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Talk Back to Your Radio

Hundreds of groups are mobilizing to shut down abusive Clear Channel radio stations.
 
 
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Young people in Oakland and Fruitvale are fed up with Clear Channel. They are going door to door to explain to local communities how to shut them down.

In an article called “ How to Turn Your Red State Blue,” Christopher Hayes found that religious groups that actively proselytize door to door -- Mormons, Evangelical Protestants, Islam -- are experiencing the highest membership growth. Political science studies Hayes cited also show that “Roughly one out of every 15 voters approached at the door will add their vote to your tally.”

And even though most Americans remain progressive in their support for taxation, health care, education spending, Social Security, and a safe environment, more call themselves ‘conservative’ today and vote seemingly against their own interests.

One popular explanation for this puzzling disconnect between the values of most Americans and the actual conservative voting record is the rise of right-wing and Christian radio. Ever since the Federal Communications Commission relaxed the radio ownership rules from in 1996, the hateful views and frequent lies of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have gone from 50 stations onto 1200.

Clear Channel -- who sponsored pro-war rallies throughout the country and hired Michael Savage after he was fired by MSNBC for labeling a caller “a sodomite” and telling him to “get AIDS and die” -- is now the world’s largest radio broadcaster, concert promoter and billboard owner. Clear Channel’s cookie-cutter stations shut out independent musicians, replace DJs with computer-assisted voice segments, and ignore local community issues.

California youth are finally getting fed up and are taking matters in their hands. Last week, Oakland-based Youth Media Council kicked off their campaign “Talking Back to Radio” in which they are demanding that Clear Channel increase community-based programming to 50 percent. If not, they're asking the FCC to revoke the broadcast licenses of three stations: 106.1 KMEL, Wild 94.8AM 910AM KNEW.

Youth Media Council and allies went door to door to talk to people about how local media affects their lives and collected complaint cards for a mailing to the FCC. At the end of this year, many radio station licenses are coming up for renewals and it is your chance to talk back to your radio.

Check out Youth Media Council’s and Free Press’ websites for more information about a variety of national radio license renewal campaigns this year.

Are you fed up with radio in your community? Which stations and why?

Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section.