Six pictures of media outlets in St. Louis, Missouri on the afternoon of Monday, August 10, 2015, hours after a State of Emergency was called by the St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger. The top 5 are local terrestrial TV stations showing regular programming (Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, Ellen Degeneres [a re-run], Family Feud, and Hot Bench), and the bottom picture is a screen capture from Huffingtonpost.com reposting a tweet from the largest local public radio station commenting on the declaration of the SOE. ©Rod Milam 2015

St. Louis TV News Asleep At The Switch During State Of Emergency Call? (COMMENTARY)

Six pictures of media outlets in St. Louis, Missouri hours after a State of Emergency was called by the St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger. The top 5 are local terrestrial TV stations showing regular programming, and the bottom picture is a screen capture from Huffingtonpost.com reposting a tweet from the largest local public radio station commenting on the declaration of the SOE.

Six pictures of media outlets in St. Louis, Missouri on the afternoon of Monday, August 10, 2015, hours after a State of Emergency was called by the St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger. The top 5 are local terrestrial TV stations showing regular programming (Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, Ellen Degeneres [a re-run], Family Feud, and Hot Bench), and the bottom picture is a screen capture from Huffingtonpost.com reposting a tweet from the largest local public radio station commenting on the declaration of the SOE. ©Rod Milam 2015

For a little over three years now I’ve been cable TV free…a cord cutter. After a 12 month weaning period, I paid for tons of programming that I didn’t need for years for the last time and immediately wondered why it took me so long to do so.  I did this while I was in New York City and had long since abandoned looking at local TV news (save NY1) in favor of online outlets and social media contacts for more relevant, up-to-date, and in-depth information.

When I returned to St. Louis after being gone for a bit over 14 years, I continued my relatively new rules regarding TV consumption:

  1. Only turn on TV for severe weather threats
  2. Only turn on TV for acute terrorist/civil unrest threats/transit events
  3. Only turn on TV for Cardinals playoff and World Series games
  4. Don’t bother with TV for almost anything else at all

I was in NYC around eight months after the September 11th attacks, I went through area closing blizzards and hurricanes, and I made it through multiple MTA shutdowns, blackouts, and World Series appearances during my Big Apple tenure, and I was able to pretty much follow these four rules even before I formalized them toward the end of my Astoria adventures.

Back in the St. Louis area after less than two years I’ve been through big ice storms, a record hail storm, a tornado touching down less than a quarter of a mile from home, near Biblical rainfall this past spring, all of the initial Ferguson activity less than eight miles away last year, and another playoff appearance by the Cards.  I still followed the rules.  I found out what I needed from TV news when it was urgent, but still got the bulk of my info elsewhere.

Now one year and one day after the killing of unarmed Mike Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, and a half a day after overnight gun play between police and someone proximate to demonstrations from the day before in Ferguson, the St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger made a midday announcement that many of the one million plus residents of his county were under a State of Emergency because of the shooting incident from the night before and the protests and arrests of many people in Downtown St. Louis.

How did I find out about this SoE and the arrest and protest activity initially?  Facebook.  Where did I initially follow up to find out more information? Twitter.  What did I feel the need to do next?  Invoke Rule #2…turn on the local TV news.  What did I find on local TV channels hours after the announcement by the County Executive?  Non-sense.  As Public Enemy’s frontman, Chuck D., put it way back in the late 1980s, I found “Channel Zero”.

As of the 3 o’clock PM hour, more than two hours after the announcement and more hours than that after the protest arrests, ALL of the local TV stations with big news rooms must have felt that these events weren’t pressing or important enough to preempt the showing of their regularly scheduled programming. I turned on the 1920×1080 box and was greeted by the likes of old TV hot messes like “Jerry Springer” and “Dr. Phil”, some new-to-me hot mess called “Hot Bench”, and general innocuous fluff in the form of “Family Feud” and “The Ellen Degeneres Show” [a rerun].  I just caught the end of “Days of Our Lives” before the top of the hour and was stunned that it was both on during this time of unrest and on television STILL at all.

I had to take a picture of the screens to prove to myself and others that the big local TV newsrooms along with their parent stations combined their thought processes and wound up concluding that it was best to continue to “sell soap” instead of informing a total of nearly three million citizens that a huge swath of residents that their lives had been fundamentally changed by a government official in response to renewed civil unrest.

This isn’t to say that all local media ignored the story as it was happening. I snapped a screen shot of the largest local public radio station’s, KWMU, Twitter post that I saw, and I also saw a retweeted link from the St. Louis American, the largest weekly newspaper in the state which also focuses on the Black community.

