Newswire

NAB using dishonest tactics to hold back community radio bill

Paul Riismandel, Radio Survivor

The National Association of Broadcasters has never been a friend to low-power community radio. Back in 2000, when the FCC first created the service, the NAB did everything it could to try and keep it from becoming a reality. While the broadcast lobby failed to stop it outright, the NAB did succeed in getting Congress to significantly curtail LPFM with a last-minute attachment to an omnibus budget bill passed in December of that year. One of the weapons the NAB used was a bogus CD that purported to demonstrate harmful interference caused by low-power stations, that was later disproved by an independent report ordered by Congress.

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Public access channels remain a major source for local TV programming

Alliance for Community Media

The Alliance for Community Media, in partnership with The Buske Group, recently completed an online survey regarding first-run, locally produced programming on public, educational and governmental (“PEG”) cable access channels. More than 200 PEG Access Centers participated in the survey, with responses from 37 states and the District of Columbia. Key findings indicate that PEG Access facilities are very often the leading provider of local, original programming in communities across the United States.

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The Money and media election complex

Robert McChesney and John Nichols, The Nation

Like the wizard telling the people of Oz to "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," Karl Rove used media appearances at the close of the 2010 midterm campaign to dismiss President Obama's complaints that Republican consultants, led by the former White House political czar, were distorting Senate and House races across the country with a flood of money—hundreds of millions of dollars—from multinational corporations and billionaire conservatives into Senate and House races. "Obama looks weirdly disconnected—and slightly obsessive—when he talks so much about the Chamber of Commerce, Ed Gillespie and me," Rove mused. "The president has already wasted one-quarter of the campaign's final four weeks on this sideshow."

The "sideshow" from which Rove sought to distract attention was, in fact, the most important story of the most expensive midterm election in American history: the radical transformation of our politics by a money-and-media election complex that is now more definitional than any candidate or party—and that poses every bit as much of a threat to democracy as the military-industrial complex about which Dwight Eisenhower warned us a half-century ago. This is not the next chapter in the old money-and-politics debate. This is the redefinition of politics by a pair of new and equally important factors—the freeing of corporations to spend any amount on electioneering and the collapse of substantive print and broadcast reporting on campaigns. In combination they have created a "new normal," in which consultants dealing in dollar amounts unprecedented in American history use "independent" expenditures to tip the balance of elections in favor of their clients. Unchecked by even rudimentary campaign finance regulation, unchallenged by a journalism sufficient to identify and expose abuses of the electoral process and abetted by commercial broadcasters that this year pocketed $3 billion in political ad revenues, the money-and-media election complex was a nearly unbeatable force in 2010.

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SCAN-TV shutting down, future of Seattle public access TV unclear

Todd Bishop, TechFlash

Seattle Community Access Network, the independent non-profit group that has operated the city’s public access TV station for more than a decade, says it will cease operations at the end of the year -- without a transition period -- rather than bid for a new contract under the 85 percent funding cut proposed by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

The group, known as SCAN-TV, announced the news today -- saying it tried to negotiate a 6-month transition period with the city but couldn’t reach “workable terms.” Executive director Dian Ferguson said in a news release that it "does not appear that anyone with the authority to restore funding is listening."

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Low-power radio bill down to the wire in Senate

Jennifer Martinez, Politico

A bill that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to give licenses to more noncommercial, localized radio stations is caught in static.

Despite support from both sides of the aisle, including strong backing from Arizona Sen. John McCain, a group of Republican senators have successfully blocked the bill.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso currently has a hold on the measure, which would create a new crop of radio stations — known as low-power FM stations — dedicated to hyperlocal community news, such as information about school boards, city councils and church groups, or spreading music by local artists.

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Jennifer Pozner on reality TV: Reality Bites Back

Anne Kingston, Maclean's

a conversation with Jennifer Pozner on the fakeness of reality shows, how ‘the dumb bimbo’ is cast, and why actresses are shrinking

Jennifer Pozner is the director of Women In Media & News in New York City, and the author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV.

Q: Why do you say it’s “bulls–t” that viewer demand has created the deluge of reality TV?

A:Michael Hirschorn, the brain trust behind VH1’s Flavor of Love and Flavor of Love: Charm School and basically the guy who is responsible for bringing the modern minstrel show to television, has said in an interview that – this is the quote, “If women don’t want those shows they wouldn’t get made,” That’s what I call bulls–t, because what reality producers and what the entertainment press sells us is this notion that we, the public, have just demanded via massive ratings that they give us this bottom-feeder low-quality reality TV fare, and this is just a big lie. It’s true that some reality shows—American Idol, The Bachelor—have gotten high ratings, but many others languish with paltry ratings and they get to stay [on air] because these shows are really cheap to produce. It can cost about 50 per cent less—sometimes even 75 per cent less—to make a reality show than to make a quality scripted program.

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Paths to preserving an open Internet

Sen. Tom Udall, Politico

It is beyond cliché to note how important the Internet is in modern life. The Internet has transformed not only the telecommunications landscape but also our economy and society.

Over the years, the Net has morphed from a complicated medium for scientists and computer engineers into a network for telecommuting to school or the office, a marketplace for e-commerce and a place to connect with friends via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

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Tides CEO to Fox News advertisers: you may have blood on your hands

Media Matters

In a letter released today, Tides CEO and founder Drummond Pike called on advertisers to stop supporting Fox News.

Pike wrote that Byron Williams -- the alleged gunman who, according to police, said he planned to murder employees of Tides and the ACLU -- relied heavily on conspiracy theories advanced on Glenn Beck's show:

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Seattle public access funding threatened in Mayor's budget

Sonia Krishman, Seattle Times

Seattle's public access TV channel SCAN could go dark under Mayor Mike McGinn's proposed budget. It's no secret the city of Seattle faces a $67 million budget hole. So funding public-access TV channel SCAN to the tune of $650,000 a year, begs some reconsideration, said spokesman Mark Matassa.

There are arguments on both sides. Public-access advocates say pulling the plug will spell the death of the local voice. The channel caters to a spectrum of political views. Plus, they say, they fear a programming void for immigrants, especially the Somali and Ethiopian communities, who rely on public access for news and events in their native languages.

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Communities of color call on FCC to apply network neutrality rules to wireless networks

Media Action Grassroots Network

In comments filed today with the Federal Communications Commission, almost thirty organizations, including Reclaim the Media, members of Latinos for Internet Freedom and the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), called on the agency to apply Network Neutrality rules to all Internet access platforms, including on wireless networks.

People of color are among the fastest growing constituencies in the United States and the most active users of the mobile Internet and many rely exclusively on their cell phones and other mobile devices to get online. Communities of color use their mobile devices as a primary tool for activism, community engagement and democratic participation, from defending the rights of immigrants to registering to vote.

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