About Our Station

May 22, 2022

Citizens.am (KCAM-DB) is a new nonprofit news and talk radio station that aims to give voice to the social issues and problems affecting human societies. Our mission is about providing global citizens and nonprofit organizations with an open platform for broadcasting content that directly speaks to the challenges and often ignored realities that permeates throughout the tapestry of humankind. We believe that purposeful and systemic social change evolves by exposing people to more diverse perspectives that challenge people’s biases and perceptions about the world we all share. These are values which we believe are all too absent throughout the corporate owned and for-profit media ecosystem which is contributing to an epidemic of misinformation, intolerance, and manufactured consent. Our mission aims to provide a platform for regular citizens and fellow nonprofits to broadcast their voice to our network of more than 40 million global listeners.

Challenging The Mainstream Narratives & Biases 

Today, five multinational corporations own most of the nation’s newspapers, magazines, book publishers, TV and film studios, and radio stations, and television networks. These corporations each control a communications empire that rivals that of any imperial leader or dictatorship in human history, thus controlling every means by which the population comes to learn and understand about the world. Often, these five corporations speak with a singular voice, advancing the interests of the global ruling class. The power and influence of the news media dominates a space where social, economic, and political systems are directed. To have such a dense consolidation of the news media poses fundamental questions about how and by whom the framework of democracy shall be determined. These concerns are well warranted given the rapid and radical shifts which have occurred in the span of a single generation, reversing the country’s progressive political, social, and economic momentum. Multiple studies have shown a direct correlation between this momentous shift and the corporate consolidation of the news media.

No democracy can function in the absence of an informed and diversely aware citizenry. The civic decisions required of a population necessitates an adequately informed public that is engaged in the discourse of society’s governance. The news is not meant to engineer political consent or loyalties, push specific economic or social policies, or narrowly frame the constructs of reality. It must instead serve as an institution that speaks for the people in an objective voice. It must challenge the establishments of power and remain isolated from conflicts of interests. The contemporary news media has evolved into a market-based institution that is entangled by corrupting influences, special interests, and economic incentives that no longer serves as a dedicated institution for the common good.

Citizens.am strives to challenge the mainstream narratives, corporate influence, and systemic biases which pollute public perceptions, construct perspectives, and manufacture consent. These objectives are fulfilled by remaining a commercial-free, nonprofit, donor funded radio station that promotes independent and citizen journalism, diverse programming, global perspectives, and diversity. Our programming is hosted by regular people, contributing their time and efforts to broadcast shows and programs that they are passionate about. Our hosts operate with editorial independence and freedom from censorship. We seek out diverse voices from across the world to expose our listeners to various perspectives, cultural dispositions, and engaged discussions about issues which are often ignored by the mainstream news media.

Citizens.am is also committed to promoting and featuring independent and investigative journalists, whose work is often self-funded and seldom gains the exposure that their work justly deserves. In addition to our on-air programming, we also re-publish stories from independent journalists on our website and social media feeds.

Combatting Censorship and Defending Free Speech

Censorship, in all its various incarnations, is an unconscionable aberration that creeps into the sphere of social acceptance whenever the embers of obscenities fan the flames of outrage. It presents itself in seemingly harmless manifestations, whether it’s banishing users from social media platforms, denying a voice to dissidents, petitioning advertisers to withdraw their financial support from programs deemed unacceptable, or the practice of “cancel culture.” Hateful and threatening speech is too frequently an indefensible villain that persuades even the most rational-minded individual to justify its banishment. The need to combat disinformation has become a rallying cry for censorship under the guise of content moderation. Freedom of speech, no matter how offensive, is a fundamental necessity for a democratic and free society. History is replete with examples of how the progression of censorship comes to infect every crevice of society, frequently resulting in the suppression of dissent and used to deny a voice to the disenfranchised.

Too often, censorship benefits the ruling class, proving a mechanism for manipulating public opinions by scripting out a news cycle that perpetuates complacency. Social media platforms and online streaming services have increasingly positioned themselves as the arbitrators of absolute truth, suppressing discussions about world events under the guise of combatting disinformation. The remedy to disinformation is not suppression, but rather open debate and the sharing of information. Facts are not absolute, and new truths often emerge in the aftermath of events. Furthermore, suppressing people’s ability to challenge the contemporary narratives or assumed facts impedes the ability of others to change people’s perspectives and share relevant facts.

