LUV Newsletter on NPR

Listening to Diane Rehm on NPR yesterday, we noticed she had on a guest from one of the corporate-funded think tanks, as she usually does, telling us Social Security is going broke. He didn’t mention that the government has actually borrowed from Social Security for decades in order to finance corporate welfare, and nobody on the program pointed out that he was lying through his teeth. That is what the “senior fellows,” from the major think tanks are expected to say in return for the corporate funding.  Corporations don’t throw money away — these contributions are considered to be investments.

All of the NPR/PBS programs that deal in “news” analysis can be expected to invite these guests, and you will hear them announced daily, “X,” a senior fellow from the American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institution, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, etc., appearing on Morning Edition, The PBS NewsHour, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, etc. Their goal is always to sell out the public interest. Their tentacles are deep into the so-called “news media,” all of the major TV and radio networks, newspapers, news magazines — the entire mass media spectrum.

Often their views are said to be on the programs for “balance,” as though any truth that gets out must be balanced by lies. They constantly scheme to privatize more of the government, to rid the public of Social Security, Medicare and other social programs, and introduce lies with which to combat science, including “we must burn oil and coal, there is no such thing as global warming,” combined with “we must spend more on weapons for the military,” and “we must cut corporate taxes to spur the economy.” There is no hole in the mass media, these lies are scattered over the entire electronic and print corporate-viewpoint media empire.

Pam Martens, in this piece, goes deeper into it, following the tentacles of the Koch brothers who’ve devoted their lives to destroying any semblance of democracy in the land and extending the plutocratic oligarchy.  Until citizens understand they are controlled by their mass media, nothing will change, which is why we do LUV News  —Jack

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John Anderson on HD

John Anderson of DIYmedia.net (link on right) has kept abreast of the debacle that has been HD radio, and this latest post, reprinted in its entirety, pretty much sums it up. How can this company, with no basic income, still be around — particularly given the hopelessness of its product and prospects:

HD Radio Still Awaiting Breakthrough

It’s still a mystery just how iBiquity Digital Corporation remains in business as its proprietary HD Radio standard continues to go nowhere fast.

According to the FCC, less than 20% of radio stations in in the United States have adopted the HD protocol, nearly nine years after its proliferation was sanctioned; some have since turned it off. The technology has failed to crack any significant international markets. iBiquity and its mostly-conglomerate backers have tried various tweaks to the system in hopes of improving its robustness, but none show any potential to be a game-changer.

The HD Radio Alliance, a consortium of proponents who have devoted hundreds of millions of dollars worth of airtime to promoting HD Radio, also appear to be slacking on that support in favor of investments in other digital technologies which don’t directly involve over-the-air broadcasting.

Two-thirds of the respondents to an informal Radio Business Report poll say they have no plans to adopt HD. This seems to accurately reflect an increasing disdain within the industry about the system and its prospects. (The only exception to this seems to be Radio World commentator “Guy Wire,” but it’s hard to take a nom de plume seriously and even he seems to be wavering).

These are just the quandaries facing the transmission side of HD adoption. Receivers remain scarce; some manufacturers and retailers have abandoned the technology and those who have invested in an HD-capable radio are underwhelmed by the system’s performance in the real world. There’s no evidence to show that listener demand for HD Radio is improving from its anemic condition, either.

Proponents of the technology cite the fact that more vehicle manufacturers are implementing HD Radio into their dashboards, but this is not a viable sign of its popularity.

Last decade, when the notion of tethering smartphones into the car and/or directly implementing in-vehicle wireless Internet access was more idea than reality, automakers resisted the implementation of HD Radio because of its proprietary nature (with associated costs) and lack of qualitative usefulness. In a nutshell, they did not see the value in adding HD functionality to their entertainment systems because it didn’t provide enough return on investment.

Now the auto industry is enthusiastically embracing the “glass dashboard,” in which HD Radio is just one functionality — and a subsidiary one at that — among many new features. Now it’s become economically inconsequential for vehicle manufacturers to add HD compatibility in the midst of undertaking such a significant investment in the promulgation of other, newer mobile communication and entertainment technologies. In this context, HD Radio is a dull piece of bling in the galaxy of dashboard convergence.

iBiquity has responded in scattershot fashion to try and wake the patient from its coma. The company slashed its licensing fees, offered generous financial assistance to encourage broadcaster adoption, and most recently, implemented a weak “contest” with cash prizes in an attempt to inspire local radio sales staffs to pitch FM-HD’s multicasting feature more pointedly.

CEO Bob Struble recently penned a column in which he predicted the success of HD Radio would rest on the datacasting element it brings to the radio experience. But even he’s sounding a bit desperate: “[W]e need to get on it, now, because fully featured devices are being sold, now, and consumer impressions are being made, now. Most folks understand the upgrade process will be gradual, but the industry needs to show consistent progress.”

Therein lies the dilemma: how does a company with no independent revenue entice broadcasters to adopt a digital radio technology with net detriments, and how can it possibly convince receiver-makers and listeners to care in the face of such a feeble situation? There’s no credible answer to these questions, and so long as that remains the case it’s difficult to see how HD Radio can honestly claim title to broadcasting’s digital future.

LUV Newsletter on National Propaganda Radio


NPR’s Talk of the Nation yesterday had the Hoover Institution’s Russell Roberts on to tell us we have to cut Social Security and Medicare to balance the budget.

The Hoover institution, like the other corporate-funded think tanks appearing so often on NPR, the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, The American Enterprise Institute, etc., are funded to sell out the American  people by presenting plans that always go against the public interest in order to enrich wealthy transnational investors and corporations.  If you listen to NPR throughout the day, you will hear that the rich need more money, transnational corporations must get more tax breaks, and we’ve got to get rid of those nasty regulatory agencies in the government that watch over our banksters, food safety, and the environment.

This morning on NPR, Steve Inskeep railed against “entitlements,” then pushed Barney Frank, who was trying to say we can end the wars and get out of NATO, to agree, but when Frank replied “Wait a minute, you are demonizing entitlements” he was told by Inskeep, “Congressman, I really have to cut you off,” we’re out of time.

Later in another segment Inskeep went to Senator Simpson of the famous Cat Food Commission, who railed against “entitlements” and Inskeep had plenty of time for that.  Inskeep often identifies himself as a “journalist,” while kissing elite butt to hang onto his job.

Inskeep and the other NPR “hosts” will not allow guests to point out that Social Security pays for itself, as Barney Frank was trying to show, or that the real entitlements go to corporate welfare, bankster bailouts, the cheating nuclear mafia etc.— in defense of the American people, the only people living in a major industrialized nation left without a health care plan or a meaningful safety net.

LUV on NPR

The LUV Newsletter carried this small piece today on the “fair and balanced” reporting of NPR:

Cuban news has a good piece this morning showing how censorship works in the USA, reminiscent of Michael Parenti’s invitation to appear on NPR.

Parenti was asked by a woman, impressed by him at a party, if he would appear on NPR, and he replied that they would not allow him on NPR, because he’s a leftist. The woman huffed that she is an NPR producer, and what she says goes, so if she invited him, he would be in. She later called and agreed on a date that he would appear, but as he agreed he told her he would not be allowed to appear. Sure enough, the day before he was scheduled, she called to apologize that his participation had been canceled by higher ups.

When such a person is in a corporate media discussion, several right wingers are stacked on the program for “balance,” people who support the ruling Forces of Greed and National Security State, and they drown out what few words he says with screaming insults and misinformation. Apparently NPR thought they would not be able to completely mute Parenti, who’s very quick on his feet.

