Human Rights Radio Turns 25

On November 26, 1987, Mbanna Kantako founded WTRA, an unlicensed microradio station broadcasting from the John Jay Homes in Springfield, Illinois.

Legally blind and in his twenties at the time, Kantako started the station to protest the imminent destruction of the housing project by the city and the pervasive police abuse that occurred there.

WTRA would later be re-named Human Rights Radio to reflect the Kantako family’s widening concern with issues of social injustice.

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Leaving the Ground? Shut It Down

This story flew under my radar, probably because it was published in USA Today, which is not necessarily known for its in-depth investigative journalism.

The bottom line: f*cking with your smartphone on an airplane has a clear potential for danger. The report uncovered nearly three dozen incidents of interference from onboard passenger electronic devices last year. The interference affected communications and navigational systems; though none resulted in an accident, critical flight-management systems were compromised. Read More

Public Files on the Chopping Block

Just in time for the start of the latest radio station license-renewal cycle, the FCC opens up for question the notion of abolishing the public file requirement for broadcasters.

This is not a self-imposed initiative: it is a consideration the agency is mandated to make, courtesy of the Paperwork Reduction Act. It requires regulatory agencies to periodically review their rules and justify their existence to the Office of Management and Budget. Read More

College: Too Easy?

While preparing to submit my dissertation for committee review (and eventual defense), out comes some news and analysis that paints a sobering picture for anyone interested in a life of academe.

A new book indicts the system of higher education in the United States for failing to prepare many students for the rigors of modern adult life. Grade inflation is up, undergraduate studying is down – to an average of 12-14 hours a week.

Specifically called out as a pressing dilemma is an apparent systemic failure to impart critical thinking skills to college students. Associated commentary from the Chronicle of Higher Education puts a finer point on that: Read More