George Tirebiter: Excuse me, but I've been listening to every word of this discussion and it seems to connect very well with my subject of the week - "The Public Interest."
Judith Walcutt: Why! It's George Tirebiter, former celebrity of the Golden Age and Surrealist Vice President of the U.S. George really remembers radio!
GLT: I certainly do. Radio was once the good-time Charlie of Showbiz, bringing listeners mind-warping entertainment like the "Circum-Solar Detective Mark Time," "Young Tom Edison," "Max Morgan, Crime Cabby" and "Hollywood Madhouse." All programs I starred in, by the way.
TABLE: [AGREE] [DOG WHINES AND BARKS]
GLT: But good-time Charlie was brought to heel -- down boy! -- by a left-leaning, fellow-traveling bunch of socialistic dupes and stooges in the United States Congress who passed the Commune-ications Act of 1934. It set forth the radical idea that You The People of the United States own the Air.
TABLE [CHEERS, THEN PANIC]
GLT: Not the air people breathe! That belongs to the coal and oil industries. No, I meant the air-waves over which radio stations broadcast their commercials -- er, programs. That's right! Ever since your gran-daddy was in High School it's been held -- by the Feds -- that there's something - in the air -- called "The Public Interest."
Yep, I know. The Public Interest. Sounds like a terrorist mob to most communications moguls. It did back in the 20th century and here in the 21st century every body in the know knows darn well the Public Interest is best served by the super-conglomeration of all communications from billboards to superstars to government officials into one lethal mega-corp! USPlus Worldwide. "We own what you want."
And our President, bless his little Midland, Texas-style-BBQ-heart has given us just the man to "preserve" the Public Interest. And he's not just another middle-aged white beaurocrat, no sir! He's none other than Federal Communications Commissioner Mike Powell. Yep, Big Gulp war hero and Secretary of State General Colonial Powell's own free-market son. He wrote the book -- "The Market is My Religion."
GLT: And here is Commissioner Mike's testimonial . . . "That's right!" he says. "The market IS my religion! And they told me after I was sworn in, yes they did, to uphold the constitution and the lawful laws of this free-market nation. Yes! But they said I might have a visit from an angel. That's right! And I waited, oh lord how I waited in my sweet Federal bed, I waited the whole night through and . . ."
TABLE: [What happened?]
GLT: "Hail Mowry, full of Povitch! She did not come! That's right! The angel did not come! I have had no divine awakening! No one has issued me my public interest crystal ball!" So said FCC Commissioner Mike Powell. And yet, although Mike did his best to keep the Public Interest radicals from preventing all-out domination of the media by his good friends, the Congress prevailed. For the moment. But look out! Every little frequency that serves The Public Interest is a nasty bit of static to the purveyors of wall-to-wall consumerism who bloat the AM/FM bands. Keep up the good work, community radio! This is George Tirebiter.
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