This week, we will be presenting highlights of Rustbelt Radio stories from the Winter and Spring of 2007 including...
* Community activists speak out against violence
* The movement for immigrants' rights
* Wolves come off the endangered species list
* Pittsburghers rally for action on climate change
* A public hearing with the FCC and the fight against corporate media consolidation
* and more highlights from the past few months of Rustbelt Radio
Welcome to the Best of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots; news overlooked by the corporate media. This week, we will be presenting highlights of Rustbelt Radio stories from the Winter and Spring of 2007 including...
Community activists speak out against violence
The movement for immigrants' rights
Wolves come off the endangered species list
Pittsburghers rally for action on climate change
A public hearing with the FCC and the fight against corporate media consolidation
and more highlights from the past few months of Rustbelt Radio
But before we begin, during our best-of show we always remind our listeners that our 3-year-old program is produced entirely by volunteers and we depend upon donations of equipment and funds to continue. If you can support us with recording equipment, computers, or funds for these supplies, please call 412-923-3000, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or donate on our website, radio.indypgh.org.
You can also help with Rustbelt Radio and other independent media projects by getting involved with the Independent Media Center! We provide monthly trainings at our office on Penn Avenue, where new people can learn about media literacy, and basic audio recording and editing skills. If you enjoy listening to the show and would like to learn more about what happens behind the scenes, please contact us.
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we can be heard on WPTS, 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, Wednesday mornings from 10-11 AM.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to highlights of our radio headlines from the past few months.
[4:00] Community Conference on Violence
On February 8th, the Black Political Empowerment Project and One Hood organized a community forum to discuss violence in Allegheny County. The forum was held in response to a report released by the Violence Policy Center which states that Pennsylvania has the highest rate of black homicide victims in the nation. Speakers at the forum addressed issues concerning the causes of violence and crime, possible solutions, and the consequences of these negative aspects on the community.
Here’s an excerpt from Paradise Grey of One Hood:
You can hear more from the community forum on violence in Rustbelt’s February 12th show.
[6:00] FCC Hearing in Harrisburg
In February the FCC held a public hearing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with all five FCC commissioners. The meeting was held to gather public input on rules of media ownership in regards to local radio and television stations.
On our February 19th show, Rustbelt Radio spoke with April Glaser of the Prometheus Radio Project in Philadelphia, who described the importance of public input at the hearing. She also discussed what the hearing's implications would be for corporate media consolidation and its effects on local content.
To stay informed on the issues of media consolidation and the FCC, log on to www.stopbigmedia.com
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media.
This past week marks Rustbelt Radio's 3rd birthday. Today we are sharing some news highlights from the past few months' programs.
[3:30] Gay Marriage Initiative
In July of 2006, the state of Washington declared that a so-called “legitimate state interest” allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this “legitimate state interest,” the state barred same-sex couples from legal marriage.
For our Feburary 26th show, Rustbelt Radio spoke with Gregory Gadow about how the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance was using initiative 9-57 to combat this decision:
Currently, the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance is still working on obtaining 224,880 valid signatures by July 5th to get onto the November ballot.
For more information and to see the full text of Initiative 9 57 go to www.wa-doma.org
[3:00] Climate Change
On April 16th, Rustbelt Radio covered the Steel Mills to Windmills rally against climate change in Frick Park:
Several climate change bills are still in the U.S. house and Senate, but action on them has been delayed by the debate over the war. For the full Steel Mills to Windmills Story, download the April 16th episode of Rustbelt Radio.
[6:00] Immigrant Rights
This year, raids, detentions, and deportations continue to target immigrant communities around the country. The week of January 24, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency also known as ICE, took over 750 immigrants in the greater Los Angeles area into custody, deporting over 430. A sweep of raids on workers in meatpacking plants owned by the company Swift, took place in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, and Utah among other states at the same time. The following week, Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a fee restructuring plan that would more than double the cost of applying for US citizenship.
A year of harsh policies has also marked a year of activism and popular uprising for immigrant rights, from Immigrant Solidarity Network’s National Call in Day for Immigrant Rights to early February’s Marcha Migrante, a caravan of activists travelling the southern borderlands of the US to gather stories and pay tribute to those who died crossing the border. On May 1st, immigrants and their allies around the country filled the streets of US cities and towns in a nation wide day of action for immigrants rights.
Rustbelt Radio brought you voices from a local May Day march in downtown Pittsburgh. Ceci Wheeler, of Pittsburgh Friends of Immigrants, at a speakout after the march:
A few hundred people participated in a march through Oakland that was organized by the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network. One of the participants, Serenia Caracheti, believes the rights of immigrants need to be respected:
This week, the Senate debates a new immigration reform package. For updates on immigrant rights issues, visit deletetheborder (dot) org.
[3:30] Human Rights in Colombia
The Cincinnati-based Fruit Company Chiquita recently admitted to paying the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (or AUC), a paramilitary group responsible for countless Human Rights Abuses and murders. These payments are in violation of U.S. law, because the AUC is considered a terrorist organization by the United States government. Chiquita has agreed to pay 25 million dollars to the US Government on the condition that they will not have to release the names of the top executives involved.
