May 2, 2022
Christopher Chávez sat down recently with KUOW NPR’s Soundside host Libby Denkmann to discuss his new book, The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.
Chavez explains that as radio grew to become widely used, it immediately went heavily commercial, despite some organizations and universities producing educational content.
“You had a framework of educational radio, these smaller systems that were meant to serve a social good … The 1967 Radio Broadcasting Act was meant to ensure some kind of framework for these stations. They would provide some sort of funding to basically serve a need that commercial radio couldn’t. They would do it through civic discourses, they would serve disenfranchised publics. They were meant to serve as an alternative to the commercial radio system.”
But Professor Chavez notes that, often, the most educated, socially connected, and people with cultural and economic capital have had easy access to the public media system.
“Even today, those are the folks that tend to be overrepresented in political discourses … so you have the people that are living in rural areas, that are poor, that are ethnic minorities, that are often not included in those kinds of civic discourses.”
To listen to the full conversation, go here.