Archive for November 9, 2010
Breaking The Stranglehold On The Media
by Dave Bradley
Do Americans live in a fantasy world anymore? Based on the election results Tuesday I would say that over half do to some degree. We have a citizenry that believes that cutting taxes raises revenues for the government; citizens that believe aliens walk among us; citizens that believe the bible story of the creation is true word for word. I am sure most of you have an illustrative story of something that Americans believe that is so far out it almost makes you laugh.
And I wonder why what was once the domain of the fringe now is mainstream. Bill Moyers has spoken of this from time to time. Here is how he stated the change that he has observed over his lifetime: “One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress .” thinkexist
As you know I have been on a small mission against our current media. We have little diversity in opinion in our major media. Somehow there must be a way that we can break the stranglehold that the right has on the media. There is probably no one single approach that will work best.
So as a first step let’s examine some of the possibilities. Some of the possibilities may seem far-fetched, but need to be discussed:
1) Buy existing media
I have looked online. Even a small commercial radio station is upwards of a million dollars. And then someone must want to sell a station before it can be bought. There is a limited amount of real estate on our radio spectrum.
2) Bring back the fairness doctrine
While I totally agree with the idea, I doubt it will ever happen. For sure it will not happen in our current political atmosphere and that is the environment we must work in.
3) Internet radio
This is a great idea in many respects and may well be a great move for the future. People who visualize the future much better than I claim that within 10 years cars will be equipped to pick up internet radio stations. Signals will be available throughout the country by then also they claim.
Internet radio has a lot of pluses even in today’s environment. First it is very easy to get into. All you need is a computer to use as a server, some equipment such as a microphone, broadband connection and ability to follow some instructions to hook up the radio station through an online service.
Second it can be done fast – overnight literally.
Third there is little restriction on what can be said, including profanity. I would probably look into some errors and omission insurance though.
(4) Low Power FM.
As many of you know, I have written on LPFM quite extensively. But as of right now LPFM must be authorized by congress. Despite being something that both sides claim is needed this bill is also stalled in the Senate. If not passed this year, the local radio act will need to start all over in the next congress.
Pluses and minuses for LPFM?
1) For over the air radio, LPFM would be cheaper. (I will try to get some actual numbers on what an LPFM will cost to bring on and run)
2) If located in cities an LPFM could garner good audiences.
3) Minuses –
a) Much more expensive that internet radio
c) Regulated by the FCC unlike the internet.
d) Not as yet authorized. Even after authorization, it may take years to get a license to broadcast.
Next week – what will it really cost?
E-mail Dave here
Dave Bradley is a self-described
retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got
so screwed up.” An
Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife
Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find
decent paying jobs.“