Guerrilla Radio News

One of the things mainstream radio in America has all but abandoned is journalism. It’s only been a half-century since the advent of television, and from then to now is the time it’s taken for radio news to all but disappear.

Radio news departments were some of the first casualties in the industry’s downward spiral into consolidation and cost-cutting sparked by the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It costs a lot of money (read: salaries) to produce local news, and offers some of the lowest return on investment (read: ad rates).

As an independent media movement took root at the end of the last century, activists rediscovered radio journalism. A portable minidisc recorder makes it possible for one person to archive a large amount of sound on a matchbook-sized medium; regular cassette tapes are cheaper still. And the MP3 file system makes coverage of events and interviews easy to produce and distribute online. Read More

NAB Meets Media Democracy

Sounds of the Street – Click here

Photo Gallery – Click here

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? Read More