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Radio 4 "The Rest of U.S." ... excerpts and commentaries on Washington Post stories of interest to supporters of  eclectic radio. Click on the icon above to visit the current Washington Post.


09/07/99: Deregulation fuels monopoly:
Excerpt: "The pact with CBS comes just a month after the Federal Communications
               Commission relaxed television-station ownership rules and precipitated a
               round of intense discussions between media companies over possible
               mergers. Viacom owns a station group and a 50% stake in the UPN
               network. "
Point: If America is founded on a free market that provides the citizens with the benefit
             of competition, then relaxing the duopoly restrictions was UNAmerican.
             Previous to the August 1999 FCC meeting, stations were not allowed
             to own more than one television station per market. When one company
             owns more than one station it is called a duopoly (newspeak translation
             for "near monopoly") and this was restricted. Now it is not restricted,
             and companies are free to gobble up not just every publishing house,
             not just every magazine and radio station and newspaper, but also the
             television stations as well.
             Furthermore, the ownership of media corporations are incestuous
             both with each other and with the corporations that the "free" press
             are supposed to act as a watchdog for:
             Peter Phillips, Director of Project Censored pointed out,
             "... eleven major corporations with 157 people sitting on the boards
             of directors own almost all media ... those 157 people are corporate
             America .. sitting on 14% of all [not just media] corporations in America."

             In other words, the media watchdogs are actually the lapdogs of the
             burglars they are supposed to barking at.
             The Fox is the henhouse guard.



07/13/99: It's a White, White World on Network TV
Excerpt: "Here's one thing you won't be seeing much of when the big TV networks
                 roll out their new sitcoms and drama series this fall: black people.
                 In what is likely to be the whitest television season in a generation,
                 not one of the 26 new shows set to debut on ABC, CBS, NBC
                 and Fox will star an African American. Blacks, along with
                 Hispanics and Asian Americans,
                 will occupy few secondary roles as well."



07/01/99: McCain: Campaign Finance Is a Campaign Issue
Point: Boy, talk about a screaming example of why community radio
             and the Low Power Radio Service is desperately needed.
            Here is one of the leading lapdogs of those who would
            remove ALL restrictions on the monopolistic and
            anticompetitive actions of the Big Boy Broadcasters ...
            also whining that Democracy does not have a chance
            if George Bush is elected. He thinks that he can enact
            campaign finance reform ... without creating an alternative
            to the overpriced TV campaign advertisement!!
           If McCain were really serious about campaign reform,
            he would support the Low Power Radio Service because
            that would create thousands of small radio stations that
            are owned by new and new local ownership, many of
            which would be very interested in covering those political
            campaigns that the mainstream media can't be bothered with!!
           As it stands now, the mainstream media is encouraged to destroy Democracy.
            The worse job they do covering the candidates, the more the candidates
            must make up for this by purchasing advertisement to get their ideas
            out before the public!!
            Creating competition by encouraging a maximizatrion of different owners
            of electronic media would encourage better coverage of candidates as well
            as providing more competition for them to choose from when buying campaign ads.
            For that matter, McCain could require that the LPRS stations provide a certain
            amount of time for the candidates to make their case before the public as
            "payment" for creating this new service opportunity.
            But that is not what he is doing. McCain is instead standing behind the efforts
           of the Big Boy Broadcasters to further consolidate control and destroy the very
            competition that supposedly made America great and free.
Excerpt: "[McCain's fundraising is] far behind Texas Gov. George
                 W. Bush but more than anyone else in the big GOP field. He has
              drawn heavily on contributors involved in the telecommunications
                 and  aviation fields with vital interests in his role as chairman of the Senate
                 Commerce Committee. Some Washington lobbyists say his fund-raisers
                 have been blunt in calling on them for help."

                 McCain came to the home of the first primary
                  to declare that a new president cannot break
                  "special interest" government in Washington
                  without first destroying "a campaign finance system that is nothing less than
                  an influence-peddling scheme in which both parties compete to stay in
                  office by selling the country to the highest bidder."
                 SN:] Boy, he said it!!!!!!! He would know!
                                 Tauzin "Turns up the heat" on the FCC"
                                 As seen in this link:
FOLOWUP POINT: Naked Power Grab: A merger between two
               communication's giants have to get past three Federal agencies,
               the Federal Communications Commission (with President
               Clinton's appointment of  Mr. Kennard, the first
               African-American Chairman ever), the
               Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission
               (the last two essentially controlled by
                pro-corporate-power-concentration Republicans)

               (Bloomberg News 5/26/99) "Two influential Senators introduced
               legislation that would limit the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's
               authority to review mergers. The bill, sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee
               Chairman John McCain(R-AZ) and Senate Judiciary Committee
               Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-WA), would forbid the FCC
               from blocking a transaction that either the Department of Justice
               or Federal Trade Commission  has cleared. "

               The Federal Trade Commission is overseen by the Senate
               Commerce Committee (Chaired by Senator John McCain)
               and the Department of Justice is overseen by the Senate
               Judiciary Committee (Chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch).

