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Brian Austin Whitney '86 on NPR's Morning Edition

May 24, 2002

May 24, 2002, Greencastle, Ind. - Brian Austin Whitney, the founder of Just Plain Folks, a coalition of independent musicians, singers and songwriters, and a 1986 graduate of DePauw University, was heard this morning on NPR's Morning Edition. A report in the program examines how music industry moguls and musicians are forming an unusual alliance and are lobbying the White House and Federal Communications Commission to investigate radio industry consolidation. They say, because of deregulation, too few people have too much power and the public interest is not being served. (the photo above Whitney with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and founder of Broadcast.com).

NPR's Rick Karr noted that one member of the coalition is "a grass roots group of professional and amateur musicians based in Indianapolis. Brian Austin Whitney is the founder of Just Plain Folks. He says deregulation has allowed just a handful of companies to acquire hundreds of stations and obliterate regional differences." Whitney then tells NPR, "I think one of the things that we're missing out on is sort of the local cultural flavor of music in communities. So if you come to a city like Indianapolis, there's not really anywhere you can turn to hear what is going on with the local people in Indianapolis. You may have an artist here who's selling 5,000 CD's a year in the local community and they have a great following, but they get zero airplay."

Karr adds, "Whitney says the coalition wants the FCC and Congress to establish more non-commercial community radio stations, and to protect non-commercial Internet broadcasting. The coalition is also calling for an investigation of the consolidation. It's also calling on congress and the FCC calling to look into what's known as 'vertical integration': in other words, a radio company getting into other businesses that are related to music, such as concert promotion." (Photo shows Whitney with Nirvana's Krist Novoselic)

You can hear the four minute and 33 second report at NPR's Web site in RealAudio by clicking here. You can learn more about Brian Austin Whitney and Just Plain Folks in this story .

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