Broadcast BluesSue Wilson’s controversial and eye opening documentary about how the consolidation of the media industry is jeopardizing news, information, and public safety is making the rounds in the State of Wisconsin this week. Titled Broadcast Blues, you can screen this award winning film on Monday, September 26 at 7:00pm at the First UU Church of Wausau, 504 Grant St. The event is free and open to the public.

More information on the Film and the Wisconsin Media Reform Tour can be found after the break.

Putting the Public Back into Broadcasters’ Public Interest Obligations

When Delafield resident Barbara Begale went to see a documentary film about media reform in Florida, she never thought she’d return to Wisconsin to organize an entire film tour. But after seeing the award winning Broadcast Blues, which shows how the consolidation of the media into a few corporate hands is jeopardizing our news, information, and even public safety, Begale says a light bulb went off. “Suddenly I understood why the United States is so divisive. The film explains why the news is filled with lies and why there is so much hate speech. If people know the truth, people will make the right decisions, but they’re not getting the truth. Everyone in this country needs to see this movie.”

So she contacted the film’s director, who readily agreed to travel throughout the state with the film. “This is a great opportunity to remind the people of Wisconsin that they actually own the Radio and TV airwaves,” says filmmaker Sue Wilson. “Local TV and radio stations receive licenses for the privilege to broadcast, but there’s a catch: in exchange for their licenses, the law requires them to ‘serve the public interest.’ If they do not, people can legally challenge those licenses and take them away. The question is, are the broadcasters serving the public interest of Wisconsinites?”

Wilson plans to answer that question by surveying those who attend the screenings about how well local broadcasters are serving local needs. If people tell her their local TV and radio stations are not serving the public interest, she will teach them how to reach out to local broadcasters with the goal of improving the quality of local broadcasting. “Sometimes,” says Wilson, “all it takes is a friendly visit to station management to create a dialogue between the broadcaster and the community. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a legal petition to deny a station’s license, and we’re prepared to help people whichever way it goes. What’s important is that people understand they have unique rights as owners of the public broadcast airwaves.”

The 2011 Wisconsin Media Reform Tour kicks off September 17 in Madison with continuous screenings at the Fighting Bob Fest, then goes to Madison’s Landmark Auditorium that evening for a 7:30 showing and organizing event. The tour continues to Appleton Sept. 19, Mequon Sept. 21, Milwaukee Sept. 22, Hartland Sept. 23, Racine Sept. 24, Wausau Sept. 26, ending in Eau Claire Sept. 27th.

All events are free and open to the public.