- Public radio on the local level is being co-opted by an alliance of NPR with iBiquity, a monopoly licensor of HD radio technology. With public funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR is subsidizing a move to HD radio to shore up its own bottom line, at the expense of local shows, local personalities, and local sensibilities.
- The business of public radio should, in fact, be the airing of music and other content *not* heard on a thousand other commercial stations.
- On the local level, protests by concerned citizens have either been ignored or given short shrift by the business entities in charge of station management. All too often, changes are being justified with the use of Arbitron ratings and the like, a ratings service for *commercial* stations currently under a cloud of legal challenges and governmental investigation.
Gwendoline Y. Fortune is an educator, professor of History/Social Science (retired), and, currently, an author. Along with poems and essays, she’s written three novels — Weaving the Journey: Nona and the Great Grands, Growing Up Nigger Rich, and Family Lines. Gwen is also a classical soprano and creator of a thirteen-hour recorded series now available: “We do it All, Classical Music composed and performed by artists of African Descent.” Above all, she is a defender of creativity. She can be visited on her website at http://gyfortune.com/. Her new novel, Weaving the Journey, has drawn critical praise
I am so grateful . . . to feel connected to my own world in a whole new way.
—Amanda Taylor, Chapel Hill, NC
Weaving the Journey came in today’s mail, and I am putting it down after the first 30 pages with great reluctance. It is clearly a magnificent job. . . . It is hard to believe how very inhuman the majority culture has been. What scares the pants off of me is that the germ has not been eradicated, and we see it in different but unmistakable forms.
—Junius A. Davis, Dean and Professor Emeritus, UNC-G)
Gwendoline Y. Fortune
I became involved in the movement 11/6/09 when WGBH announced it was dropping its folk and blues programs. In response “Supporters of Folk and Blues on WGBH” (where Craig and Jim found me) was created. I also write a blog — http://notlobmusic.blogspot.com (read http://notlobmusic.blogspot.com/2009/11/wgbh-drops-folk-and-blues-programs.html) and maintain a Yahoo folk and roots discussion group — http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NorthEastFolknRoots/. All are welcome to join and share your thoughts about this nationwide phenomenon.
I also produce folk/Celtic/blues/bluegrass not-for-profit concerts in the Boston area — http://sites.google.com/site/notlobmusic/ and host “In the Tradition,” Tuesdays 5-8 pm, WCUW, 91.3fm, www.wcuw.org.
A longtime co-op and community media activist based in Austin, I’ve traveled to 100+ locales outside North America since 9/11 — most recently to Haiti to set up a radio station. I specialize in non-commercial, non-governmental radio, including temporary and emergency radio installations, including Camp Casey II, Katrina Aftermath Media Project (KAMP) at Houston AstroDome, Radios Uprising & Harlequin (NOLA), WSF station in Nairobi, Bush Radio in Cape Town, Radio Voz Sin Frontera, the Darien Gap, Panama, etc.
Austin, Not Texas
I’m in my 27th year as a host of the “Lost & Found” 1960s/’70s music show on WMBR 88.1 FM at M.I.T. in Cambridge, MA, and at wmbr.org. I currently host the Tuesday slot 12 noon – 2 PM ET, recreating late ’60s/early ’70s progressive FM radio with music of the time including album rock, psychedelia, folk, folk-rock, country-rock, blues and more. I also work as a part-time announcer and on-air engineer at WBUR 90.9 FM and wbur.org, Boston’s NPR News Station. For more information, visit my blog, here.
I have been a supporter of public radio since 1986,when I relocated to Austin and began listening to KUT-FM while driving night cab. I became a member of the Save KUT group in August of 2009 after 3 of our longtime DJs had their shows either entirely cut or their hours drastically cut back. This was done by station management with no input from their listeners and no advance notice given to the DJs. This is not how we treat our artists here in Austin, and I became active in the letter-writing campaigns to try and get these actions reversed. After working on the local aspect for several months, I was asked to pursue the national aspect after research done by Craig Hattersley and others
found these same things happening at stations across the country. I have been an active supporter of the Austin music scene since first coming to the area in 1975. I currently work for AT&T maintaining the 911 emergency system for a five-state area and also troubleshoot and maintain all State of Texas government lines. But I have an extremely varied past, including building track for Santa Fe Railroad, driving 18-wheelers in 50 states, doing fine-pitch soldering under a microscope for IBM & spinning records as a club DJ. And my lifelong experiences riding motorcycles (Harleys, then Indians) has left me a huge amount of life experiences to look back on and enjoy.
My involvement as a listener to public radio goes back to the early ’70s when I first “discovered” KUT. I’ve been a supporter most of my adult life and KUT has been supportive of me as a musician. I also got involved in this issue when KUT cut the schedules of the very DJs who literally brought so much success to the station. I started the “Support Larry Monroe & Paul Ray at KUT” Facebook group and participated in the SaveKUTAustin group as well. I am currently a senior volunteer at Marfa Public Radio (in Marfa, Texas). I host a weekly music program there, help with some of the technology at the station and have spent a lot of time trying to get content for our media library (the station is only 3 years old so it’s been a challenge to get CDs). I am concerned with the trending of these stations away from the freeform public-driven programming. We are very lucky at MPR that it’s a small operation. In fact, the station manager told us the other day that our entire annual budget is less than KUT’s general manager’s salary . . . I play music with The Border Blasters and we would love to come to your town. 🙂
I became involved in the movement as a writer and researcher for Save KUT Austin when three longtime station stalwarts were downsized and their airtime gutted. A graduate of the UT journalism school, I’ve done work as an editor/writer for publications such as 3rd Coast magazine, Austin Weekly, the Village Voice, the Texas Observer, the Austin Chronicle, and Texas Monthly Press. My misspent youth in the music business included time playing and working at the Fillmore East and Armadillo World Headquarters, as well as serving two years as soundman for London Recording artists Greezy Wheels. I’m now communications director and general curmudgeon for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. I have a musically gifted son, a sophomore in high school and all-region tuba player and bass player. He’s my reason for continuing the fight.