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Radio's election project

Gearing up for 2004, stations will present a series of reports that examine the state of democracy in America.

November 04, 2003|Steve Carney | Special to The Times

With just a year to go until the next presidential election, public broadcasters around the country have teamed up this week for a series of special reports under the heading, "Whose Democracy Is It?"

National Public Radio, Public Radio International, the Canadian Broadcasting Service and the BBC World Service are among the networks collaborating on the project, along with individual stations from Washington, D.C., to Pasadena. About 300 stations nationwide are participating, airing up to 60 reports -- all meant to examine the health of democracy in America.

KPCC-FM (89.3) in Pasadena is among the stations providing programming, including the one-hour documentary "California Recall: Democracy or Power Grab?" scheduled for Friday at noon on KPCC. The show will examine the election and its chances of happening elsewhere, with insights from former California Gov. Pete Wilson, former gubernatorial candidates Ariana Huffington and Peter Camejo, and others. The show will repeat Sunday at 9 p.m.

"The President Calling" (at 7 p.m. Wednesday on KPCC) gives an intimate look at the presidency by featuring tape-recorded phone calls of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon, as they discuss issues of war, politics and civil rights.

"What Can I Say? Patriotism and Dissent" (at 7 p.m. Thursday on KPCC) looks at the intersection of politics, mass culture and free speech, with commentators ranging from Mo Rocca of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" to New York Times columnist Frank Rich.

The series will include a variety of other programs, such as town-hall meetings, call-in shows, commentaries, investigations and interactive Web components. The schedule and program guide, as well as more information about the series, are available at www.whosedemocracy.org.

In addition, public radio staples such as "All Things Considered," "Marketplace" and "This American Life" are broadcasting special reports this week as part of the series, as are KPCC's programs "Air Talk" and "Talk of the City."

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