Expanding Your Lifespan

Turning on a transmitter is almost like daring the authorities to come knocking. The simple act of being on the air in the first place is illegal; broadcasting without a license is one of the only crimes where the perpetrator boldly announces they’re defying authority while they commit the offense.

Outside of the rule-breaking aspect, being on the air is simply fun. There is no other thrill quite like the one you get from “pirate” broadcasting. Trust me – you will know it when you feel it.

Unfortunately, the fun only lasts as long as it takes the authorities to find you. Eventually, they will. Sometimes, they’ll take little or no action. But in the majority of cases, they’ll shut you down in the end.

That is why any free radio broadcaster should always set up shop with the thought that, one day, the fun’s going to stop. However, you can influence just how long it takes for the radio cops to take action.

To help get a jump start on a long station life, here are some tips of the trade: Read More

The Road Ahead

Monday, August 2 was the deadline for getting comments in on the FCC’s low power radio proposal. Considering the apathy rampant in the American public, getting more than 1,200 comments on an FCC rulemaking is a tremendous accomplishment.

Many thanks and extreme kudos go to everyone who submitted comments in favor of the proposal – see how numbers can impress?

Two weeks have passed, and late-filed comments continue to pour in (1,600+ total, at latest count). But what’s everybody saying?

First of all, not everybody that wanted to speak, could. The FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) was not designed for or prepared to handle the incredible demand placed on it by proponents of low power radio. They overwhelmed and crashed the system July 29-30. Even when it was back up and running, it was traffic was extremely heavy (I had to try five times to get my comments in). Read More

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