Chew Swallow Digest
Pirate Radio USA
Uplifting activist documentaries are rare in these dark days, especially uplifting activist docs about a struggle that isn't even going so well. When it comes to the radio waves, the tape deck is stacked against the little guy. Just recently a whistle blower revealed that the FCC destroyed all copies of their own study because it spoke ill of the concentration of media ownership.
So it is a delight to see that the resistance is not going to lay down and die. And it is a double delight to see that when they stand up for their rights, they will do it dressed as pirates. Pirate Radio USA portrays microbroadcasting as a free speech cause on the left and beyond. One of the charming pirates who appears in the film from behind glass in an eastern Washington federal jail says this First Amendment freedom is just as important as the right to bear arms.
Beyond the story, which is great and heroic, the style is about as cute as it gets. The directors/stars of the film, DJ Him and DJ Her, are charming and photogenic, especially for radio personalities. And the do-it-yourself graphics have the kind of heart and soul you only see when a genius is working on a zero-dollar budget.
Important also is a segment on radio during the WTO protest in Seattle, where the police state brutalizes their opposition, regardless of how cute they are or how much fun everybody could be having.
Pirate Radio USA leaves the viewer knowing that police aggression and government regulation will never make pirate radio walk the plank. The first pirate interviewed in the film, a tough-looking African-American male from Iowa City, puts it succinctly. Says DJ XXL, "Radio in Iowa is booty." And he doesn't mean that commercial radio is pirate treasure.
--Abie. Pirate Radio USA recently screened at the Reclaim the Media Film Festival. More information on the film is available at http://pirateradiousa.com/.
Also, Reclaim the Media reports that a date will soon be announced for a Seattle hearing by the full FCC into its latest proposal for deregulating media ownership. Check http://www.reclaimthemedia.org/ for the latest on the scheduling of the hearing--which may happen as soon as November 2--or for more information on RTM testimony workshops.