web analytics

Holly Hart’s Interviews of Nicholas Johnson
KICI-LPFM, 103.5 FM, Iowa City, Iowa

Beginning in January of 2021, from time-to-time Holly Hart, Station Manager of Iowa City’s community radio station KICI-LPFM, has invited Nicholas Johnson to be interviewed as a guest on the station’s program, “Situation Room.”

“Situation Room” is aired by KICI-LPFM Sunday at 1:00 pm, Tuesday at 6:30 am and 9:00 pm, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., and Friday at 10:30 am. The interviews usually focus on one of his monthly columns in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids), also available on his blog, FromDC2Iowa.

This webpage provides links to audio recordings of those interviews (in reverse chronological order; latest first), along with brief text, a link to the relevant column (as posted on Johnson’s blog, plus an image from that page. Dates are usually the date of recording.

For more information about KICI-LPFM, see: Nicholas Johnson, “KICI-LPFM: A Brief History of U.S. Radio and Low Power FM Stations,” February 2, 2022.

Nicholas Johnson on Artificial Intelligence​ – May 12, 2023

Nicholas Johnson on AI,” May. 12, 2023. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column: “Is Artificial Intelligence Your Friend?,” The Gazette, April 18, 2023, p. A5.

Nicholas Johnson was interviewed by Holly Hart for the KICI-FM radio program “The Situation Room,” on May 12, 2023, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence. Currently it’s a subject of concern worldwide. What is it, exactly, and what can it do, for better or worse? How should we carbon-based life forms respond? Nick points out that the creators of the newest AI programs have called for a pause in further development, and an interest in creating some kind of global standards toward regulation. At the same time, we are already using AI more than we may realize.

Nicholas Johnson on Civics & Bipartisanship​ – Dec. 9, 2022

Nicholas Johnson on Civics & Bipartisanship,” Dec. 9, 2022. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette columns: “Which Side Are You On?,” The Gazette, July 26, 2022, p. A6, “Civics Can Save Us,” The Gazette, September 7, 2022, p. A5, and “U.S. House Needs More Bipartisanship,” The Gazette, Nov. 22, 2022, p. A6.

This edition of The Situation Room features a new visit from Nicholas Johnson. Drawing from three recent articles, he provides insights on the current state of American politics, offers advice for BOTH Democrats and Republicans, describes a novel proposal for Bipartisanship that will help both parties, and talks about how individuals and civics can act to shore up democracy.

Supreme Court Rulings – July 5, 2022

Supreme Court Rulings,” July 5, 2022. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column, “High Court Mystique is Shattered,” The Gazette, February 16, 2022, p. A7.

How have the U.S. Supreme Court justices contributed to the Court’s loss of its non-political reputation and the respect of the public? How could it explain overturning what nominated justices told Senators was the “settled law” in Roe v. Wade? What are the implications of their analysis for other human rights grounded in the Constitution’s provisions related to rights of privacy? The “three branches” of federal government (legislative, executive, and judicial) actually have a fourth: the rules and regulations from administrative agencies, both within the executive branch and the “independent regulatory commissions” (like the FCC). Congress creates the agencies, designates their range of responsibilities, calls them before its legislative and budget committees for annual review, and can increase, decrease, or otherwise modify their responsibilities. Big business often opposes agency regulations. What is the significance of the Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA applying new standards of its own to congressional and agency powers?

Nicholas Johnson, retired from teaching law at the University of Iowa, offers his perspective on these questions as a former FCC Commissioner, administrative law professor, and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (1959-1960). Read more by Nicholas Johnson at fromdc2iowa.blogspot.com and nicholasjohnson.org.

Candidates Are Fundraisers Not Legislators – June 2, 2022

Candidates Are Fundraisers Not Legislators,” June 2, 2022. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column, “Candidates Are Fundraisers Not Legislators,” The Gazette, June 2, 2022, p. A4.

“Candidates as Fundraisers? Just how much DOES it take to run for Congress and stay in office? How much time does a Congressperson spend on fundraising? Who are the donors and what do they pay for? Former FCC Commissioner and Maritime Administrator Nicholas Johnson talks with The Situation Room about what big donors get for those contributions, and how; who really pays; and suggests some solutions.” [More]

Doing Well by Doing Good – February 3, 2022

Doing Well by Doing Good,” February 3, 2022. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column, “Doing Well By Addressing The Poor,” The Gazette, January 18, 2022, p. A6.

