Talk Radio in USA Fuels Conservative Politics

Author Paul Matzko writing in the opinion section of the New York Times:

Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. The dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.

As Jim Derych, the author of “Confessions of a Former Dittohead,” put it, Rush Limbaugh “makes you feel like an insider — like you know what’s going on politically, and everyone else is an idiot.” There is power in that feeling, the proposition that you and the radio elect have been awakened to a hidden truth about the real way the world works while the rest of the American “sheeple” slumber.

Yet talk radio still somehow manages to fly below the national media radar. In large part, that is because media consumption pattens are segregated by class. If you visit a carpentry shop or factory floor, or hitch a ride with a long-haul truck driver, odds are that talk radio is a fixture of the aural landscape. But many white-collar workers, journalists included, struggle to understand the reach of talk radio because they don’t listen to it, and don’t know anyone who does.

Talk radio is not bounded by physical space. It can follow listeners wherever they go, from the car radio while commuting to the radio resting on the workbench to a radio app on a smartphone. It has the potential to dominate the construction of a person’s worldview in a way that other media simply cannot (until, perhaps, the advent of its white-collar cousin, the podcast).

In Point Reyes, All Ears Stay Glued to Local Radio

"We know that people totally rely on the radio," said Amanda Eichstaedt, general manager of KWMR, the local public radio station that serves Point Reyes, California. In this territory, where cellphones are spotty on a good day, the danger of deadly wildfire is ever present.

Since fire broke out here after an afternoon lightening strike on Aug. 18, Eichstaedt has turned the one-studio station into a vital source of information for the remote outpost and the rural towns that surround it. In a place where local news is otherwise a once-weekly paper or a conversation at the post office or local market, the radio station has long been a trusted source of knowledge when emergencies hit.

Across California, stations like KWMR fill a vital vacuum during crises, especially fast-moving wildfires. With their local knowledge — from where exactly back roads are located to quick access to the fire chief — these broadcasters are increasingly finding themselves to be crucial authorities in the worst moments, when power is out, danger is high and a radio wavelength floating through the air is a lifeline.

Since it was founded in the late 1990s, KWMR has "been a really important part of our community life," said Dewey Livingston, a local historian who has been interviewed on the station many times. "But it is especially noteworthy during times like this ... they are the ones you can go to for information."

(Los Angeles Times)

World Refugee Day 2020 Radio Marathon

Soundroutes is back!

To support World Refugee Day, they will hold a radio and web marathon on June 20th.

100 USA Community Radios to Simulcast Message

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters has organized a simulcast among nearly 100 member stations to send a message about racial injustice and police brutality in the USA. The event is organized as a way to bring the community media world together to mark the tragic events of the last two weeks.

On Tuesday, June 9, the radio stations will recognize the funeral of George Floyd by playing together Sam Cooke’s anthem “A Change is Gonna Come.” Radios wishing to participate can contact NFCB to be added to the list.

Global Dialogues on Community Media in the Post-Pandemic World

The UNESCO Chair on Community Media announced the launch of a series of online Global Dialogues on Community Media in the Post-Pandemic World. Tune in from mid-June for informative and engaging conversations with practitioners, advocates, and network representatives from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.

IJP CEE Bursary

The German non-profit organization IJP (International Journalists’ Programmes) would like to announce its second special fellowship for journalists interested in reporting in the field of climate and energy.

Journalists, who are granted the climate & energy bursary, will receive a deeper and more detailed insight into the field and get the opportunity to work and specialize topically and internationally alike. They are also welcome to pursue a transnational research on a common topic during their fellowship.

The bursary offers this opportunity for ten journalists from Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania with a passion for climate and energy topics.

The scholarship programme starts with a thematic introductory conference. Subsequently, the participating journalists will begin their stay at their respective journalistic host organizations. Journalists from Germany will stay at a host media in one of the other countries for the time of the scholarship while the journalists from those countries will spend their time in a media in Germany. These media are selected by the IJP in consideration of the interests, qualifications and wishes of the fellows.

While being embedded partly in the workflow of the host media, the scholars will work on their own journalistic projects and mainly report for media in their home country. During the six to eight weeks of the stay, the journalists will get to know the host country better, establish contacts to local journalists and deepen his or her knowledge about climate and energy issues.

Grant Information Each fellow will receive a stipend of 3.800 Euro to help cover travel costs, accommodation and personal expenses during his or her stay. The participant must cover any additional costs.

Criteria The application is open to any journalist from the above mentioned countries, working for any print, radio, online or TV media (employed or freelancer). 

Fluency in German or one of the other countries’ official languages is not expected, though helpful for successful application. At least workable knowledge of English is essential.

Applications should include:

  • CV, incl. photograph
  • letter of recommendation by an editor or supervisor, supporting the application
  • four written samples of work (TV and radio journalists are asked to send a comprehensive list of contributions).
  • scholars from Germany should select three media and countries they would like to stay and journalists from the other countries should come up with at least three possible host media in Germany they would be interested being located at.

For more information, visit https://www.ijp.org/en/fellowships/centraleasterneuropean/

Radio Stations That Lift Spirits in Hospitals

Volunteer-run broadcasters are a British tradition. The New York Times reports that among the hundreds of community radios in the UK, hospital radio stations are one of the less well-known: tiny operations, staffed by volunteers, that you would never know existed unless you’d been a patient here.

