About a week and a half left until dissertation-research formally concludes. Then a short break after which it’s time to organize the ~800 pages of notes collected from FCC dockets, trade publications, and related materials into formal prose. In the meantime:

Pirate Radio: Pally-pal Paul Riismandel wrote two excellent articles this week for Radio Survivor on unlicensed broadcasting. The first looks at a spate of FCC enforcement actions in Massachusetts, and especially around the Boston area.

Paul finds that Caribbean and Hispanic pirates dominate the scene, much like in south Florida and the NYC metro area, and concludes that “While LPFM provided a very needed avenue for many different populations and communities to obtain broadcast licenses, the service is not and will not be enough to make up for the lack of diversity on the majority of the radio dial. While the FCC may have hoped LPFM would hold back the tide of pirate radio, a decade later there’s no evidence that happened.”

The Boston field office’s work does not appear to reflect a nationwide campaign against unlicensed broadcasting; methinks they just finally proliferated enough in that particular region that the Boston field office had to make some show of “force.” (The Enforcement Action Database, by the way, is in stasis momentarily for the above-mentioned reason, but will update again, hopefully by the summer.)

Paul’s second story relates news of a pending pirate radio crackdown in Spain, which boasts more than 3,000 unlicensed stations. Reminds one of the scene in the Netherlands ’round the turn of the century. The U.K. scene is still booming, especially in London, as evidenced by a recent mini-documentary (underwritten by a footwear company) which makes the U.S. scene look primitive in comparison.

On more historical notes, I just finished reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb (again) and noted this gem for the first time: “A low-power radio station began broadcasting to [Los Alamos] residents on Christmas Eve, 1943, drawing on several fine collections of classical records, including [Robert] Oppenheimer‘s; the few New Mexicans beyond the Hill who could receive the station’s signals were puzzled that announcers never introduced live performers by their last names. The “Otto” who occasionally played classical piano selections was Otto Frisch.”

Meanwhile another friend, Benn Kobb, points to a new documentary on clandestine radio stations; more specifically, on that elusive sub-genre, the numbers station. The trailer looks pretty enticing.

HD Radio: Sometimes it can be fun to play with numbers: a Google Trends chart comparing searches on various forms of digital radio does not portend well for iBiquity. Then again, seeing has how the company is being kept alive primarily by sporadic venture capital infusions – 10 years into its corporate history – does not portend well, either.

Culture Jamming: Introducing TrustoCorp, “dedicated to highlighting the hypocrisy and hilarity of human behavior through sarcasm and satire.” The Corp got busy on the droplift-style rebranding front in the NYC area this spring. We need more of this than ever today.