April 21, 2023

Free speech isn't free

WRIR's Spring 2023 Fund Drive is currently underway -- we're working to raise $42,000 by Saturday April 29 to power "the tower of low power" in Richmond for another six months. Thank you for your previous donations to Richmond Independent Radio; I'm writing to encourage you to make a contribution once again this spring, if you can. You can make that donation in two minutes by clicking this link: wrir.org/donating.
Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems like most of the American news stories I'm following these days are, in one way or another, about freedom of expression. The recently settled Dominion v. Fox News lawsuit, the expulsion of three Tennessee legislators, the debate over history and social science curriculum standards here in Virginia -- all of them center on who is allowed to make what kinds of public statements.
At Fund Drive time, I'm reminded of this truth: In the USA in 2023, free speech isn't free. It costs money, and the more money you have, the more speech you get. Fortunately the relationship isn't linear: Elon Musk (a dude who already seemed to have plenty of speech) buying Twitter (and simultaneously incinerating its value) is walking proof that $44 billion buys a lot less than $44 billion of speech.
On the other end of the spectrum is WRIR. I'd assert there's no place in the world of American media where your money buys more speech than at Richmond Independent Radio. For roughly $100,000 a year, you get a radio station tuned to the frequencies of your own community, amplifying underrepresented messages and sounds that are shouted down or silenced by traditional, for-profit, conforming media.
When you volunteer at WRIR, all the station's resources are brought to bear to amplify your personal message. When you donate to Richmond Independent Radio, your contribution amplifies the messages of over 150 journalists, DJs, producers and other content creators, all of whom are pretty much locked out of the legacy media infrastructure. It's power to the people in its most basic form: A soapbox and a megaphone in a public park, with just a little bit more technology.
Global A Go-Go will be on the air as usual this Sunday April 23 between 1 and 3 PM, with Free Speech Isn't Free as its theme and a playlist of some of my free speech heroes in international music. You'll also have the opportunity to double your contribution toward making underrepresented voices heard, because I will personally match the first $500 of donations during Global A Go-Go.
But there's no need to wait on investing in free speech in your own community. You can do it right now by visiting wrir.org/donating, or simply go to our website at wrir.org and start filling out the form on the home page. Thank you so much for your support in the past, and I hope WRIR can count on you once again in Spring 2023. Long live Richmond Independent Radio!
Artist | Country | Song | Recording | Label | Year
Oliver Lake | USA | Separation | Matador Of 1st & 1st | Passin' Thru | 1997
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros | England UK | Global A Go-Go | Global A Go-Go | Hellcat | 2001
Victor Jara | Chile | Manifiesto | Manifiesto | Fundación Victor Jara | 2016-1975
Calexico | USA | Victor Jara's Hands | Carried To Dust | Quarterstick | 2008
Mariem Hassan | Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic | Arrabi Al Arabe | El Aaiun Egdat | Nubenegra | 2012
Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited | Zimbabwe | Corruption | Corruption | Mango | 1989
Juluka | South Africa | Scatterlings Of Africa | Scatterlings | Warner Bros. | 1982
Fela & Africa 70 | Nigeria | Coffin For Head Of State, Part 2 | Coffin For Head Of State | Kalakuta | 1981
José Carlos Schwarz & Le Cobiana Djazz | Guiné-Bissau | Na Kolonia | Lua Ki Di Nos | Hot Mule | 2021-1973
Caetano Veloso | Brazil | Tropicália | Caetano Veloso (Tropicália) | Philips | 1968
Gilberto Gil | Brazil | Domingo No Parque | Gilberto Gil | Philips | 1968
Lounes Matoub | Algeria | Assagui Liy | Assagui Liy | Azwaw | 1981
Middle East's Revolutionary Artists | Nigeria-Egypt-Morocco-Iran-Palestine-Syria-Italy | Zombie | Zombie - Single | Freemuse | 2015
Rachid Taha | Algeria-France | Rock El Casbah | Tekitoi! | Barclay | 2004

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