               As if that wasn't bad enough!!
                (R&R 9/15/99)
               Broadcast Ownership Reform Act' Introduced
                "Though the aim of Sen. John McCain's bill is to "assure timely,
                rational and complete FCC resolution of all pending proceedings
                re-examining the current radio and TV broadcast station rules," it
                looks as though the bill will affect TV more than radio. The legislation
                would, however, eliminate the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership
                ban. It also seeks to raise the limit on the national TV networks'
                audience reach from 35% to 50% and allow the FCC to raise it further
                if public interest warrants it."
SN] What "Public Interest" is served by destroying the last vestiges of competition?
 

McCain's support of the onslought of mergers is especially odd given:
                  Washington Post article continues, "He said the Telecommunications
                  Act of 1996 -- which he was the only senator to oppose on
                  final passage -- was written in a process where "every company
                  affected had purchased a seat at the table with soft money"
                  while consumers were left outside. As a result, he said "lower
                  prices that competition produces never materialized. Cable rates went up.
                  Phone rates went up. And huge broadcasting giants received for free
                  billions of dollars in digital spectrum property that belonged to the
                  American people."

                  "We are all shortchanged by soft money, liberal and conservative alike,"
                  McCain said. "All of our ideals are sacrificed. We are all corrupted."

Email your Congressman/Senator ... ask questions, when will they support the Low Power Radio Service??
 



05/14/99 : No Rant. Just Rave
Point: There are few Techno or Rave music radio
                 stations in America.
                 Techno is the melding of progressive European
                 culture (Kraftwerk) and optimistic technically
                 confident and progressive/inclusive
                 (House came from the warehouses of Chicago's
                 gay dance nightlife) African-American culture,
                 pulling from such diverse sources as John Cage
                (classical music) and Parliment (funk).
                 Techno is popular enough that Richmond Va's
                 Plan 9 manager Terri Murphy estimated that
                 Techno was "about 20% of rock [pop music] sales."
                 Techno backs up sneaker ads, automobile ads
                 and sport-drink advertisements on TV.
                 The ownership of mainstream radio stations do not want to serve
                 the lucrative techno/rave/ambient fans because they are not sympathetic.
                 Any effort to reach out to a new market involves risk. To take that risk means
                 that you must want to find a way to make it work. It helps if the owners are
                 either sympathetic to the niche they plan to serve or are desperate due to
                 competition to reach out into the unknown. For example: in Richmond, there are
                 only 33 stations, so there is no desperation and those in control are far more
                 comfortable with Baby Boomer Oldies and Country and Gospel than they
                 are with progressive news/talk or Techno/Dance/Trance/Ambient.
                 Techno is the counterculture music for the 90s as Rock was for the 50s.
                 Techno is  a modern manifestation of ancient chants and dirvishes that have
                 been used for centuries to attain an altered consciousness that often leads
                 to revelations.
                 One of the largest busts of pirate radio stations in US history, Miami,
                 1998, involved shutting down 15 stations ... ALL of which played techno
                 music. This is why the Low Power Radio Service stations will tend to
                 serve the techno crowd ...
                 as numerous and willing to buy music as they are ...
                 techno fans are left out of the marketplace.
Excerpt: "For many area [techno music] ravers, pulling the plug on [Washington DC]
                  Buzz represents more than the silencing of a dance party. It is an attack on who
                  they are, how they live, and everything they value. The outside world
                  came calling in the form of a grainy sweeps-month television expose that
                  wasn't interested in the music or the culture, but only the misbehavior of a few.

                  A rave party "is a place you can go up and give somebody a hug and
                  introduce yourself and have no problem," says Steve "Elmo" Gordy, 19,
                  an art student from Frederick, Md. "People who are not accepted . . .
                  come to raves and their self-esteem is raised so high. The acceptance you
                  feel is life-altering."

                  The Channel 5 broadcast featured some Buzz-goers and a police officer
                  saying people were on Ecstasy, the popular name for MDMA, an
                  amphetamine derivative that induces euphoria. The ravers respond that
                  there is no more substance abuse per capita at a rave party than
                  elsewhere in society.

                "Name me one youth culture where there's no drugs," says Tiffany Melton,
                  18, whose family lives on Andrews Air Force Base. "Name me one frat
                  party where people aren't drunk."
                  Channel 5 officials did not return telephone calls for comment.

                  All the same, some ravers defend Ecstasy. At the rally, a 32-year-old
                  computer industry professional from Washington says his experiments with
                  the $25 pills have been positive. In moderation, he claims, the drug
                  produces heightened sensations and eagerness to communicate with
                  others. "It helped me reach an emotional state I've had trouble reaching."

                  The soundtrack of the rave scene is electronic dance music often called
                  techno. It can be pumping, spacey, mesmerizing. The stars are the
                  deejays, who construct endless instrumental dramas through the artful
                  selection and melding of tracks recorded on vinyl.

                  The music emerged in the 1980s as influences from black and gay dance
                  clubs of Chicago, Detroit and New York blended with the electronic
                  avant-garde of Europe. Aficionados favor particular subgenres, such as
                  trance, jungle, drum 'n' bass, happy hardcore, progressive house, etc. "
 

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