The latest case involves Gerardo Hernandez of the Cuban Five, who’s celebrated internationally because of the cartoons he’s created since being in prison in the Land of the Free for opposing terrorism sponsored by the USA against Cuba, together with four others. CNN invited him to appear, then canceled. Americans are not supposed to know about the thousands of Cubans slaughtered in raids from the USA since the Cuban people overthrew their US-puppet dictator in 1959, or the massive destruction of Cuban infrastructure from bombings, or that five men are locked up in American prisons for opposing terrorism.

Also from LUV:

The Days the Music Died

Following is an exchange one of our correspondents, author Gwen Fortune, had with “DT” about the state of music in general and NPR in particular:

Gwen:
Thanks, I know NPR affiliation is no guarantee of decent music. Some PBS affiliates do better, but by no means most. There is much PRM and APM programming that is of the highest quality, and a good bit of NPR programming is very good, but the NPR corporate attitude is the pits.

I have told you that at one time I contributed significant sums to WCQS, our local NPR affiliate. Then NPR’s programming changed, not so subtly. There arouse a frequent need for a mute button, and I would often forget to unmute.

When the morning magazine program began to use nasty rock in the interstices in the early AM, and the “music” reviews were nearly always rock, I complained. I wrote many letters with no response from WCQS and only boiler plate from NPR and the person they jokingly call an “Ombudsman.”  I won’t dignify their response to my letters as an “exchange.”

I turned NPR off in my house, permanently, and I stopped contributing. I will not contribute to a station that makes it necessary to carry a remote with a mute button. I record TV and use fast forward through the nasty segments, but I only pay the cable company for that.

Congress wants to defund them. I will not write Congress about that either. I do occasionally write to NPR to remind them of the situation and why they aren’t getting the hundreds of dollars a year I used to contribute. That money goes to my orchestras and local charities now.

Talk about beating a dead horse. I’m almost sorry about the diatribe…
Love
DT

D:
Our experiences with NPR are hand-in-glove. No diatribe. You’re entitled. This is called freedom. Without choice there is no freedom. We have ever decreasing choices.

In the Chapel Hill area I was part of a community group that met with the Ombudsman. A joke. UNC killed all Classical and Jazz  They prefer the banal, non-musical rock-rap  contemporary “pop” because the generation now in power has no cultural continuity.  There God is “the demographic,” kids with even less exposure to anything of quality than they have.

When I moved to Gainesville the station here had seven and one-half hours of classical music weekdays,  carried the Met and other good music. The UF president took control, and it has been downhill for more than two years. I was, again, part of the protest group. We picketed three or four times in front of the Journalism Building — home of the station — and The Alumni Hall where a high-level meeting was to be held. Most of the dignitaries entered by alternate doors, to avoid us.

I have totally given up on this society. A friend accused me of hating the US. I hate the ignorance that has always been a part of any culture — but the rapid “dumbing-down” under the guise and control of Corporate is the social equivalence of an earthquake-tsunami combination, nation-wide.

I left Chicago at the time NPR was forcing its corporate model on WFMT. Citizens bought the station — $$$$ — and it still offers high quality music and commentary. It is on my desktop, playing right now. Just announced a summer festival in Chitown. Watts and the CSO are included. Listening, now, to glorious music of Jonas Kaufman, from “Verissimo.” Oh, how I miss that place.

I wonder what the world will be like for the youth who are continuing the “School music” tradition. UF has excellent music students, and I am sure there are many others in the nation — but their survival is problematic, given sports and BUSINESS.

My seven-year-old granddaughter is in her third year of violin, and loves it. The four-year-old begins this fall, so they can play together, they say. Kids like this are being fed to the barracuda. For shame.

