“You have made of radio a laughing stock to intelligence?.you have cut time into tiny segments called spots (more rightly stains) where with the occasional fine program is periodically smeared with impudent insistence to buy and try.”
Lee de Forest – inventor of the vacuum tube for radio – addressing the NAB in 1946<
If you have never done it, try doing a survey of local radio. Scan the FM & AM dial and you might be surprised to find that there isn’t a great deal of local news, diversity of music genres or political opinions. Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh on WOOD radio or one of the many Christian commentators on numerous local stations the radio landscape for freethinking people is pretty dismal.
This is in part due to the increasing consolidation of radio ownership that was propelled by the 1996 Tele-Communication. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently pushing further deregulation on media ownership, which may put more media in even fewer hands and limit the spectrum of opinions and types of music we hear. (See a study by the Future of Music Coalition) Clear Channel Radio, which owns over 1,200 radio stations nationally, owns 8 stations in GR alone – http://www.griid.org/mediademocracy-grandrapids.html.
This translates into less and less local information, and fewer and fewer local voices. Instead we are subjected to the likes of Michael Savage, who has a syndicated radio show that is run on roughly 300 stations nationwide. Savage’s show was recently cancelled on MSNBC, because on hate speech directed at Gays, Latinos and Jews. The national media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) spearheaded a campaign to get Savage off of MSNBC. Now FAIR is calling on people to get his hate speech off the air in local communities. Here’s a small dose of Michael savage:
“With the [Latino] population that has emerged, since they breed like rabbits, in many cases the whites will become a minority in their own nation… The white people don’t breed as often for whatever reason. I guess many homosexuals are involved. That is also part of the grand plan, to push homosexuality to cut down on the white race.”
(San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00).
Discussing student volunteers distributing food to the homeless in San Francisco, Savage declared that “the girls from Branson [school] can go in and maybe get raped… because they seem to like the excitement of it. There’s always the thrill and possibility they’ll be raped in a dumpster while giving out a turkey sandwich” (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00).
Locally, Savage?s show can be heard on WOOD 1300 AM weekdays from 7-10pm. The Grand Rapids Press recently talked with WOOD Program Manager Phil Tower who said that they are running the show because “he had yet to hear of any organized campaign to persuade the station to remove the show.” Sounds like an invitation to me. You can contact WOOD Radio at http://woodradio.com/interact/, and send an e-mail to Program manager Phil Tower. You can also call the studio number 774-2424 and give it to them live. For more information on the national campaign go to http://www.fair.org/press-releases/savage-antisemitism.html.
Jeff Smith is the Director of GRIID, a local media watchdog ? www.griid.org. He actually gets paid to look at Tom Van Howe?s my hair and Juliet Dragos everyday. You can contact him at [email protected]