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In September 2000, extraordinary events took place in San Francisco, where the National Association of Broadcasters held its annual Radio Convention. For the first time, people took to the streets to voice their concerns with the state of the media.
As rapid consolidation in the American radio industry drastically reduces the diversity of voices on the dial, listeners are noticing the change. More ads, less information. A booming bottom line, but nary a pipsqueak of real news and issues we need and can use.
It's a dangerous trend. When the people
can't communicate with each other on a mass scale through a free and democratic
media, then just how free and democratic can a society be?
Like other protests around the country in 2000 (and ever since), the NAB events were well-chronicled by San Francisco's Independent Media Center; dozens of independent journalists worked together in the impromptu workspace of the offices of the Media Alliance to get their side of the story past the corporate mainstream media filters.
ended up spending more time than I expected to at the IMC - it turned
out to be a home of long hours and scratchy eyes. But it was worth it.
Even so, I was able to get out and fill eight minidiscs with audio from the events, and burned off six rolls of film. What follows is a personal blow-by-blow account of what it's like to rage at the real rogues of radio: