Radio B2-92

Belgrade free radio station B92 has been under siege for more than four months – much longer than Operation Allied Force lasted. That’s because it’s easier to rebuild things than people, and, after all, the Combined Forces of NATO was dropping tons of bombs on them. A warning notice from the FCC is cake after this.

Providing a true sense of the scene while the bombs fell and providing independent commentary from both sides of the fence, it’s been a dangerous time, with numerous threats, surveillance, and the murder of colleagues.

Fortunately, though, B92’s back on the air, with a slightly new name, but no change in the the old attitude and resolve. Read More

Official Comments on LPFM

If you haven’t filed comments with the FCC on MM-9925, the proposal for creation of a low power FM radio service, your time is running out. Comments must be in the hands of the Commission by August 2. They don’t have to be as detailed as these, but you should send in something, even if it’s a one-sentence email saying “I think LPFM is a good idea.”

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! So far more than 900 comments have been filed on the LPFM proposal, and the vast majority are in favor of the idea.

These comments are officially filed! Now, onto the fun: Read More

The Numbers Game – Or Cooking the Book

It’s no surprise that since the radio industry underwent massive consolidation, the Arbitron ratings system – called “the Book” by those in the business – has come up with numerous ways to “help” broadcasters tout their supposed success.

Have you ever noticed that multiple stations in a market will call themselves “Number One?” How do they do that? It’s easy. Not everyone uses the same ratings.

But if they’re all coming from Arbitron, how can that be? Even easier: you cook “the Book.”

Allow me to quote from the Arbitron’s own description of the service it can provide to a radio station:

“(Arbitron’s ratings service) allows stations and agencies to customize survey areas, dayparts, demographics and time periods to support target marketing strategies.” Read More

Balkan Busts, Bloodshed Continue

While the bombs might have stopped falling, the casualties in Yugoslavia’s war on independent media are still coming in. In fact, the military respite Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has is giving him more energy and resources to devote to rooting out any remaining opposition and consolidating his power.

It is not a war of words, either. Central to the conflict is radio station B92, a 200-watt free radio station in the capital city of Belgrade. After ten years on the air (and two busts during that time), a third – and possibly final – one happened shortly before NATO bombs began to fall on Serbia and Kosovo.

The Yugoslav central government raided Radio B92, seizing its equipment and briefly detaining its chief operators. After maintaining firm control over the hardware, authorities apparently upgraded it, assembled a new “management team,” and opened up a “new” Radio B92 a few days after the raid – with a signal five times stronger than the original B92 ever put out. Read More

Legislative Maneuvers

There are three levels at which to play the political game. They are the local (the bottom level), state (middle), and national (the top level). Each step up the ladder takes more effort, adds more risks, and can lead to more rewards. Not surprisingly, those higher up on the ladder contain more power than those on the lower rungs.

As far as the legalization of low-power radio goes, there’s different activity at different levels – and each one paints a unique perspective on how its political game is being played out. Surprisingly, much of the action is happening in Michigan.

Starting locally, Tom Ness and his merry band of walking civics lessons at the Michigan Music is World Class Campaign have been busy bringing the issue before city councils, township boards and other bodies of local government. The goal is to collect resolutions – official documents by a government body that don’t set policy, but do express an “official opinion” on an issue or cause. Read More