New Directions Radio: Creating an Alternative News Network

New Directions Radio shares news about creating an alternative news network, George Wood explains his idea on news that discusses alternative politics, the environment and different views than the national news.

| May/June 1978

  • New Directions radio shares information about creating an alternative news network.
    New Directions radio shares information about creating an alternative news network.

  • New Directions radio shares information about creating an alternative news network.

The New Directions Radio column shares the latest on radio activities, this issue shares information about creating an alternative news network.

Copthorne Macdonald is an amateur radio enthusiast, inventor of slow scan television, and founder of New Directions Radio. New Directions Radio article MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 50, May/June 1978.

Creating an Alternative News Network

George Wood — an ex-Californian now living near Stockholm — works as a broadcaster and editor for Radio Sweden. Not long ago, George got his ham license (his call sign is SMØIIN), and now he's the northernmost and easternmost member of our New Directions family.

Last winter — about the time "cabin fever" was starting to affect us both — George and I began getting together on the air for weekly 3,200-mile chats. (Ham radio is excellent medicine for the winter doldrums. And believe me, you get your share of winter doldrums when you live on a cold, windy island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence — as I do — or at the 59 degree latitude of Stockholm!) During one of the exchanges that resulted, George made a very exciting suggestion: Why not take advantage of improving radio conditions (see New Directions Radio, MOTHER N0. 50) to launch a 15-meter alternative news and information net?   I'll let George elaborate:

"The wire services and TV networks have managed to tie the world together in a web of technology. The Establishment News Media — by using cable, point-to-point microwaves, satellites, facsimile, and other techniques — can carry news instantly from the farthest corner of the globe to our television screens and the front pages of our newspapers. Which is all fine and good. The catch is that it's their news . . . it's what NBC, ABC, and CBS — and AP and UPI — think is important. That's why we're inundated with accounts of Washington's political games, freak weather developments, train wrecks, and terrorist hijackings.

"But how much news do we ever get on alternatives to mainstream politics, or on new projects that threaten the environment, or on the oppression and misery that drive people to commit acts of terror? Not much, if you ask me. Yet I think it's possible — as the alternative press and a scattering of innovative radio stations, commercial and non-commercial, have shown — to bring this kind of news to the public's attention. And I think amateur radio can aid in the dissemination of this news. What we need is an alternative in. formation network' made up of hams from all parts of the world.


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