John Gorman, Media Columnist & Journalist: 9th
keeping with Media Man Australia's tradition of tackling
any subject, including "freedom of the press",
we interview distinguished journalist, John Gorman.
What's your background?
been in radio for thirty five years; most of them
as a program director, operations manager or station
are your aims and objectives?
don't believe that we can put the toothpaste back
in the tube, so to speak, regarding media deregulation.
It's here to say. I'm glad there is an alternative,
the Internet. If radio was once considered "the
last great illusion," due to the fact that you
could play on one's imagination and provide a soundtrack,
the Internet is "the great equalizer." The
ability to broadcast both audio and video on the Internet
is defeating the plans of a few major media organizations
to dominate and control what we see, hear and read.
much as the US government tries, they cannot regulate
the Internet because it's infinitesimal. The reason
why radio should be regulated is that there are only
so many frequencies available. One cannot just start
a radio or TV station. Well, one actually can but
it will get shut down immediately.
been fortunate to have some great successes in radio.
I've been fortunate to have worked with some amazing
and creative talents throughout my years in radio
and the media. I want to see the next generation of
communicators given a chance. It used to be that the
smaller market stations served as a farm team for
the major markets. No more. Now, with Clear
Channel and others buying up every mom and pop
small and medium size market, they've eliminate the
opportunity for new talent to develop. Instead, they
take their stations and clone their major market programming
to the minor leagues. It will come back to haunt them.
do you prefer to write about, and why?
After 35 years in this business - I better love it!
I enjoy wiring about media and its ever changing influence.
And I love the Internet. And it will be wireless someday
and be a direct competitor with radio and TV. Right
now, Wi-Fi, wireless Internet, is where cell phone
technology was in the mid 80s to early 90s. That will
change. Eventually, one will be able to listen to
radio and watch TV from all over the world on a small
pocket sized portable unit. Give it five more years.
Put another way, Internet radio is where FM radio
was in the late 60s.
does the current FCC ruling mean for the average American,
and citizens in the "western world"?
countries will follow suit. Look at Canada. Canadian
radio, in many ways, was more advanced in its programming
than US stations. Now, they're beginning to deregulate
and move their media in the same direction. There
are rumors of Clear Channel buying Chrysalis
and-or other radio groups in the United Kingdom. Don't
say it can't happen. Something happened to Tony Blair.
He's become a ventriloquist dummy for George W. Bush.
is Ted Turner's take on the situation? - how will
it effect him?
already did. He was relieved from his day-to-day management
of CNN years ago.
CNN is a shell of its former self. It was bad enough
began interfering with its programming. Once Time-Warner
merged with AOL it
was all over.
freedom of the press in America?
very delicate. We have far fewer independent voices
in conventional media than we had ten years ago.
news outlets and journalists do you respect the most
let's face it. Everyone has a spin. The truth is there
- somewhere. You have to digest your news and information
from a number of sources. I listen to world news via
the Internet and the CBC-owned NewsWorld
International, which is now available in the states.
I spend time with the BBC,
and other media outlets. I read everything I can get
my hands on. I've always been like that. Even before
deregulation. I'll listen and read liberals, moderates,
widespread do you think plagiarism is in major news
outlets in American, and indeed, the world?
has always existed and will always exist. Sometimes
it happens by accident, sometimes it's deliberate.
I don't think there is an increase in plagiarism.
I believe with the Internet and the ability to read
national and worldwide newspapers it has become easier
to spot the plagiarist.
America selling less newspapers, due to the recent
NY Times scandal?
America is selling less newspapers because they are
less interesting. Most papers reduced their local
and regional bureaus. On the rare case they open a
new bureau it's strictly to put a smaller local newspaper
out of business. I used to read local newspapers to
get local news. Today, I don't even bother. I go on
the Internet instead.
online news media websites do you visit and contribute
many to list. I subscribe to the New
York Times and find myself spending most of my
time on the Internet for my news and information.
are your thought on blogging?
have been some of the biggest ups and downs in your
career has been in radio management and programming,
not writing, though it's safe to say I've composed
many a memo and promotional announcement. The highlight
of my career is when I was surrounded by an incredible
staff to help build WMMS
in Cleveland into one of the best-known, influential
radio stations in America during the 70s and 80s in
the most unlikely of formats.
For three decades, stations I managed and or programmed
were the top billing stations in the market. The downside
is when I signed on with a station owned by CBS
in Detroit. A few months into the operation I was
told by my boss that I was to follow, mimic may be
the better word, the playlist of another CBS station.
I won't bother to get into the reasons why. Let's
just say I know of a few people that lined their pockets
on that one.
Legal payola is a major problem in the US. It controls
what one hears when it comes to new music. Slots on
a playlist are given to the highest bidder. That's
why, in the US, virtually all popular music played
on the radio is from the big five labels. Nothing
The downside here, besides the obvious, is that new
music radio used to serve as the soundtrack to popular
culture. Not any more. Now you have a new generation
of kids who are not getting their soundtrack from
conventional radio. They are going to Internet radio
and downloading. Downloading is not going to put any
record company out of business. That's bullshit. Downloading
music has replaced radio as one of the means to expose
new music. If a music consumer hears something they
really like, they will still buy the hard copy. Downloaded
music is not of great quality. It's highly compressed.
you want to know the real reason why the Big Five
label's music isn't selling - it's payola and it's
because those labels are totally out of touch with
have you traveled to, and what stories did you report
haven't been to Australia yet. That's on my list.
And New Zealand. I write and report on media, locally,
regionally, nationally, internationally. I never run
out of material.
has the internet helped and hindered you?
hasn't hindered me at all. I'm hard-wired to it.
are your views on journalists who embed themselves
bullshit. We didn't get the real reports. Look at
Jessica Lynch. She was made up to be a hero. Turns
out she drove her vehicle off the road. Then there
was her so-called dramatic rescue by US troops from
an Iraqi hospital. The BBC later uncovered the "rescue"
was staged for the US media.
really believe most conventional media subscribe to
the "masses are asses" philosophy. In other
words, they'll believe anything. The fact is, even
asses know when they're getting kicked.
is the ultimate solution to fight spam?
not going to go away. Find programs that will block
spam. It's like insects in the summertime. They'll
always be there. You have to protect yourself.
are your current assignments / projects?
the media. Being a media columnist, I have the freedom
to cover a large number of mediums. Of special interest,
at least to me, and hopefully others, is how the US
Congress secretly implants what they call "midnight
riders" into bills which have nothing to do with
example, a new bill was introduced to speed up the
process of locating kidnapped children. Brilliant
piece of legislation. It does force media to be more
responsible. However, a senator secretly added a rider
that holds the promoters of everything from raves
to rock concerts responsible if someone is caught
using drugs on the premises. The intent here is to
put raves out of business. I would have preferred
dollars funded to reach kids to tell them that Ecstasy,
like cocaine, has some nasty after effects and can
cause some long term medical problems. We finally
did it with cigarettes in the US.
other important information should our readers know
writing a book, still untitled, about my adventures
in radio during the 70s, 80s and early 90s. It's not
a kiss and tell book but there's plenty of sex, drugs
and rock and roll.
note: A hard hitting, revealing interview, that some
people in the media business won't be happy to read.
Media Man Australia is interested in the truth, freedom
of the press and justice.
Free Times: To catch a music thief, by John Gorman
Free Times: No credability? No problem, by John Gorman
Credit: John Gorman
Jessica Lynch: Media Myth-Making in the Iraq War
(one of the worlds most popular music sharing websites)