MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Monthly Film Series takes on the issue of media consolidation next Tuesday, 13 April, when it screens Sue Wilson's Broadcast Blues - The Movie the Media Does Not Want You to See beginning at 6:30 pm in the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium. The public is welcomed to attend.
Sue Wilson Broadcast Blues laments the erosion of the contrasting-views concept in the wake of deregulation following the 1996 Telecommunications Act but also chronicles the consolidation of US media in the hands of five conglomerates over the last three decades.
Emmy-winning former news producer, Sue Wilson worked at Los Angeles' KCBS with Jim Lampley and Keith Olbermann. A 22-year veteran of broadcast journalism, she has won numerous awards include Emmy, AP, RTNDA, and PRNDI for work at CBS, PBS, FOX, and NPR. Read her blog at: http://www.suewilsonreports.com/
Broadcast Blues maintains that corporate ownership of the overwhelmingly conservative talk-radio stations hinders real political discourse, thus producing the gridlock that is preventing our nation from tackling the tough discussions we need to have in order to assure a positive future for our nation.
Wilson also explores how fewer locally owned stations means less stewardship of decency standards and emergency broadcast systems and fewer opportunities for listeners to lodge complaints locally. On the same day that Manhattan was hit by a tornado in 2008, Prowers County, Colorado was also hit by tornadoes. However the local radio station, owned and operated by a conglomerate, did not warn local residents of the impending weather emergency, nor were the local first responders able to use the station to tell people what had happened. The station was run on autopilot from a central control center hundreds of miles away.
Broadcast Blues traces a related calamity that actually happened in the below-zero dead of night in Minot, ND. If such public safety and health issues haven't arisen where you reside with respect to broadcast stations getting out the news on it, you, likely, haven't thought about it much. But as viewers will see, the folks in Minot have.
Wilson interviews several national figures in the film, including actor Danny Glover and talk-show host Phil Donahue. She also touches on the case of Jennifer Strange, the 28-year-old Rancho Cordova, CA, woman who died in 2007 after a water-drinking contest at KDND (107.9 FM -The End). The FCC has not acted on the Strange family's request to revoke the station's license, Wilson says, and has instead issued 14 more licenses to its parent company, Entercom.
Wilson says she made the film to remind the American public that the broadcast airwaves are their national trust and through the licensing process broadcasters promise to uphold the public interest in order to have the airwaves free of charge. It is time the public began holding them and the FCC accountable. By the end of the film, Wilson reveals that our broken media system can be repaired with the help of inspired Americans.
Broadcast Blues runs for 76 minutes. Following the screening, William Richter from Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy will moderated a discussion of the topic presented.
The Monthly Film Series is sponsored by the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice with the support of The Manhattan/Riley County League of Women Voters, Movies on the Grass, area locovors, and generous donors like you.