What is the Value of the Media? In Peoria, just as in many other markets, media has consolidated. Concentration of media ownership (also known as media consolidation or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media. What does this mean for the information consumption of everyday Americans? What does it mean for Peorians for that matter? In Peoria, we have seen media consolidation first hand. WEEK and WHOI have become one, WMBD and WYZZ have joined. This is old news, but we may just be understanding the repercussions of these mergers. What is the value of independent media?
18 Radio stations are licensed to Peoria, 39 Radio stations can be heard in Peoria. of those 39, 21 stations are owned by 4 large consolidating media groups. Alpha Media owns 7, cumulus media owns 5, the 7th day Adventists own 5, and advance media partners own 4. Television is even worse three groups provide an air wave broadcast Granit media, Nexstar media and IVPTC (WTVP). For those of you like me, who do not have cable, if T.V. was all we consumed we would be fed by three groups. Of the 11 choices on the air, three groups provide the opinions, the point of view and the advertising. Is this good for critical thought? Print media, vested in the Journal Star, is owned by a national media group. Gatehouse Media has made the Journal Star just one of 78 daily newspapers it owns.
Mass media invades our life; it’s all around us and often full of lies, half-truths and spin. Real truth must be hunted for. Real truth must be uncovered. To divert our eyes from the neon glow of the lie, pull ourselves away from the magnetism felt by a moth to a light. Like Plato wrote about the cave. We are the purveyors of shadow knowledge, awash in the thick muddy sludge of mass media. An Alternative must emerge. Independent voices are coalescing. Not somewhere else, not because of some superman. Independent voices are joining right here in Peoria made possible by the force of regular people. These Philosopher kings are freeing fellow mental captives and the chains are falling off.
Consolidation is happening in many sectors of American Life. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Communities are joining forces to take the media back, to be our own media. We are joining forces to take our communities back it’s only a matter of time before you do too.