The FCC’s Trumpian Shift is On

The governing paradigm in contemporary U.S. communications policy is genuflection to principles that invoke the “free market,” especially post-1980 when economics captured the policymaking process. As such, all Federal Communications Commissioners, regardless of party, will couch their positions and rationales in this language, though nearly all also make the effort to connect their rationales to something akin to “the public interest,” which has been the principal ideal as mandated by the agency’s own authorizing statute.

But the FCC’s also been a safe space for the occasional ideologue who worships capitalism as the human condition most worthy of emulation. It is not a radical notion to believe that an economic theory may not be an appropriate paradigm by which to organize all of the workings of an entire society. Folks who do believe that are market-fundamentalists; and whether it comes in economic, political, or religious flavors, fundamentalism is an extreme that the act of being civilized tends to temper. Read More

Media Minutes: 2004-2012

After seven and a half years, Free Press has discontinued the production of Media Minutes, its weekly headline radio newscast that examined issues at the intersection of media and democracy.

I developed and launched Media Minutes in 2004, as a doctoral student at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Communications Research. I’d left the broadcast industry in 2000 out of disgust at what it had done to stymie the rollout of LPFM, and had thought that my days as a radio journalist were behind me.

This was not to be. During my master’s work at the University of Wisconsin, I co-founded Workers Independent News, the first labor-centric radio news program to be launched in the U.S. in more than 50 years. My work with WIN caught the ear of Bob McChesney, then a professor at ICR, and when I was accepted into that program he e-mailed me out of the blue to ask whether I’d be interested in starting a similar program focused on issues of media policy and reform. Read More

New Tracks from Wax Audio; Free Passes to Free Press Conference

Tom Compagnoni first dropped the world-leaders-as-rappers tip last year with WMD…and other distractions. He’s back (with crew) as Wax Audio, featuring a new album, Mediacracy. It’s a broader sonic critique of the geopolitical follies of the last couple of years, with special attention given to the media’s role in them. Not as much rapping, save GWB’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which is a feat in and of itself. Several of the cuts will eventually make their way into Truthful Translations this week but you can get ’em direct at a better bitrate from the link above. Read More

Back In Action: Scene Report Summary (August)

A lot has happened during this latest hiatus.

Site-wise, the Enforcement Action Database is up to date. The Database includes FCC activity reported in August as well as some significant backfilling. If you check the yearly graph, 2003 now almost matches 1998 in the amount of FCC activity: significant because that was the year the NAB declared war on microradio, forcing the FCC to ramp up its pirate-busting. Draw your own conclusions (mine are still mostly unformed). Updates to Truthful Translations and the Schnazz to follow soon.

As for news, here’s the highlight breakdown: Read More