WBEZ | Federal Communications Commission http://www.wbez.org/tags/federal-communications-commission Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Latino youths organize for control of Radio Arte http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/Zavala1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some young radio producers are organizing for control of the Chicago area’s only noncommercial Latino broadcast outlet.</p><p>They’re upset about plans by the National Museum of Mexican Art to sell the building and license of WRTE-FM Chicago (90.5), a youth-run station known as Radio Arte that airs music and public affairs content in English and Spanish.</p><p>Transmitting at 73 watts from Little Village, Radio Arte reaches several other Latino neighborhoods of the city’s Southwest Side and some nearby suburbs.</p><p>The station also trains hundreds of volunteers a year and puts dozens on the air each week. Some have formed a group to try to keep the station in their community’s hands.</p><p>Many of these volunteers share a bond: They don’t have papers to be living in the United States.</p><p>“Radio Arte helped me learn to fight back,” said volunteer Adriana Velázquez, 20, who arrived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood from Mexico at age 11.</p><p>Velázquez graduated from Benito Juárez Community Academy in nearby Pilsen and dreamed of going to college. But her immigration status disqualified her from most financing.</p><p>“So I felt like all I had done all these years in high school — being a good student, a good member of the community — was not worth [anything] to people,” she said Thursday.</p><p>Velázquez said her life changed in 2008, when she started working on a Radio Arte show, <em>Salud: Healing Through the Arts</em>. “That summer was when I started really talking about my status and sharing that with other students who were also going through my situation,” she said.</p><p>“It was kind of a relief to feel [at] home somewhere, not feeling ashamed that I was undocumented,” said Velázquez, now a music-performance student at Northeastern Illinois University.</p><p>Velázquez and the other volunteers want control of Radio Arte’s name, license and transmitter. But they haven’t won over museum officials.</p><p>President Carlos Tortolero said the volunteers were making too much of the museum’s plans. “Radio, to a lot of funders, is old school,” he said. “And we can still do radio classes without a radio station. A lot of people are streaming now online and podcasting.”</p><p>Tortolero said selling the building and radio license would free up resources for projects in other media such as video and computer graphics.</p><p>The Radio Arte volunteers counter that terrestrial radio signals still reach much bigger audiences than web streaming and podcasting do. “That’s especially true in immigrant and low-income communities,” Velázquez said.</p><p>The license’s market value is not clear. Radio Arte staffers say the museum paid $12,000 for it in 1996.</p><p>Tortolero said the museum hasn’t received any offers yet but adds he’s talking with potential buyers, including DePaul University and California-based Radio Bilingüe. He has also met twice with Torey Malatia, chief of Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ.</p><p>Interviewed Wednesday, Malatia said his organization would not have cash for the license at this point. But Chicago Public Media is preparing a proposal to “help with operations and costs,” he said.</p><p>“We deeply respect Radio Arte’s mission,” Malatia said. “If we get involved, we would keep the tradition alive.”</p><p>Malatia said Chicago Public Media would connect Radio Arte to WBEW-FM (89.5), a youth-oriented station known as Vocalo that transmits from Chesterton, Indiana. Vocalo Managing Director Silvia Rivera worked at Radio Arte for more than a decade, including three years as general manager.</p><p>If the Chicago Public Media proposal were accepted, Radio Arte likely would continue broadcasting student- and volunteer-run shows, while “primetime blocks would be simulcast” with Vocalo, according to Malatia.</p><p>“As this story gets out,” Malatia added, “it puts pressure on DePaul and [Radio Bilingüe] to close the deal, and probably will pull some religious buyers into the mix.”</p><p>The building, 1401 W. 18th St., houses Radio Arte’s offices and studios as well as Yollocalli Arts Reach, another youth program of the museum. The wedge-shaped structure has two stories and a partly finished basement. Tortolero said the space totals about 11,000 square feet.</p><p>The museum had a real-estate appraiser look over the building this month but Tortolero said his team has not yet set the asking price.</p><p>The building stands on the corner of Blue Island Avenue and 18th Street. The intersection includes a Mexican-themed plaza that serves as a cultural anchor of Pilsen, a neighborhood whose Latino population has been shrinking.</p><p>The volunteers say they won’t try to buy the building.</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 Museum to sell Radio Arte license, building http://www.wbez.org/story/museum-sell-radio-arte-license-building-86735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-18/Radio Arte.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The license of Chicago’s only noncommercial Latino radio station is for sale.<br> <br> The board of the National Museum of Mexican Art has decided to unload the broadcasting license of youth-run WRTE, 90.5 FM, better known as Radio Arte, according to museum President Carlos Tortolero.&nbsp;Tortolero said the museum also plans to sell an 11,000 square foot building in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood that houses the station and another museum youth program, Yollocalli Arts Reach.