After 20 years of cable-tv production, and our 8 years
of radio production, Labor Beat and Labor Express remain the only
regular electronic media for working people in the Chicago area.
These web pages will tell you about what we do and about the kinds
of unique shows we bring to Chicago-area tv views and radio
listeners. After that, we'd like you to think about how we do
this, and to make a donation to help us keep going (we are a bona
fide IRS 501[c] tax-exempt organization).
THE LABOR BEAT SHOW
Labor Beat is available to over 300,000
homes in Chicago on cable Channel 19 every Thursday night at
9:30 p.m. and Friday at 4:30 p.m. And it is regularly rebroadcast in St. Louis, Rockford, and
other areas. In a corporate tv environment utterly hostile to
the points of view of working people, we have provided the best
in pro-labor television to the general population, to people who
are probably not on anybody's mailing list. We have been winning
folks over to labor's cause who would not normally be reached,
and winning them over through the media that create public opinion
-- tv and radio.
In one year alone, we produced four new videos on the
Illinois War Zone, from Decatur to Bal Harbour to New York, and
although battles have been lost we will continue covering that
War, our War.
Labor Beat went south of the border with four shows on the
effects of NAFTA: "Cross Border Organizing: Stepan Chemical" and
"Zoned for Slavery: The Child Behild the Label". We've exposed
post-Zapatista Mexico, with "Todos Somos Marcos," and "Prado
Labor Beat covers important local union stories, to put the
message out to thousands of viewers, and creat videos which
the local organizations can use. For Chicago Jobs with
Justice, there were three shows: "Two Warriors", JwJ Teamster
City rally featuring speeches by Diana Kilmury and Lorell
Patterson; "Organize!", which is a recruiting video for JwJ; and
"Jobs with Justice March & Rally/June 17".
For Chicago City Colleges clerical workers Local 1708, we
produced a video about their fight against cuts, "We Are 1708!"
And for SEIU 25 we did "He's No Angel", the Newly Wed Foods
Because of the news vacuum in the corporate media on the
details of the Detroit newspaper strike against the Gannett
chain, the only place in Chicago you could come to CCin televisionDD
for the facts was Labor Beat. We gave the public four shows:
"Skirmish in Sterling Heights", "Showdown in Motown", "A Night in
Detroit", and "The Detroit News Agency Strike".
One of the biggest stories in labor in 1995 was the
leadership shakeup in the AFL-CIO. Labor beat took its viewers to
the 50-yard line with CCthreeDD shows: "The Fight For Leadership",
"AFL-CIO 1995 Convention Debate", and "Dan Lane and Friends at
the 1995 AFL Convention".
We've not mentioned all of the important stories we've covered
just this last year, but you get the picture. Or at least the picture
is available to you and 300,000 cable homes in Chicago.
For tens of thousands of radio listeners who pick up WLUW,
88.7, the weekly hour-long show Labor Express is a unique source
of labor news and pro-worker messages.
Labor Express offers a strong overview of various aspects of
the labor movement from issues of national importance to the
thoughts and feelings of rank and file workers often finding
themselves in struggle for the first time. The most pressing
hope of all of those who have worked on the program is to be
relevant to the struggles working people find themselves in. The
program on paramedic organizing at LifeCare was especially
gratifying because the three paramedics involved used the
interview to help build their successful campaign at the company.
The intensity of struggle is something that can make a program
rewarding as when one of the organizers from the Ontario
Federation of Labor explained the reasons for the successful
general strike last December in London, Ontario, or when Dan Lane
explained on the 30th day of his fast why he felt it necessary to
put his life on the line to bring attention to the fight of the
brothers and sisters at Staley Manufacturing in Decatur. The
most encouraging programs on Labor Express are those interviews
with those who are just getting involved in the labor movement,
possibly in their work place, possibly in support organizations,
but always with a deep interest in telling their story to as wide
audience as their voice will carry.
Labor Express is on 7:00 p.m. Sundays on www.wluw.org and on Chicago's north side on WLUW-FM,
EVERYTHING COSTS MONEY
For reasons few can understand, the Chicago Federation of Labor
still does not have any strategy for producing its own
electronic media news, so Labor Beat and Labor Express are the
only cable-tv and radio series that are of, for and by workers.
The Committee for Labor Access, which produces both, is a non*profit,
501(c)(3), affiliated to broadcast production local IBEW
1220. We are not funded by any single union local or
international, nor do we get grants. We have no paid staff, and
all of us are workers, union members, video artists or students.
We survive through video tape sales and donations from union
locals and individuals. Please help us to continue.
How To Produce A Cable-TV Series
- You have two new shows a month, and you can't miss your
deadline, or you lose your slot. Start shooting and logging tape
on a labor story you can get to; meanwhile, start e-mailing,
calling or faxing to other labor video producers in the U.S. to
talk them into sending you their latest shows.
- Get an office from which you can work on this, store 3/4", VHS
and Hi-8 footage and Masters, and pay rent every month.
- Buy a DV, Hi-8 or Super VHS camera, decks for making
DVD and VHS copies of your masters...then buy lots of blank tapes
for editing masters onto, and blanks for making copies to
sell. Oh, and don't forget to buy lots of blank tape for
shooting footage, because you need to shot a lot more footage
than what you actually use in the final edit.
- While that other show from some other city is on its way in
the mail, start logging (taking notes with time indicated) all
the footage you took, so you know which way to edit it, as you
prepare the next Labor Beat original.
- Be sure to reserve time for editing, and pay up your
annual fee to the Chicago Access Corp.
- Spend a Saturday editing, then making a dub each of the
show to mail to Rockford, St. Louis, and other cities.
- After you hand in the new show, go back to #1 and start over
How to Produce a Radio Series
This is a short version of what those of us who produce Labor
Beat and Labor Express do to get a pro-worker message into the
Chicago-area electronic media. If we can do this, perhaps you can
get a pen, write a check, and mail us a donation. Or order one of
our popular videos.
- Labor Express starts with the decision to develop issues or
events to cover. Time is spent lining up interviews either for
the phone or in person. News items or calls from friends usually
can give some direction.
- Interviews are done sometimes quickly after initial contact,
sometimes after weeks of phone tag. Ten to fifteen minutes
preparatory discussion is often useful for a twenty to
twenty-five minute discussion.
- A day or two before editing labor news is taken from the
Internet sources available. This is used in the Labor News from
Around the World segment at the beginning of each show.
- Each show is put together in segments: Labor News, 1st
interview, 2nd interview or presentation. Often music is used to
give a bridge between segments.
- Finally the tapes are taken to Loyola and mailed to St. Xavier