to corporate media's longstanding refusal to report on itself, along
with a multimillion dollar campaign of public disinformation paid for
by the FCC on behalf of commercial broadcasters, high-def TV and
converter boxes are all most of know about the switch to digital TV.
Last Monday, September 8, Wilmington NC became the first community in
the nation to cease analog TV broadcasting and switch entirely to
digital. Existing broadcasters gathered to rejoice at the prospect of
hundrds of new digital channels which they receive free of charge, with
no noticeable public interest obligations, and for which they don't
even have programming.
Black Agenda Report was there to ask broadcasters and the FCC some of the questions real journalists should have posed.
airwaves used by cell phone companies, along with radio and TV
broadcasters are by their very nature a scarce and limited resource
legally recognized in the US and every country on the planet as
public property. Radio and TV broadcasters in the US are licensed
and permitted to use this scarce and limited public property
to make vast and private profits on the legal condition that
those broadcasters must serve the public interest.
practice this is a meaningless condition, ill-defined and never
enforced. No radio or TV station in 75 years has had its broadcast
license yanked for failing to serve the public interest.
Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Commission does exist and is
charged with safeguarding the citizens' interest in the broadcast
airwaves which are, in theory owned by the public.
major concern of the FCC these days is the transition from analog to
digital television. The FCC has spent millions of dollars on a
supposed campaign of public education on the transition from analog
to digital TV, a campaign some say exclusively serves the interest of
commercial broadcasters while deliberately omitting vital information
the public needs in order to determine
broadcasters are using the public spectrum in the public interest,
and whether the switch to digital TV benefits anybody except
Monday Wilmington NC became the first city in the nation to cease
analog TV broadcasts in favor of digital TV. Black Agenda Report,
with the help of the Communications Workers of America was on hand
last in Wilmington NC, where we questioned FCC Chairman Kevin Martin,
FCC Commissioner Michael Kopps, local broadcasters and
representatives of the National Association of Broadcasters, and
ordinary citizens on those matters covered neither in the FCC's
massive PR campaign on digital TV, nor in the mainstream reporting on
the digital TV transition, such as,
nobody but existing broadcasters were offered any of the tens of
thousands of new TV channels made possible by digital TV,
thousands of new stations will come on line in a few months but no
new broadcast licenses will be issued, and
the FCC will enforce any requirements on broadcasters to use the new
channels for news, educational and childrens programming, or locally
produced content of any kind.
began by asking FCC Chairman Kevin Martin what difference digital TV
would make in getting broadcasters to serve the public interest, and
why no minorities or other possible new players who might have been
interested in operating a local broadcast TV station never got a
chance at any of the thousands of new TV channels.
This video is about 8 minutes long. A somewhat longer version will be
posted later today on the Black Agenda Report YouTube channel.
Times and Places of FCC's Digital TV "We're Not Listening" Tour Still Not Available
The FCC commissioners are fanning out
across the country in an 80 city 'We're Not Listening" tour, carrying
the corporate-friendly "consume-and-be-happy" and "shut up and watch"
messages to a community center or auditorium near you. Trouble is, the
FCC is unable to tell audiences in major cities like Atlanta, where
this reporter is based, where they will be a scant ten days in advance.
So, yes, the FCC IS coming to your town
to tell you about the blessings of digital TV. The calendar dates are
posted here. But you'll have to keep calling them at 1-888-225-5322
till they decide to tell you just where and what time. Maybe it's
because they really aren't that keen on hearing from the public after
For more information on the digital transition, see these Black Agenda Report articles
and the blog dtvredalert.org
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