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A WWUH Public Affairs Program
Jan/Feb 2006

by Kerri Provost

  Since Spring 2005, volunteers from the Hartford Independent Media Center have conducted interviews and created a weekly public affairs program - RadioActive. The show - produced by Kevin Lamkins, David Rozza, and Kerri Provost - airs every Wednesday at noon on WWUH.

  Over the past several months, RadioActive has given voice to those in our community, that is, the Greater Hartford community. When CT Citizens for Immigration Control, a racist front group, came to the Elmwood section of West Hartford in MONTH, the Hartford Independent Media Center captured audio from the public meeting. Although several mainstream news outlets in Connecticut were present, broadcast media did little with the event. RadioActive provided background information about the group, and aired more than soundbites, giving full context to statements made by members of the anti-immigration group. Later, we followed up the story by interviewing Marela Zacharias, who played a crucial role in protesting the CTCIC. Though the corporate media fails to routinely follow-up stories, independent and alternative media can fill in that void.

  In the past, RadioActive has broadcast programs about alternatives to military recruitment, the peace movement in Connecticut, and bills concerning public broadcasting. We have featured stories on the "Cocaine-Crack Bill," campaign finance reform, SEIU and the AFL-CIO split, and the Spanish Speaking Center in New Britain. In MONTH, we spoke with Rev. Cornell Lewis about the Men of Color Initiative, a group of concerned citizens who act as a safety patrol for schoolchildren in Hartford. At the beginning of the Fall semester, we did a "back to school" show that included information on how University of Hartford students could become more active members of their communities. We have interviewed members of HartBeat Ensemble, a local theater troupe, who then performed a segment from one of their recent plays. Though their play was intended to be viewed, the drama translated well into the aural medium.

  During the weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, RadioActive aired a series of interviews with people involved in humanitarian efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi. We were able to get first-hand accounts of the devastation-both natural and manmade-that have been typically filtered by major media outlets. These interviews were difficult to conduct because cell phone service had been unreliable in New Orleans immediately after Katrina, and reaching people on landline phones was equally unpredictable as curfews were placed on the people in Louisiana.

  In upcoming months, we are planning to do shows about the homeless population in Hartford, hunger strikes, and how No Child Left Behind is affecting local students and teachers. We welcome all-students of University of Hartford and students of life-to help out. If you have ideas for stories, know someone we should interview, or would like to interview someone, get in touch.

  The Hartford Independent Media Center can be contacted by phone or email: 860.246.4462 or himc@riseup.net. To find out more about the organization, check out our website: hartfordimc.org.

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