Michael Powell Wants Regulatory Slaughter, New Microradio Documentary in the Works, Interesting Uses for LPFM

The FCC’s Spectrum Policy Task Force has just wrapped up a series of four “workshops” on how best the agency can divvy up our electromagnetic spectrum.

In remarks at the closing workshop (held Aug. 9), FCC Chairman Michael Powell outlined four goals he wants to see the FCC work toward when it comes to managing spectrum. Goal #2 is the one that almost made me lose my lunch: Read More

FCC: Still a Paper Tiger

Powell’s Master Plan

There’s been little talk of the direction newly-anointed FCC chairman Michael Powell plans to take the agency, outside the mouthing of various platitudes he made following his nomination, where he pledged to make the FCC even more friendly to big business interests in Washington.

Powell has finally unveiled a little more about his strategic plan for the FCC: he presented an outline of it in late May as testimony to a Congressional committee chewing over the FCC’s latest budget request.

From the testimony, it’s clear that Powell is planning on keeping his mitts off the “public interest'” side of the agency’s mission, choosing to focus almost exclusively on providing the best service he can to his “customers” – media corporations. Read More

A Slow Demise?

While the Federal Communications Commission continues to slowly move ahead with plans to roll out new low power FM (LPFM) stations, its Chairman is sending mixed messages about the fledgling service’s future.

So far, 25 LPFM applicants have received construction permits for their stations. These permits allow the applicants to build their actual facilities and prepare for broadcasting, but they still require an official license from the FCC before they can flip the switch on regular programming.

The FCC will also complete its first round of application-processing in June, when it accepts LPFM station proposals from the 20 remaining U.S. states and territories who haven’t had a chance to file yet. Read More

FCC: New Faces, More Money

There are some big changes on the horizon for the Federal Communications Commission. The changes look ominously negative, but the agency’s general inattentiveness to the renewed insurgence of unlicensed broadcasting can only help the free radio movement as a whole.

The first big change is a personnel shift occurring at the very top of the FCC: three of the five Commissioners have either resigned or are on their way out and president Bush II has formally announced his picks to fill the slots.

The appointments will give Republicans a working 3-2 majority on the Commission. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, a Bush-league FCC is expected to continue the wholesale cell of the public airwaves to the highest bidder; Chairman Michael Powell has already all but declared regulation a dirty word, preferring to let “market forces” (read: corporate interests) rule the roost and direct the construction of tomorrow’s media environment. Read More

LPFM Lurches Forward

After several months of delay, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken another step forward in implementing its plan for new low power FM (LPFM) radio stations.

FCC staff have finished the official revisions to the LPFM plan mandated by Congressional action last year. More restrictive rules are now in place that put the majority of the American population out of reach of new LPFM station signals, and radio pirates of any kind are now permanently banned from participating in the new service. Read More