Interesting piece on WEQX

I found this video on YouTube about WEQX, Manchester, Vermont.  WEQX is a class B FM station with its tower located on Mount Equinox.  This gives the station a huge signal with a HAAT of 759 meters and 1,250 watts of power.  It comes in well south of Albany and while I am in the Albany area, I enjoy listening to it.

This piece is by CGTN, and one wonders how they ended up in Manchester, VT of all places.

The information below the video is also an interesting read. In part it goes into corporate ownership of radio in the US, stating:

In 1983, 90 percent of U.S. media was controlled by 50 corporations. Today, just six corporations control that 90 percent… Among the 10% (of radio stations) currently not controlled by those six corporations is an alternative rock station in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

That is misleading.  The “six corporations” they are referring to date back to an article published several years ago.  They are; Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, News Corp, CBS, and NBC/Universal.  As of this writing, none of those companies listed owns any radio stations.  Further, the media scene in general has become much more fragmented with the advent and greater acceptance of things like Pod Casting, YouTube, and other social media.

There are three big radio station owners, which together own 1,613 radio stations. That represents approximately 14% of the licensed commercial AM and FM stations in the US. There are several medium-sized owners; Entercom (237), Salem (118), Saga (108), Midwest (75), Forever (69), Beasley (63), and so on.  While iHeart (851), Cumulus (442),  and Townsquare (320) influence the way other station owners operate, by and large, the majority of radio stations in this country are still owned by small business owners.  Stations that are keeping it local continue to be noticed and hopefully rewarded with a successful business.

WEQX is certainly a unique station and it always has been.  In the late ’90s and early ’00s, I did some work for them at various times.  It was always fun and I enjoyed it.

At what price do we pay our mortgages?

Political content warning: This post will contain statements that may include political points of view and/or be contrary to the narrative currently espoused by the corporate media outlets.

Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin

This election season, all the stops have been pulled out.  Massive amounts of money have flowed into the accounts of political candidates for nearly every office though out the land.  Over and over again, we hear political advertisements about this, that or the other candidate doing something unethical or just plain wrong.  Is it true? Is it a lie?  Does it matter?  What effect does this have on the general population?  If psychological studies are correct, hearing the same statement repeated several times, people will tend to believe it, even if they are not paying attention.  As George W. Bush once said while he was President of the United States:

“See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

This is the same mechanism used to brainwash people into religious cults.

Are we merely electing people because they have enough money to pay for the advertising required?  Are they qualified to figure out how to fix and get the economy going again, or are they simply rich enough to buy the election?

At what point do we look at our own employment and our roles at various media outlets and wonder what connection it has with the current political and economic conditions in the US?  For myself, I almost never listen to the radio stations that I do work for, other than to evaluate technical quality.  As far as the programming content, I honestly could not tell you whether station X plays polka or top forty.  However, even with that limited listening and knowledge, it is impossible not to miss the political propaganda on the airwaves.

What role has the current media model played in the election of corrupt (or at least inept) public officials? What role is the current media model playing in the partisan, divide and conquer, keeping the masses distracted while they finish the looting scheme?  When do we become concerned that, even in a small supporting role, we are enabling the brainwashing of the general public?

We all have our own financial responsibilities, and that is true.  However, perhaps it is time to step back and look at the big picture.  There are many parallels in the history of humanity between the current situation in the US and other, long-gone governments like Rome, The Ottoman Empire, The Weimar Republic, and the former USSR.  It’s time to ask, where are we going and what is going to happen when we get there?


1926 Milliken radio tower
1926 Milliken radio tower

It dawned on me, earlier today, that the current decline in radio and all traditional media in general, is no coincidence.  When the radio consolidations took place ten or so years ago, the first thing that was almost always cut or eliminated was the newsroom.  Along with that, local programming in general was reduced or replaced with automation.

This, in turn, leads to a bland, uninformative product that the general public doesn’t really care about.

