WRFL’s ‘Democracy Now!’ gains loyal fans for honest reporting

Patrick Brennan, Assistant Opinions Editor

Patrick Brennan

For students who haven’t tuned into 88.1 FM WRFL at 9 a.m., it’s time to start. 

Every weekday, WRFL fills the Lexington airwaves with information from around the globe reported by the national, independent, award-winning news program “Democracy Now!”

“Part of our mission is to provide an alternative source of music, news and other programming that you can’t find elsewhere,” UK Media Adviser Ben Allen said.

Listeners will appreciate that “Democracy Now!” stands apart because of its grassroots funding. While corporate media outlets report news that maximizes profit, “Democracy Now!” maximizes the quality of its stories because it is funded by donations from listeners, viewers and foundations.

Also, “Democracy Now!” stands apart because of its left-leaning focus. Independent and right-wing news programs can be found in troves, but left-leaning ones are few and far between.

However, that is not to say that “Democracy Now!” has biased information. Instead it highlights issues more often associated with liberalism, such as climate change and income inequality.

“I find it to be (liberally biased), but I like that it’s free form and that it’s not influenced by advertising,” said Maya Collins-Paterson, a forestry freshman. “I listen when I don’t have classes.”

Most of all, “Democracy Now!” stands apart by its impeccable reporting. The show is both professional and insightful, always trying to give a fair account of every perspective. 

According to its website, “Democracy Now!” discusses issues with ordinary people, artists, academics, independent and international journalists, grassroots leaders, peace activists and independent analysts. 

Rather than the banter and rhetoric found in corporate media, the informed discussions on “Democracy Now!” can be valuable for students to learn how to discuss and debate important issues.

For all these reasons, WRFL is doing a great service to the UK community and Lexington by broadcasting “Democracy Now!” for more than 10 years. Now, whenever there are technical problems interrupting the “Democracy Now!” feed, WRFL immediately gets calls from regular listeners, Allen said.

“We think that it’s a really valuable program,” said Nathan Hewitt, the WRFL General Manager and an arts administration and music performance senior. “I would recommend that everyone listens to it, even if you don’t always agree with the viewpoint.”

Patrick Brennan is the assistant opinions editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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