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

Funny thing about media consolidation: The more of it there is, the fewer news outlets remain to talk about it. Results vary from annoying—the same few songs played across the nation—to tragic. Eric Klinenberg, whose last book examined Chicago’s deadly 1995 heat wave, dwells again on disaster. His new one opens with a train wreck releasing deadly fumes. Panicked residents calling 911 were told to turn on their radios for instructions, only to hear canned programming. Klinenberg limns other issues, as well, such as failure of overworked reporters to cover key news stories, like Enron, in time for them to matter. While mergers continue and government watchdogs sleep, Klinenberg offers hope with exciting trends in low-power radio stations and grass-roots political activism.