By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
BACK IN 1992 when KJ-104 went country, we had the Save Modern Rock alliance, a bunch of activist listeners lobbying for an alternative to lame commercial rock radio. But that was before the Internet. Within hours of the crass dismantling of REV 105 on March 11, hundreds of displaced REV-ugees went online to various sites of resistance, and at last count there were at least one or two dozen unofficial web sites showering love and emotion upon the fallen Revolution.
The biggest ones seem to be the REV 105 Preservation Revolutionary Council (www.tc.umn.edu/nlhome/m570/feck0001/index.html) and Long Live the Revolution (squish.radparker.com/radio). But for a decent best-of summary try RIPREV105?(members.tripod.com/~preppyy/index.html). Wading through this jungle of links and bulletin boards can take hours, guiding you through all the stages of anger, denial, depression and acceptance. There are instructions for boycotting advertisers, and plans for an April 9 REV rally. Then there's the "Week the Radio Died" protest slated for April 16-13, during which participants plan to tune out all (commercial) radio.
Idealistic and well-meaning as these efforts are, they will probably not bring REV back anytime soon. But in a fitting trend that should make REV staffers proud, this whole incident has evidently expanded fan consciousness over the real roots of the problem: not the moneybaggers at Cargill or Disney, but the industry deregulation that allows such consolidation and multistation ownership at the expense of public interest. Americans for Radio Diversity (www.ard.wack.com) mirrors groups that have sprung up in Seattle and elsewhere after similar hijackings; they're offering a public e-mail list to "promote community-oriented commercial and public radio" and "reverse concentrated radio ownership in mega-media corporations."
In a similar spirit, many ex-105 listeners are rallying around various public-radio music outlets. The extremely eclectic community station KFAI (90.3 FM/106.7 FM) reports an increase in requests for program information and pledges of support, which staffers hope will be reflected in their April fundraiser. Managers at Radio K (AM 770, where this writer is a volunteer) say the quantity of calls and requests roughly tripled after the shutdown, while the college station's ongoing fundraising revenues have jumped by a third. And MPR's Tony Bol, who supposes a substantial crossover among (ex-) REV listeners and MPR fans, noted that network received a number of supportive calls and e-mails in the wake of REV's shut-down.
The point is that REV seemed to have had a real impact on the expectations of radio listeners. "More people are realizing that politics does affect your daily life in terms of how you get your information," says Bol. "REV spoke to listeners as though they were intelligent, and that benefits all public radio."