Archive | July, 2003

Good News? Justice Dept. Investigating Crooked… er, CLEAR Channel

Per the Associated Press:

The Justice Department (news – web sites) is investigating Clear Channel, the nation’s largest radio owner, amid complaints about consolidation and the use of coercive tactics by the company, officials said Friday.

R. Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general for antitrust, told a House subcommittee that there is an investigation into Clear Channel. Officials would not disclose any details about the nature of the probe.

Pate said in a hearing Thursday that the Justice Department had interviewed people that Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., had referred to the agency after they complained of coercive tactics. …

Among the complaints were allegations that Clear Channel punished artists who didn’t use the company’s concert promotion arm by denying, or threatening to deny, radio airplay for their songs, he said.

When Berman complained during the hearing Thursday that he hadn’t heard back from the Justice Department about his complaints, Pate replied that the department had two ongoing investigations into Clear Channel. But he would not elaborate.

Yeah, but is there the political will within the executive branch to truly go after another bastion of Conservative Republican Bushie cronies? Stranger things have happened.

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Mark your calendar and dust off your transmitter: Oct. 17 Is A Day of Mass Electronic Civil Disobedience

I just received a missive from Free Radio Berkeley’s Stephen Dunifer calling on us to seize the airwaves on Media Democracy Day, October 17. Rather than working through representatives and intermediaries, Dunifer argues that it’s time to talk back directly through direct action on the airwaves. And I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s the full text:

You go to the demonstrations, write letters and email to Congress; and yet, you feel as if your voice is not being heard. What if there was a way for your voice, and the voices of your compatriots, to actually be heard? There is – it is called micropower broadcasting or free radio.

Micropower broadcasting began as a means to empower the residents of a housing project in Springfield, Illinois in the late 1980’s. By creating a low power FM broadcast station, this community established its own voice and a direct means to fight against police brutality and repression. Unlicensed and unsanctioned by the government, Human Rights Radio, as it is now known, continues to broadcast to this very day.

Since then, micropower broadcasting has grown into a national movement of electronic civil disobedience. Based on the principles of Free Speech and Direct Action, micropower broadcasting seeks to reclaim the electronic commons of the airwaves – a public resource and trust stolen by the corporate broadcasters, aided and abetted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other appendages of the US Government.

Continuing in the rich tradition of the struggle to speak freely and be heard, micropower broadcasting has traded the historic soapbox for the FM broadcast transmitter. Advances in technology and design have allowed for the creation of FM transmitters at a very low cost in comparison to standard, commercial broadcasting equipment. An entire FM broadcast station covering a radius of 5-12 miles can be assembled for $1000 or less. …

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