Last week, the FCC approved significant rule changes to the low-power FM radio service; this week the agency formally released the text of those changes.
There’s a lot of good things in the latest Report and Order. LPFM stations have finally achieved something close to technical and legal parity with FM translator stations. LPFM rules have been refined to provide a substantive preference for those who actually plan to focus on live and local programming. And the next filing window for new LPFM stations will open in the fall of next year. Continue reading “LPFM vs. Translators: A "Resolution"”
Larry Bloch, a founding member of radio free brattleboro, died last month of pancreatic cancer. He was 59.
Bloch was one of those rare and lucky folks for whom activism was a full-time vocation. After working with Greenpeace throughout the 1980s, he created the Wetlands Preserve in New York City in 1989. The nightclub became a magnet for many bands that rose to fame out of the “alternative” music soup of the 1990s. Continue reading “Larry Bloch: 1953-2012”
This crowdsourced funding call to build a new community radio station crossed my tweet-stream Tuesday. The Media Institute for Social Change, a non-profit media literacy/empowerment group in Portland, Oregon, has apparently secured a “rare opportunity” to build a new radio station in town. The goal of its campaign is to raise $3,500 by November 16. As of today, $2,220 has been pledged.
“We have accomplished perhaps the hardest part – we have acquired an FCC license, an incredibly rare commodity,” writes the Media Institute for Social Change’s executive director Phil Busse. “Your donation, quite literally, will be the nucleus around which the radio station is built…. Continue reading “Crowdfunding Community Radio?”
Last weekend I had the distinct honor and pleasure of attending the first-ever Transmission Arts Colloquium, hosted by free103point9 – a non-profit organization whose mission is devoted to advancing transmission arts (loosely defined as the creative manipulation of the electromagnetic spectrum) and access to the airwaves more broadly.
free103point9 has an interesting history. One of its principals founded 87X, a pirate radio station in Tampa, Florida at the height of the pre-LPFM microradio movement. After moving to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, free103point9 was born in 1997. This microradio station provided an outlet for lots of programming, but became quite well-known for its sonic experimentation. Following the passage of LPFM, free103point9 evolved from rogue broadcaster to thriving arts organization. Continue reading “A Weekend at the Wave Farm”
Public radio broadcasters in the U.S. are coming to grips with the announcement from Tom and Ray Magliozzi that they plan to retire from Car Talk, one of National Public Radio’s most popular (and lucrative) programs, this fall.
“Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” have been doing the show for 25 years. Although they’ll be done, Car Talk itself will remain on the air with shows assembled from the archives (one of the producers, a former colleague of mine, says they’ve got wide discretion to pick and choose what will air and when).
There’s been some controversy over whether it makes sense to actually keep running Car Talk since all the content will be rehashed. Ira Glass, founding producer of This American Life (a program that, ironically, NPR declined to syndicate), thinks airing reconstituted shows makes for bad programming precedent on NPR more generally. Continue reading “NPR: Where New Ideas Go to Die?”
One of the biggest stories you’ve never heard of is unfolding in New York City. For nearly two weeks now hundreds of people have occupied Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan under the moniker of Occupy Wall Street. Inspired by this year’s popular uprisings in north Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, OWS hopes to spark a similar movement for democratic change in the United States.
Much of the media have dismissed or denigrated the occupation, with many professional journalists missing its point entirely. The ongoing happening, at present, is not geared toward all-out, head-to-head confrontation with corporate America or the state, but rather to provide a space for folks from all walks of life to talk, listen, and collaborate, in the hope of reaching that point in the future. Continue reading “Occupy Wall Street Makes Its Own Media”
Not a month back in Madison, and already in the thick of it.
Next weekend, the city plays host to the inaugural Democracy Convention, designed to build on this year’s popular uprising in Wisconsin and foster collaboration among like-minded folks nationwide. (That should be just about anyone: it is hard to hate on democracy.) Continue reading “Democracy Convention is Radioactive”
In less than three weeks, Free Speech Radio News has raised more than $75,000, saving itself from the brink of silence…for now.
This is enough to keep the newscast operation floating until the end of January, but nowhere near the amount necessary to offset existing incurred costs and secure the future of this vital decade-old journalistic endeavor. Continue reading “Free Speech Radio News Gets Reprieve”
Barring significant divine fiscal intervention, the United States’ only collectively-produced progressive daily radio news program, Free Speech Radio News, will suspend production on December 20.
FSRN has been an amazing accomplishment of independent journalism. Founded in the ashes of the Pacifica Radio network’s self-immolation of the late 1990s (which also led to the independence of Pacifica’s primary nationally-syndicated show, Democracy Now!), FSRN runs on the efforts of community radio stations and grassroots journalists from around the world, and airs on more than 100 stations domestically. Continue reading “The Unfortunate Death Watch of FSRN”
Community radio stations are strange animals. While they all have paper-missions to be inclusive, alternative, and oriented toward citizen access to the airwaves, the reality is that they often have poisonous internal politics, can get caught up in their own legacies to the detriment of their futures, and – like many volunteer-driven organizations (but ironic for a radio station) – don’t necessarily communicate well amongst themselves.
My current home for radio-catharsis, WEFT, is not immune to this. I’ve served a year on the Board of Directors and came away completely frustrated. Fortunately, many community radio stations – if the volunteers are detached from the baggage, empowered with a sense of collective responsibility and left to do their thing – can almost run themselves. This applies to WEFT as well. Continue reading “Props Out of Nowhere”