Title: Free Media
Grade Level: 7-12
Subjects/CA Standards: Media Studies, Government Social Studies 8.3.7, 12.3.2
Overview: Taking a look at media and the presence of “free” media vs. corporate media sources, this lesson looks specifically at two Free Radio stations; one in El Salvador and one in the US.
Purpose: To understand the use of media and think about its accessibility and purpose in a democratic society.
- Students will think critically about media sources.
- Students will understand free speech as a key issue in democracy after reviewing two
case studies of free media; one domestic, one in El Salvador.
1. Refer to Community Radio, background information on RadioVictoria, El
2. Refer to radio free brattleboro's website at www.rfb.fm.
3. Learn about the history of free radio at www.pacifica.org
Activities and Procedures:
1. Ask students take A Media Survey. Discuss results of the survey.
3. Radio Victoria and radio free brattleboro are two examples of non-commercial,
independent, commercial-free radio stations. Radio Victoria is in El Salvador and rfb
is in Vermont. Because their money does not come from corporate sponsors they are
known as a voice of the people in their respective communities. Read about
Community Radio in El Salvador. How has this station given a democratic voice
to the people? What role does the government play in the radio station? Whose
interests are served by having the station exist?
4. What constitutional issues arise in the discussion of free media? Review rfb's court
battle with the FCC on www.rfb.fm. For government classes, compare the case with
the Bill of Rights - which Amendments are addressed in the case of rfb?
5. Teachers on Bikes will do a Feature of the Week on Radio Victoria while travelling
through El Salvador. Refer to interviews for further information on free radio.
Tying It Together
1. Have students choose a radio station or media source that they use often. Find out
who owns the station/source. Is is local? Owned by a large corporate group? To what
extent do you think the ownership effects the content of the station?
What is Clear Channel? What are the reasons given against Clear Channel?
3. Research local independent or non-commercial stations and media sources. Listen and
compare stations - What differences between independent and corporate-owned media
sources do students notice?