Ongoing Coverage of Allied Media Conference

BOWLING GREEN, OHIO — Clear Channel was the subject of the lunchtime keynote here at the Allied Media Conference. The conference was starting to fill in at this point — I’d guess that there are about 350 people here now.

Attendance typically crests at 800. I know this because this is the fourth time I’ve been to this Con. This is also the eighth year for the event, which always has been here in Bowling Green. It’s moving to Detroit next year, which makes me a little sad — I’m saying goodbye to this sleepy little town but also excited at getting to know the Motor City, Patti Smith’s Dead City.

Taishi Duchicela of Oakland’s Youth Media Council (YMC) presented her arguments that Clear Channel has wrecked local Hip Hop radio stations in the Bay Area by holding pro-war rallies (as they have in Cincinnati and elsewhere), dropping almost all local musicians and promoting ultra-right politics.

“All they talk about is war and immigration and they are very, very vulgar,” she says, adding that the make money off of Hip Hop to pay for their racist, sexist agenda. “That, to us, is not right.”

Duchicela plays audio clips from Clear Channel broadcasts, including one broadcaster suggesting that aborting black babies would help ease crime in the U.S.

The YMC’s response has been to develop an organizing campaign, Unplug Clear Channel. They’ve protested in front Bay Area radio stations and challenged broadcast licenses.

“We own the airwaves,” Duchicela says. “We also have a say in what kind of programming goes out over those airwaves.”

Clear Channel, she says, has been very reluctant to speak with the YMC. She says her organization is developing a list of standards and steering documents describing what they believe a model station should look like.

Part of the struggle is getting people to care about media policy and to communicate, especially to young people, why it’s important.

Pop Culture, Hip Hop and Media Literacy
Bowling Green State University Professor Awad Ibrahim played a Jennifer Lopez video and asked the audience in this session to dissect the messages the music and images conveyed. He said, as a teacher, his job was to try to speak with his students about pop culture and their music — even if he finds it repugnant.

The song and the video presented was “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” a piece filled with contributions — the vocal about her “love” was punctuated with close ups of her body. The vocals also regarded female empowerment that JLo apparently gets by taking off her clothes. It’s a song that says that money doesn’t matter while showing Lopez driving a sports car, living in a mansion, etc.

“The visual aspect hits the boys more than the girls,” Ibrahim says. “It’s really interesting when you enter the space of gender. The boys do not see anything except her butt.”

He asks the audience to listen to the music separately from listening to the video to show the divide between one message and the other.

This session continues the day’s theme of scholarly deconstruction. Ibrahim stresses that it’s important not to judge the students’ taste.

— Stephen Carter-Novotni

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