One of the most distinguished panels of media experts ever assembled in New England came together Wed., June 19 in Haverhill, Mass. The group discussed the future of on-air music and news following the New England premiere screening of Corporate FM: The Killing of Local Commercial Radio. Filmmaker (and Kansas City native) Kevin McKinney and producer Jill McKeever previously explained their motivation for making the film.
“Corporate FM is about what happens when a city loses a communal microphone. Radio’s broad coverage gives it the ability to unify huge populations. Unlike Facebook, Satellite radio or Web-based music sharing apps, locally owned terrestrial radio can reach thousands of people across all incomes and ages in a local region at the same time with a message that is relevant to them at that moment.”
The film showcased the power of private investors such as Bain Capital in dismantling local radio operations, as well as citing local examples of stations who have succumbed to it, such as Kansas City’s KY-102 and Lawrence’s 105.9 The Lazer.
The documentary featured interviews with Jewel, The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, former Butt Hole Surfers manager Tom Bunch and a wide array of DJs and experts who have witnessed radio’s destruction from the inside.
McKinney and McKeever support the efforts of WHAV and others to expand the number of locally owned community radio stations, but warn, “the death of privately operated local radio stations is not just destroying the stations that are bought up, but damning the future of all stations on the dial the public and college stations as well. The entire medium of radio becomes threatened when there are only two stations worth listening to.”
Scott Fybush, Corporate FM director Kevin McKinney, Dan Kennedy, Dr. Donna L. Halper, William J. Macek, Marc Lemay.
Moderator Scott Fybush, WCAP, WBZ and WXXI; Corporate FM director Kevin McKinney; Dr. Donna L. Halper, associate professor of communications, Lesley University; Dan Kennedy, assistant professor, Northeastern University School of Journalism; William J. Macek, owner of WPKZ, Fitchburg, Mass., and New England radio owner/operated for 22 years; and Marc Lemay, communications manager, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, and former WHAV news director. Produced by WHAV, Haverhill, Mass.