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Feature: NAB Meets Media Democracy
Saturday, September 23 (II)

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Note: Clicking on any bordered pictures in this feature produces a larger, captioned version

Sounds of the Street - Click here

A little after six p.m., the entire rally took to the streets. It captivated the downtown; the bustling stopped and all focused on the first-ever Media Democracy March.

But it was only a few blocks of bliss before we heard more music: there, waiting in Union Square for us, was a stage and concert. Now began the party - singing, dancing and laughing were the order of business as we celebrated twisting the corporate ear.

However, the action wasn't over yet. Wordsmith punk Jello Biafra headlined the show, and he railed on the NAB and corporate media in his uniquely deviant style. His satirical soliloquy got to us all, and when he ended with, "To the Hilton....CHAAARRRGE!," many did just that.

So it was to the Hilton we went. Tonight the hotel played host to the NAB's annual Marconi Radio Awards show. While the commercial broadcast elite gave each other crystal trophies and smoked stogies (Rush Limbaugh was an honored guest this year), a crowd of a couple hundred congealed in front of the hotel's lobby doors.

The police, who had followed from the concert, knew what they had to do.  Several dozen motorcycle cops were dispatched to ring the outer fringes of the crowd, while riot-gear-clad officers formed phalanxes between the protesters and the hotel.

As jewel-studded guests inside looked on, a rag-tag impromptu lark became a full-fledged demonstration. The chanting and shouting began as people pressed closer and closer to the lobby door, the crowd growing larger as well.

Then the riot batons came out - an uneasy 'no man's land' formed between the front wedge of the protesters and the Blue Line.  Staring contests ensued. A battle of wills began.

Some of the organizers and motivators from the past weeks' events worked their way to the front of the demonstration and declared their intent to try and get through the police line. They were quickly blocked, and as the crowd inched forward the police pushed back with their batons.

Any more physical contact with the cops after this would mean arrest; the no-man's land reappeared and tensions ramped up.

But it had been a long and joyous day: for the first time in history, the masses had successfully organized to shout down the media. Rather than escalating the situation, the demonstration slowly evaporated and the police started acting human again.

Ted Coopman and I headed back to the IMC for one final visit; we commandeered the live webcast, gave an eyewitness report from the streets about the events of the night, and played Jello Biafra's speech for the world to hear.

Wednesday, September 20

Thursday, September 21

Friday, September 22 - (I) / (II)

Saturday, September 23 - (I) / (II)

Conclusion: Memories and Momentum