cover image Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media

Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media

Eric Klinenberg. Blackstone Audiobooks, $90 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4332-1332-8

Klinenberg doesn't write the sort of prose that lends itself to vocal hijinks, but there is much irony and anger in this important expose and Tom Weiner, in a deep, resonant voice, expresses those sentiments well. The difficulty with the audio is keeping the players straight: the executives at mega-media corporations; the call letters and personnel at radio stations; and activists at the FCC (an ""instrument of corporate greed""). What can be skimmed by the reader can become confusing to the listener. Klinenberg's theme is the homogenization of national news and the threat that poses to democracy as media conglomerates acquire hundreds of stations, eliminate local talent and create multiple stations in one location. They develop standardized programming with fake local inserts and build a series of ""local"" TV sets. Employees won't speak out against the war or the president for fear of being fired, while artists are afraid of being blacklisted. Klinenberg's efforts are well researched and convincing, but the book is easier to digest than the audio. Simultaneous release with the Metropolitan Books hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 20, 2007).