Chiquita is not the only U.S. Corporation that has helped fuel the brutal civil war in Colombia. The Drummond Mining company, who moved their coal mine facilities from Alabama to Colombia, has been accused of paying paramilitaries to assassinate union leaders. Dan Kovalik, a lawyer with the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh, has filed a lawsuit against Drummond for grave violations of human rights. He spoke with Rustbelt Radio on our March 26th show about the connections between Chiquita, Drummond, the AUC, the Colombian military and the U.S. government.
That was just Dan Kovalik, a Pittsburgh-based lawyer for the United Steelworkers of America, talking about US-based companies' human rights record in Colombia. You can hear the rest of this interview on the March 26th edition of Rustbelt Radio.
On February 5th Rustbelt Radio covered the proposed removal of the wolf from the endangered species list:
That was the sound of a grey wolf howling; a sound Pennsylvanians may never have heard, because the wolf was hunted to extinction here in the early 19th century. After three centuries of eradication efforts and thirty years of recovery efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now proposing to remove the grey wolf from the endangered species list. Today Rustbelt Radio examines the story of the wolf and the current status of the species, as we speak with Nick Fiore, Director of Education at the Wolf Education Resource Center on Nez Pierce Nation Land in the Northern Idaho region; and with Andrea Lorek-Strauss, communications director for the International Wolf Center in Minnesota.
The wolf de-listing has now taken effect in the Great Lakes Region, where there are about 4,000 wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. There remains only one human death related to a wolf encounter in the last hundred years of recorded history. In the Northern Rocky Mountain region, the wolf population is now at about 1200, exceeding the Fish and Wildlife Service's standard for wolf recovery, 300 wolves. The Service has now accepted management plans from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. In Idaho and Wyoming these plans would reduce wolf populations to the minimum level through hunting. However, the plan to de-list the wolf in this region and transfer control to the states has been stalled pending the outcomes of lawsuits from conservation groups, who believe the minimum population number is too low, and that the states' management plans will not even maintain the populations at this level.
[6:00] Responses to Violence in New Orleans
On our January 8th and 15th editions of Rustbelt Radio, we reported on an outbreak of violence in New Orleans which claimed nine lives in the first ten days of 2007. Among those killed were twenty-five year-old musician Dinerral Shavers of the Hot 8 Brass Band, and independent filmmaker and activist Helen Hill. A teenager was arrested for the Shavers murder. But as of five months later, no one has been charged with the apparently random killing of Helen Hill.
In response, thousands of people took to the streets in New Orleans on Thursday, January 11, in a march to city hall. A range of speakers addressed the crowd, including friends and family of the victims, representatives of various neighborhood organizations, religious leaders, and local musicians.
While the speakers represented a racially diverse group from many different sections of the majority-black city, the march attendees were overwhelmingly white. Held at mid day in the business district, the march was a subdued and quiet event. In stark contrast, African Americans came out in large numbers on the weekend for the second line, a lively parade of brass bands, dancing, and singing in honor of the deceased.
Today we present an excerpt from our report on the January 11th rally in New Orleans, which featured several of the various rally speakers, some of whom called for tougher enforcement, and some who had different ideas for ending violence.
Last Thursday, the state of Oklahoma passed a law banning abortions in state hospitals. As increasingly strict laws pass through local, state, and federal legislatures, people are speaking up about reproductive justice. Faith Pennick, a Chicago based filmmaker, screened her film "Silent Choices" in Pittsburgh on March 3rd, sponsored by New Voices Pittsburgh. The film provides a look into the impact of abortion on the lives of black women and the relationships between women of color and reproductive justice movements. Pennick made the film to counter a statement by a friend of hers that abortion is (quote) a white women's issue (end quote). Rustbelt Radio spoke to Faith in early March:
For the complete interview with Pennick and more perspectives on the film, you can listen to our March 12th show. This week, New Voices Pittsburgh and reproductive health and reproductive justice activists from around the country will meet in Chicago for a conference, "Let's Talk About Sex," organized by the Sistersong Collective.
[4:30] Port Authority Cuts Transit
The Port Authority board has approved a 15 percent cut in transit service which is slated to begin June 17th. The unanimous decision will eliminate 29 weekday bus routes while reducing numerous others.
As board members deliberated, Save Our Transit staged an all-night vigil outside the Heinz Center in protest. At the vigil Steve Donahue discussed the years of frustration experienced with government officials and the consequences of the service cuts.
The Port Authority board also announced an additional 10 percent cut and an increase in fares planned for later this year. Although pessimistic about the board’s decision, Save Our Transit stressed the importance of fighting to prevent future reductions.
Thanks for tuning in to the Best of Rustbelt Radio, Spring 2007, here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Matt Toups and Jessica McPherson. This show featured the work of Andalusia Knoll, Vani Natarajan, Matt Toups, Jessica McPherson, Lizzie Anderson, Veronica Milliner and Diane Amdor. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! We need more field reporters, copy editors, audio technicians, and other volunteers. To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG.
We also need your help to keep our volunteers equipped with the tools they need. Equipment and monetary donations are welcome, please call 412-923-3000 or visit our website.
All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Stay tuned this summer for new episodes of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.