Eventually the TV stations posted items on their websites on social media feeds, but that’s hardly the point. They’re huge local TV stations with the widest local reach.  Locals should be able to find out huge things like this from them on their largest platforms.  There should be no reason why I should see and hear about all of this first on large national cable news outlets and my friends in 5 different states on Facebook before that. These stations are chartered by the federal government to serve the public interest…so I can hardly think of many things more in the public interest than a State of Emergency declaration versus the possible 3,891st episode of the freakin’ Jerry Springer Show.

How seriously is anyone in the area supposed to take TV news channels seriously when they say that they want to convey and do what’s best for their viewers when they are quick to show “visually-attractive” fires during protests but pass off more “cerebral” announcements by officials of state-of-emergencies as something that can wait until the audience finds out which family knew that 54 out of 100 men found boxers the most comfortable form of underwear?  I would say here, but I don’t know if that’s against the rules of the State of Emergency because I’m still waiting to see when they’re going to talk about it on-the-air.

John Bolduan Performance The Focal Point (March 2014)

Musician John Bolduan In-Studio Guest from Bilbao, Spain Today!

We’re very happy to announce that we’re scheduled to have native U. City musician John Bolduan as a guest, in-studio, today for the next episode of “The Show with Rod Milam“.

Musician John Bolduan as he performed at The Focal Point in March of 2014. (Photo by © Rod Milam and seen as part of The University City Musician Documentary Project)

Musician John Bolduan as he performed at The Focal Point in March of 2014. (Photo by © Rod Milam and seen as part of The University City Musician Documentary Project)

John is a singer, guitarist, and song writer that currently lives in Bilbao, Spain and is back in his home town for a couple of weeks to visit family and to perform.  Click here to tune into the program today from 12:00 noon to 2:00pm on The U (UMSL Radio) for our chat with John and for a performance or two: http://streamer2.umsl.edu

Photo Collage for Ep. 1, Vol 2. of The Show with Rod Milam

Playlist for Episode 1, Volume 2 of “The Show with Rod Milam” – Original Broadcast: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yesterday, was the official kickoff for Volume 2 of “The Show with Rod Milam”, and the debut on “The U“, student run radio on campus of the University of Missouri – St. Louis.  It was great to have this show back on-the-air after more than a 17 year absence.

A lot of fun was had and I just plain loved it!  and I reprised several of the segments of the program that were mainstays back in the 1990s: “A Prince, The Police, and A Posse”, “Make/Remake’, and “Free Samples”.  I also introduced a new segment that features musicians that are subjects of The University City Musician Documentary Project, of which there are more than 250 people identified in more than 15 different countries.  This week was music by “callers” (featuring Sara Lucas, UCHS c/o 1998) and “Kevin Batchelor and Grand Councourse” (featuring Kevin Batchelor, UCHS c/o 1979). I’ll be keeping this feature around for sure and expanding on it with some live phone or in-studio interviews playing on the weekly program.  Plus there was a huge mix of other music from as far back as 1975 to songs released in the last year.

Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to replay the entire show online at this time. So you’ll have to catch the program when it airs live.  I’ll work on doing a rebroadcast of the program at a different time on “The U”, but for now, just check below to see the playlist and the picture including album covers and pictures of the featured artists from U. City!

Musicians from University City, Missouri featured in Episode 1 of The Show: Sara Lucas (and her group "callers) and Kevin Batchelor (and his group "Kevin Batchelor and Grand Concourse).

Musicians from University City, Missouri featured in Episode 1 of The Show: Sara Lucas (and her group “callers) and Kevin Batchelor (and his group “Kevin Batchelor and Grand Concourse).

Playlist for Episode 1, Volume 2 of “The Show with Rod Milam” Broadcast on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 12:00pm-2pm CDT

Artist Song Disk
Prince Hot Thing Sign O’ The Times
The Police Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic Ghost In The Machine
A Tribe Called Quest Can I Kick It? Peoples’ Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm
Callers Howard 2 Hands Reviver
Callers Heroes Reviver
Elvis Costello Pump It Up Pump It Up
Elvis Costello and the Roots Refuse To Be Saved Wise Up Ghost
The White Stripes Icky Thump 10
Lenny Kravitz Is There Any Love In Your Heart Are You Gonna Go My Way
The Heavy How You Like Me Now How You Like Me Now – EP
Daft Punk Harder Better Faster Stronger Discovery
Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories Taffy Tails
Daft Punk Lose Yourself to Dance Lose Yourself to Dance – Single
Dwende Someone You Don’t Know Collective
Aerosmith Walk This Way Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits
Run DMC Walk This Way Raising Hell
The Winstons Amen Brother Amen Brother
LCD Soundsystem Dance Yrself Clean Dance Yrself Clean
Robert Randolph & The Family Band Squeeze UnClassified
Kevin Batchelor Leave It Alone Kevin Batchelor’s Grand Concourse
Kevin Batchelor Five Minutes Kevin Batchelor’s Grand Concourse
Joshua Redman Riverwide Momentum

