Save Public Broadcasting by Making it the PEOPLES’ Media

On this subject of saving public broadcasting Doc Searls says, “save public broadcasting by weaning it, finally, from the federal teat.” Jeff Jarvis is saying, “Make it truly public broadcasting, supported by its public instead of by government.” I say HELL YES these guys are right. It’s about time that the people really own what is theirs. For years the federal government has been begging us for our money to support PBS, NPR, etc. and do we have any real say in its content? No…not really.

There is no reason to save the bureaucrats at PBS if they won’t see their audience as customers, producers, and PARTNERS. The stakes are high. If they won’t partner with us, we’ll just make our own media and only trust each other. Imagine a world were no one trusts the corporate/government media? Imagine a world where we talk to our neighbors and they know more about what’s going on thousands of miles away than the TV does.

Save Big Bird from the chopping block? NOT!

Isn’t that a cool sounding post title? It was the subject of an action alert ‘spam’ 🙂 email I got – minus the NOT! – from It describes the attacks on Public Broadcasting from the right wing. For starters I will miss Big Bird and the Sesame Street crew if they are forced off the air because of budget cuts. Those happy muppets were a positive part of many children’s lives. But honestly why not just let those arrogant republicans take away funding? Yep you read that right. Let them kill Public Broadcasting! Why?! For petes sake why?

Because our government is owned by big corporations, has been for decades. How can anything owned by a corporation be truly publicly created or owned? Public Broadcasting stopped being grassroots and owned by the people long ago. Let a large void be left in the place of Public Broadcasting. Something better will fill the void. The fundraising for public media in America should be conducted for small, local, grassroots productions. Groups that your neighbors work with.

You might think that the void will only be filled with crappy commercial cable TV show for children with tons of ads. Well, that isn’t the only option for parents. We have community radio for kids of all ages, public access TV for kids, books, sports, music, podcasting for kids, etc., etc. All created by amateurs. Not corporations. Why shouldn’t these community created options replace Big Bird and all other Public Broadcasting programming?

Because I respect the people who work hard at Public Broadcasting I propose a exit strategy for them. PUT ALL CONTENT EVER MADE WITH PUBLIC MONEY INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Give it away. Even better use a Creative Commons license to help prevent Disney from stealing Big Bird and turning him into the next Mickey Mouse. By giving ALL publicly funded content back to the people who paid for it you will ensure a RICH cultural future and lots of media for the public to work with. Turn this tragedy into a positive strategic move. One that will really give the people the public media they paid for.

NPR Reporter’s Equipment

National Public Radio’s Next Generation Radio Training Projects has a interesting bit of info on what gear a radio reporter uses to record audio. Flawn Williams answers a email from someone who hopes to report for radio. There is lots of good info about audio tech on this page. I will warn you that this info is from a pro-broadcasters point of view. Always *listen* to people who have mastered something. They have the wisdom. You can learn something from them. But, excellent masters will always encourage you to question *requirements*. High quality recorded audio can be done with A LOT LESS than the pros tell amateurs. (For example) A big part of this is because of the massive advances in portable audio recording technology. Once you start doing something for awhile and you find out what works you stick with it. Many times at the cost of finding new, cheap, and faster methods that are just as high in quality. A pros requirements are usually informed by endurance needs. They need to be in the field a lot. They need to be able to react quick. They need to go about their work for hours on end. Amateurs, most podcasters, do not need these endurance qualities in their gear. But in all fairness the original question was “What do radio reporters use at NPR?”. [FYI…I ain’t saying nothing about being no excellent master of nothin’] 😀

NASCAR drivers’ salaries and WUNC

Last week when I heard that our local NPR station, WUNC, was going to have a show about NASCAR I was skeptical. Mainly because I’ve noticed a trend at WUNC, which broadcasts from the “liberal” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, towards mainstreaming. Mainstream radio content in this case – in this state – is more politically conservative. There’s a ton of evidence for this. Read about the serious error by WUNC over women’s reproductive health here. Plus much more. But let’s look at what I THINK they are doing right.

Continue reading “NASCAR drivers’ salaries and WUNC”

Media Reform and Media Revolution

Dru Oja Jay has a well-written and detailed article called Media Reform and Media Revolution: A Critique of Free Press and the National Conference on Media Reform. Here is one of my favorite parts.

“If we want to reform the media, we must undermine their credibility and their very existence from one end, while providing a “reasonable” way out on the other. If they do not heed the call of reform, and we replace them, so much the better.”

This article makes all kinds of wonderful points. It ends very constructively with 12 great suggestions for Free Press and us. They’re about how to “water and fertilize the grassroots and sow seeds of resistance” and how the media reform agenda can mesh with radical media’s concerns for social justice and a more democratic society. It really gets to down to the issues with both sides – reform and radical – who want to change media. This article hits me to the core and puts into better focus the goals of AudioActivism. Thanks for the link Rabble!

Making vs Lobbying reform movements

Rabble over at has a post called Follow up on the National Conference On Media Reform. It describes the tension between the two reform movements. The making your own media groups (one ex. Indymedia) and lobbying for media reform within the existing media establishment groups. I am absolutely in the making media reform crew, but feel caught inbetween sometimes. On one hand I’m in AmeriCorp and on a town tech committee (within established systems) on the other hand I make grassroots media and sometimes think traditional media should just be allowed to die a slow respectful death (outside established systems). Damn I’m split! How can I live in both worlds? Crazy thing is I enjoy it. If I can build bridges between the suits and the brilliant kids in the streets I will. (Maybe blow up ‘the bridges’ too. Metaphorically speaking that is.) But I will not facilitate the trade of someones individuality and personal rights – how ever they define them – to a Corporate entity with no feelings of it’s own.

John Stewart lauds blogs

Well if you thought the Crossfire show were John Stewart said, “Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.” was popular, wait a few more minutes until the February 16, 2005 Daily Show hits the Internet. Without a doubt one of the funniest episodes I’ve seen in a while. Stewart and Colbert were cracking each other up it was so bizarre! Go google the show and find out for yourself. So now you might be wondering why would I give Comedy Central the blog PR? Welllllll… it’s ’cause they get the blogosphere and deserve our praise. Welcome o’ un-hip big media to THE PARTY! (Just for the record it’s our party and you can’t have it! nah nay nah) 😀