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.
REC Networks has collected and posted summaries of several “constituency comments” (those filed by groups representing communities of interest), doing the thankless job of weeding through the auto-file form-fill spam.
The National Association of Broadcasters, predictably, opposes any changes to the FCC’s LPFM rules that might expand the service, continuing to peddle fully-debunked claims that 100-watt stations have the potential to cause “harmful interference” to stations 10 to 1,000 times their size in terms of power.
The comments – which took three NAB executives, three staffers (including former high-level FCC staff), and two law clerks to write and sign off on – also rubs the agency’s nose in the fact that it is prohibited by congressional fiat from relaxing channel-spacing rules to create space for LPFM stations in urban areas.
Jack Mitchell is pretty cool. He was National Public Radio’s first hire, co-creator of All Things Considered, and rose from there to chair NPR’s Board of Directors. He’s now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just wrote a book on the history of public radio.
I have yet to read Listener Supported but Jack just did an hour-long interview on our local public radio station (MP3 link / RA link) and he gave a colorful description of the political origins of NPR, at one point comparing the initial work environment to a commune (check stereotypes at the door, please). He also honestly and deftly handled some critical calls about the state of public broadcasting today.
At Madison I had a chance to take Jack’s class on “public, community and alternative media,” and it was pretty good – he’s got a nice, dry wit. He even let me take half a period to spell everyone about the days I had missed class for the Seattle Mosquito Fleet operation. Knowing public radio has roots in folks like Jack gives me a semblance of hope for its future.