Welcome to Activist Land!

Activist Land provides tools and a pragmatic forum for the progressive activist community. It aims to complement traditional political blogs by emphasizing how you can get involved in specific issues and how to integrate activism into your life in an effective and sustainable way. Therefore, in addition to calling for action on a particular issue, it encourages people to post "activism opportunity" posts that describe the nuts and bolts of how one would, or did, take action in a particular instance.

My main area of focus is media reform. I've been working with Save Boston's Progressive Talk to help bring progressive talk radio to Boston, and I've written interviews to publicize "The Real News", an independent international news network. My secondary area of focus is election integrity. I maintain a set of Voting Rights pages with an emphasis on an election integrity timeline. I've written pieces on these and other subjects for Daily Kos and my local newspaper. For more info, see my first post. Come and join the community!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Robin's Testimony at the FCC Hearing

SUMMARY: A written version of the testimony delivered by the leader of the Boston progressive talk radio group at the FCC hearing in Portland, ME, on June 28, 2007.

(Please see Little Miss Sunshine at the FCC Hearing for background.)

FCC Hearing
Portland, ME
June 28, 2007

Good evening... I'm here from Massachusetts to testify, as this is the only FCC hearing scheduled in New England.

As happened similarly, more recently, here in Maine, on December 21, 2006, our only Boston all-Progressive-Talk-stations (two simulcasting Clear Channel AM stations, WKOX and WXKS) were suddenly cancelled, without warning. In Boston, which is about 70% liberal, there are numerous right wing conservative talk stations, programs with centrist talk, but no progressive talk. Does this serve our local and public interest?

I would like to present the Commissioners with a copy of our petition with more than 2400 signatures and comments that illustrate that indeed there is an enthusiastic audience and willing advertisers for progressive talk despite being told the opposite. It is not surprising that there was little local advertising on the stations. We've heard from local businesses that tried to advertise only to have their calls ignored or refused. Station management admitted they had no interest in local advertisers; they preferred to sell one package to national advertisers for large numbers of their stations at the same time. A group of active listeners is currently working to get a progressive talk station back on the airwaves.

There are six large media companies who own virtually all of the stations in Boston. The few remaining privately owned stations are mostly on the auction block, feeling squeezed by ever-spiraling costs and fees continually being driven upward by the big corporations. Additionally, many of the large radio corporations who own the conservative programming they broadcast would be reluctant to compete with their own programming so would naturally act to protect their own market shares. Does this serve our local and public interest?

Many corporate media giants look to make short-term profits, running stations by satellite feed from a closet with virtually no local personnel at the expense of local, independent programming. Does this serve our local and public interest?

Progressive programming is thriving across the country, where it gets a decent signal, includes local programming, is given adequate time to grow the audience, AND if it can find available stations to carry it.

We ask the FCC to:

1. Hold a similar FCC hearing in Boston.

2. Limit the number of stations and other media outlets a company can own in one market and roll back the consolidation caused by the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

3. Create incentives & protections to nurture more small, locally owned stations.

4. Prioritize enforcement of "serving the Public Interest" by allowing the public to be part of the licensing process and review renewals more frequently (every three years rather than the current eight years).

5. Ban repeated propaganda and false news presented as real news and fact.

A thriving Democracy requires dialogue and an exchange of ideas to inform its citizenry. "We the People" own the airwaves, and it's time for radio to serve the local and public interest first and renew its role as the fourth estate!

1 comment:

Rougegorge said...

Thanks for posting my testimony Alan!
I still hope to get it up at dkos this week!