The FCC’s Trumpian Shift is On

The governing paradigm in contemporary U.S. communications policy is genuflection to principles that invoke the “free market,” especially post-1980 when economics captured the policymaking process. As such, all Federal Communications Commissioners, regardless of party, will couch their positions and rationales in this language, though nearly all also make the effort to connect their rationales to something akin to “the public interest,” which has been the principal ideal as mandated by the agency’s own authorizing statute.

But the FCC’s also been a safe space for the occasional ideologue who worships capitalism as the human condition most worthy of emulation. It is not a radical notion to believe that an economic theory may not be an appropriate paradigm by which to organize all of the workings of an entire society. Folks who do believe that are market-fundamentalists; and whether it comes in economic, political, or religious flavors, fundamentalism is an extreme that the act of being civilized tends to temper. Read More

Radio Preservation Task Force Convenes in D.C.

Two years ago, the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board founded the Radio Preservation Task Force. Initially a collection of about 100 radio history scholars and archivists, the RPTF now counts more than 150 members and 300 member-archives.

In 2015 the Task Force conducted a multi-phase survey of existing radio recording archives and identified caches heretofore lost to history, particularly as they related to noncommercial and educational broadcast stations. Enriched by this metadata, where do we go from here? Read More

2009 To Bring HD Death Rattles?

While most policy-pundits are focused on the fast-approaching DTV transition and the potential selection of a new FCC Chairman, the saga that is digital audio broadcasting (otherwise known as “HD Radio”) continues to fly under the radar. However, this may not be the case for long.

Due to heavy industry-maneuvering and a shamefully-complicit FCC, the U.S. radio industry has locked the medium into a sub-standard, proprietary broadcast protocol. The problems with this protocol have long been known. Thus, if there is any force that might bring down HD Radio, it will be the marketplace.

There are several signs that the marketplace is now beginning to act: Read More