Free Press Not So Free: Journalists Must Pay to Cover Media Reform Conference

This disheartening link hit the inbox recently: it takes you to a page on the press credentialing process for the Free Press National Conference on Media Reform, which takes place next month here in Madison.

This conference promises to be quite a newsmaker, with a star-studded lineup of left-leaning notables, FCC Commissioners and a gaggle of Congressfolk gathered all in one place talking national strategy on media reform. Symbolically, it’s a big step forward for the fledgling movement around media democracy which has been growing steadily over the last five years or so. It will be a Big Deal, and something you’d think Free Press would want coverage on.

The entry fee – for journalists – is $175. A “student/low income” rate of $75 is also available. These are the same rates all attendees must pay. This is for the privilege of covering a conference on media reform, involving the core of America’s progressive populace. Read More

Where I’ve Been

I know there hasn’t been much new up on the site lately, but I have a good excuse. Madison, WI has been the site of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ national annual convention this past weekend. As a member of the Madison Independent Media Center, I’ve been heavily involved in covering the event and related street actions.

From the 10-plus pages of stories that have been filed about the event and the live internet radio webstream that we had up, it has been incredibly busy, yet incredibly exhilirating. I finally slept for 17 hours yesterday. Read More

Little By Little

It might not look like much, but there are several sections of the links library now online. Most importantly, the stations and schematics pages are functional again! We’ve gathered tons of news and new links during the short hiatus offline, and we’ll be doing massive updates and additions once the existing content is available.

As an active member of my local Independent Media Center, we’re f*ckin busy right now preparing for the upcoming U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting and the expected protests that will surround it; this all happens a week and a half from now. It has been taking up a lot of energy, and keeps me away from more work here.

Police are playing up the threat of an invasion of “violent anarchists” from out-of-town, but that’s just an excuse to get militaristic and whoop some ass. They don’t call it “police violence” for nuthin’…

Organized Resistance

It has been one hell of a week, I can say that for sure.

At this point seven days ago, the Grassroots Radio Conference held here in Madison, WI was in full swing and the discussion was full of the future.

The Conference was geared toward what few licensed full-power community stations exist around the country, but the event also attracted plenty of people simply interested in radio and the latest happenings in the medium.

There was also a good contingent of unlicensed broadcasters who stepped out of the shadows and introduced themselves. But what I did not expect was the number of people who I met. Read More

A Chat with Harold

Today Federal Communications Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth gave a talk to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Public Utility Institute. The event was open to the public, so I went. When’s the next chance of a Commissioner showing up in your backyard – especially on the eve of the vote on low power radio?

After his talk was a social reception. As it wound down, I was able to corner Harold and ask about the LPFM proposal and its future. I was up-front about this site and my work, and he was surprisingly cordial and attentive. It was a good discussion.

But what I learned was disappointing. We’ve already covered the severe limitations LPFM will be saddled with, and how its potential will be reduced to nearly zero. But hearing why from the mouth of one of the five Commissioners who will soon make it so was even worse. Read More