Paper Tiger Apes Big Bad Wolf

The FCC’s taking a cue from the Three Little Pigs, huffing and puffing about the work it’s doing to combat the “problem” of pirate radio. Just in time for the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual Radio Show in Austin, the FCC’s gone on an enforcement spree of sorts over the last month or two.

With 158 enforcement actions on the books at the end of August, the agency is now on pace to meet or exceed the number of actions it took against unlicensed stations in 2016. For the eight years we’ve experienced of this decade so far, 2017’s enforcement-trajectory seems on target to rank as third or fourth-busiest.

States visited by the FCC hunting radio pirates, 2017Field agents have traveled far beyond the most popularly-recognized East Coast “hotspots” this summer. Arkansas gets on the board for the first time in the history of our Enforcement Action Database, while the closure of the Seattle FCC field office made it San Francisco and Los Angeles-based agents’ responsibility to visit Alaska in pursuit of a Baptist church – the first time since 2013 that the FCC’s made waves there. (Alaska is the 36th most active U.S. state/territory for pirate radio, just behind FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s home state of Kansas.) Read More

Neighborhood Public Radio Hits the Road

After several successful runs in San Francisco Neighborhood Public Radio now plans to play out. Way out: the station will broadcast from Version in Chicago later this month. This is apparently the start of a “process of realizing the dream we have always had of bringing NPR to cities all over the world.” NPR’s latest thematic run involved indecency and ran through most of February. Interestingly, they are not the only traveling microstation in circulation at the moment.

NAB Meets Media Democracy

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In September 2000, extraordinary events took place in San Francisco, where the National Association of Broadcasters held its annual Radio Convention. For the first time, people took to the streets to voice their concerns with the state of the media.

As rapid consolidation in the American radio industry drastically reduces the diversity of voices on the dial, listeners are noticing the change. More ads, less information. A booming bottom line, but nary a pipsqueak of real news and issues we need and can use.

It’s a dangerous trend. When the people can’t communicate with each other on a mass scale through a free and democratic media, then just how free and democratic can a society be? Read More