Peoria citizen media takes its next step

CITY BEAT by Bill Dennis

CITY BEAT by Bill Dennis

The Community Word publisher Debbie Adlof and myself have started a news business. It’s called TellPeoria Online Media. You can visit our business site at and see some recent press releases to see what we’re all about.

But the best short explanation is this: There are thousands of blogs and other Websites that are published by people who live and work in Peoria and surrounding communities. There are also thousands of businesses, both large and small, who need to advertise their goods and services. Fewer businesses are choosing to spend money to advertise on newspapers and broadcast stations, and more are chosing to advertise online. connects Peoria-area businesses with the bloggers and other Website owners who can run their advertising.

Debbie and I are believers in the free market. We are doing this to make a profit. But we’re also fans of community-based citizen journalism. TellPeoria will help people survive the transition away from print and broadcast media to online.

This is our contact information:

Ad website:
Directory Website:
Phone number: Bill Dennis: (309) 863-5748. Debbie Adlof: (309) 692-0644


Journal Star takes the slow train to clulessness

I’m not the one who originally noticed this, but it’s worth mentioning.

Whatever one’s opinion is of the plan to rip out the Kellar Branch rail line and replace it with a walking/biking trail, it’s pretty obvious that the Peoria Journal Star has supported the project.

It’s not just that the editorial board supports it. It’s that the reporting on it is so one-sided. The utterances of trail supporters are treated as the definitive authority. The words of opponents almost never find their want into print. It’s been that way for years.

I’m not suggesting some huge conspiracy. Both people and organizations can be lazy. If a reporter turns in an article that’s going to make the big bosses happy, few editors will send that reporter back to get a quote that’s going to going to make the bosses unhappy.

And yes, there are more bosses like that than the newspaper business likes to admit.

And reporters would general not want to deal with that B.S.

Still, you would think a newspaper that carried so much water for the Build the Trail crowd would realize they won, and write an article about it. Peoria bloggers David Jordan and C.J. Summers wrote on their respective Web sites on January 1 that Pioneer Railcorp notified the Surgace Transportation Board that it wanted to abandon the Kellar Branch. Since opposition from Pioneer (whch previously said it needed to service customers there) was the only reason the the SBT didn’t abandon it earlier, this will make way for the city to lease the corridor to the Peoria Park District, which will convert it into a trail.

In other words: We’re getting a new trail.

But Peoria’s one and only newspaper of record didn’t write about this until exactly 14 days later.

So why did it take so long?

Since most of the reporting has been so one-sided — even this most recent PJS article did not quote one person opposed to closing the Kellar Branch — one would think they would be chomping at the bit to gloat.

Perhaps it is because the reporting has been so uncritical and single-sourced that no one at the Journal Star was bother to follow developments, other than waiting for a call to inform them it was time for more pro-trail propaganda.

And I rather doubt many trail proponents really understood what Pioneer’s filing really meant. Most of them seemed to think their ability to bully local politicians into caving to their will should have been enough to get that they want — never mind the STB’s federal mandate to keep rail lines open as long as there are customers.

So once again, bloggers and citizen journalists had the news first. It’s happening everywhere, but more so in cities like Peoria, where the daily newspaper is cutting reporters and editors positions to the point they don’t have the resources to adequately cover the stories they want to cover fairly.

No surprise, WMBD hires right-winger

By the time you read this, Jamie Markley and Phil Luciano will be done with their 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. slot on WMBD 1470-AM and will be doing a morning drive time show on sister station “The Max” 102.3 (and for the record, calling a radio station “The Max” or “The Wolf” to be “The Obnoxious”).

To replace Markley and Luciano, JMP Radio Group hired Scott Robbins from Cities Talk FM 92.9 in Bloomington/Normal. Robbins is a typical journeyman radio guy and has bounced around quite a bit. He used to work at Rock 106 with Markley back when it was the only rock radio station that mattered.

And he is a right winger. He spoke at some “912” event back in September.

Not that it’s any surprise. JMP general manager Mike Wild loves the right-wing talkers. In fact, he’s making Robbins’s show one hour shorter and juggling the lineup to move right-winger Sean hannity back to afternoons after right-winger Rush Limbaugh (who himself follows right-winger Glenn Beck), which frees up late evenings to return right-winger Michael Savage (off the air after he said 99 percent of autism cases were frauds).

But WMBD has every right to fill its signal with right-wing blowhards. I will defend to my death WMBD’s right to make money pandering to right-winger fears of stealth-Muslim presidents and government takeovers of Medicare (think about that for a second). These talk shows hosts will tell you how much they value the free market and say that if people didn’t listen, they wouldn’t be on the air.

Absolutely true.

And I hear that Scott Robbins isn’t really a conservative. But he’s playing one on the radio, because that’s where the market is. Hey, you give the free market what it wants.

Bush League

If the production values coming out of WEEK and WHOW newscasts were any worse, I’d swear I was watching a college radio station. But I don’t want to insult college radio station.

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