<br> <br> “The funding, especially in radio, is going south,” Tortolero said. “We have a building that’s costing us money. We tried to borrow some money to do some things and [banks] are saying, ‘No, no. You can’t.’ The banks are looking at us and saying, ‘Hey, you have to get rid of some of this stuff.’”<br> <br> Tortolero is meeting with potential buyers of the license. Those include Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ. The museum has also brought a real-estate appraiser through the building.&nbsp;Tortolero said the museum, which launched both youth programs in 1997, plans to continue them.<br> <br> But his moves have sparked opposition from some current and former Radio Arte volunteers. They say they’re forming a cooperative to try to buy the station.<br> <br> “We want to keep the frequency, name, license and transmitter,” said Martín Macías Jr., 22, who produces a weekly news show for the station.</p></p> Wed, 18 May 2011 22:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/museum-sell-radio-arte-license-building-86735 Fifty years after Newton Minow's famous address, is TV still a vast wasteland? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-09/fifty-years-after-newton-minows-famous-address-tv-still-vast-wasteland-8 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-09/TV_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Monday marks the 50th anniversary of Newton Minow's historic address to the <a href="http://www.nab.org/" target="_blank">National Association of Broadcasters</a>. The Chicago attorney was serving as Chairman of the <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/" target="_blank">Federal Communications Commission</a>. It was Minow’s first foray in that position.<br> <br> Minow threw down a gauntlet, calling much of TV programming a vast wasteland. His speech changed the way Americans produce, consume and think about television. For WBEZ, Katie O’Brien surveyed the impact that sound bite had.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In the 50 years since Newton Minow called television a vast wasteland, the medium has morphed from an analog box with finicky bunny ears right into to the third dimension. When President John F. Kennedy chose the 34-year-old Newton Minow to chair the Federal Communications Commission, many thought that like the president, he was too young.</p><p>At a recent symposium observing the golden anniversary of the Vast Wasteland speech, Minow’s longtime mentee and writing partner Craig LaMay described a local lack of confidence in Minow’s credentials. Any ordinary underling might cut his losses. Let his charismatic, camera-friendly leader handle the big speeches. But Minow, a Chicago attorney, did not cower during his inaugural address.&nbsp;</p><p>Scandal peppered the early days of television. The 1950s saw the <em>Quiz Show</em> and payola scandals. Minow’s FCC predecessor had been forced to resign for accepting lavish hospitality from broadcast executives. Many of the men in the audience that day expected to be read a riot act of sorts, a lecture on manners and morals. They got much more than they bargained for.</p><p>LaMay described their reaction. One studio executive was so angered, he named the cursed vessel that stranded passengers on <em>Gilligan’s Island</em> after the chairman. The public felt differently. The speech was lauded overnight and the term “vast wasteland” assumed its place in the American vernacular. Minow was pleased to have their attention, but those weren’t the pair of words he was hoping would endure.</p><p>Just days before Minow gave his speech, America launched its first citizen into outer-space. America’s potential was again limitless.</p><p>Minow didn’t only address them as chairman of the FCC. He was also a television viewer; and a husband and father of other television viewers. During their work together on Adlai Stevenson’s second presidential campaign, Bobby Kennedy alerted Minow to TV’s growing influence over Americans.</p><p>Indeed its power had become a great responsibility. In 1961 there were more than 180 million pairs of eyes affixed to more than 56 million television sets. And the responsibility of broadcasters was to their interest—the public was their dictator. Not ratings and especially not advertisers.</p><p>In the United States, this is a matter of law. The license that allows a station to broadcast is not its own, nor is it the government’s; it is the American public’s. And with all great responsibility comes great privilege. The media has the power to influence the public, just as censorship has the power to silence it.</p><p>During the recent symposium, <em>PBS Newshour’s</em> Judy Woodruff said she strives to honor the privilege in the modern media landscape.</p><p>As a television critic and columnist for <em>The New York Times</em>, Virginia Heffernan watches more than the average 5 hours of television each day. Thanks in part to Mr. Minow, there has never been a time in her career when the medium was not considered a wasteful use of time.</p><p>She described it as a homegrown art form that we do better than anyone else in the world. And so, she challenged, when you think about television, think about what’s on TV. The impending doom that Newton Minow cast over broadcast television, Heffernan added, set up a productive tension in television, forcing artful competition.</p><p>In last month’s edition of <em>The Atlantic</em>, Minow mapped a plan for the next 50 years of television in this decidedly Vaster Wasteland. On Monday, Minow is meeting with the current chairman on the FCC; on top of his agenda, as always, is the public interest.</p><p>Special thanks to <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank">Northwestern University</a> for providing access to audio from the symposium</p></p> Mon, 09 May 2011 13:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-09/fifty-years-after-newton-minows-famous-address-tv-still-vast-wasteland-8