Colorado Springs (PRWEB) December 4, 2005
Student and community groups to ask Colorado College president to add "Democracy Now!" to KRCC programming
A sustained campaign by Colorado College students and KRCC listeners to convince the radio station management to add programming from Democracy Now! will culminate, Monday, in a kneeling march to present letters and petitions to the college's president, Dick Celeste. Marchers have chosen to crawl several city blocks on their knees from the peace camp, Camp Casey, to Celeste's office in Worner Center.
Organizers say that they are marching on their knees on the pavement in winter weather, not in protest of Celeste, the college, or its radio station KRCC, but in solidarity with those who suffer under oppression. Democracy Now!, which is carried by over 350 radio stations daily, devotes much of its news coverage to stories often overlooked by mainstream media, and has won awards for it's coverage of the plight of East Timor, and of Nigerian people exploited and murdered by Chevron Oil.
"We are presenting letters and signatures to Mr. Celeste," said organizer, Eric Verlo. "Getting on our knees to march is an appropriate symbolic action," he added, "in bringing attention to the importance of Democracy Now!, which is often the only broadcast programming to present the voices of the unheard, who are being driven to their knees every day.
Organizers say that they are making their presentation to Celeste, who is part of the KRCC management group, because they have been previously rebuffed by KRCC station manager, Mario Valdes. Citing a statement Valdes made in the station's membership newsletter, in which he wrote that Democracy Now! has a "mission of advocacy journalism", Verlo said that he doesn't accept that position. "One would assume that Mr. Valdes knows and appreciates the difference between partisan advocacy journalism outlets such as Fox News on the right or Air America on the left, and independent news media such as Democracy Now! which historically challenge any and all political power structures," he said.
Gary Betchan, of Pikes Peak Media Reform, one of the groups behind the campaign, said, said he dropped his membership at KRCC in protest of the station's failure to add Democracy Now! programming. "This should be an easy sell at a liberal arts college radio station," he said. "By KRCC's own statement, Democracy Now! has topped a list of requested new programming, and there is no cost to the station to pick up the free broadcast." He added, "Democracy Now! breaks stories that KRCC's current news programs from NPR, PRI, and BBC ignore. The refusal by Mr. Valdes to accept this free programming is in effect an interference in the reporting of news that otherwise goes uncovered.
Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, addressed a group of about 900 at the college in 2004. Colorado College students have been working on a similar signature-gathering campaign within the student body. A delegation of students will petition Mr. Celeste in his office at 1 PM, in advance of the arrival of the community procession. Student, Jocelyn Vaughan, said, "Station management should understand that students and KRCC members in the community are together on this push to change the current media landscape." She added, "It would be wise for KRCC, which intends to represent the holistic mentality of liberal arts education, to consider the requests of its listeners to add balance and repertoire to its station."
Camp Casey Colorado Springs
Democracy Now! tops a KRCC member wants list
KRCC Station Manager, Mario Valdes response to requests for Democracy Now! Programming http://snipurl.com/Valdes_response_DN04