Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media

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Henry Holt and Company, Jan 9, 2007 - Social Science - 352 pages
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A groundbreaking investigative work by a critically acclaimed sociologist on the corporate takeover of local news and what it means for all Americans

For the residents of Minot, North Dakota, Clear Channel Communications is synonymous with disaster. Early in the morning of January 18, 2002, a train derailment sent a cloud of poisonous gas drifting toward the small town. Minot's fire and rescue departments attempted to reach Clear Channel, which owned and operated all six local commercial radio stations, to warn residents of the approaching threat. But in the age of canned programming and virtual DJs, there was no one in the conglomerate's studio to take the call. The people of Minot were taken unawares. The result: one death and more than a thousand injuries.

Opening with the story of the Minot tragedy, Eric Klinenberg's Fighting for Air takes us into the world of preprogrammed radio shows, empty television news stations, and copycat newspapers to show how corporate ownership and control of local media has remade American political and cultural life. Klinenberg argues that the demise of truly local media stems from the federal government's malign neglect, as the agencies charged with ensuring diversity and open competition have ceded control to the very conglomerates that consistently undermine these values and goals.

Such "big media" may not be here to stay, however. Fighting for Air delivers a call to action, revealing a rising generation of new media activists and citizen journalists—a coalition of liberals and conservatives—who are demanding and even creating the local coverage they need and deserve.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

From true stories of local radio stations that have been taken over by big companies and automated so that emergency messages can’t get out when they’re desperately needed to stories of politicians ... Read full review

FIGHTING FOR AIR: Conglomerates, Citizens, and the Battle to Control America's Media

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An eye-opening examination of the ever-increasing power wielded by big media conglomerates.There is a crisis going on behind the scenes of nearly every form of American media, according to Klinenberg ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Eric Klinenberg, associate professor of sociology at New York University, is the author of the highly acclaimed Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. The recipient of numerous academic awards and fellowships, Klinenberg has also written for Rolling Stone, The Nation, and Slate.

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