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?  

2.  Compare the two websites www.clearchannel.com and www.clearchannelsucks.org.  

    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?