 

TODAY: Final Test Run for “The Show with Rod Milam” from Noon to 2pm CDT (-5 GMT) (Music from the 1980s)!

http://streamer2.umsl.edu

Hey everyone! Rod here. Everyone around the world has heard a lot about St. Louis in the news over the past week and a half because of the issues going on in #Ferguson, just north and west of this picture of the city’s Gateway Arch (the US’ largest national monument).

Well, we won’t be talking about that this week (but who knows when we kick off “The Show” officially next Wednesday…), but I will be going on the air this week from 12:00 noon through 2:00pm CDT (that’s 1:00-3:00pm EDT and -5 GMT) and I’d love to have you along. Just click on this link and you’ll be able to hear everything from a browser, iTunes, mobile device, or Windows Media Player: http://streamer2.umsl.edu

I plan on bringing you the first “A Prince, The Police and a Posse” feature, “A Make/Remake”, and “Free Samples” in the mix of music that I do.  That and some other sounds from the 1980s should be enough to fill up our now confirmed weekly 2 hour slot in the middle of the week.

So I hope you join us today and spread the word to all of your friends about the program.  Follow us on all social media outlets too:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ucitykid88
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ucitykid88
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Tumblr: http://ucitykid88.tumblr.com
Main Website: http://ucitykid88.com

Thanks and can’t wait to keep the tests running up to the official start!

A view of the Gateway Arch from the Metrolink going over the historic Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri.

A view of the Gateway Arch from the Metrolink going over the historic Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri.

How Citizens & Police In St. Louis Peacefully Handled A Large Protest In 1999 (audio)

In the last five days, Ferguson, Missouri, USA has played host to many scenes of violence involving citizens of the greater St. Louis region and the police from the city of Ferguson and those from the St. Louis County Police Department.  The initial incident that sparked subsequent protests and clashes with police was the Saturday shooting of an unarmed, Black teenager by an officer from the Ferguson police department.

Since that shooting, there have been peaceful protesters that have taken to the streets of the St. Louis County suburb that demanded answers to many questions from the police about the shooting.  Simultaneously, there have also been other individuals that have come to the town and caused large scale property damage and burglary during a vacuum in police presence.

Subsequently, there has been a consistent ratcheting up of tension between protesters/reporters on the scene of daily demonstrations and police as the local and county departments have increased both the number of officers in the area and the tonnage and strength of materiel.  As of the writing of this post, there is no reported movement by the police to stop the escalation of weaponry that they display or decrease it even while there has been no direct violence shown by protesters nor continued property damage by people from outside of the city.

I report the above as undisputed facts in what has been occurring without commentary.  The clashes between police and protesters has gone from peaceful daytime marches to tear gas being deployed to disperse residents of the area.  I will not introduce opinion (at this time) into how this has gotten this far down this road and what the outcome may be.

However, I was a reporter at CBS’ largest owned and operated radio station, KMOX, back in 1999 during the time of another protest that caused, arguably, a larger disruption to the entire St. Louis area that involved issues of race and received national attention.  During a summer protest 15 years ago that involved Reverend Al Sharpton, people walked onto one of the area’s main arterial highways during morning rush hour to demand more minority participation in construction projects.  This protest shutdown the highway for hours and caused major backups on all of the area roads.

But, in that demonstration, the interaction between the City of St. Louis Police Department, the Governor of the state, and the citizen protesters was totally peaceful, even while more than 100 arrests were made since the protesters were actually breaking the law by walking on and blocking the highway.  (The protesters in the past week have not been breaking any laws during their protests, but the looters clearly were.)

The message of disapproval was heard by the state from the citizen groups and changes were subsequently made.  Here are two reports (one live on the highway and one after the fact) that I made on the scene on the highway and back in downtown St. Louis.  First the beginning of the arrests, starting with Al Sharpton:

This clip is a post event report to the CBS network with finalized numbers and statistics surrounding the highway shutdown:

While these two protest scenarios are not totally analogous, they do share a good deal of overlap.  It also shows that it is possible inside of the entire St. Louis Metropolitan area to have large scale protests take place without the perpetration of violence by the police toward peaceful citizens or the committing of crimes by criminals that take advantage of decreased police attention.

