More “Mancow” Fun! / CMA Supports Independent Radio / Misc.

Posted by Scott - August 7, 2006 (entry 477)

* More “Mancow” Fun!
Trolling for more on Chicago public broadcaster WTTW-TV’s addition of commentaries by homeless “shock” jock “Mancow” Muller to its flagship show “Chicago Tonight”, we found this segment by FAIR’s “Counterspin”, an interview with Muller, and Muller’s nothing special, rambling July commentary. Almost as upsetting as anything “Mancow” has ever said (and that’s saying a lot - see entry #475 below) is the following statement by WTTW news director Phil Ponce, seen in this video clip from “Chicago Tonight” broadcast on 7/31/06:

“We heard from you in record numbers about our decision to air occasional commentaries by “Mancow” Muller. Most of the letters were critical of our decision… (the next commentary) by “Mancow” Muller (will air) on August 22nd.”

Perhaps the station has not released the breakdown of the “Mancow” vote because it falls near what I call the “Looney Divide”: roughly 85% anti- (sane) and 15% pro- (looney). And it turns out that public opinion concerning the recent firing of a “PBS Kids Sprout” host was overwhelmingly against the firing: about seven to 2,000 when considering emails to PBS. Aren’t we also seeing the Looney Divide on Chicago Public Radio’s decision to dump almost all of its music programming? Do we see a pattern yet?

* CMA Supports Independent Radio
With Chicago Public Radio set to expand next year, now’s a good time to explain CMA’s policy toward endorsing specific programs. CMA has called on Chicago Public Radio to schedule a series in only one case - Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!”. WBEZ continues to reject that request. We hope they will soon sort out their responsibilities and audience desires. We believe that can best be accomplished by a well-considered democratization of structure and process throughout public broadcasting. We ask all interested to please join Chicago Media Action in pressuring for such necessary changes.

“Democracy Now!” is one of the very best news and public affairs shows available, but I like it more because it’s got a name that is devastatingly effective from a community organizer’s perspective. When a station shuns the show, those two words open the door to a discussion about democracy and about the democratic structural reform of public broadcasting. By adopting such reforms, (for example, see Pacifica Radio’s bylaws here) more quality local (and non-local) programs - and there are many - will have the best chance to be heard and seen via public outlets.

* Misc.
Check out this Australian radio program “Media Report: Embedded in the BBC” - the discussion includes a lot of the same reform issues we talk about here...... women banging on pots and pans occupy local station, public tv in their control now...... Professors protest latest Bush CPB nominee...... a treaty that is being discussed in private could spell trouble for fair use and net neutrality...... Talk to Illinois Senator Richard Durbin's office about the insane state of CPB funding - demand permanent funding and democratic reform of public broadcasting. Then ask if the Senator has decided his position on internet neutrality yet.

posted by Scott Sanders, Chicago Media Action
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