UnCommon Sense TV Media was created as a forum for presenting information and perspectives concerning pressing political issues of our times. It is committed to working to renew a truly democratic republic through the use of independent and citizen-supported media in order to help fulfill the promise and ideals inherent in the timelessly progressive principles of the American Revolution.
UnCommon Sense TV was conceived in the spring of 2003 and launched that summer with its television premiere and corresponding website activation in July.
The program was created by Andy Valeri, a long-time veteran of access television and community media, who has also spent years in the music and arts world through involvement with music and film production via his own company, Big Beef Records. He had spent years producing and promoting not only music, but literally hundreds of television programs as well, many of them live, which were aired on cable television outlets around the country and later via the internet.
Unfortunately, the growing dangers to the future health and sustainability of the American republic necessitated a realignment of focus towards pursuing a course of action directed at re-engaging the pressing political issues facing our nation. Amongst these issues have been the ever-increasing threats to the very existence of an independent and publicly responsive media system, through regulatory changes and corporate consolidation of ownership of America’s information infrastructure.
In developing USTV, Valeri was joined by long time friend and creative colleague Ed Lacy, also with a long history of involvement in music and the arts, as well as a veteran of a number of efforts of political activism over the decades.
Valeri and Lacy put the call out to friends and associates asking for help in undertaking this venture, and an all-volunteer crew and support staff of USTV quickly and enthusiastically came together. All were united in the belief and desire to participate and contribute with their own unique skills and experiences in contributing to the citizen’s media effort that is UnCommon Sense TV Media.
The program continued to develop and evolve, going from a live on-air discussion format to more of a video journalism presentation. A major focus of USTV has been to bring focus and attention to topics overly neglected in the corporate media, with a particular emphasis on deconstructing the media system in our nation and how it works and who it serves. Another point of increased emphasis has been on the role of the modern corporation in our state, and its unrivaled position as the dominant institution of our age and the ramifications of that reality on our society.
UnCommon Sense has developed its web presence from its original role as a reference library for content from the television show, to being an active, vibrant extension and supplement of the program itself. The launching of the updated blog version of the site in January 2006 has served as an effective enhancement of the dialogue and discussion which would regularly take place within the program itself. It allows for the sharing of ongoing, timely information by not only the USTV producers and program guests, but also for contributed commentary from colleagues, associates, viewers & readers.
USTV Media is often actively involved in the production and promotion of live civic events as well. Such events include the 2005 gathering in Dayton, Ohio with television production pioneer Phil Donahue and Amy Goodman. producer and host of “Democracy Now!”, and their public dissertation on the role of media in today’s society. We were also involved in helping to organize and promote the screening of the Phil Donahue-produced film “Body of War” in the Dayton, region, which included personal appearances by Donahue himself.
Ongoing local organizing efforts on behalf of keeping local community media alive and well has been a mission of those involved with USTV Media. This includes civic participation with Keep WYSO Local, a citizen-participatory group dedicated towards keeping the public in public radio in the Miami Valley region of Ohio.
We also continue to take the lead in sponsoring and distributing programs such as Democracy Now! and Free Speech TV in the Miami Valley region, as well work to bring other like-minded and engaging programs to as many community television outlets as possible. These have included amongst others such programs as Liberty News TV and The Last Televangelist by Reverend Billy & The Church of Life After Shopping.
INTO THE FUTURE
Expansion and evolution of the focus of the efforts of the creators of USTV Media from television into additional venues of communication, both in their local region as well as nationally, has become an ongoing objective.
In light of these efforts, Andy Valeri is a long-time member of the Alliance for Community Media (ACM) and has served for a number of years, including as chair, of the editorial board of the Community Media Review, endeavoring to extend working relationships between local media resources in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio and beyond. He was managing editor for their 2010 issue on Community Media and Human Rights, which focused on some of the international dimensions of this issue, and is also interested in further developing an artist’s collaborative in support of communication rights.
Valeri has also completed an originally-designed Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program at the University of Dayton, home to the first accredited undergraduate program in Human Rights studies in America. The program is focused on expanding the framework of how we understand mediated communication in the realms of social policy and academic theory as an indespensible factor in the fulfillment of democratic rights and accountability. Its goal is to create curriculum emphasizing media and communications as a fundamental human right. The main thesis of this effort is explained rather well in this short video, commissioned by Global Partners & Associates.
Valeri was invited by the India Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London, to participate in an international gathering on “The Changing Face of Journalism In India”. Presenting on “The Role of Mediated Communication in India in Support of Social Justice and Human Rights,” his talk emphasized the use of community media as a tool for empowering grassroots movements towards righting injustices within society. You can read the report, along with some of Valeri’s other writings, on his Academia.edu web page.
This is all part of the ongoing endeavor to transform our work from that which is predicated on defensive reaction to one more of creative response to the challenges and opportunities of the coming days ahead.
FIND OUT MORE
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