News Archive: August 2002
8/31/02 - A Hearty Middle Finger to the National Association of Broadcasters [link to this story]
Guess who stopped in this week for a look-see:
I'd just like to personally say hello to our visitors from the NAB and wish them a rambunctious time in Seattle come mid-September. Since the cat's out of the bag, anyone heading there for the festivities should practice appropriate levels of personal and group security, as you may never know just who may be listening in on what you have to say.
When you stick a few thousand radio industry types in one place, you're bound to end up with a handful of pirate-hating chumps who find the hunt arousing: freedom of speech is not the NAB's strong suit, unless it suits their agenda of the moment. And you can bet Seattle's finest field agents have been alerted as well. Tactics will be key.8/22/02 - Michael Powell Wants Regulatory Slaughter, New Microradio Documentary in the Works, Interesting Uses for LPFM [link to this story]
The FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force has just wrapped up a series of four "workshops" on how best the agency can divvy up our electromagnetic spectrum.
In remarks at the closing workshop (held Aug. 9), FCC Chairman Michael Powell outlined four goals he wants to see the FCC work toward when it comes to managing spectrum. Goal #2 is the one that almost made me lose my lunch:
Let me repeat Powell's last sentiment, as it bears noting twice - "He said that the 'laborious process' of government command and control 'has served the country well to this point, but is futilely too slow to rapidly move things to new and better innovative uses.'"
Now, we've known all along that Powell has been a big supporter of deregulation, and that he would further advance the business-friendly policies that have led the media to the state it's in today. But what Powell's suggesting here is a wholesale replacement of what little regulatory structure there is with market-run-rampant mechanisms. Doing so on such a core function of the FCC - spectrum management issues - means he's much more dangerous when we first thought.
You'd think watching the telecom industry implode would register with Mikey Powell, possibly making him re-think the "market knows best" mantra that he so fervently subscribes to. Alas, it is not to be. All the more reason to redouble direct action efforts to reclaim our airwaves, as it appears that's the only thing the FCC will take notice of.
On that front, a new documentary on the West Coast microradio scene is forthcoming: "Stealing Air" features footage and soundbites from many of microradio's notable stations like Freak Radio Santa Cruz, San Francisco Liberation Radio and Free Radio Berkeley. No word yet on when it will actually be released, so stay tuned....
The FCC's LPFM plan continues to crawl along, with new construction permits (and some actual LPFM licenses) trickling out of the agency almost every month. Some are exploiting loopholes in the plan, like the stations in Ohio, Florida and Indiana which are apparently simulcasting full-power radio stations. Then there's Waverly Light and Power, a municipal-owned utility company in Waverly, Iowa, who has received a construction permit for an LPFM station on 96.9. It plans to use the station for "energy education, interviews with community leaders, and call-in programs." Hey, it beats looped traffic reports!
8/1/02 - A/V Archive Unleashed, Launch Imminent, Random Notes [link to this story]
I hereby present to you the Audio Library, which contains more than four gigabytes of material. In addition to 40+ hours of shortwave pirate clips (many new to the 'net), featured MP3s and all things Mbanna, there's some worthy video for you to check out as well.
Examples include "Free Radio: A Video Documentary" and "Evil Empire," an oldie but still goodie, especially with the pending NAB radio convention in Seattle (just a month and a half away) and Clear Channel's recent higher-than-usual public visibility.
Remember: this stuff just represents what was previously encoded, plus a backlog of stuff I hadn't gotten to putting online yet. And we haven't even gotten to media collage! Based on this, it's feeling about time to officially "launch" DIYmedia, which means getting back into the real swing of things, with regular updates and the like. Look for that to happen within a week or so, once we get a few more essentials online.
In the meantime, some notes of interest:
The public comment period for the FCC's proceeding on AM digital radio standards expired in mid-July, and REC Networks has compiled a great summary of many of the comments filed in opposition to the misguidedness of IBOC DAB.
Floridia amateur radio operator Robert Birdsey has filed a Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC to delete certain sections of the Code of Federal Regulations that prohibit hams from broadcasting. In his petition (RM-10492), he argues that the blanket prohibitions of broadcasting on ham frequencies "are in clear violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech and should be deleted immediately." You can file comments on the petition by using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (just mention RM-10492 in the "Proceeding" window).
And it wouldn't be right to go without first giving kudos to the tenacious folks at Boulder Free Radio, who have dodged yet another bullet from the FCC by setting up a network of transmitting locations and a pretty bulletproof system for keeping those involved with the station nice and anonymous. It's had the effect so far of keeping the FCC field agents (especially Jon Sprague from Denver's FCC office) coming back to Boulder - but leaving empty-handed.
Now THAT'S the way to play cat-and-mouse!