M+M (aka Martha And The Muffins) – Black Stations/White Stations

Martha Johnson and Mark Gane are the two “M’s of this Canadian new wave group, also known as M+M.

The song, a minor US hit, boldly states that “This is 1984,” so radio stations shouldn’t be afraid to play songs about interracial love. Since the song was about this (“I dream in black and white”), it was controversial and not played all that much!

At the time, though, before the Internet and all that, radio was a medium many citizens would depend on for their information. Thus the role of the media is powerful in being able to select what is played. What is not played can be seen as manipulative and even, in the case of this song’s troubles, behind the times and not socially progressive. Still, radio is dependent on advertising and must be sensitive to what their benefactors care to support. As well, owners of radio and other media may have their own views of what to disseminate, prompting concerns of bias, and subjectivity… and criticisms of concentration of ownership of media in a few hands. Nonetheless, many countries regulate broadcasting to promote domestic values, of which Martha and the Muffins were trying to change.

Does the song’s subject seem quaint, today?

 

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