Overlooked in the hurricane fury: this month Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the “Enhance and Protect Local Community Radio Act of 2005.” It’s a companion bill to Senator McCain and Leahy’s (R-AZ / D-VT) legislation, although it adds a substantial twist on the translator issue.
The situation in the Houston Astrodome sounds more like a detention center than shelter. Perhaps that is why the emergency LPFM station authorized to broadcast from there (actually, there’s three, covering most of the Reliant Park complex of which the Astrodome is a part) has been dismissed by local officials.
Organizers of “KAMP” 95.3 were first told they had to have 10,000 portable radios ready to distribute to the displaced before they could begin broadcasting. Not just any radio would do: they had to be of “walkman type,” listenable with headphones. Within a day that goal had been met. Now, authorization for the station has been denied by an “Incident Commander” on the scene. The reason? Not enough electricity.
Houston Indymedia and the Prometheus Radio Project have secured emergency support from the FCC to set up a 30-watt LPFM station to serve those currently housed in the Houston Astrodome. Now they just need 10,000 portable radios for everyone to hear them.
Today REC Networks, Prometheus Radio Project, and a gaggle of D.C. media advocacy groups filed an emergency petition with the FCC for a freeze on the processing of translator applications from 2003. That was the application window in which 13,000+ applications were filed, of which 4,000+ were part of a scheme to provide turnkey radio networks to religious broadcasters.
The petition reports that World Radio Link, Inc. is apparently the marketing arm of the scheme. It advertised prominently at the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention last month that it
[r]epresents the two largest filers of FM translator applications in the FCC’s most recent FM filing window. These two applicants, Radio Assist Ministry and Edgewater Broadcasting, are making available for acquisition hundreds of these FM translator station construction permits to existing or new entrant Christian broadcasters throughout the country.
LPFM Day is February 8 at FCC headquarters. The event is akin to a “mini trade show,” a chance for advocates of low power radio to show off the technology and talk up its benefits to FCC staffers. The Prometheus Radio Project is organizing a mini-conference on LPFM for the day before. It is even rumored that Mikey Powell may grace the event with his presence – the least he can do for failing to accomplish anything substantive as far as advancing the rollout of LPFM stations.
SF Weekly has a new feature on Pirate Cat Radio. Since 1997 this “punk as fuck” station has, according to its founder, “Monkey,” received more than 120 warning notices from the FCC while operating unmolested in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles. So far it’s been on in the Bay area for some two years and nary a peep from the FCC. Telling tall tales? Consider this: he blames the October 2003 raid of San Francisco Liberation Radio on interference SFLR caused to Oakland International Airport – yet he chuckles about complaints from neighbors when Pirate Cat messes up TV reception, and it hindered reception of at least one Los Angeles station during its run there.