BusinessWeek Wants Mikey Powell’s Head on a Stick

As he stews in his own political juice, with Congress breathing down his neck, FCC Chairman Mikey Powell can use all the friends he can get. One would assume those friends would include the business/finance community, seeing as how Powell’s a fervent acolyte for their religion.

Think again: BusinessWeek magazine published this piece online yesterday, which is a pretty straightforward indictment of Powell, ending with,

“Powell refused to make a public case for the merits of his proposal. Then, he skewed the data to try to fool people. Plenty of other telecommunications policy experts have the political skills to handle the FCC job less contentiously than Powell. He should leave, before he’s shown the door.” Read More

RFB Returns; FRSD Gets Grant; RFPI Gets Reprieve

When the FCC came and intimidated Radio Free Brattleboro off the air in June, the Vermont community responded with zeal. A parade float, petition drive, and countless benefits and station meetings later, the station returned to the airwaves today on 107.9 FM. That frequency is currently vacant, but there is a pending LPFM application for it. RFB has promised to vacate the frequency if and when the license is awarded and the station is ready to broadcast.

A local petition drive has drawn “way more than 2,000 signatures” in support of the station, reports RFB’s Steven Twiss: “The petition’s signatories include several area heavy-hitters including politicians, business owners and artists. One, a wonderful older woman, is on the town council. She bought a ‘Free rfb’ T-shirt and wore it to a few council meetings, which are broadcast on the local cable access channel.” There is also an online petition drive for anyone else interested in symbolically standing with them. Read More

“We See You, Mr. FCC Man”; Powell to Leave?

More skirmishes between the FCC and free radio – this time the good guys are on the offense. FCC agents were discovered snooping around a suspected broadcast location of KBFR last week. Nobody was home at the time, but the agents spoke with others on the premises and swore them to secrecy: “We were never here, okay?”

This particular game of hide-and-seek in Boulder has been going on for more than a year now and it sounds like the FCC’s angling for a raid over fines and/or criminal prosecution. Read More

A/V Links of Note

V-Man, Freak Radio Santa Cruz‘s indyjournalist extraordinaire, is back doing daily news programs on the station. Last month he devoted a show to  the state of U.S. microradio (MP3, 33:43, 7.8 MB). Guests included DJ American from Free Radio Olympia and Bob Ugly from Free Radio San Diego, who gave details on his recent up-close and personal visit from the FCC. Thinking of Bob out there interrogating FCC agents “in 50s wigs, sunglasses and a bandanna” makes the listening to the experience even more special.

On the funny tip is this Flash animation of FCC Chairman Mikey Powell as U.S. Minister of Information, courtesy of the creative generosity of Mark Fiore. I especially like the Disney/Viacom/Fox tank battalion that drives through in the background at one point. Mikey’s a guy who deserves more of this satire.

The Deed is Done: FCC Lifts Most Media Ownership Restrictions

It took only 90 minutes for the debate; calling the question took less than 15 seconds. And, as expected, the FCC voted along party lines (3-2) to significantly relax the rules restricting media ownership and consolidation, eliminating several of them completely. The agency’s news releases are full of sickening spin, but it does provide a decent overview of the new rules.

The biggest bonanzas appear to affect television ownership, where caps have been greatly relaxed, and cross-ownership of media outlets in all but a few large markets is now permitted. Mediageek’s Paul Riismandel has posted a more specific analysis of the changes to radio ownership rules.

Clear Channel might be stung by these changes but its freshly-endowed freedom to gobble up television stations and newspapers should more than compensate. The Big Ten must be having a collective orgasm over how much their empires will grow as a result of what happened today. Time to begin paying close attention to business news. Read More