Despite the proliferation of technologies for listening to audio, hospital radio has ironically become more popular among patients, due to its unique position for personalization. Lisa Wells, a nurse treating Covid-19 patients at the Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham, said in an email that she had been happy to collect requests because the radio was good for patients’ families as much as for the patients themselves. It gave people peace of mind “that somebody’s just gone that extra mile to personalize what is such a dreadful time,” she said.

 

Local Media Matters

Journalists, citizens, and politicians are calling for any future stimulus package for the Covid-19 crisis to include funding for local journalism. Advocates argue that communities across the U.S. are at risk of losing their source of news because of the pandemic. Commercial, public service and community broadcasters are essential sources of news and information for the communities they serve, offering a variety of viewpoints, and are often considered more trustworthy than social media.

 

Community radio WORT in Madison, Wi. offers a typical example. WORT local newscasts present alternative viewpoints – both in the sources it uses and the stories it covers. Newscasts include local and state news, weather, and regular features. It also aims to give underrepresented people a voice.

RadioExpert recognizes the tremendous value that local news provides to communities, and supports the inclusion of local media in future funding initiatives.

The Value of Student Radio

As the media landscape evolves and embraces digital convergence, so too have innovative student radios. These organizations are expanding their output to include text, images and video. Student Radio R in Brno, Czech Republic embodies this approach, and is continually evolving to meet the interests and media habits of the upcoming generation.

Another important element of assuring the future of student radio is to maintain adequate financial, political and social sustainability. At WSUM student radio at the University of Wisconsin, general manager David Black says the key is to focus on the mission statement; making sure everyone agrees and promotes it accordingly.

Whether through innovative programming, or focusing on sustainability, student radio in all it's forms must adapt and evolve to continue providing a real training ground for future professionals in media.

Radio Gains in Diversity in Most of Africa

The Center for Media, Data and Society reports that the radio sector has been thriving in Africa in recent years, significantly diversifying in terms of ownership, content and access platforms. "Having a diverse radio framework helps deepen democracy" said Lumko Mtimde, former head of the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA) in South Africa.

UNESCO Chair on Community Media

Largest US Broadcaster Cuts Local Radio Again

The largest radio conglomerate in the country, iHeartMedia, initiated a round of mass layoffs this week, cutting enough people that one former on-air host described Tuesday as “one of the worst days in on-air radio history.” The layoffs were concentrated in small and medium markets, where staffs had already been reduced, striking another major blow to local radio - according to an article in Rolling Stone magazine.

“We’ve gotten so far from local owners that radio is almost unrecognizable now,” said Karen Slade, vice president and general manager of the independently owned KJLH in Los Angeles, in a 2019 interview. “It’s dominated by massive corporate structures, and the communities that we need to service get lost in the shuffle between the giants.”

One former employee is quoted: “Any smaller to medium market in the country lost, in all likelihood, most, if not all, of their on-air staff. As far as the music stations go, there’s not a single local talent [left]."

iHeartMedia was able to wipe away much of its local presence thanks to a recent decision made by the Federal Communications Commission. In 2017, the FCC succeeded in getting rid of “the main studio rule,” meaning that stations were no longer required to maintain a studio or any staff near the location of their broadcast license.

“REC Europe” Meeting for Creative Understanding of Sound and Social Inclusion

RadioExpert, together with hosts Media Commun Occitanie and NGO's from around Europe, conducted a new project through the EU Erasmus+ Youth programme.

“REC Europe” seminar brought together social workers, trainers and activists to present their work and experiences within their communities and explored together the different forms, aspects and realities of new forms of art education.

This seminar combined theoretical and practical elements on sound for participation and social inclusion, attaching special value to group work. Theoretical inputs alternated with practical sessions in different areas of sound education, such as sound/music activities, connected with our different national uses of the methods.

The process created occasions for discussing the use of art as a methodology for participation and inclusion. Art education methods provide learning opportunities for personal and social competences, and are important tools for continued use in youth work.

You can listen to a podcast from the project here.

UK Community Radio Needs Better Funding

The Community Media Association of the United Kingdom is calling on its members, their friends and family, and the wider public to ask for more support and recognition for community radio from prospective MPs.

The announcement comes ahead of the deadline for all prospective candidates to submit their nomination for the upcoming General Election.

The CMA highlights three possible initiatives that will benefit current and aspiring community radio stations:

1. To call for a substantial increase in the Community Radio Fund to better meet the needs of current community radio stations and to support the new digital community radio stations to be licensed from next year.

2. To support a commitment from central and local Government to recognise that community radio is a low-cost and effective medium for reaching underserved communities and to direct a proportion of government advertising to community radio stations.

3. To commit to supporting a call to DCMS and Ofcom that community radio continues to be licensed on FM spectrum in parallel with the future rollout of licences on the new Small Scale DAB platform.

The appeal, published on Radio Today, notes that The Community Radio Fund, established by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and administered by Ofcom, has remained static at £400,000 for many years whilst the number of potential beneficiaries has grown significantly to nearly 300 stations.

Ofcom’s 2019 Communications Market Report shows that average income for community radio stations has fallen for another consecutive year to circa £49,000.

The CMA says Community Radio reaches underserved communities and should therefore be considered as a platform to carry local and national public service announcements.

USA FCC - One Step Closer to Defunding Community TV

The USA regulator FCC is one step closer to a rule change that threatens to de-fund community media and technology, by undermining a long-established principle that cable and internet companies owe rent to municipalities for use of the public right-of-way.

         

Sabrina Roach, board member of the Alliance for Community Media Foundation, joins the Radio Survivor podcast to discuss what’s at stake. The future of public access, educational and government TV channels and community media technology centers hangs in the balance.