The 'art' of disappearing

Thereis no place in the Netherlands for the odd one out. Strangers can beassimilated or deported and sick people can be cured or euthanised, butthe dreamer and the bohemian will not fit in a straight-jacket. Thereare only paved roads to follow in this country and those who cannot orwill not follow these roads are doomed. Sooner or later that odd oneout will be given a choice: either he will lay hands on himself or hewill be lend a hand with his choice. After that he can rot in his graveuntil after long the time is ripe to memorise his peculiarity at astrictly limited occasion.

It appears that the alternative mediaculture that Amsterdam has known until now cannot be normalized. On theone hand this culture doesn't want to be encapsulated in a publicorganisation, and on the other hand it is impossible to engage in thecollection of enough money to pass as a commercial organisation. Thoseare the only two options for the existence of media in the Netherlands:public and commercial.

The first victims have already fallenamongst the local radio's. Radio 100 lost its FM frequency after acommercial radio station at an auction of FM allocations, organised bythe government, bought the frequency which was used by one of the radiochannels of the public broadcast service Salto. The Salto channel wasassigned another frequency: that of Radio 100. Squatter's radio VrijeKeyser was confronted with the new public and heavily subsidised radiostation FunX, which was given Vrije Keyser's frequency. Bothalternative radio stations had to postpone their broadcasts and canonly restart when and if, after the sale of as many FM frequencies tocommercial parties as possible, a forgotten frequency can be found.True, an organisation sympathetic to Radio 100 has tried to bid for afrequency at the auction, but that scheme failed and the organisationwas afterwards fined 4500 euro for supporting an illegal radio station.

Alsothe producers of local television programmes should be concerned. Theirshows are usually being broadcast on A1, one of the two open accesschannels run by Salto. The financial aid that Salto hands out for theproduction of these shows has been decreased, but at the same time thetechnical requirements were raised. The Amsterdam Programming Council,which acts as an adviser to the city council, has decided that the A1channel is no longer a 'must carry' channel that cable company New-UPChas to provide on the Amsterdam cable network. Therefore it is verylikely that, once the government issues a broadcast license to a newcommercial or public TV station, A1 will have to make way and willvanish off the cable.

This is the way in which the radio and TVbroadcasts that tactical media fans love so much in Amsterdam aredisappearing, or are in danger of disappearing. Or, as happens to theodd ones in the Netherlands: they are being disappeared.