“Public” Airwaves? Not Anymore!

“People write negative things, cause they feel that’s what sells. Good news to them, doesn’t sell” – Michael Jackson.

According to the law the public own the airwaves but unfortunately this has not been a reality for some years.  People get their audio and visual entertainment in different ways now but few of them are on the “public” airwaves. Some watch videos or listen to satellite radio or podcasts on the Internet, which the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has conceded it cannot police. Therefore the public no longer has any control over what is heard or said on radio shows especially the top rated ones.

Airwaves across Canada and the globe continue, on a daily basis to defame Michael Jackson and others who cannot defend themselves.  These radio shows which are generally given peak times in the early morning or late afternoon nab their “catch of the day” whether it be a politician, a celebrity, or a person with a different opinion and they are successful because of  high ratings.   The public gets so used to the drumbeat of slanderous news that it becomes a normal daily routine and they become immune to the degradation of others.  The host of these stations and their “cast of characters” endorse bullying every day and the public accept it.  It is now, unfortunately, part of our culture.

An argument can be made that bad news is cheaper to come by than good news. Remember that the media is out to make a profit. Compare the cost per story for example of a highly rated radio station reporting anything Michael Jackson related whether it is true or false versus reporting on the Special Olympics. By reporting Michael Jackson, you could pick up several stories a day because of his so-called eccentricities. The Special Olympics could take a whole day and may get one story that perhaps, would not even be put on the show it also certainly wouldn’t bring the “comic relief” these shock jocks pounce on to raise their ratings.  However, it would not be beyond their juvenile minds to ridicule even the handicapped. (See the earlier post “Dean Blundell Show Sanctioned by the CBSC”)

This is news as entertainment which is not news at all.  The truth of the matter is sensational news, whether it is true or not is cheaper to report because of the lack of “policing” on the airwaves.  Innuendo and half-truths can be told. What does cost money is research and background checks to find the truth but why bother to do in-depth investigation when they can “sensationalize” and air wave officials can’t do anything about it.

One wonders why the PBS struggle to keep an audience, but the viscous hateful shouting head cable news and “Shock Jock” shows thrive?  It’s the same reason that people still watch UFC and reality shows. It’s the drama of an impending wreck.

When arguments are premised on lies there is no basis for debate.  People end up accepting these half-truths and simply focus on the lies and sensationalism.  Kind and well-meaning people end up being afraid to talk about what they truly believe.  Truth cannot prevail when we have people on radio or TV demeaning and filling the minds of the public with lies.  They rattle and bark and go on and on about things they cannot back up or prove and why do they do this?  For money!  These hosts hone their skills from the “Howard Stern School of Radio Broadcasting”

Public Airwaves?  There is no such thing and it is a shame because we as listeners should demand to have truthful and responsible radio hosts who show respect for their fellow human beings.  The government needs to step up the policing of content on the airwaves and cut the bigotry, slander and defamation.


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