Yes, it is sad.
Love,
Gwen

Collegiate Claptrap

The suits are wildly spinning for ‘GBH in Boston, in wake of the takeover of the student station at Bryant University. Bean counters at Bryant — acting the good industrialist as ‘GBH honchos did in busting up their union — have now begun to put that most favorable light on this latest acquisition, to wit: “Bryant partnership with WGBH provides new tech platforms for student radio station.” This is akin to saying “layoffs create whole new world to experience in unemployment.” The word from Boston is equally giddy in its assessment of the move, which will consign student radio to the purgatory of HD radio and online:

“We are absolutely delighted to be returning to an area with so much vibrant cultural activity, and look forward to sharing it with the rest of the region,” said Benjamin Roe, WGBH managing director for classical services, in a press release.

In related news, doings at WDUQ hit the national radar in Tom Taylor’s newsletter, here:

The feared mass layoff at Pittsburgh’s WDUQ (90.5) is happening, as one poster on the Pittsburgh Board at Radio-Info.com said it would. The new Essential Public Media is buying WDUQ for $6 million and initiating an LMA on July 1. The Post-Gazette confirms that the current staff, more than 20 fulltimers and parttimers, got termination notices. Now the question is — will Essential Public Media re-hire any of them? It’s still going to be doing a limited amount of jazz, as it re-formats to mostly news and talk. The paper’s Adrian McCoy says the buyer is retaining director of development Fred Serino and business manager Vicky Rumpf for the LMA period.

DUQ has been absorbed into the NPR borg, thanks in large part to the machinations (double-dealing, some would say) of Public Radio Capital in its freshlly minted Public Media Co. — a move that slices the hours of jazz programming from 100 to 6, as noted in this blog:

If the online outcry is any indication, there will be a lengthy period of discord over the manner in which the removal of jazz from these free public airwaves is being accomplished. Those who have been most vocal have said that a healthy compromise somewhere between the 100 hours of jazz being aired on 90.5 now, and the 6 that is currently planned for, would be fine with them. Their plea does not appear to be intractable, even in spite of an effort to boycott membership in both stations. Why does WYEP’s silence in response seem that way?…

From the sound of the rhetoric, the management of WYEP has made up its mind, and is not inclined to listen to the pleas of jazz fans around the area to keep more of this music on analog FM. The deaf ear they appear to have turned to the complaints is not in keeping with a community media resource, and has fueled too much speculation along with the bad feelings.

Perhaps they just think that the spectrum is too valuable to continue to commit so much airtime to what they may perceive as a “niche” audience. If that’s the case, their approach is antithetical to their origins. Perhaps they have truly forgotten from whence they came. Too bad.

As this post in March on the Bloomberg Businessweek site, “Making Public Radio a Little More Private,”  notes, the pace for acquisition of the cherry student stations has accelerated in response to perceived threats to federal funding:

Some media executives in Pasadena, Calif., think they may be able to save public radio by making it less public. They’re using business tactics rarely employed in the tame world of local public radio to create a megastation they hope will one day beam its signal from Santa Barbara to San Diego. By building a mini-empire of local stations, they say they’ll be able to better distribute the fixed costs of radio broadcasting and draw on a much larger audience for the donations and corporate sponsorships that could keep them afloat if government funding dries up.

Those plans are taking shape in the $25 million, one-year-old studios of KPCC, the flagship station for Southern California Public Radio. SCPR already owns or operates three stations and is on the hunt for more.

The Southern Cal group, which snapped up beloved station KUSF in San Francisco in its quest to go more corporate, is not shy about its goals:

SCPR’s stations currently reach 14 million listeners, but the board hopes to nearly double that, to 25 million. “If we can buy a station, we will,” says Crawford. “Where we can’t, we’ll build translators to boost our signal. This is a new business model for public radio.”

I’m Sorry. I Can’t Do That, Bob

Despite the underhanded sale of Vanderbilt station WRVU by the suits at VSC, the battle seems far from over. Here is the latest release from the trenches:

Supporters of WRVU,

Despite the strange sounds emanating from 91.1 FM Nashville . . . WRVU-FM is NOT DEAD YET!!!

Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) has entered a lease-purchase agreement with WPLN 90.5 FM Nashville, a National Public Radio affiliate. In May of 2011, the VSC administration filed paperwork with the FCC to change the call letters from WRVU to WFCL. As you may know, this change became official on June 1, 2011. WRVU DJs did not become aware of this change until June 6, 2011.

For six days, the WRVU DJs announced the improper legal I.D. It was a serious failure on the part of the VSC that the students were not made aware of the call letter change.

Although talks of a frequency sale have been going on for months now, the VSC effectively lied to the students of WRVU assuring them that no sale was imminent and that no major decisions were being made concerning the frequency sale.

When the call letter change was brought to the attention of the WRVU Friends & Family by Kodi McKinney, a reporter from CMJ, General Manager Robert Ackley approached the VSC for more information. After some delay, the VSC finally admitted that it had reached an agreement with WPLN.

On Tuesday, June 7th, WRVU sang out loud and clear. Don Troop, reporter from the Chronicle of Higher Education, listened from afar.  Of Pete Wilson’s final show he said, “It was a playlist for the End of Times.”

Those of you who listened heard Pete say several times during his program that the station would be shutdown at 2:30 for some regular station maintenance. “Not to worry” Pete told his worried listeners, “we will be right back On the Air.”  Pete left the station and just a few hours later the DJs realized they were locked out of the station.

DJs are currently unable to access the station or the online stream. According to VSC Chair Mark Wollaeger, “Angry, Frustrated people and open mics over the airwaves is a Volatile, Dangerous mixture.”

Reactions to WRVU Sale
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnMiYlSL-ck

Therefore, if you are attempting to listen to WRVU via Streaming audio or the WRVU app, you are picking the automated DJ the students refer to as DJ HAL.

HAL Wont Open the Pod Bay Door
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkyUMmNl4hk

The student DJs will not be allowed back on the stream until the fall.

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THE DEAL

According to the Tennessean, WPLN has 18 months to come up with 3.35 million dollars. WLPN intends to run a pledge drive to raise these funds. WPLN aired an audio report by Kim Green on June 9th that referenced WPLN President Rob Gordon,

“Gordon says . . . WPLN can’t just write a 3.3 million dollar check to purchase WRVU. The station’s making a down payment and planning a capital campaign to pay off the balance in the next eighteen months. During that time WPLN will apply for an FCC license transfer.”

WRVU Sale Creates Static
http://wpln.org/?p=27797

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THE HOPE

Provided WPLN can actually raise the 3.35 million to purchase 91.1 FM, they will have to apply propose the license transfer to the FCC.  At this point, the public will have 30 days to formally object to the transfer. We, at the WRVU Friends & Family intend to fight this transfer every step of the way!!! We are up against a formidable enemy but we with your help we are strong too. The time is NOW to STAND UP for your frequency!

The VSC has been secretive, underhanded, and dirty throughout this game and now they have hung us out to dry.  WRVU 91.1 FM belongs to YOU, the DJs of WRVU and the students of Vanderbilt University.   FIGHT FOR IT, it is NOT too LATE to get it back!!!

Keep up the letter writing. ZEPPOS and the BOARD OF TRUST are RESPONSIBLE for EVERYTHING that happens at VU. Do not let them get out of this mess unscathed.

http://www.nolo.tv/wrvu/whotolobby/

Keep up the pressure and put your money where your mouth is . . . Let Vanderbilt know this will effect your giving. Promise to donate generously if WRVU is saved, promise to pledge nothing if it is not.

The same tactic might be used at WPLN~

Rob Gordon, President and General Manager
Nashville Public Radio
630 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, TN 37228
(615) 760-2020 x222

http://wpln.org/

GET VOCAL WRVU!!! Let WPLN and Vanderbilt University know that this frequency sale is a terrible idea that has spun out of control. DEMAND that they retract the agreement and PROVE that WRVU can arise from the ashes.

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