Broadcasters, for over half a century, were required to serve the public interest (defined as promoting localism, diversity, and competition) in order to keep their licenses; then, in 1981, that requirement completely vanished. Hearing Voices: Modulating a Revolution is a documentary feature film about voices allowed and voices denied, probing the connection between serving the public interest, or lack thereof, and the current state of our polarized society.

The centerpiece of the story is the cultural impact of radio in our lives. It’s significant that the idea of broadcasters serving the public interest originated with radio, but the issues raised in this documentary will lead us directly to the Internet and its inevitable future. Hearing Voices is not about our past; it’s about the world we live in right now.

Interviews are still being done for this film but already include radio veterans Larry King, Wink Martindale, Art Linkletter and Norman Corwin. Washington Post journalist Marc Fisher appears, as does media activist Malkia Cyril, and Blacklist victims Norman Lloyd, Marsha Hunt and Ivy Bethune. This film, in addition to its strong social theme, aims to be the definitive story of American radio.

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