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March 7, 2003

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) came to town today to hear what the public thinks of proposed media deregulation. There were panel discussions at the University of Washington in the morning, followed by a public comment period where the almost unanimous consensus was that the FCC needs to continue regulating media ownership in the interest of preserving democracy. In the evening, ReclaimTheMedia organized an evening of speakers and music at the EMP...

Some people who spoke out against media deregulation...
Chuck D, of Public Enemy, performed with his new outfit, Fine Arts Militia. He kicked it off strong with an audience call-and-response: "Fuck that War... Fuck that war..."
"Fuck that President... Fuck that president..."
"Fuck that War... Fuck that war..."
"Fuck that President... Fuck that president..."
"Fuck that War... Fuck that war..."
"Fuck that President... Fuck that president..."
Kristen Walsh was the mistress of ceremonies. She is the program director for KBCS, which is one of the highest expressions of public-minded radio programming. Staffed by volunteers and funded by listeners, KBCS is democray in action, airing news and views you won't hear anywhere else in the Seattle area. Does your community have a radio station that represents local concerns? If not, you better start one.
Congressman Jim McDermott and 18 colleagues gave a press conference where he told 340 reporters, "The President of the United States is so eager to go to war, he'll lie to get us there." No one reported this searing soundbite. Things are already quite bad when the prevalent media will not air the strong opinions of elected officials. Further deregulation will result in straight-up fascism. When elected officials with reasoned opinions lose their voice in the press, it's time for the people to speak up loud and clear.
Hear McDermott's speech regarding media deregulation.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell (son of Secretary of State Colin Powell) claimed that one public hearing on deregulation would suffice. That hearing was near DC and was attended almost exclusively by corporate media lobbyists. FCC Commissioners Adelstein and Copps demanded more input from the public, which is what brought them to Seattle. Adelstein and Copps strongly oppose deregulation. They say 75% of Americans know nothing about this issue due to the vested interests of the media. They want you to tell everyone you know to contact the FCC and voice your opposition to deregulation. I heard them say this with my own ears. Do it now.

Hip hop journalist Davey D was fired by his Clear Channel-owned radio station for his political views. He's now on tour speaking forcefully against the machinations of the corporate media money game. Dig into and get involved. His advice is to put a face and name with the decisions that shape the mediascape. Find out who's responsible and hold them accountable.

Who stands to benefit
from deregulation?

People like Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays. Before 1996, no one company could own more than 40 radio stations nationwide. Since 1996 radio ownership deregulation, Mays' company has come to own 1,250 radio stations. Each one of those stations has an FCC license. The licenses are free, with the understanding that the airwaves are a public resource and thus Clear Channel has an obligation to serve the communities where they broadcast. Proponents of deregulation claim consolidation helps serve communities better. Here's what Lowry told Fortune magazine: "If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn't be someone from our company," says Mays, 67. "We're not in the business of providing news and information. We're not in the business of providing well-researched music. We're simply in the business of selling our customers products."

      Can you say boycott?

"I want to be your TV staring out at you."

"CC" scion Mark Mays,
the face of media after deregulation. Dynastic rule
is the norm in the USA
and North Korea.