Global Consciousness
on the Airwaves
by Adam Shames

The promise of cable television - a smorgasbord of 500 channels reaching millions of viewers - brings with it a real danger: the swallowing up of the airwaves by a few huge conglomerates who already control much of today's cable viewing. Will these 500 channels offer us any more than the same violence, sports and reruns that already dominate the airwaves? If not, we all need to look to alternative, independent programming from sources like GVP, a SF-based non-profit organization that has produces progressive television and radio programming for nearly five years.

Focusing on issues and practices contributing to social and global change, The producers a GVP have aired over 450 Global Vision television programs on over 30 cable television stations in California and beyond. They have also aired shows on NPR and local radio stations - - and have recently been offered air time on both a national cable television station and an international radio station that reaches 100 countries.

Each program is centered around a specific theme - - spanning the fields of politics, public service, education, religion, the environment, and the arts - - and included interviews, discussions, events coverage, and even live performances from America and around the world. The founder and executive producer of Global Vision, Azarra Lanteri, thinks of the program as a forum to address the issues of human potential that so rarely gets to be seen on television. "I wanted to highlight the efforts of people involved in today's multi-faceted global community," she says. "With broadcast-quality video productions available from remote places in the world, we have an incredible opportunity to get to know the human family in ways never possible before."

Programs are usually multicultural in scope and showcase the efforts of different independent producers from all over the world. Some recent broadcasts have addressed the changing global role of women, homelessness in America, environmental challenges, and the effect of music on healing and consciousness. "Global Vision programs," says Azarra, "are designed to use the television medium to 'tell-a-vision' of healthier ways of living on he planet. Visual media can support social change by providing the public with viewpoints and visions often ignored by the commercial media." Recent programs have included interviews with leading social activists and artists such as Dr. Fritjof Capra, Helen Caldicott, Gloria Steinem, and Carlos Santana.

It is undeniable that visual media, particularly mass-distributed television series like Global Vision, can exert an exceptional influence on public opinion in our society. But independent production companies face tremendous financial challenges in their quest to become thriving participants in the expanding cable airwaves. Independent organizations involved in the medium of television are rarely the recipients of grants or public funds and can always use help in the continued production of their programs. GVP is no exception and encourages interested funders, sponsors, producers and other media to contact them directly.

Article 1 - MEDIA & THE ARTS by Michael Diamond