“To boost an economy, 70 percent of which is driven by consumer spending, consumers need money. . . . The futility of the ‘trickle down’ theory was best explained by Harvard economist Ken Galbraith: ‘If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.’ . . . It’s hard to make social progress without support from the ‘greed is good’ crowd (especially those unaware) ‘that shortsighted greed can lead to shooting oneself in the pocketbook.’” [More]

Science – December 21, 2021

Nicholas Johnson Talks About Science,” December 20, 2021. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column, “Science and Stories are Different,” The Gazette, December 8, 2021, p. A6. 

“The good thing about science is that even if you don’t believe it, it’s still true. . . . Framing answerable questions that suggest how they might be answered. Recording observations. Revising hypotheses and theories as necessary.

“Homo Sapiens have been telling each other stories for millennia – often as lessons for children – from Aesop’s Fables around 600 BC to Watty Piper’s “The Little Engine That Could” in 1930. Nothing wrong with that – unless we’re unable to see the difference between a fact and a phony, a story and a science-derived statistic.

“And what’s that difference? American COVID deaths approaching 800,000.” [More]

Democracy – July 21, 2021

Can Democracy ‘Sue For Its Own Preservation?’” Recorded July 21 and posted July 26, 2021. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column, “Lawsuits Aren’t Limited to Humans,” The Gazette, July 24, 2021, p. A5.

“What if democracy could, to quote former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, ‘sue for its own preservation?’”

The law recognizes not only the legal rights of people. It assigns legal rights as well to corporations, ships (admiralty law), young children, animals, and some elements of nature (e.g., trees and rivers).

“How about our ‘democracy’? It’s more real and deserving of the legal right to protect itself than corporations. It requires educated citizens with voting rights, and judges and journalists with independence and integrity. Refusals to accept election results, cutting schools’ budgets, or saying media are ‘the enemy of the people’ are attacks on democracy itself. It’s long past time we grant democracy the right to ‘sue for its own preservation.’” [More]

Ask Your Doctor – June 15, 2021

Ask Your Doctor,” June 15, 2021. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette Column, “Ask Your Doctor About Big Pharma Ads; Another Example of Americans Paying Corporations to Join Their Sales Force,” The Gazette, June 8, 2021, p. 6A.

“’Ask your doctor if your purchase of this over-priced, patent-protected, copy of a generic drug, with its possible hazardous side effects might be right for our shareholders.’ When I was young, companies paid people to walk around downtown Iowa City wearing small advertising billboards. Today people pay companies to display company names and logos on their hats, shirts, pants, and shoes. Persuading doctors to write prescriptions for drugs we don’t need, may cause harm, with no more significant benefits than generics, that we are legally prohibited from buying until we can persuade our doctor to write a prescription, may be another example of our paying corporations to join their sales force.” [More]

Rethinking Electric Vehicles — May 6, 2021

Electric Vehicles Future Is Complicated,” May 6, 2021. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette Column, “Rethinking The Rush Toward Electric Vehicles,” The Gazette, April 11, 2021, p. D3

“Should you buy an EV? My conclusion? As some Facebook users describe their relationship, ‘it’s complicated.’

“Do you not have to ask the price? As J.P. Morgan would say, ‘If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.’ Do you have exclusive access to a charging station, or a garage where you can put one? Do you already have a second, conventional car? Would you or your partner only use the EV for errands around town, or commuting distances for which daily, overnight home charging is adequate? To avoid merely substituting coal-generated electricity for petroleum, do you live in one of the most renewable-energy-sourced electricity states? Do you consider the fun of driving an EV a part of their value?

“If you can answer ‘yes’ to all those questions an EV may make sense.”

Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport — January 21, 2021

Supporting the Columns of Democracy,” January 29, 2021. [Listen/Download MP3 or Listen on SoundCloud] Related Gazette column, “Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport,” The Gazette, January 13, 2021, p. A6. The audio (no video) is also available on Nicholas Johnson’s YouTube channel.

Like an automobile that needs a wide range of different parts to operate, to sustain a democracy it must come out of, and be supported by, a range of essential institutions – the “columns of democracy.” KICI Station Manager Holly Hart interviews former FCC Commissioner and retired UI law professor Nicholas Johnson about his role in the FCC’s creation of local public media, events of January 6, 2021, and what democracy demands of each of us as he explains the concept that provided the title to his book, “Columns of Democracy.”

For more information about KICI-LPFM, see: Nicholas Johnson, “KICI-LPFM: A Brief History of U.S. Radio and Low Power FM Stations,” February 2, 2022.