Bad Reception: The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco is Doug Loranger's new video about San Francisco's fight with the cellphone industry and its rapidly proliferating but largely unnoticed antennas erected in urban areas. The video might be better titled "Resisting Electromagnetic Colonization." It's a compelling, professionally done video complete with the street level views of credible critics of the cell phone industry's seemingly insatiable appetite for more and more antennas.
The video properly focuses on how much is not know about the cumulative effects of the multiple, redundant, and frequently unnecessary antennas and the attendant microwave radiation buildup that comes with them. Clinton's 1996 Telecommunications Act - written almost entirely by industry lobbyists - suspiciously exempted the cell phone industry from all health and environmental objections. Bad Reception also points out that there's a gold rush underway by the cellular forces to stake claims to microwave frequencies by installing antennas in non-industrial neighborhoods to "claim" a frequency in the area so that the electronic "stake" can later be sold off to a bigger company at a nice markup.
I'm skeptical about some of the wild-sounding negative health claims some cell phone industry critics make and their apparent inability to document their claims. But Bad Reception's [italics] clever and frequent close-ups on the side and tops of building after building with dozens and dozens of previously innocuous looking antennas cropping up in urban areas should worry just about anybody.
Community groups fighting off cell phone towers here in Mendocino County can learn a lot about how to organize and fight city hall from Loranger's documentary.
The only quibble I would make about the video is that it would be nice if the package included a printed one-page bibliography of the source material covered in the video and a list of contacts and advice as to where to go for more information on the subject. (A website is briefly mentioned in the video and on the tape itself.)
Highly recommended. - Mark Scaramella, Anderson Valley Advertiser
Those interested in obtaining a VHS copy of Bad Reception should send an e-mail .