Community meeting on the FCC Payola settlement, Mar. 26

Many musicians, music fans and media activists have followed with interest the story of the recent FCC Payola Settlement (for more info on settlement check out articles at reclaimthemedia.org or daveyd.com). The settlement between the FCC and the largest commercial radio owners, was reached alongside a side agreement in which radio owners promised to dedicate SOME airtime for independent music on commercial stations.

This is certainly good news for small labels and their artists, virtually locked out of airplay on most music stations. But many questions remain: Will stations feature more LOCAL/REGIONAL music? Will grassroots artists get a fair shake? Will the settlement make stations more accountable to local commmunities? How will the settlement affect commercial stations in our area, like KUBE? And what about the noncommercial, community broadcasters in our area?

206 Zulu and Reclaim the Media are hosting a town hall gathering on Monday March 26th, 7-9pm, at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (17th and Yesler, Seattle) to consider these questions and to develop a community statement responding to the issue.

We will review and discuss the terms of the payola settlement alongside several other significant documents:

1) Universal Zulu Nation's Bring Back the Balance campaign, a ten-point program for radio accountability developed in 2006

2) The Seattle Statement on Radio developed in 2004

3) Youth Media Council's 2002 community activism report Is KMEL The People's Station?

The first two documents are broader statements on what are ideals in terms of just media, one from a national body, UZN which was, of course, the very first Hip Hop institution, and the second is a similar, more detailed analysis from a local collective. The third is a detailed analysis and list of demands for KMEL (this is the Bay Area station that pioneered the format for KUBE 93 and other watered-down Clear Channel stations across the country). Organizing efforts around "Is KMEL the People's Station?" was a huge force in usherin' in the success of the Bay Area's independent Hyphie Movement.

In the meeting on Monday, we will:

1) Evaluate what the FCC Payola Settlement accomplishes and identifying what it leaves undone.
2) Rate it with regard to values embedded in Seattle Statement on Radio and Bring Back the Balance Campaign's Ten Points on Media Reform
3) Identify tangible measurements of what principles will mean when met ( e.i access of what organizations in Seattle to airwaves? Types of content we want to hear and when? How many hours of local artist airplay when? )

3) Presenting two distinct but complementary strategies that will enforce demands that are unmet by the Settlement

a) Hold KUBE 93 accountable to the communities it claims to serve

b) Raise public awareness about local/grassroots community programming that is already surpassing corporate media in these principles.

This means there is a broad body of interests we intend to represent with this statement. Many regional artists want airplay and equal access to media sources, some activists will primarily be concerned with images perpetuated by mainstream media and lack of diversity in programming, independent media makers want the broader community to acknowledge their efforts in providing alternatives to independent media, and still others want the body of artists in the community to learn how to utilize the indy media that does exist.

In this discussion, our diverse concerns are not mutually exclusive, and it's not outta "kumbaya" but more outta practicality that we stick together on this one. Since we will need sign on and buy-in from labels, artists, organizations, indy media outlets, etc. for this to be effective, we need everyone's input in developing this statement.

For more information, contact Julie C at (425) 223-7787

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