Paul the Mediageek notes National Public Radio’s Morning Edition ran a piece on pirate radio in Florida last week that screams “lame.” The reporter, WGCU news director Amy Tardif, only talked to a representative from Clear Channel (who whines about losing advertisers to a pirate), someone from the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and a cop on the hunt of a station. This makes her come off as a well-played, ignorant cracker. And the news hook is only a year and a half old. Possibly one of the worst pieces on the subject ever run on public broadcasting.
Rayon Payne aka N$X sends word that he’s landed a deal with Orlando TV station WRDQ to produce a weekend “reality show like no other in existence, transforming a nightclub into a mini-television set.” A further teaser is available at 95Live.net. This is part of Payne’s ambitious plans to not only resurrect the 95Live sensation, but blow it up in ’06 to include “international promotion, a fashion line, merchandising, etc.” The first 95Live TV show airs on New Year’s Day.
The Hallmark Channel will screen the United Church of Christ-sponsored documentary LPFM: The People’s Choice on Sunday, January 8. This will be a re-run of the documentary’s extended version, which first aired on a smattering of NBC affiliates late last year.
More than 100 enforcement actions have been logged through early December, besting the previous record (2003) by a fair margin. It’s important to recognize that these are just numbers, though: FCC contact with most stations generates at least two data points in the Database (a visit followed by a warning letter). Thus, when broken down by actual stations busted, the number drops to far below 100.
It was an unhappy Thanksgiving for Panagiotis Frangiskakis. He runs a used car business in Lake Worth, on land that used to belong to a cab company, which included a small tower. Frangiskakis rented out office and tower space to people who ran two Haitian FM pirate stations from the premises.
Investigations into those stations began in February. In June, the stations were raided and Frangiskakis was charged with unlawful transmission – a state felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Note Frangiskakis did not actually broadcast himself: he was just the landlord. The authorities never figured out who actually ran the stations.
It’s been nine months since the American Radio Relay League formally requested the FCC void a statute implemented in Florida last year that criminalized unlicensed broadcasting. The agency’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is supposed to do the deliberation. So far, no word.
The FCC’s in a sticky situation. Pirate radio activity in Florida is off the charts compared to the rest of the country – way, way more than the FCC field offices in Tampa and Miami can handle. So they would prefer to look the other way while state officials clean up the AM and FM dials: the chief of the Tampa office has already said as much.