Local newspapers have all but disappeared too.  The remaining ones are owned by one of several large newspaper-holding companies like Gannett, Newscorp,  Hearst, and Tribune.   In a similar radio scenario, local papers were bought up by these companies, newsroom staff was cut, the quality of content declined, and readership declined accordingly.  Rinse, and repeat until the paper is nothing but a shell of its former self, filled with mostly used car ads.

But isn’t the internet the cause of all this?  No, the internet and the so-called “new media” are filling a void left by the hollowed-out old media.  New media, which often relies on people who may be well-intended, but do not have the training in investigative journalism, often lacks credibility when it really counts.  Unfortunately, it is easy to search the internet and find articles that lack any type of referenced source material or have other technical problems that call into question the authenticity of the material.  Much of this could be corrected with the right links or posting of original documents to back up the story.  This is an often pointed to weakness with internet sources of information.  There are, however, some outstanding new media outlets, from some surprising locations.

Media outlets (as well as most other businesses) in this country are mostly controlled by big Wall Street banks.  Here is how that works:

  • Media company A wants to buy some or all of media company B.
  • They go to a bank to get a loan.
  • After much negotiating and back and forth, the bank agrees to give A the loan, under certain conditions.
  • Those conditions include continued performance, annual revenue growth, and periodic audits.
  • In a buy-or-be-bought world, there is no other alternative for A, but to agree with those conditions.
  • Media company A now needs continued credit to continue to operate their business, this is what happened during the great consolidation, not only of radio but TV and Newspapers as well.
  • If and when the conditions of the loan look like they are not being met, the bank sends out its representatives to talk to the owners of media company A.
  • They “suggest” moves to improve the bottom line, often offering to make concessions if certain conditions are met, such as installing voice tracking and laying off workers or selling properties
  • Newsrooms are cut first as news is labor intensive and does not make any money.
  • Slowly, the rest of the staff is reduced or has their pay and hours reduced.

It is thus that the large banksters have gained control of much of the “traditional” media in this country.  They have sought to steer the free press into oblivion, substituting, instead, the corporatist media outlets we see today in NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, FoxNews, as well as the above-mentioned newspaper holding companies.  While skimming over general news items, much of the important news of the day goes unreported.  Things like the Fed’s latest round of quantitative easing (QE3), the ever-expanding role of TSA, the unauthorized nature of the Libyan adventure and the possible ties to Goldman Sachs, the continuing nuclear release at Fukushima, FDA approval of GMO seeds, the FCC’s revolving door employees, ever-increasing amounts of police brutality, etc are under-reported or not reported at all.

Why are those particular stories important?  Because the implications impact every one of us, only most people don’t know or understand that.  Citizens of this country have no idea why things are getting so expensive, why their jobs have disappeared, why their houses are worth less than they paid for them, why the current crop of politicians looks worse than the last crop, why police are dressing like storm troopers and gunning people down in their own homes, etc.  It all reminds me of the Pink Floyd song, Sheep:

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air

We are being fed with little bits of oversimplified, unconnected, and or incomplete information which only fits the narrative the so-called news organization is putting forward.  Deviation from the narrative rarely occurs and only under the most unusual circumstances or by accident.

The answer is, of course, to support those independent media outlets that are still around.  The independent radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers as well as those online news sources and aggregators that do a good job getting the story out need to stick around.  It would also help to increase the number of independent, non-conflicted (interest-wise) sources of information.  I would suggest that everyone do a little bit of digging around and find out who, in their own neck of the woods, is an honest source of local news.

If there is not a local independent media outlet, consider starting one.  The new LPFM rules are still being worked on, the FCC has promised to speed this along, which means we should see something in the next five years or so.  While we wait, consider blogging or teaming up with a group of people to launch an online news site.  While I have been blogging for several years, I have learned one very important fact: People love the truth.  That is the surest formula for success, tell the truth and back it up with valid sources and documentation.  I know many people in the radio news business that, if asked, would be happy to give some pointers on local news gatherings.

One thing is for sure, we can no longer sit around and wait for someone to do something.  If we are to change the course of this country, each and every one of us needs to contribute.