David Barsamian

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David Barsamian
David Barsamian photographed in San Francisco, California on May 22, 2014
David Barsamian giving a lecture called 'The Twilight of Capitalism' at a ZOMTalks event in Lebanon hosted by ARF's Zavarian Student Association on February 23, 2016.[1]
Born 1945
Occupation Founder and Director of Alternative Radio
Website alternativeradio.org/pages/about-barsamian

David Barsamian (born 1945) is an Armenian-American radio broadcaster, writer, and the founder and director of Alternative Radio, a Boulder, Colorado-based syndicated weekly public affairs program heard on some 250 radio stations worldwide.[2]

Barsamian started working in radio in 1978 at KGNU in Boulder, Colorado and then KRZA in Alamosa, Colorado.[3]

Articles by (and interviews with) Barsamian have appeared regularly in The Progressive, The Sunand Z Magazine. Barsamian also lectures on U.S. foreign policy, corporate control, the media, and propaganda. He is particularly well known for his insightful interview series with Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Edward Said, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, and Tariq Ali, which have been collected into books.

In 1986, David Barsamian took the initiative to do more than critique the media. Frustrated by corporate media's lack of progressive, radical voices, he founded Alternative Radio. Now aired on more than 250 radio stations, Barsamian's journalism is well-respected around the world for analyzing the world´s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems and exploring possible solutions to them.

Barsamian was born in New York in 1945 to refugees who had fled the Turkish genocide of Armenians. He grew up with a strong interest international issues, which developed further during an extended period in India in the 1960s. He regards that time as a major influence: "I was surrounded by some of that country's greatest musicians and poets. I learned so much, including Urdu, Hindi and Bengali. It was like getting a graduate education in South Asia." These early experiences gave him the cultural and political awareness that has been the foundation of his journalism.

In 1978, Barsamian volunteered at KGNU community radio in Boulder, Colorado. Over eight years at KGNU, he learned the essentials of radio journalism -- listening, interviewing, writing, producing, on-air skills. He even edited reel-to-reel tape with razor blades and wax pencils. He hosted and produced two KGNU shows, "Ganges to the Nile," an international cultural program, and "Hemispheres," a political program. In 1986, he uplinked a two-and-a-half hour program with Noam Chomsky to the public radio satellite. Though most radio stations preferred half hour or one hour segments, a few stations picked up the program. That long conversation with Chomsky was the beginning of Alternative Radio.

Barsamian is critical of power in the U.S. and elsewhere, which has consequences. In 2011, at New Delhi airport, he was denied entry to India. Immigration officials forced him to return to the U.S., offering no explanation.  Some theorize that he was blacklisted after broadcasting Arundhati Roy’s criticism of India’s treatment of people in Kashmir. Many prominent Indians spoke out against the travel ban, and Barsamian did as well: “This arbitrary action … is not a sign of strength of Indian democracy; it's rather a sign of weakness. A healthy, vibrant democracy should include a rainbow of different opinions, different perspectives, and points of view and it should embrace those differences rather than seeking to impose a uniformity of thought and opinion.” Since visiting Iran in 2016, he has repeatedly been detained and questioned at U.S. airports.

Founding Alternative Radio was Barsamian's personal attempt to meet the goals of public broadcasting: “to serve as a forum for controversy and debate” and “to provide a voice for groups that may otherwise be unheard." Because mainstream media oversimplifies debate and leaves out so many voices, alternative media outlets play a crucial role in American democracy. In Barsamian’s view, "it was unacceptable that many of this country's greatest and most articulate radical voices had no forum on public radio. Alternative Radio was created to be the vehicle for progressive perspectives that are otherwise ignored or given short shrift.”

After more than thirty years of AR, Barsamian continues to speak up for those who are unheard or ignored.

Bibliography[edit]

Year Title Publisher ISBN Notes
1992 Chronicles of Dissent Common Courage Press ISBN 0-96288-388-3 Interviews with Noam Chomsky
Stenographers to Power: Media and Propaganda Common Courage Press ISBN 0-96288-385-9
1994 Keeping the Rabble in Line ISBN 1-56751-033-7 Interviews with Noam Chomsky
The Pen and the Sword Haymarket Books (2010 reprint) ISBN 1-93185-995-7 Interviews with Edward Said
Secrets, Lies and Democracy Odonian Press ISBN 1-87882-504-6 Interviews with Noam Chomsky; part of The Chomsky Trilogy (ISBN 1-87882-507-0); part of The Chomsky Quartet (ISBN 1-87882-516-X)
The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many ISBN 1-87882-503-8
What Uncle Sam Really Wants ISBN 1-87882-501-1
1996 Class Warfare Pluto Press ISBN 1-56751-092-2 Interviews with Noam Chomsky
1998 The Common Good Odonian Press ISBN 1-87882-508-9 Interviews with Noam Chomsky; part of The Chomsky Quartet
1999 The Future of History Common Courage Press ISBN 1-56751-157-0 Interviews with Howard Zinn
2017 Confronting Empire Haymarket Books ISBN 0-89608-615-1 Interviews with Eqbal Ahmad
2001 The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting ISBN 0-89608-654-2
Propaganda and the Public Mind Pluto Press ISBN 0-74531-788-X Interviews with Noam Chomsky
9-11 Seven Stories Press ISBN 1-58322-489-0
Terrorism: Theirs and Ours ISBN 1-58322-490-4 Interviews with Eqbal Ahmad
2003 The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile Haymarket Books ISBN 0-89608-710-7 Interviews with Arundhati Roy
Culture and Resistance Pluto Press ISBN 0-74532-017-1 Interviews with Edward Said
2004 Louder Than Bombs: Interviews from The Progressive Magazine South End Press ISBN 0-89608-725-5
2005 Imperial Ambitions: Conversations With Noam Chomsky On The Post-9/11 World Macmillan ISBN 1-42998-081-8
Speaking of the Empire and Resistance: Interviews with Tariq Ali The New Press ISBN 1-56584-954-X
2006 Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics with David Barsamian HarperCollins (2009 reprint) ISBN 0-06175-141-3 Interviews with Howard Zinn
2007 Targeting Iran City Lights Books ISBN 0-87286-458-8 Interviews with Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian and Nahid Mozaffari
What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World Macmillan ISBN 0-80508-671-4 Interviews with Noam Chomsky
2012 Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism City Lights Books ISBN 0-87286-568-1 Interviews with Richard Wolff
2013 Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire Macmillan ISBN 0-80509-616-7 Interviews with Noam Chomsky

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Notes
1992 Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media Credited in the acknowledgments as a source for archival audio,[4] appeared onscreen as an interviewer[5]
2006 Independent Intervention
2013 Targeting Iran Interviewee in documentary based on his book of the same name[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reference from Aztag Daily, the daily newspaper of the Lebanese Armenian community.
  2. ^ "David Barsamian hits Calgary". FFWD – Calgary Blogs – The Howler. Retrieved April 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ "David Barsamian - Americans Who Tell The Truth". Americans Who Tell The Truth. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ "David Barsamian". IMDb. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Roy, Arundhati (29 September 2011). "The dead begin to speak up in India". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Targeting Iran (2013)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 

External links[edit]