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Alternate radio news source goes down in Boston

From: Denis 
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 12:52:12 -0400
Subject: [WBAIaction] URGENT APPEAL: Save Alternative Radio in Boston

From: Scott 
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 19:23:45 -0700
Subject: URGENT APPEAL: Save Alternative Radio in Boston

I assume many of you have probably seen this already, but here it is in case
you haven't.  This comes from WMBR, a community radio station in Boston that
I used to work at.  Please take just a few minutes to make a phone call or
send an e-mail to the WMBR Program Director to let them know if you think it's
important that an alternative voice remains on the air in Boston (even if
you're not from Boston yourself).  This is especially important if you are a
regular (or even occasional) listener to Free Speech Radio News and think it
is a valuable service for its listeners.  What has it meant for you, and why
should radio listeners in Boston not be deprived of it?

Thanks a lot,


From: Mark H. Weaver
To: mhw@netris.org
Subject:WMBR cancels news programming after 10 years
Date sent:Wed, 12 Jun 2002 00:13:56 -0400

As you may know, the WMBR programming board has recently decided to
cancel its daily news programming, after more than 10 years of airing
Pacifica Network News and more recently Free Speech Radio News.

Here are their stated reasons:

- They say the quality has been steadily declining
- They say we are preaching to the choir
- They claim the news is redundant with other available news
    programs in the area

No one warned the news department that this was being considered.  We
didn't find out until after the decision was already made.

If you would like to let the WMBR program director know what you think
about this, send your comments to: program-director@wmbr.mit.edu.
Please also CC news@wmbr.mit.edu, so that we in the news department
can see what kind of support we are getting.

The official mission of WMBR is two-fold: to be an MIT student
activity, and to provide programming which is not available elsewhere
in the area.  Therefore, if you think our news programming is
appreciated and not available elsewhere on the radio dial, saying so
would be especially helpful.

If we are to save the news for the summer, time is of the essence.  It
will be discussed at a WMBR management meeting tomorrow night
(Wednesday 7:30pm), and our appeal will be considered by the
programming board Friday at 6pm.  The more comments they receive
before that meeting, the better.

Feel free to forward this message to other interested parties.



From:John Grebe
To:Sounds of Dissent
Date sent: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 02:07:14 -0400
Subject:  Urgent: Keep Radio News on-air at WMBR at MIT

Stop WMBR Radio from Cancelling the Nightly News

11 June, 2002

The only daily independent news on Greater Boston radio may be censored.
known as
the Pacifica Nightly News, then Free Speech Radio News, the newscast at 6
cancelled on WMBR 88.1 FM, effective next week.

Send a quick note of support (sample below) to keep it on. Bolster the
WMBR News Directors' appeal to their programming board this Friday, June
14. Help reverse this unprecedented decision to eliminate this crucial
exclusive newscast.

The nightly news in Boston glares like a beacon to the listening public
wearied of super-slick heavily corporate-underwritten and advertised news

Please forward this note rapidly throughout Greater Boston.

Please email a letter (like the sample below) to WMBR, today.

As listeners to WMBR, let's act on our tremendous respect for the decade
of volunteer expertise that WMBR's news crew pours into getting the news
on-air every weekday. For more details, find a longer note below.

Please act now. Email your quick note to the addresses below.

Call 617-253-4000, and press 4 to record a programming comment.

Send postal mail to:

Program Director
WMBR Radio
3 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02142

If you like, email the template letter below. This Friday, June 14, a
decision is made. 

Yours truly,
John Grebe

Radio Coordinator,
Independent Media Center of Boston


(Please send a letter like the one below by Friday, June 14.)

To:  program-director@wmbr.mit.edu
CC:  news@wmbr.mit.edu, jgrebe@tecschange.org

Dear Program Director at WMBR:

I urge you to keep the entire WMBR 6 p.m. news line-up on the air every

[I have been a listener to WMBR 88.1 FM for ____ years.]

[I have been a financial contributor to WMBR 88.1 FM for ____ years.]

As a unique and valuable service to the entire Greater Boston listening
community, WMBR's 6 p.m. long-standing nightly news provides information
and perspectives crucial to an informed public participating in a
democracy. There is no other daily source like it in Greater Boston.

Your 6 o'clock news has engendered wide support throughout Greater Boston
since 1991 as a unique source of daily independent radio news. Your
underwriters know this. Listeners to "Free Speech Radio News" value its
unique independence from corporate ownership and its non-commercial
mission to provide national and international news from journalists around
the world. Listeners and underwriters have relied on WMBR for over a
decade. Don't let us down.

"Free Speech Radio News" provides high quality news stories unheard
anywhere in Boston radio on a daily basis. At a time when commercial
pressures dilute news content, at a time of national and global crisis,
WMBR should continue to offer this excellent newscast. WMBR should operate
with its non-commercial license to broadcast in the public interest by
keeping FSRN and the public affairs block on the air at 6 p.m. weeknights.
Especially in Greater Boston; especially in these times.

Yours truly,

[Your name]
[City or town]
[Affiliation, if any]


[More details about WMBR's move to cancel the nightly news.]

WMBR's programming board last Friday cancelled the 6 p.m. half hour of
nightly news that its News Dept. broadcast for eleven years. The board
also cancelled "Black Perspectives" (the only African-American public
affairs program) and displaced "Democracy Now!" from the evening news.
Next week, the broadcast ends, unless the listening public supports the
News Dept. in convincing the programming board otherwise.

Demonstrate the wide public support that WMBR's 6 o'clock news has
engendered throughout Greater Boston since 1991 as a unique source of
daily independent radio news. Listeners to "Free Speech Radio News" prize
its independence from corporate ownership, its thoroughly non-commercial
and unique enterprise in providing daily national and international news
from journalists around the world.

Especially amid what President Bush dubbed this "war year," Greater Boston
needs independent media reporting beyond official spokesmen's sound bites,
transcending fear- mongering talk radio, linking listeners to citizens'
perspectives around the country and the world.

Free Speech Radio News on WMBR 88.1 FM in Boston glares like a beacon to
the listening public wearied of super-slick heavily corporate-underwritten
and advertised news product.

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