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  • WUSC covers removal of confederate flag from South Carolina State House grounds

    flagphoto

    On July 10, after flying on the South Carolina State House grounds for 54 years, the confederate battle flag was lowered in a ceremony broadcast around the world.

    Here at WUSC, we brought you full team coverage of the events that saw thousands descend on the State House for history in the making.

    WUSC aired a special show on the flag debate on Friday June 19, as debate began on the flag in Columbia, in South Carolina and all across the country after the events in Charleston.

    WUSC News was at the State House Thursday July 9, when Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill that allowed the flag to come down, and spoke with USC President Harris Pastides and others. Hear our 90.5 Seconds of the News newscast on the event here.

    We, along with an estimated crowd of over 10,000, were at the State House the morning of Friday July 10 when the flag came down and spoke with USC students and alumni who were in attendance. Hear our 90.5 Seconds of the News newscast on the event here.

    We presented a retrospective on the issues and history surrounding the flag at the State House, and the timeline of events that led to it coming down, on a special edition of 90.5 Minutes of the News Saturday July 11. Click here for the full broadcast.

    Thank you to all our listeners for calling into the station with your opinions, insights and stories on the flag, and thank you for your support of the station – support that allows us to bring you programming like these past few weeks.

    Thanks also to former WUSC News Director Nick Vogt, WUSC DJ Tony Miranda (aka DJ Nomad, host of Southern Wasteland Wed. 3-6) and WUSC Station Manager Kaylyn Middleton for all their hard work and help.

    WUSC News will return with regular newscasts and programming in the fall, barring any other major historic events in Columbia.

    – WUSC News Director Ben Turner

  • CMF Advanced Screening: Perks of Being a Station Manager

    Here’s a little lesson in networking: if you do something for someone, there is a strong chance he/she will do something for you in return. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” This kind of reciprocity is what got me in a dark room with nine other people while we watched an advanced screening of the Campus Movie Fest finale. I had helped record a Public Service Announcement for CMF to be played on WUSC, and this was my repayment. Pretty cool, right?

    If you want a little sneak preview of what you’ll see tonight during the actual CMF Finale, here’s a hint: a mood stabilizer may be required. The tones of the films vary drastically, from funny to thrilling to contemplative. After watching the selections back to back for an evening, I was left reeling. The themes explored had a wide range: dealing with death, survival in an apocalyptic world, self-exploration, or the humor in the every day. So prepare to feel a variety of emotions, and to remind yourself “My peers made that.”

    That was the best part for me. I have a hard time sitting quietly through movies as it is, but it was especially challenging not to jump up and shout “THAT’S A DJ! THAT’S MY DJ!” during the screening. As Station Manager of the radio, being a Mother Hen comes with the territory. The DJs at WUSC are already busy, talented people–they plan a two hour show each week, they cultivate on-air personalities, and they become musical connoisseurs in their preferred genres. Now add to that list qualifications like “scriptwriter,” “cinematographer,” and “filmmaker.” WUSC DJs run the gamut. We don’t seek out these creative types; they come to us, with bright ideas for specialty shows and unique contributions that make the station greater than it already is.

    That’s what the Campus Movie Fest is all about. It capitalizes on the creativity that pulses on college campuses. It tests its participants to make a movie in a week. Script it, shoot it, score it, and edit it in just a few days. As I was able to glimpse this week, USC students definitely rose to this challenge. There were some films that blew me away with their superb camera work, or highly polished script (or both). Anyone watching the finale tonight will undoubtedly feel proud to know that the students behind these films walk among us every day. I know that’s how I felt. I’m lucky enough to not only call many of the CMF contributors fellow DJs, but also friends. In that case, if you’re in the crowd tonight, kindly ignore any outbursts from yours truly. Though I have already seen all of the films before, my good friend Mother Hen isn’t the quietest.

    The Campus Movie Fest Finale Screening is Thursday, 2/12/2015 at 7:30pm in the Russell House Ballroom. Entry is free with a Carolina Card.

  • Fear and Torture: an editorial from the Desk of the News Director

    Nick Vogt 90.5

    It’s that time of year: the kids are coming home, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and our favorite football teams are playing for a wild-card spot. I wish everyone reading this the merriest holidays for you and yours; but I would like to talk for just a minute about something serious. I’d like to talk to you all about fear.