I MAY come back to this blog with a much, MUCH longer and broader set of posts to contextualize some of the drama that is occurring now in St. Louis (because SO much is needed now), but I have not 100% decided to do so.  I want to make sure to separate my  opinion, as much as possible, from facts on the ground when talking about this very sensitive subject while providing as much information as possible to the people I know are reading and listening around the world to these events.

Feel free to spread this link, if you choose.

(h/t to KMOX and CBS)

How To Listen to “The Show with Rod Milam” Around The World (Wednesdays from Noon to 2:00pm CDT (GMT -5))

http://streamer2.umsl.edu
Hey all! Rod here…

I’m still in the “pre-season” section of getting the reboot of “The Show with Rod Milam” up and going online from the studios of “The U – at the University of Missouri-St. Louis”. That means for the next couple of Wednesday afternoons, I’ll be on the air with the program doing some sample versions of the program.

I’ll see how these new studios work and try out some segments that I may or may not use during the regular broadcast which is scheduled to “officially” start on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at Noon Central Daylight Time (USA) (GMT -5) and go for either 2 or 3 hours. I’ll have the exact number of hours that the program will last and some formatting worked out by the time we get fully up and running, but this is a great time to test things and get all of you fans on board and spreading the word.

You can help out and listen to the program before the official launch via any random web browser, iTunes, or Google Play and other devices by just putting in this link: http://streamer2.umsl.edu

If you give it a try now and you should be able to hear the program stream for the station. Please let me know if you’re able to hear the station in general, and the show in particular.

You can also help greatly this way…Follow/Fan/Like/Subscribe to “The Show with Rod Milam” everywhere and spread the word! Just remember “UCITYKID88”:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ucitykid88
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ucitykid88
YouTube: http://youtube.com/ucitykid88
Instagram: http://instagram.com/ucitykid88
Tumblr: http://ucitykid88.tumblr.com
Main Website: http://ucitykid88.com

Thanks and can’t wait to keep the tests running up to the official start!

The Widespread Spreading of Unconfirmed “News” By The Masses Can Easily Lead To Less Real Information

Hello all.  This wasn’t the plan for my first post as host of a coming relaunch of “The Show with Rod Milam” online via http://umslradio.com but I feel that circumstances demand a clear statement from me and how I plan  on conducting my program in general when it comes to the information that I will give and the news that I broadcast around the world.

This is basically a repost of what I wrote on my personal Facebook status update, but made “Public” for all to see regarding the seeming escalation in some social unrest that is currently going on in some sections of the St. Louis, Missouri metro area (Ferguson) after the shooting and subsequent killing of an unarmed, young black man by an older, white Ferguson police officer.  The fact that this happened is not in dispute.  But the events that lead up to the shooting and what has happened in the last couple of days as a reaction to the shooting are quite varied.

I will NOT be commenting or opining on the actual events, but the subject of this post is what I think is a needed caution to all of us that exist online with social media accounts.  Whether you know it or not, you hold a powerful tool in your hands and under your thumbs.  And if you don’t use it wisely, you can, unwittingly, not help situations that you are only trying to understand and make better.

On to my post from Facebook…

[Mounts soapbox] Hello St. Louisians. I’d caution all here on Facebook about speculating on what is/was going on at The Galleria this evening (and the larger unrest that’s going on in certain sections of the metro area).

I can see from my newsfeed that some people were actually in the mall when some of the purported activity was going on. They are telling different stories that those that weren’t there AND that are on traditional media. These eyewitnesses probably have a MUCH better take on what was going down at the time. The traditional press is going to be the press and is not going to be able to get the fullness of the story (read: not just “both” sides, but “all” sides of what is going on. It’s not black & white…pardon the expression), but that doesn’t mean that they’re going out of their way to skew the story.

As a former member of the press and someone that is used to taking a much more considered measure of things before “broadcasting” information, I really think that all should really be very, VERY wary about spreading every tidbit of information they hear on FB and other social media without proper confirmation and thought. Social media is an awful place to get full context about what is going on and a very effective place to spread simple things rapidly. Please resist the urge to just “Share” and “Retweet” every little thing you see. In this increasingly tense time brewing in the St. Louis area, quick-fingered posting of all information and non-skeptical thinking about news from any quarter can easily make the situation in town worse for everyone.

This won’t be a popular statement or an easy thing for people to do. But I feel that I’d be failing any journalistic training and practice that I’ve had if I failed to put this up for all that follow what I do and say on FB to see. Feel free to “Share” this post if you agree. [Dismounts soapbox]