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A Different Voice

A Different VoiceConcerned that mainstream media sources may not offer enough perspectives, one Tufts graduate aims to bring community voices to the radio dial. Boston.

Boston [04.07.03] As the war in Iraq extends into its third week, it certainly doesn't lack mainstream media coverage. But if listeners are looking for an alternative perspective, John Grebe's weekly news program may be worth a turn of the dial. Using a variety of sources, the Tufts graduate aims to diversify the news - one broadcast frequency at a time.

"My goal is to bring community voices to the mainstream," John Grebe told the Boston Globe.

For the past four years, Grebe has aired the "Sounds of Dissent," his own talk news program on Boston's WZBC-FM (90.3) Saturdays from noon - 1 PM. Using sources ranging from the BBC to various non-governmental organizations, Grebe aims to provide an alternative to mainstream journalism - something he says isn't always easy to do.

"I was astounded by how hard it was for me to find voices that would be willing to report other perspectives, outside the State department," he told the Globe.

Grebe began broadcasting alternative news during the first war with Iraq in 1991, while he was at Tufts. While he originally hosted a music show on the University's WMFO, Grebe started to air news coverage because he felt that the traditional media's outlook was too homogenized.

"I loved doing music," Grebe told the Globe. "But I felt [alternative news] should be on the radio."

Grebe's show - which he admits lean to the left - features human interest pieces, news summaries, and interviews. While today his program often includes guest appearances with alternative favorites such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Avery, Grebe's programs while he was a student were far more rudimentary. His early shows even featured broadcast speeches he taped on a cassette-recorder.

"I'd go around and tape-record lectures here and there, and I wanted to put them on the radio," said Grebe - who now works as a computer-network consultant and does the show in his free time.

Today, Grebe draws from sources that are both in and out of the mainstream. For instance, he regularly reads The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, but does not discount the value of looking at reports from online sources -- many of which are unverified.

"I'm not saying that just because John Smith sends you an email that it's of any use," said Grebe. "But the Internet does give people a way to get around the normal limits of very expensive mass publishing."

The Tufts graduate says that he wants to present as many perspectives as possible, and let his audience draw their own conclusions.

"[My goal is] to encourage people to do their own critical thinking - not to believe something just because it's published," Grebe told the Globe. "There is a lot of learning to be done."


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