    On September 11th, 2001 the United States of America changed in immeasurable ways; out of pain, confusion, and most of all fear. On that day in September, I was in second grade at St. Mark’s School in Catonsville MD, about forty minutes from Washington D.C. and the Pentagon. I don’t recall what I considered fear to be before but ever since then the high-water mark of fear in my life has been that day in September.

    In order to protect our way of life, and out of fear, we as a nation changed in whatever ways we deemed necessary to survive. It was out of this fear that the Central Intelligence Agency commenced their Detention and Interrogation program, which most Americans would identify as the torture programs ended by President Obama’s Executive Order 13491.

    At the beginning of December, the summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program was declassified. This study, prompted in 2007 after the CIA’s destruction of interrogation videotapes under investigation by the Attorney General, is highly critical of the CIA’s actions in their Detention and Interrogation program. Included in the study are the gruesome and shocking details of the atrocities involved in the program, the lack of oversight and communication, and the general ineffectiveness of the program. While the entirety of the study (6,700 pages) remains declassified for the time being, the 500-page declassified Executive Summary contains more than enough information on the shortcomings and wrongdoings involved in the program.

    Before 9/11/01 the CIA had concluded that torture programs were generally ineffective and could also produce bad intelligence. This same conclusion has been reached over a decade later by the Committee in their study; not only were the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” incredibly cruel, the quality and importance of the information gained through these techniques was repeatedly exaggerated and misconstrued by the CIA in their reports to The White House, Congress, the Department of Justice, and the American public. Much of the information gained through torture procedures was already available in the U.S. Intelligence Network, and most of the original intelligence gained through torture was either bad or non-useful.

    Through the study it was also found that the CIA used methods of torture that were far more brutal than the ones laid out to The White House and the Legislature. The CIA officials leading the operations also repeatedly avoided and impeded internal, Congressional, and Executive oversight of the program.

    The Executive Summary lays out twenty main findings and conclusions, supported with evidence and examples. The summary has been declassified and is readily available all over the Internet.

    Because of the damning nature of the report, apologists have already come to the defense of the Central Intelligence Agency’s actions with the same arguments that were made in favor of torture in the first place: the intelligence that can be extracted is too vital and possibly life saving to ignore.

    Fear is terrifying. It can freeze us, it can break us down, and most terrifying of all it can change us. I can still feel the stuffy, pervading sense of fear that engulfed the nation for years after 9/11, the same fear that still lingers in airports and crowded stadiums today. But I refuse to make exceptions and excuses on the basis of fear anymore, and I refuse to accept the “necessity” of inhumanity in the face of terror.

    I was raised with the belief that we, the collective United States of America, are the good guys. But as I’ve grown up as a post-9/11 American it has become clear that the difference between the good guys and the bad guys is an ocean of doubt and grey. I’ve come to accept that, in such a complex and interrelated world, the lines between right and wrong are blurry. And while I believe the United States does its’ best to aim for the right side of the grey, some aspects of our national conduct certainly do not fall into the grey category.

    Truthfully, I had never considered the CIA torture programs to be completely unnecessary, and I had bought into the notion that the information was too valuable to ignore and impossible to extract otherwise. But earlier last week, I sat down for an hour and read the report. In light of the findings, my mindset changed drastically.

    The Executive Summary of the report is available for all to see, and I hope that every citizen of the United States reads it. The truth is, there is no grey area in this circumstance. Not only was the intelligence gained not as vital as we’ve been led to believe, the methods used to extract the intelligence betrays every core value to our nation that we hold so dear. For almost a decade, we allowed our nation to become unimaginably cruel and inhumane out of fear.

    It is our responsibility, as civilians in the Home of the Brave, to shed our paralyzing fear in order to reclaim our stake as the Land of the Free. A systematic operation of inhumane torture in clandestine prisons hidden inside undisclosed countries is not a “good guy” action.

    Still, it would be easy for this report to get lost in the flurry of the holidays, the racial tensions surrounding Ferguson and New York, and the NFL Playoffs. It is our responsibility as free citizens to not lose sight of this report, to read this report, and to formulate personal opinions on its implications.

    We’ve come a long way since 2001, and as a nation we are on the road back to where we once were. When my kids grow up, I hope that they’ll have no question as to who the good guys are. It’s up to us to answer that question for them now.

     

    Thank you, and have a Happy Holidays.

    Nick Vogt

  • WUSC Wednesdays: Gotta Be That Midwest Love

  • Festival Recap: Bonnaroo 2013