By Rick PaulasSynopsis:
A veteran of journalism, with two decades working in broadcast TV and radio in the LA and Sacramento markets—during which she won two Emmy awards, one for a feature series on government waste—Wilson had kept an eye on the slow creep of wavelength monopolization since President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Previously, no single commercial owner could lay claim to more than 20 AM and 20 FM frequencies, but after the legislation was signed, those national caps were removed, leading to a predictable corporate fight for the largest portion of the pie.
Bandwidth limitations meant that there was value on the broadcast spectrum that couldn’t compare to what was increasingly available online, in print, or even on cable. On those mediums, anyone with enough startup capital could conjure their own outlet and thus expand the total pie. But in broadcast radio and TV, what’s available is what’s available, and that’s that.
To Wilson, the train derailment outside Minot was a perfect example of what might happen when the airwaves are consumed by neglectful landlords. This story would feature prominently in her documentary on the subject, Broadcast Blues, released in 2009. But it was another, more infamous radio mishap in her own backyard that would land Wilson a conclusive victory against corporate monopolization of the public airwaves.