Friday, November 4, 2011

WSKG and Marcellus Shale: A Sense of Scale

WSKG Marcellus Reporting: a Sense of Scale
A Rubik's Cube vs. the Empire State Building

by William Huston


WSKG Marcellus Reporting: a Sense of Scale
A Rubik's Cube vs. the Empire State Building

Ratio of Classical+Jazz+music + Sesame St. to Marcellus Shale Coverage
455,520:120, or ~4,000:1

This is about the ratio of the height of the
Empire State Building compared to a Rubik's Cube

Height of the Empire State Building: 1,454 ft.
Height of a Rubik's Cube: 3 inches (0.33 ft).

Ratio of the height of the Empire State Building to a Rubik's Cube:
1,454 : 0.33, or ~4,000:1

(* Note: the reason why Sesame Street is included is only as a representive PBS Television show, along with the two radio streams. It is not meant to suggest that Sesame Street fails to meet the public interest the same way that 140 hours of robo-music does. Certainly this kind of educational children's progamming seems to fulfill an important function -- although it is noteworthy to mention Sesame Street happens to be mostly free of any content of interest to adults. It is mostly mentioned in contrast with the abscence of substantial locally-produced programming, including news and public affairs, does it come into question.)

Here is a fact:
WSKG "Public Broadcasting"
is Subtantively Silent
on the Most Important Environmental Threat
to NY of our Lifetime.

Thanks to all who have been hammering WKSG with calls, letters, emails, and Facebook posts!
KEEP IT UP! I am happy to report this is having an effect!

For members, check out your latest issue of Gamut.

Also, WSKG has just published a page on their website which celebrates
their coverage of Marcellus Shale / gas drilling

Fracking for gas in shale formations is arguably
the greatest threat to our environment,

our air, food, water, land, our property rights,
and our democracy
in our lifetime:

Let's dig a little deeper into the data they provide to see what it holds.

WSKG Locally Produced Radio and TV

According to this page:
  • WSKG-Radio has produced 4x 30min. radio shows about Marcellus shale since 2008, the most recent was June 2010.
    • That's about one Marcellus-related radio show per year.
    • 40 min. per year of radio coverage.
    • The next show will be AFTER 5 out of 6 the DEC hearings on the SGEIS are over.

  • WSKG-TV has produced 1 (one) one-hour TV show in 3 years.
    • That's 0.333 hours per year, which rounds to zero.
    • 20 min per year.
Total locally produced Marcellus Shale coverage TV+Radio: 60 min / year.

Regional and Nationally produced shows:

To their credit, they have aired several regionally or nationally-produced shows related to hydrofracking.
But is this really meritorious?

Innovation Trail
(regionally produced show business-focused show about "Economy, Energy, Jobs")

Innovation Trail is not even show-length!
As far as I can tell, these are just short segments injected in the national news.
You can't find it listed in the program guide for either station:
They list about ten 2-min segments produced by Innovation Trail since 2008.

That's 20 minutes of coverage in 3 years.
I guess "next-to-nothing" is better than nothing at all.

OK, so perhaps this is just a sample, much smaller than the actual minutes of coverage.
So, tripling that number yields an whopping hour of coverage in 3 years.

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt
and say the actual number is TEN TIMES what they've given us.
That's 200 min in 3 years, or about 66 min / year.

That's an hour -- PER YEAR.
Hardly what you would call "in-depth coverage".


The WSKG Marcellus page lists about 26 NPR reports on shale gas in about 2 years.
Let's each report is 3 min, that's 39 min. per year.

However, let's remember.
  • These shows are not locally produced
  • WSKG admits on the page above they do not control this content in any way.

Summary of all Marcellus Shale coverage

Adding up all coverage, locally, regionally, and nationally produced shows
on Marcellus Shale is about 2 hours per year.
Let's say I'm off by a factor of 10

So this data only supports the assertion that
they are essentially, doing nothing.

Contrast to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

On the other hand, let's take a wild guess how many times
a movement from Beethoven's Symphony #9 has been given
in the same interval.

WSKG-FM plays classical music for a truly staggering 60+ hours per week!
That's over 3,000 hours per year.

How many hours to community producers?
So much for "public broadcasting" huh.

So I'm guessing that they will play some 4 min. segment of Ninth 3x times per week.

When you have 60+ hours per week,
I'd say this estimate is 1/10th the actual number!!
But let's stick with a very conservative estimate.

Let's assume the average movement is ~4 min., and there are 3 plays per week.
In 3 years this is 1,872 minutes, to give you a sense of scale.

What does WSKG devote
their broadcast time towards?
broadcast time
per year

Classical + Jazz + Sesame St.
Sum of Classical + Jazz Music

Classical Music 187,200 3,120
Sesame Street
Beethoven's Ninth (est.)
Shows by independent community
producers (*)

Marcellus Shale coverage
* Tish Pearlman, who is apparently an independent producer from Ithaca,
hosts a show called "Out of Bounds" heard on WSKG-FM Sundays at 11:30am.

Ordinary people like Beth Miller of Bath
are calling the onslaught of gas drilling in our area
"an industrial invasion":

At a recent forum in Danby, someone likened this to the Nazi occupation of Europe.

I have been documenting Marcellus Shale for the last year
and this language is being repeated everywhere I go:

The People of NY State
are under siege,

We are at WAR

We are being invaded, etc.,
by the Shale Gas Frackers

This is what people are saying.

And the amount of time WSKG "Public" Broadcasting
devotes to this most urgent story?

2 hours per year.

There is NO (good) EXCUSE for this.

Maybe they are not working for the people, but for
... the occupying force?

Let's Change This Situation!
Re-assert our Democracy!
Re-assert Public Ownership of the Airwaves!


Please contact WKSG by any means you can think of
and let them know what you think about this.

  • Letters to:
    WSKG, PO Box 3000, Binghamton, NY 13902

  • Physical Address:
    601 Gates Rd., Vestal, NY 13850

  • Phone (607) 729-0100
    ask to speak with Brian Sickora or the Program Director.

  • Phone (607) 729-0200
    and leave a message

Shaleshock Media
has dozens of hours of broadcast quality HD content
of URGENT local interest to the people living over the Marcellus Shale,
including 2 complete informational sessions on the SGEIS process.

DEMAND that WSKG play
the Shaleshock Media Show!!

May our actions benefit Seven Generations and All Beings!

William Huston
Binghamton NY Phone: 607-321-7846

Binghamton-area discussion; spirituality topics:
Binghamton Public Access TV is Open-To-Everyone!

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