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Pittsburgh joins nation in uproar over Media Monopolization
05/29/2003
What if you woke up tomorrow to find that Yosemite National Park had been turned over to Chevron? Or that the Everglades were now under the watchful eye of DuPont? Most people would agree: Giving corporations nearly unlimited control over a precious public resource is unacceptable. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate communications that run over radio, TV, wire, satellite or cable. Its authority is based on the idea that its decisions will serve the "public interest, convenience or necessity." The public owns the airwaves that radio and TV stations use and profit from. Media companies are allowed to use them on the condition that they serve the public; it's part of the FCC's job to enforce that. (Read more at "Final FCC Hearings To Be Held In Atlanta On Wednesday" from Atlanta Indymedia)

other coverage: [ Atlanta IMC | Philly IMC | Prometheus Radio Project | FAIR ]

On June 2nd, the FCC will meet and decide on proposals that FCC Chairman Michael Powell has kept hidden from public view; even other FCC Comissioners say that this fast decision stifles public input. The proposed rule changes have been widely criticised for their contempt for public opinion and their concentration of corporate media power, which threatens locally produced news as well as news in ethnic communities. Meanwhile, media concentration continues to be a worsening problem in the US (see Global Indymedia's feature "Exhaustive Report Documents Media Concentration, FCC Influence"). Activists assert that Powell declared war on media diversity as his father, Secretary of State Colin Powell, helped lead the Bush administration in war against Iraq.

Protests in Pittsburgh and elsewhere

Protests are planned in Pittsburgh as well as nationally on Thursday, May 29th, to express dissent against the FCC and Bush Administration's plans to "reward the media conglomerates who served as the megaphones for its official view." Powell and Bush have received great support from media giants and have been overwhelmingly for pro-corporate media deregulation in the past.

The demonstrations will be held outside the Pittsburgh offices of Clear Channel Communications, (200 Fleet St, near Greentree) widely held as an example of media concentration and monopolization taken to an extreme. In Pittsburgh, Clear Channel owns WXDX-FM, WWSW-FM, WKST-FM, WJJJ-FM, WDVE-FM, and WBGG-AM. It also owns Television stations and is the nation's largest concert promoter. Clear Channel has used its muscle to monopolize media and extract payola from record companies (as well documented in this Salon.com expose) but also to organize and bankroll pro-war rallies around the US during the war on Iraq (and most recently, Rally for America in Huntington, WV near Pittsburgh).

[ Protest [Image] photos | [Audio] IMC Audio coverage | [Audio] Blast Furnace radio: M29 protest | J2 protest ]

also in media news, see Pittsburgh IMC coverage of: Local Media corruption:
[Article]The Station Where the Money Matters: Bribery, Extortion, and Exploitation In Public Radio

Chris Holm exposes unethical business practices in Public Radio, including Pittsburgh's WYEP which is underwritten by Clear Channel and promotes their events.

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