While Citizens.am does, by virtue of limited programming hours and timeslots, select the programing broadcast on our station, we strive to do so through a democratic and transparent process that involves our community of broadcasters and listeners. Furthermore, we do not censor the programming on our station. Obviously, we expect our broadcasters to refrain from harassment, abusive conduct, and illegal activities, decisions to remove a program are also made through the same democratic and community process. 

Fostering Diversity and Critical Thinking

There is a stark difference between merely reporting the news and delivering informed insights that helps the public to understand the news and its implications. While journalism often regards itself as a fact-based endeavor, which is an important function of the news media, facts without substance and context are frequently vacuous. The institution of journalism is the vein by which a society comes to learn about themselves and the world. Facilitating an informed and aware citizenry requires more than just reporting “the facts,” it necessitates a contextual analysis that interrogates the causal relationships and effects relevant to the facts. When the links between cause and effect are blurred or deliberately obscured, the capacity for informed decision making and debate becomes impaired.

Citizens.am aims to deliver content that engages listeners in a conversation about the news, events, and social issues affecting our society. More than just reporting on the news, we want to broadcast programming that fosters critical thinking, exposes the systemic causes of social injustices, and encourages listeners to be part of the solution. The stories we hope to cover will span a broad range of news, information, and topics that go beyond the sensational headlines and breaking news that all too frequently dominates the daily news cycles of the mainstream news. We endeavor to broadcast shows that highlight the impact of social movements, community leaders, civil rights activists, and world events that reach across the spectrum of the human experience. Our mission is about delving deeper into the important topics impacting our society and sharing the perspectives of people who have first-hand experience and knowledge in areas that deserve both attention and insightful contemplation. 

Promoting Independent and Citizen-Driven Journalism

The consolidation and monopolistic establishment of the news media in the United States have presented global citizens with the narrowest range of social, political, and ideological perspectives that are far removed from the world’s most urgent social and economic problems. The alliance between the global ruling class and the mainstream media is a most problematic conflict of interest that have real consequences for both the nation and the world. As a result, the public is often deprived of information that documents a broader construct of the national and global realities. It is only through specialized exceptions and independent news organizations where these alternative realities are given serious consideration. Under the rubric of “if it bleeds, it leads,” and the condensed space afforded to news stories, the mainstream media has had to abandon disciplines of critical judgement and investigative documentation that have contributed to a profound weakness in the social order of our society. It is an institutional bias that is overly sensitive to the failure in public bodies but wholly insensitive or indifferent to the failures of the private sector.

It is common practice for the mainstream news media to use as their sources the very people who they should be most critical of, giving the weight of legitimacy to the men and women who represent the hierarchies of power. Fundamental deceptions and omissions impede the public’s ability to sustain a rational view of the objective realities from which perceptions of the real world are constructed. The establishment of fundamental untruths, whether they are intentional or otherwise, blurs a society’s perceptions of reality and the intellectual fortitude with which society reacts to the events. Presenting the public with unnecessarily incomplete news, framed through the lens of governmental and corporate power centers is an abandonment of the news media’s duty and journalistic integrity.

Over the past several decades, it has been the independent journalists from smaller, and less-known, publications. Most notably, reporting on America’s documented accounts of abuse have been the exclusive domain of the independent news media, which reaches only a narrow segment of the population. These independent publishers and journalists are often reader-funded and working with scarce funds.

Antiestablishment truths and the minor voices of the marginalized cannot overcome the wider recognition afforded to the mainstream media and rely instead on the courage of independent news media. Citizens.am is committed to broadening the exposure of these independent media publications by supporting, promoting, and featuring their incredible work. We endeavor to build a grassroots partnership network to counter the mainstream narratives and fund more independent journalism. 

Giving A Voice to Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations and grassroots social movements serve on the frontlines of our nation’s social injustices. These organizations lurk in the shadows of society, their work often taken for granted and ignored. Sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, caring for the ill and neglected, and defending the defenseless are charitable acts which have become a societal necessity due to the failure of our social institutions and systems. To highlight the work these nonprofits do would be to consequently expose these fundamental failures, including those of the mainstream news media.

Citizens.am exists, in large part, to do just that; expose the failure of our society’s institutions and systems and highlighting the frontline defenders working to address them. Nonprofits and grassroots social movements are a prominent feature of our radio station and the content we broadcast. We value and respect the important work, experiences, and insights of these organizations and strive to gain more exposure for them.

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