Deep in the Lake

This article was initially written for/published in the Wisconsinite, a now-defunct alt-biweekly newspaper in Madison, WI.

The newest addition to Madison’s commercial radio dial is WHIT-FM, otherwise known as 93.1 “The Lake.” Similar in format to 101.5 WIBA-FM, the addition of “The Lake” brings the number of stations owned by Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Madison to seven, topping Clear Channel’s local stable by one and making it the largest station owner in the market. Mid-West Family Broadcasting is based in Madison, but it also owns clusters of stations in LaCrosse, Benton Harbor, MI, Springfield, IL, and Springfield, MO. Its other Madison properties include 94.1 WJJO, “Magic” 98, Q-106, WTDY-AM (1670), WTUX-AM (1550), and “La Movida” WTDA-AM (1480), which Mid-West Family owns but leases to Hispanic programmers.

The route by which “The Lake” was built is a long and somewhat convoluted story, but it shows how local and regional radio station companies have had to band together to remain competitive in an industry which has seen explosive consolidation over the last eight years. Read More

Two Critical Online Resources Get Even More Useful

The first is the venerable A-Infos Radio Project (which I believe is now separate from the woefully outdated Radio4All.org) – a complete overhaul of the project source code. The new layout takes a bit of getting used to and there might be a couple of bugs left to catch, but remember, this is free sh*t. The A-Infos Radio Project is arguably the best open source audio clearinghouse available online, with several uploads added to the system every day. They can always use some help: bandwidth is a killer, and there has to be hundreds of gigabytes of audio archived already. Read More

Mercer Island High to Keep Radio Station

Slightly old news, but mention-worthy nonetheless: the FCC last week reversed its decision allowing a commercial station to move its transmitter to a location that would force an Oregon high school to close down its Class D (30 watt) FM outlet. The short announcement did not specify a reason, but it’s not a difficult one to discern (read: negative publicity for an already-maligned agency). KMIH-FM is not out of the clear just yet, though – the FCC always has the authority to change its mind once again if it so chooses. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t get stupid (again).

Multiple Threats

As groups get organized and prepare to apply for an LPFM license when the first opportunities come around in May, opposition to the new service is growing and attacking from multiple directions.

There are three threats which pose significant immediate danger to the new LPFM service. Each one is unique, and each one could shut the service down before it even starts.

The first threat is Congress. Rep. Mike Oxley’s (R-OH) “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act of 1999” continues to draw more co-sponsors; it’s very likely that by the end of February, anti-LPFM forces will have mustered over half the votes they need to get the bill through the House of Representatives. Read More

Radio – With Video?

If you spin the radio dial to the very bottom of the FM band in Anchorage, Alaska – and then go a little lower – you’ll find a pleasant surprise. There’s a radio station there.

Broadcasting on 87.7 MHz with 920 watts of power, KZND ‘The End’ is causing quite a stir in Anchorage. It was first stumbled upon by an intrepid newspaper columnist and offers “alternative music” to the masses.

But the KZND is out-of-bounds. The FCC says any FM radio station must fall on a frequency between 88 and 108 MHz, and must have a minimum broadcast power of 100 watts. KZND, by broadcasting on 87.7, falls outside the parameters the FCC allows for legal radio broadcasting. Read More