited shrill accusations of a coup. However, the board seems justified in viewing WBAI's financial crisis as a threat to the network's most valuable asset: its FM channel in New York City. We have faith in Tony Riddle's leadership at WBAI and hope that his superhuman powers of reason, diplomacy and unflappable calm will be enough to see the station and its unique staff through the immediate problems.

Both the Pacifica Network and New York Pacifica stalwart WBAI are in the midst of serious financial woes, making this news especially troubling. This message was distributed on April 2 by Justice and Unity, a listener/programmer campaign to broaden the station's community accountability:

The following was circulated by WBAI's General Manager, Tony Riddle, late last night, to the WBAI staff and the Pacifica National Board and its Chair, Grace Aaron (who is based in Los Angeles). In the absence of a permanent Executive Director, Aaron doubles as Interim Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation, which holds the license for WBAI and four other stations. The opening sentence of Mr. Riddle's email is: "It has been brought to my attention that you have issued an order today to change the locks on the WBAI transmitter room in the Empire State Building tomorrow." We are urgently attempting to learn more about the situation.

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Sustaining quality journalism: a community conversation

RTM entered the fray of Seattle community conversations about the future of journalism last weekend, with a Green Festival panel entitled Sustaining Quality Journalism in a New Media Ecology. Panelists included former Seattle Times copy editor and past editor of Colors NW Naomi Ishisaka (One America); Common Language Project executive editor Sarah Stuteville; and longtime journalist and community catalyst Stephen Silha (Journalism That Matters). More videos from the panel are posted here.

To echo a point Stephen made, we are entering a relatively uncertain period, which will be – or ought to be – more about finding the right questions than finding quick answers. We began from the position of affirming that quality journalism is absolutely essential for our democracy to function, and is much more crucial than many appear to think. At the same time, however, we reflected that discussions about "saving" journalism are incomplete without deep and sustained criticism of the gaps left by much of today's journalism, as practiced in commercial newsrooms.

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