Official Reply Comments on LPFM

Another important deadline has come and gone in the FCC’s current proceeding to create a low power FM radio service. Back in August, public Comments on the proposal were due – the latest round of debate has been conducted via Reply Comments, which give anyone the opportunity to rebut something someone else said during the Comment phase.

I have to admit these weren’t worded nearly as diplomatically as my original Comments were, but, hey, at this point everyone’s arguments are on the table, and the time to be tactful is running short.

Reply Comments were due to the FCC November 15th; it will take the next step on the proposal within the next few months. Read More

Same Old Story

As free radio advocates hold hope for the future, it never hurts to look back.

In less than two weeks, the FCC may take the next step in creating a legal low power FM radio service, providing more “meat” for the relatively skeletal vision the agency has outlined so far. What the Commission does in the near future will either be a big step forward or one back closer to the drawing board.

At the same time, it’s also important to note that the Commissioner most supportive of the proposal – the Chairman, William Kennard – is a little more than halfway through his term in office. He is not well-liked in Congress for giving LPFM a chance, and it’s likely pressures may be brought to bear that could cause his ouster. Without Kennard, this proposal will die. Read More

After the Bust

As the number of pirate stations in the U.S. has risen, the level of work for the FCC’s enforcement folks has also risen dramatically. This comes in the face of a waning cycle of FCC budget cuts, which forced the agency’s “police” apparatus to consolidate into regional offices.

Now, the FCC has announced the creation of a new “enforcement bureau” dedicated to policing the American airwaves. Under the previous system, the friendly field agents pirates occasionally encounter drew their pay from the Compliance and Information Bureau (CIB).

The move is part of what’s called “A New FCC for the 21st Century,” but it’s actually growth for the agency. Amoeba-like, the CIB has split and multiplied – now the “radio cops” have their own whole bureau to play with! Read More

Tricks and Treats

With Halloween just around the corner, preparations are being made among many in the free radio community to make 1999’s celebration of this dark (and often demented) holiday one to remember.

Holiday broadcasts tend to be the purview of shortwave pirates, who put on some memorable broadcasts around Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Labor Day, the Fourth of July, and April Fool’s Day. But for some reason, for Halloween many tend to pull out all the stops.

At least one broadcaster has already announced his intentions to take to the airwaves on Halloween. Others will surely follow – shortwave pirates tend to pack more creativity into every minute of their shows than any other kind of unlicensed broadcaster, and the fact that Halloween falls on a Sunday may result in some broadcasters spacing out their shows to make the whole weekend a lot of fun. At least one has begun celebrating a week early. Read More

Revolutions Begin Locally

re·volt (ri-‘vOlt) n. An act of protest, refusal, revulsion or disgust. See synonyms under REVOLUTION.

rev·o·lu·tion (rev&-‘lü-sh&n) n. An extensive or drastic change in a condition, method, idea, etc.

It seems you can find strong support for low power radio on the local level, but the farther one gets up the government chain (and the greater the physical distance between the governors and governed is), the enthusiasm fades away.

It is the federal government who sets the rules for broadcasting and enforces them. When the FCC knocks on a pirate’s door, they’re not doing so at the behest of city councilmen or county board-members – they’re doing it because it’s the law of the land. Read More