It’s always a bit depressing (and heart-wrenching) to hear about the dramaturgy of grassroots community media; I’ve been involved in enough Indymedia, community radio, and media reform work to recognize (and be bitten by) the scourge of infighting.
Such a convulsion took place this autumn at Freak Radio Santa Cruz. The details are convoluted (as they always are), but apparently involve disputes over programming, the race card, and resultant collective factionalization.
In response to the apparent shattering of consensus on some basic principles that have steered the station for nearly 15 years, a few of Freak Radio’s founders have hung up the mic. Skidmark Bob produced his last FRSC-based PoP dEFECT RADIO program on October 13, and apparently others are scattering as well. Bob’s posted the farewell show up on his blog – where episodes of POP dEFECT (and other projects) will continue. It is well worth a listen.
The show is half-collage of station history, and half-collage regarding the state of Freak Radio. Part 2 contains the material that both contextualizes the dispute and also gives some tribute. Reckless (a Freak Radio founder who later moved on to establish Free Radio Austin) calls in from Atlanta to movingly lament Bob’s departure. Poignant comments are played from co-founder Phil Free, made on his own last broadcast the day before Bob’s denouement, who seems to have summarized the fracas most succinctly:
“Never let it be said that Uncle Phil’s a pacifist; there’s just some fights that are stupid, and some fights that are not. And I don’t want to be stupid. It always brings out the worst in me, and a great deal of stress for no reason.”
Amen, brother. Been there, done that…and still wearing your t-shirt. The station lives on.