Radio Plantón Returns

The citizen campaign to reclaim the corrupt state of Oaxaca, Mexico has its voice back.
Radio Plantón became a focal point for a citizens’ rebellion in the state last year, when a teacher’s encampment blossomed into a movement to dismantle the state government and rebuild it from the ground up. Among the repressive tactics instituted by federal and state officials was the jamming, then destruction of the rebellion’s main media outlet, pirate radio station Plantón.
The move backfired, as hundreds of Oaxacans, led by women, took to the streets and briefly occupied more than a dozen radio and TV stations in response. It is one of the few times in living memory when a revolution struck back so hard against its own silencing. Continue reading “Radio Plantón Returns”

Happy Birthday, free103point9

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of free103point9, which initially began as a microradio station spinning interesting sounds from Brooklyn, New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood. It’s come a long way since then:
Largely blank slates, with little in the way of station identification or DJs talking back just-played records, experimental sounds of all sorts spilled out. The concept of “radio art” was just barely beginning to be explored…at that time….[T]he other inspiration behind starting the station was that the radio airwaves were dead zones that needed to be revived. The best way to locally communicate thoughts and new ideas was being wasted by a handful of corporations intent on turning the nation’s airwaves into private mints printing billions of dollars, polluting those airwaves as if they were pouring nuclear waste into national parks. …
With that in mind, the station went mobile, taking the transmitter directly to the people: Continue reading “Happy Birthday, free103point9”

Microradio, Today and Tomorrow

FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps were in Seattle on November 30th to take more public testimony on the agency’s ongoing media ownership rules review. Reclaim the Media, packed the main auditorium of the Seattle Public Library and provided the Commissioners with four hours’ worth of testimony.
Just two weeks before the FCC’s visit, RtM also organized the Northwest Community Radio Summit, which featured three days of workshops on a wide range of issues. One of those was on The Case for Free Radio in the 21st Century” (1:00:34, 10.4 MB), hosted by members of the Free Radio Olympia collective. It provided a short overview of the history of unlicensed broadcasting and some of the more popular rationales for why it’s still advantageous to be a radio pirate in a post-LPFM world. Continue reading “Microradio, Today and Tomorrow”

Second Recruitment Effort For New Full-Power Community Stations

RadioForPeople has launched in hopes of stirring up interest in building new non-commercial full-power FM stations. Sometime in early 2007 the FCC is supposed to open up a filing window for new station applications – something it hasn’t done in years. Continue reading “Second Recruitment Effort For New Full-Power Community Stations”

Mediageek Highlights Oaxaca Crisis

I have been remiss in mentioning this, but last week Paul the Mediageek did a comprehensive show with reporters on the ground in Oaxaca, Mexico, where a teacher’s strike started earlier this year has escalated into a full-scale state revolt.
According to Nancy Davies and George Salzman, most of the stations occupied by those in the movement to reclaim Oaxaca for those who live there have been reacquired by the authorities; the university’s previously-licensed radio station has been declared a “pirate” and suffers from active jamming. Continue reading “Mediageek Highlights Oaxaca Crisis”

A Conversation With Jeremy Lansman

This week I guest-hosted the Mediageek radio show and had the sublime pleasure of making the telephonic acquaintance of Jeremy Lansman. He’s a living bit of community radio history, not to mention a genius when it comes to hacking DTV and FCC licensing regulations, though he is somewhat ambivalent about pirate radio these days.
Mediageek is a half-hour program, but Jeremy and I talked for much longer on a wide variety of subjects, from what it was like to be at ground zero of the first golden age of community radio, to trying to eke out a living as an independent TV station, to consolidation in the telecom environment. You can download the raw interview here (1:20:25, 76.63 MB) if you’re interested, otherwise Paul will have the abbreviated version up later this weekend.

Class Ds Survive in Washington

The on-again, off-again story of Mercer Island High School station KMIH appears to finally have a happy ending. Threatened with expulsion from the airwaves by a commercial station looking to move closer to a metropolitan market, community support rallied local, state, and Congressional officials to seek a compromise involving the FCC and affected stations. Continue reading “Class Ds Survive in Washington”

Common Frequency's Ambitious Outreach

I’ve recently received a couple of e-mails from people who have been contacted by the “Common Frequency Project” soliciting assistance in building new full-power FM community radio stations. Common queries include, “what is this about?” and “is it legit?”
Common Frequency has a web site which explains quite a bit. Most of its founders hail from Davis, California, where they’ve been involved with multiple community radio projects, including building LPFM stations. Common Frequency’s goals include identifying and preparing non-profit groups for an upcoming application window for full-power non-commercial FM radio station construction permits. Continue reading “Common Frequency's Ambitious Outreach”

AMC 2006 Ahoy

In a more constructive vein, should wealthy progressives want to find projects worthy of support they should trek to Bowling Green, Ohio during the last weekend in June for the Allied Media Conference. There, in one place, you will find hundreds of creative people who are already “greenlighting media projects.” The theme this year even fits the bill: “From truth to power: because being right is not enough.”
Having expended my single-dimensional skill-sharing ability last year, this time round I plan to hide out among the films…and bowl.

Homelessness Marathon Seeks Rebroadcasters

The ninth annual Homelessness Marathon takes place overnight from Wednesday, February 15th to Thursday, February 16th. This 14-hour broadcast explores the plight of homelessness around the United States in no uncertain terms, and gives some of those who are homeless a chance to directly break the silence which all too often surrounds the condition.
Homelessness Marathon founder/producer Jeremy Alderson describes the broadcast as a “consciousness-raising, not a fund-raising broadcast. There are no on-air solicitations. While we certainly encourage ‘haves’ to give generously to ‘have- nots,’ we believe that solving the problem of homelessness requires not just volunteerism but also fundamental changes in the way our nation’s priorities are structured.” Continue reading “Homelessness Marathon Seeks Rebroadcasters”