Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WSKG: Community Conversation on Fracking .... (But please don't mention fracking)

Content-Free "Public Media"

Interesting, WSKG hosts a "community conversation" about fracking,
but discourage a discussion about the merits of subject!

"We're not talking about fracking, specifically, itself"

       -- WSKG's Crystal Sarakas, at the top of the
             "Community Conversation"  show about fracking 6/19/2013

You've gotta hear this for yourself, folks:

Can't we all just get along?

According to WSKG,
Fracking is not a public health crisis,
it's a failure of people to communicate.

When you listen to the show, please note that the
"expert panel" don't seem to actually
know anything about the subject.

And out of 6-7 callers, all but one were pro-fracking.

NPR is bought to you by... America's Natural Gas Alliance!

Just in case, I also recorded it off the air. In my recording, you can hear an
NPR advertisement for ANGA just before the show. "Think About It, dot O-R-G".

(My recording ends 5m before the end of the show, as Matt Richmond does is
brief legislative update-- which probably should have been an entire hour).

Crystal Sarakas recently did a similar show about "coping with climate change".

"The focus of our show is not to talk about
the science of climate change or what causes it,
but more to the question about how we respond to
these events."  -- WSKG's Crystal Sarakas 4/24/2013

This seems a bit ORWELLIAN to me.

WSKG: Robotic Program Streams for the Dead and Dying

As you've heard if you've listened to the station,
WKSG has become more consolidated, more robotic over the years.

Each week, they play 60 hours of robo-classical music on one station,
and a staggering 80 hours of robo-jazz each week.

That's 140 hours of Robo-Music!

The amount of locally produced programming is negligible--
less that one tenth of one percent of the broadcast day.

The station is 100% fully au
tomated 10 hours each day right now,  from 7pm-5am.

When you hear a local announcement, it is almost always pre-recorded.
(this is called "voice-tracking").

WSKG is now planning on moving TV Master Control operations to Syracuse.
This has been confirmed by several members of station staff.

So you can expect TV to be less local, and more robotic.

"Public Broadcasting" ...without the Public

WSKG "Public Media" to Community Producers:

For at least 15 years, there has been a 100% BAN on all content
produced by independent, community producers.

Wouldn't you think that our state-funded "Public Media station"
would cultivate a community of local producers?
  • offer production training classes? -- Nope.
  • provide grant assistance? -- Sorry.
  • studio use? -- Only members of CWA-NABET local 26 can touch the equipment. 
  • equipment loans? -- "This is not public access".
  • broadcast airtime? -- We don't do that.
No, WSKG has been HOSTILE to all community producers.
I have met at least a dozen local producers over the years
who have approached WSKG for various things on the list
above. All have been denied any sort of help.

This Must Change!


#2: After you listen to this Community Conversation show,
please contact the station with your comments.

#3 PLEASE also CC or BCC me on your correspondence:
   ....or reply to this email.

BE SURE TO ASK THEM WHEN they will being to air
the "Shaleshock Media Show"  featuring the best from producers
like Cris McConkey, Scott Cannon, Josh Fox, Jolynn Minaar,
Vera Scroggins, Jessica VeccioneDave Walczak, and Bill Huston.

(This show was pitched to WSKG CEO Brian Sickora on Friday, May 10
by Dave Walczak, Maura Stephens, and Bill Huston)

Here are various ways you can contact the station:
  • 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 CEO & General Manager Brian Sickora
    and/or the Program Director for radio Ken Campbell.

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

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

1 comment:

Bill Huston said...

From Peter Hudiburg:

As Bill says, their premise was content free, talking about the nature of the debate while strenuously avoiding anything relevant to the actual debate about the dangers of fracking and gas transmission. With all the information that fractivists have been uncovering, none of it was broached by Crystal or her guests on this program. I was amazed that they were able to pull that off. The frackers, the infamous Steve, the aggrieved innocent victim (who is in fact a gas well owner, advocate and gas consultant for Chenango County who would shout down fractivists at his gas advocacy pseudo information/disinformation meetings) and the gaseous joker, Vic, the notorious mooner and disrupter of town board meetings, both were given lengthy forums.

It almost sounds like the station worked with the gassers and the industry before the program was aired. Those two gassers sounded well prepared. Crystal’s promo for the program, “Is there a middle ground?” and what she twisted the program into, “we’re talking about the debate, not about fracking.” She was even actively misleading listeners during the program, telling them “Emails are probably the best way to get through tonight.” That turned out to be very untrue. I came into the program late and didn’t hear and couldn’t find the number. After Bill helped me, I called and got through very quickly.

Even most of the emails she read were from gassers... “do you think that the term “fracking” is a loaded term?” Gasser Sandra also sounded well prepared with her call-in, calling herself an environmentalist and a farmer but who wants to lease. All of her arguments were classic, well worn gasser arguments. Of course, calling herself an environmentalist is not going to save her from potential contamination if she succeeds in leasing. But there was not time to rebut any of these gassers’ points.

So much of Crystal’s guests’ comments were excruciatingly irrelevant to the question of whether fracking, compression and transmission of gas is dangerous. At least Matt Richmond was able to acknowledge that people’s water has been contaminated and that the gas companies have not treated those victims fairly. But the other two were so far removed from the essence of the actual debate that it was painful hearing them take up precious time with their analyses of how a community can get along. And that was evidently what Crystal and gas advertising WSKG and gas advertising NPR wanted.

It’s good that one guy was able to call in with a comment of who is going to insure me if my water goes bad?

But Crystal’s summary of 12 emails with “I have here 12 different emails and they all say in one way or another, you can’t trust the gas industry,” was unfair to those people who took the time to email rather than call. Why didn’t she read any of them? She did read one good and relevant email, $192,000 for Libous from the gas industry....

While it was obvious that the many weaknesses of the program were to a large degree the result of WSKG’s decision to limit the debate, I would also like to suggest that perhaps many of our eloquent fractivists were too passive, too trusting of Crystal when she encouraged emails rather than phone calls.

There is another possibility that they deliberately kept many of their calls on permanent hold. Bill says they hung up on him. All in all I would say that WSKG did a very good job in limiting almost all the essential questions of the fracking debate.

But if there ever is another one of these community conversations on fracking, I want to encourage people to be far more vocal. Your many voices on the air, assuming they allow you to get on the air, will be far more valuable than your emails.