More than a few Charlestonians were disappointed in December when local radio station Z93 Jamz laid off the hosts of the morning talk show Da Breakfuss Club. The same week, 1250 WTMA fired one of its two local talk show hosts, Rocky D. Aside from the timing of their dismissal of veteran local talent, what else do the stations have in common? Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, the second-largest owner of radio stations in the country, bought both stations' parent company in September.
Filmmaker Sue Wilson, a former public radio reporter and host based in Sacramento, Calif., is upset about the domination of TV and radio outlets by a few select companies — so upset, in fact, that she made a documentary about it. The left-leaning Center for American Progress released a report in 2007 showing that 91 percent of weekday talk radio programming on stations owned by the top five commercial station owners was conservative. Nine percent was progressive.
On Tues., Jan. 31, the Unitarian Church in Charleston will host a screening of Broadcast Blues, Wilson's 2009 documentary about federal deregulation and corporate takeover of the public airwaves.
From the back of the DVD case:
"Clear Channel neglects its emergency system, disaster strikes, and people die. Pentagon pundits profit from the same war they promote. Fox News gets a court ruling that news does not have to be true. And hate radio rules.
"Media policy is killing people in this country. Literally. And it is killing our democracy, too. Corporate-financed lawmakers have stacked the media policy deck against We the People."
The screening will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in Gage Hall (4 Archdale St.). A discussion will follow the film.