Some Opportunities Here in Town

Here in Vallejo, California we have a [tag]public access[/tag] cable television channel. It is still just running community bulletin board announcements. Listen & Be Heard Poetry Caf? has been fortunate to have listings of our free community events included on that bulletin board, and we thank the VCAT volunteers who created them for including us. It is now months after the original date set to start running tapes produced by individuals who became members of VCAT and completed the training sessions. The untimely death of crucial volunteer staff member Ursula Morgan-Kane, bureaucratic delays, and unfinished studios have been blamed for the setback. Finally able to take equipment into the field, weeks after paying their fees and completing their courses, [tag]VCAT[/tag] volunteers were present at this past weekend’s Juneteenth celebration, filming the proceedings. Presumably the edited tapes will run on Channel 27 in the near future.

There are precious few places where would-be television producers can go to get real life experience in the field. There are also fewer and fewer outlets for local stories not on the radar of TV stations many miles away, and across more than one bridge. Many people, including Ursula, struggled for years to get this far with Comcast and the City of Vallejo. It is easy to give lip service to freedom of speech. Yes you have the freedom to say almost anything you want on any crowded and busy street anywhere in the United States. People may or may not pay attention to what you say. But when you attempt to speak in the media, you learn that speech is rarely free, and always hard -won.

Here in Downtown Vallejo we have a radio station. You’ll find it at 104.9 on your FM dial if you’re within about a ten mile radius of their Mare Island studio. According to their website [tag]Ozcat Radio[/tag] is run by Oz. “Radio Free Vallejo” is now in “alpha-testing” mode. Setting themselves up as “a community radio station dedicated to providing quality variety programming” they say that if they “like your stuff”, they’ll play it. You can send CDs to: Martel Records, Attention: Ozcat 970 West Street, Benicia, CA 94510. Email mp3s to ozcatradio@gmail.com and don’t send anything “that you wouldn’t play for your mom.”

There are precious few places where would-be radio producers can go to get real life experience in the field. There are also fewer and fewer outlets for local stories not on the radar of a radio station many miles away, and across at least one bridge. The last one packing some megawatts pulled out of Vallejo years ago. If you always dreamed of hosting a radio show, now might be the time to look into helping out, or even starting your own competing radio station on Mare Island. I already know there’s enough talent in Vallejo to keep the airwaves going 24/7, so why not I ask you?

No one can ask us ‘why not?’, because around here we are about the here and now of freedom of expression. Listen & Be Heard has been a weekly open mic in Vallejo for about five years now. Listen & Be Heard, Arts, Culture and Entertainment Magazine has been promoting the Vallejo arts community for more than two and half years now. Listen & Be Heard Poetry Caf? has been serving you fresh, raw, healthy culture, almost every night, for almost a year now (and the best coffee in Vallejo in my humble opinion). Listen & Be Heard Weekly has been growing exponentially, as a multi-media web weekly.

There are precious few places where would-be writers and photographers can go to get real life experience in the field. There are also fewer and fewer outlets for local stories in newspaper chains owned by a corporation in another state, and catering to national ad clients.

We are seeking a few multi-media types seeking new avenues of expression, a few good writers eager to observe the world in which they live, a few believers to sell ads to local business people. We are seeking a few businesses with the vision to act independently, instead of waiting for other people to act, spend, or make good on already broken promises. Not that we’re waiting for you or anything. Freedom is a now or never kind of thing.

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