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The first half of the day involved two major events. The first was the Micropower Council of War. Stephen Dunifer led the meeting, which produced a detailed strategy for free radio activists well into next year.
The microradio movement has absolutely no intentions of fading away even though others have co-opted some of their ideas and phraseology; they know that LPFM's potential is still nebulous at best, and pointless at worst. There is still much to fight for.
Ironically enough, on Friday the FCC came out with a revision to its LPFM plan. Under increasing pressure from Congress, the NAB and National Public Radio, the FCC reinstated all the normal channel spacing protection in several potential LPFM service areas, robbing the public of some of the radio crumbs they've been promised.
At noon, a bunch of us gathered outside the Hilton hotel, where coincidentally National Public Radio's Board of Directors was meeting.
Some had secured a half hour on the agenda to speak about NPR's opposition to LPFM, and before going inside we held a press conference kicking off a nationwide "Un-Donation" campaign against NPR and its member stations, suggesting people stop pledging money to public radio until it agrees to support more public access to the airwaves.
The NPR Board ended up giving us extra time to call them on the carpet about their opposition to LPFM, and afterwards, NPR CEO Kevin Klose himself and another Board member came out to engage a handful of us in some one-on-one dialogue.
It's not so often access like that falls into your lap, but the conversation didn't seem very fruitful. Klose and other NPR big-wigs didn't say anything new, simply re-packaging standard arguments of opposition to low power radio - going through the motions of dialogue.
At least now, though, NPR can't deny the dissent among its grassroots ranks on the issue.
At four p.m., a crowd of thousands gathered in United Nations Plaza for a media democracy rally. Energized by speakers, poets, music, and theatre, most compared notes about their experiences over the past three days while others paraded around with special signs and costumes made especially for the event.
It was supposed to be a final battle call,
as everyone who'd been working the citywide protest of the past couple
of days finally converged in one spot. Invigorating would be putting it
mildly - but it was nothing compared to what would happen that night.