Public Hearings To Examine The Destruction Of
Black Radio in New York City
On Monday, August 13, a public hearing will be held to allow the general public to comment on the consequences the loss of Black radio stations will have on New York's Black community. The hearings which are being spearheaded by broadcast veteran and national community activist Bob Law will bring together elected officials from each branch of government to hear the concerns of Black New Yorkers as New York faces the possibility of having no radio station at all, programing to the Black community.
The elected officials who include State Senator Bill Perkins, Council member Charles Barron, as well as members of the New York congressional delegation, assembly member Inez Barron and members of the City Council, are being asked to convey the concerns expressed at the hearing to the Federal Communications Commission.
The organizers of the hearing state that it is important that elected officials engage the FCC on behalf of their constituents since many, in Black communities nationally feel that the FCC has been taken over by the mega media conglomerates.
"The FCC needs to hear from Black Americans in particular, and all Americans in general who are committed to the first amendment rights of free speech, says Bob Law, The concentration of media ownership into the hands of a small group of mega corporations has already resulted in a serious loss in the diversity of news, ideas and information important to Black people."
"We believe, Law continues, that to insure diversity of viewpoint also requires that there be ownership of broadcast companies by a plurality of sources. The broadcast industry is expected to operate consistently with the purpose of the first amendment which is free speech for all Americans."
The hearing organizers feel that the goal of free speech for all is sidelined to the extent that media ownership is being concentrated in the hands of a small group of mega corporations whose ownership is drawn from a single racial and ethnically homogeneous group.
The Public Hearing, which is the first of its kind, will examines the impact of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and what the subsequent surge of media owner concentration has had on the competitive ability of Black radio station owners. Also its impact on the first amendment rights of Black New Yorkers, and on society in general.
Among the elected officials hearing the testimony from the community will be New York State Senator Bill Perkins, Congressman Ed Towns, City Council Member Charles Barron, and State Assemblywoman Inez Barron.
The hearing will take place at Harlem's New York State Office Building. 125 Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. 6PM to 9PM.