Shawn Ewald, creator of the Radio4All.net architecture, has released the site code via SourceForge. Anyone with the bandwidth or server space can now establish their own automated content archival system. It would be great to see more Radio4All-type sites, as there’s lots more demand than the single site can adequately serve.
There’s a couple of interesting non-profit ventures trying to master the business of connecting audio content providers with broadcasters and/or the listening masses. Using the internet as distribution platform to circumvent traditional radio network models is not new, but making a marketplace out of it is fairly so.
Public Radio Exchange has been working at it the longest. The service came of age in 2004; users of the system pay a yearly fee to upload and market their work. Broadcasters purchase rights to air pieces via a system of points, which are redeemed for cash, paid out by PRX on a quarterly basis. The system’s gotten some limited but favorable press and seems to be enjoying fairly wide adoption among those who work in or on contract to public radio.
While the proliferation of FM translator stations by religious broadcast groups arguably constitutes spectrum abuse, it’s just one perspective on a larger problem. Religious broadcasters are not only snapping up translator channels on which real community LPFM stations might have been sited, they’re also engaged in LPFM broadcasting.
A recent SF Chronicle story illustrates how Calvary Chapel organizes LPFM station affiliate growth:
This month, the Calvary Chapel Radio Ministry of Costa Mesa in Orange County hosted 170 mostly Christian low-power broadcasters, offering them operational tips as well as up to “16 hours per day, seven days a week” of programming beamed in via satellite, according to its Web site.
An update to a story earlier this week: the United Church of Christ’s documentary, LPFM: The People’s Choice, is most definitely an optional-carry program for NBC affiliates. This is evidenced by the fact that less than two dozen stations have agreed to broadcast it so far – some of whom won’t actually play it until next year. There is a link on the UCC site marked “click here to view the video (RealVideo)” but I can’t get it to work (after trying two different browsers).
While the LPFM service itself seems to be stuck in limbo (no new station application windows on the horizon, S. 2505 dead in the water), the FCC may be planning a publicity stunt of sorts. It seems that an “LPFM Day” is in the works, where LPFM advocates and people with stations will come to the FCC and show off some of their gear as well as tell stories of what LPFM stations have done for their communities. All well and good, but no substitute for actual service growth.
The first is the FCC’s decision to set aside an earlier ruling that suspended approval for an Oregon commercial radio station to move closer to Seattle – a move which will force Mercer Island High School’s KMIH-FM off the air. The set-aside effectively puts the school’s station back in the gallows.
KMIH General Manager Nick DeVogel says, “This decision is ripe for reconsideration and appeal, and we implore the Commission to do just that.”