The True Face of the Dark Side

It was to be a busy annual convention for the National Association of Broadcasters: with consolidation at a fever pitch and various new technologies being unveiled, corporate broadcasters all over the nation converged on Las Vegas last week to talk shop and pitch wares.

As is the typical form, FCC Chairman William Kennard addressed the assembled executives and managers at a breakfast meeting.

These annual addresses typically are a “state of broadcasting” kind of speech, where the FCC Chairman at the time lays out his goals for the coming year. One of those goals will be the creation of a low power radio service. In fact, Kennard made special mention of it in his speech.

The entire event was broadcast over the Internet – all but Kennard’s low power broadcasting comments. Read More

Beware the Propaganda

Always give credit where credit is due. What you’re about to read began as the sample “editorial” the NAB included in its recently released “Low-Power FM Lobbying Kit.” Keep a close eye on your local newspaper’s Opinions section – it seems like the radio industry trying to spin public opinion much like they program the airwaves.

Fight fire with fire. We have tweaked the NAB’s copy below. Feel free to print it out and submit it en masse. Maybe get your copy in first; that way when Mr. Radio Executive in your town gets theirs printed, it’ll look like he copied you! Read More

First Skirmish

Things may seem like they’re moving at a quick pace, but this is just a flurry of activity before great lull before the next Big Phase in the legalization of low-power FM.

While supporters of a low-power radio service continue to work on their comments and enlightening more people to what may lie on their radio dial, the National Association of Broadcasters is finally grinding into motion. The first meeting of its LPFM “war council,” otherwise known as the Spectrum Integrity Task Force, met last week, undoubtedly laying out the long-term strategy in the fight against legalization.

On the NAB’s own website duscission boards, LPFM doesn’t appear to be drawing much interest. A whopping two posts have been made about the subject, touting all the economic harm that LPRS will supposedly do to “small” stations. Not even a clap from the audience. Either most commercial broadcasters today are woefully Internet-illiterate or don’t really much care about LPFM becoming a reality.

The NAB has a request to extend the deadline for comments and replies on the LPFM proposal until October, which would effectively keep all possible movement forward on the idea bottled up for at least another six months. It claims it wants to use the time to do “studies” on what “interference” LPFM may cause its members’ over-valued “broadcast properties.”

Translated, this means two things: the first is manufacture a “spin” on the technical data – painting as terrible a picture of signal interference as it can. The second is to lobby as much support in Congress as possible for a potential end run around the FCC completely.

LPFM proponents haven’t been napping, either. The Amherst Alliance, frustrated with all of the delays in action, fired off written correspondence to the FCC in tones that were not completely diplomatic on the issue:

5 months passed from the initial RM-9208 Notice in February of 1998 to the closing of the comment period in July of 1998. After that, another 6 months passed from the close of comments to the issuance of a Proposed Rule in late January of 1999. Read More

Gaining Speed

1999’s gotten off to quite an active start for low-power broadcasting in the United States. While a real rule finally legalizing small FM stations remains months (if not years) away, it seems both sides in the battle are taking no chances in getting off to a slow start.

The bad guys are wasting no time attacking the proposed rulemaking and enlisting congressional support as much as possible. The National Association of Broadcasters has named the members of its “Spectrum Integrity Task Force,” who, as a means of public service, I’m providing the names of for your perusal and consideration: Read More

NABing the Airwaves

By Jennifer Barrios

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) held their annual conference this year in Las Vegas, and high on their agenda was what to do with those pesky microbroadcasters, or “pirates” as they like to call these crusaders of the airwaves. FCC officials turned out to this event en masse, for it is the NAB who really controls the FCC, not Congress. The FCC spent much time telling the NAB what they wanted to hear: that the FCC is on a single-minded mission to obliterate microbroadcasters from the airwaves and save the precious NAB corporate monopoly. FCC Chairman William Kennard, however, in an interesting comment, indicated that he was not averse to licensing small, micropower stations. “Let me be clear about one thing,” he admonished an old NAB broadcaster at the FCC Chairman’s Breakfast. “Let’s not confuse pirate radio with microbroadcasting.” Is this a sign of the FCC finally cracking, or simply another example of straddling the fence? Will the NAB’s monopoly over the airwaves finally be toppled? Read More