Oct 1 1999

Selling Off Pacifica?

The U.S. media system has very few places where dissenting voices can be regularly heard, unconstrained by the interests of corporate owners or the censorship of advertiser dependence. There may be no more important exceptions to this rule than the five radio stations owned by the Pacifica Foundation–the Bay Area’s KPFA, Los Angeles’ KPFK, New York’s WBAI, D.C.’s WPFW and Houston’s KPFT. But how long these stations will continue to exist is very much an open question. Pacifica has long been torn by charges that its national board, led by U.S. Civil Rights Commission chief Mary Frances Berry, is bent […]

Jul 1 1996

And End-Run Around the Giants

New technologies provide ways to avoid the media monopoly

Make your own media! I’m what they call a “media critic”—I teach a course called Politics of Media as a journalism professor at the State University of New York’s College at Old Westbury, and criticize media plen­ty, especially in the pages of Extra!. My focus is on concentration of media ownership, especially its impact on cov­erage of the environment and nuclear power. My work has documented the leverage of corporate pol­luters on media, and the owner­ship of much of network TV by the world’s biggest nuclear manufac­turers: General Electric and West­inghouse. But at the same time, I’ve been telling students […]

May 1 1996

How Alternative Is It?

Feminist Media Activists Take Aim at the Progressive Press

Around 300 journalists, activists and critics crowded into a room at the Media & Democracy Congress in San Francisco on March 1 to discuss the coverage of issues related to gender. For once, alternative and progressive media came under as much fire as the commercial mainstream. Nation columnist Katha Pollitt recalled that in 1995 she had written a column decrying the absence of African-Americans in the progressive press. “I could have written almost the same article about the issue of gender,” she told the Congress. “If you look at the mastheads of most left-wing magazines, they are dominated by men…white […]

Nov 1 1994

Back-Talk Radio

Aiming to Empower

From Rush Limbaugh to G. Gordon Liddy, commercial radio has long been a megaphone for right-wing talk-show hosts. And even NPR mostly mirrors mainstream news (Extra!, 4-5/93). But now some left/populist static for Limbaugh and his ilk is as close as your AM dial. We the People with Jerry Brown airs the renegade former California governor and three-time presidential candidate live from Oakland, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m. Pacific time. Syndicated by Talk America, it’s now heard on 26 stations nationwide following its January debut. Hightower Radio, hosted in Austin by feisty former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, premiered May […]