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I’ll be attending the Allied Media Conference in Bowling Green, Ohio this weekend. Not so thrilled about the Ohio part, but I think the conference will be pretty great.
Here’s how the conference organizers describe the event:
Are you tired of swatting at flies? Frustrated that we’re not forward-leaning enough on our problems? Think it’s time for a full-scale review? Then this year’s Allied Media Conference is for you.
Something’s been holding you back. Now you can find out what it is and how to get past it. This year’s AMC is offering new solutions to the old problems facing all the zinesters, filmmakers, radio pirates, journalists, MCs, and friends out there.
The AMC is the largest gathering of grassroots media makers from all across the country, and it convenes at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. The conference features hands-on workshops, group discussions, film screenings, artist presentations, a large exhibition hall to share our work, and a whole day for educators to learn how to use independent media in the classroom. Set in a small, midwest town, it’s also a space to strengthen our community, meet new people, and enjoy each other’s company.
When I think about it, where am I gonna find people more like me? I’ve been involved in independent media for almost a decade now (more than that, if you count college radio. And you probably shouldn’t). Concerts, film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and apparently, bowling. Other folks obsessed with media and politics, and hopefully music. Should be a good time.
Back in April, I noticed that there were two activist media conferences on the horizon, the Second Annual National Conference for Media Reform (organized by the non-profit org Free Press), and the AMC (largely organized by rebellious Clamor Magazine). I looked at the NCMR first, and was turned off for two main reasons: 1) the registration fee for the conference was 85 fucking dollars, and I think that was the “student/low-income” rate. What sort of activists were they expecting to come to this fucking thing? 90% of activists are dirt-poor and 95% of activist organizations have a yearly budget of around $0. Charging this kind of money was… suspicious. 2) “Reform”? About every method of “media reform” I could think of involved begging the government to give the FCC more power, begging the government to put more progressive-minded folks on the FCC board, and begging the government to give more money to PBS and NPR*. Which means that the mass media would remain a for-profit, advertising-coated enterprise for Corporate America, serving their interests and agendas, but maybe with a little less bias for the elites (and that’s if you could make the Republican-dominated Congress take your side. Which you can’t).
That’s the liberal way, isn’t it? Guy steals your wallet, and instead of fighting to get it back, you ask him to loan you five bucks.
So I see another conference about people making their own media, out of passion and principle not profit and power, and which one do I go to?
Some great organizations are going to be there: AK Press, August Sound Coalition, Big Noise Films, Bitch Magazine, Clamor Magazine, ColorLines Magazine, Critical Mass Radio Network, DIYMedia.net, Free Speech Radio News, a dozen Independent Media Center groups, In These Times Magazine, the League of Pissed Off Voters, LiP Magazine, the NewStandard, Paper Tiger Television, Prometheus Radio Project, Punk Planet magazine, Radio Free Nashville, Rise Up Radio, South End Press, WBAI, Wooden Shoe Books, and those are just the groups who’s work I’m familiar with. Probably 50 more organizations will be in attendance to share, learn and network. And I am familiar with about zero of the presenters, which is cool because it means I might hear brand new things (the one guy I have heard of, “mediageek” has asked me to help a little with his workshop on blogs. I will be there and I will be square).
If any of y’all are in the northern Ohio/southern Michigan area this weekend, I’d highly recommend checking out this conference.
Here’s the flyer I’ll be distributing for mild promotion of my radio show during the AMC.
* Actually, from the people I’ve read and talked to, the NCMR’s political strategy was even worse than that. It was essentially “the way to reform the media is to donate money to us, Free Press, so that we can pressure the government to reform the media”.
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