Our main site will be the public park in downtown St. Louis next to Viacom-CBS's building (1 S. Memorial Dr., near the Jefferson Memorial arch and northwest of the Interstate highways junction). The park is at the Old Courthouse, about a block northeast of the Milennium, the National Conference for Media Reform's main hotel (of 3). Over 2000 people will come to the conference!
The Viacom-CBS building has "KMOV-TV" and "KMOX-AM" logos on it. The forboding guarded entrance has an 'under siege' appearance. Still, the law will require that they allow the public in for public files inspections (more information below). The building directory lists Viacom's stations and offices.
We will have signs and flyers, and we will discuss the media issues with people. It is very likely that some members of activist St. Louis groups and the public will have time to join in. Our signs can include your own media issues and organizational signs. Some prepared signs will be available ("Break up media monopolies!", "Fox News sells wars!", ...).
Thursday May 12, 2005, through Sunday May 15 --
On-going, whenever many or a few of us can be at the park or other public education site with signs, from Thursday May 12, 5 p.m., through Sunday May 15, 2 p.m. Since many people is always better, bring as many of your group as you can. Probably no one else will be there at very early or very late hours.
"SPECIAL TIMES!" [DRAFT TEXT]
5:00pm - 8:00pm. Before the preconference party.
8:00am - 10:30am. Before the conference opening. Remember that during normal 'business hours', TV and radio stations cannot legally turn away Public Files Inspections.
1:00pm - 1:30pm. During conference lunch break time.
5:30pm - 8:00pm. During conference dinner break and reception time. Support "Democracy Now!" on KDHX-TV nightly at 6 p.m.!
8:00am - 8:30am. Before the conference workshops.
1:00pm - 1:30pm. During conference lunch break time. This may be the best time for St. Louis area groups.
5:30pm - 7:30pm. During conference dinner break and exhibits time.
8:00am - 8:30am. Before the conference closing day activities.
1:30pm - 2:00pm. After the conference.
Participants' BRIEFING SHEET on "Action Field Trips." (Still an early draft.)
Walk 2 blocks northeast to the park anytime you are not at Conference events. Borrow a prepared sign, or use or make your own. Take some of our handout flyers. And your camera.
Afterwards, return the sign and report when and where you went, how many other Conference people were there, how the public responded to conversation and flyers, how the stations responded to the public files inspections, etc. Copy your digital camera pictures into our computer to submit them for publication in the media and for FP's web site.
Matters of laws (DRAFT TEXT):
Broadcast licensees have a unique legal obligation to let you examine and copy from special FCC public files pertaining to licensing, equal employment, and public service obligations. But they can deny you access if you are not there within normal business hours. Upon your request, a station must provide you with your own copy of an FCC booklet 'Broadcasting and the Public.'
Examining these files asserts the fundamental principle that American television and radio airwave licenses are not for private business, but are to be services for the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The public interest is always to be paramount to the licensee's interests.
We have all the ordinary public rights to visit open private stores, offices, buildings, and plazas unless a police officer or the owner's spokesperson, possibly a security department employee, tells us to leave.
Always obey any official police order! You may not walk in the streets without a special permit. If you are on the public sidewalk or in a public park, you may not interfere with other pedestrians. Amplified sound might require a permit; and laws might require cardboard tubing instead of sticks on signs. If an officer tells you not to keep standing in one place, because that interferes with other pedestrians, form a moving circle.
Free speech: You have the right to display and wear messages. If other people are willing, you may engage them in conversation and give them cards and literature.
[A few paragraphs here will summarize some major media reform issues, especially those most related to particular public education sites. Viacom-CBS, GE-NBC, Murdoch-Fox, and Clear Channel are media monopolies issues, PBS in 2005 is a privatization and politicization issue, and SBC lobbying is a municipal wireless rights issue. The briefing sheet will have references for further education and research.]
Clear Channel Inc., recipient of over 1200 U.S. radio licenses, last week got the mayor's St. Louis "Business of the Year Award"! It consolidated the offices of its 6 St. Louis radio stations into a single office under one manager. CC's headquarters in Texas enforces political views and music playlists. Clear Channel is near Forest Park, where everyone goes for the many quality attractions. A map is HERE.
St. Louis downtown may have municipal wireless already... Does SBC (which has a very picturesque downtown building about a mile from the Conference hotel) lobby against St. Louis or fight against other Missouri cities getting municipal wireless?