Media Activists Highlight FCC Hearing in Rapid City with 15-Hour-Long Roadtrip from Chicago

Posted by Mitchell - May 24, 2004 (entry 188)

Contact: Mitchell Szczepanczyk, Chicago Media Action
Daytime phone: 1-773-753-0818, evening phone: 1-773-947-8471


Wednesday, May 26, 5:30 pm - Surbeck Center at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD (501 E. St. Joseph St.).

A group of Chicago activists will embark on a fifteen-hour roadtrip from Chicago to Rapid City, South Dakota, to attend an official hearing in Rapid City organized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The hearing is scheduled to begin Wednesday, May 26, 5:30pm, at the Surbest Center at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City.

This FCC hearing is one of a series of six official hearings to address how well the broadcast media address matters towards local communities. The hearing in Rapid City is the only one of these hearings organized for the Midwest.

Roadtrip participants intend to bring the input of Chicagoans into this Midwest hearing, as comments at this hearing go into the official record for determining media policy on localism issues. The roadtrip and the comments are to highlight what organizers deem the FCC's harmful policies that negatively impact Chicago's media and media consumers.

"It's more than a matter of common complaints against the FCC like indecency on the airwaves, it's a matter shaping what voices get emphasized and what voices get little airplay, and policies made by the FCC toward shaping local media are key in this process", said Mitchell Szczepanczyk, an organizer with Chicago Media Action, a group devoted to media issues which is involved in organizing the roadtrip.

Roadtrip organizers also note that the hearing's locale is distant from many of the Midwest's most populous cities, which could be seen as a deterrent against popular input into media policy.

"I have seen tremendous interest in media politics in the past year, but when the call went out for participants in this rare opportunity to affect policy, only a handful of people could take part given the distance of the trip," Szczepanczyk noted.

Two of the scheduled FCC localism hearings have already been held in Charlotte, North Carolina, and San Antonio, Texas. Three more are scheduled for Portland, Maine; Monterey, California; and Washington DC.

For more information:
Chicago Media Action:
FCC Localism Task Force:

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