Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beyond the Media Fences

When we look at the media landscape of Guam it is pretty simple. There are two main newspapers. Their ideological difference is sometimes stark, sometimes not. The PDN reflects a clear ideological agenda most of the time. They are the mainstream source of print media, the towering megalith and as such they tend to see their job as guiding the island and sometimes saving it from itself. The Marianas Variety is a worthy challenger at times, showing more ideological breadth and willingness to be critical of things the PDN is not. But the Variety is ultimately a challenger and something which is out there, but not read as much or supported as much in terms of advertising. 

For TV there is a similar dynamic, with two stations offering daily news, KUAM and PNC. PNC offers more ideological flexibility, whereas KUAM often times appeared chained to the ideology of the political families and parties it is closely associated with. Some argue that PNC has a similar bias to the opposite side of the spectrum, but the PNC affinity to Democrats is nothing compared to KUAM's recent affinity to Republicans and the current gang in Adelup. 

For radio talk shows, you have two main options. K57 and ISLA 63. K57 is the dominant radio power on the island. People, even those who don't like the personalities or the callers, tune in each day while in traffic, at work, at the gym. K57's range of opinion varies, but it tends to be associated with angry stateside or po'asu critiques of Guam. ISLA 63 is the home of Jesse Anderson Lujan and the Buzz. This is the only real bastion for Chamorro talk and regular Chamorro critiques. The on,y problem with it though is the lack of an audience and the fact that the same callers tend to call in every single day. 

In this media landscape things such as decolonization and demilitarization are dealt with, but always in very minute and superficial ways. For example, KUAM, Variety and PNC may regularly cover Commission on Decolonization meetings, although they will rarely delve into the issues involved, but simply state a meeting took place and provide mentions of some of the things that were discussed. Demilitarization is something discussed in difficult and delicate terms. The media is owned by businesspeople who usually have interests beyond just this franchise. They tend to see the possibilities presented by any military increases as meaning more viewers, readers, advertisers, investment opportunities. This combined with the fact that Guam, at both the macro and micro level feels that militarization is an intimate and core part of the way people see identity and culture here, means that militarism goes almost completely uncritiqued most of the time. 

It is for these reasons that the island is fortunate to have the KPRG show Beyond the Fence, produced by former UOG Social Work Faculty Vivian Dames. This show represents the most critical media outlet on Guam, unless you count having dinner in Ed Benavente's backyard or hanging out at the soon to be opened Sagan Kutturan Chamorro. It was started off as a forum for discussing the potential impacts of the US military buildup in 2010, but it is expanded to include topics on Chamorro language, culture, arts and resistance and Guam History. I am a host for the show and produce around 5 episodes a year.

Below is the announcement for the most recent episode that I worked on:


I invite you to tune in to Beyond the Fence which airs every Friday at noon on Public Radio Guam-KPRG 89.3 FM, your source for NPR (National Public Radio) news and music discovery.  This locally produced one hour program features interviews and coverage of public events offering analysis and personal perspectives on the local impacts of US global militarism in the Asia-Pacific region, especially Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.  It also provides accounts of different forms of resistance, decolonization and sovereignty struggles, and the challenges of building community beyond the fence where U.S. bases and installations are located. 

KPRG streams live at and has released apps for Iphone/Ipad and Android devices. Audio podcasts of most episodes are available for free and may be downloaded within five days of the broadcast by going to:

Ep. 195, “Hinekka i Tiningo’ i Manåmko’: Chamorro Elders Remember the Japanese Occupation” hosted by Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua (with production assistance of Marlon Molinos and Alan Grossman) airs 7/25/14. 

For the past year the Chamorro Studies Program at the University of Guam (UOG) has been undertaking the project, Hinekka i Tiningo’ i Manåmko’ or the collection of the knowledge of the elders. As part of this oral history project, UOG undergraduate students have conducted interviews with more than 100 elderly Chamorros. These interviews focus on the specialized knowledge that only elderly Chamorros may possess, such as details of past historical periods and unique or undocumented forms of the Chamorro language, whether they be songs, jokes or axioms. 

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day,  July 21, this episode showcases seven interviews with elderly Chamorros about their experiences during I Tiempon Chapones, or the Japanese occupation, conducted by undergraduate students enrolled in Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua’s ( Summer 2014 Guam History class. These interviews provide an interesting portrait as to the diversity of Chamorro experiences during a difficult time.  The interviewees were allowed to answer in either English or Chamorro, based on whichever made them feel more comfortable. 

The list of interviewers and interviewees (in order of presentation) is as follows: 

Interview 1: Ariane Santos interviewing Rosita Munoz Flogger
Interview 2: Henedina Cervania interviewing Concepcion Cruz Flores
Interview 3: Maria Esmero interviewing Piti Mayor Vicente Diaz Gumataotao
Interview 4: Dustin Elliot interviewing Edward Cruz
Interview 5: Nino Dizon interview Lucy Anderson
Interview 6: Anthony Sanchez interviewing Former Yigo Mayor Antonio Calvo
Interview 7: Karla Dizon interview Barbara M.C. Dela Cruz

Music selection: Mångge i Chamorro or “Where are the Chamorros?” from the band Chamorro and their album “Tiempo.”

Please forward this announcement to your respective networks and encourage listeners to submit their comments on line.  Suggestions for future topics and guests or requests to be removed from or added to this contact list may be sent to

Thank you for listening to and supporting public radio for the Marianas --- and for promoting Beyond the Fence, locally and abroad. 

Vivian Loyola Dames, Ph.D. 
Anchor Host & Coordinator,  Beyond the Fence 
KPRG -89.3FM
303 University Drive, UOG Station 
Mangilao, GU 96913

T:  671-734-8930

F:  671-734-2958

Our studio is located in Mangilao on the campus of the University of Guam, Dean's Circle #13, next to the Isla Center for the Arts. 

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