It might not look like much, but there are several sections of the links library now online. Most importantly, the stations and schematics pages are functional again! We’ve gathered tons of news and new links during the short hiatus offline, and we’ll be doing massive updates and additions once the existing content is available.
As an active member of my local Independent Media Center, we’re f*ckin busy right now preparing for the upcoming U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting and the expected protests that will surround it; this all happens a week and a half from now. It has been taking up a lot of energy, and keeps me away from more work here.
Police are playing up the threat of an invasion of “violent anarchists” from out-of-town, but that’s just an excuse to get militaristic and whoop some ass. They don’t call it “police violence” for nuthin’…
There are some big changes on the horizon for the Federal Communications Commission. The changes look ominously negative, but the agency’s general inattentiveness to the renewed insurgence of unlicensed broadcasting can only help the free radio movement as a whole.
The first big change is a personnel shift occurring at the very top of the FCC: three of the five Commissioners have either resigned or are on their way out and president Bush II has formally announced his picks to fill the slots.
The appointments will give Republicans a working 3-2 majority on the Commission. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, a Bush-league FCC is expected to continue the wholesale cell of the public airwaves to the highest bidder; Chairman Michael Powell has already all but declared regulation a dirty word, preferring to let “market forces” (read: corporate interests) rule the roost and direct the construction of tomorrow’s media environment. Continue reading “FCC: New Faces, More Money”
Events taking place in Washington over the next month will determine the fate of the low power radio legalization effort in America.
The FCC approved the new LPFM service in January, and began taking applications for new stations this summer. However, when Congress tentatively approved legislation to severely curtail the new rules, the FCC effectively put all LPFM work on hold, and has temporarily suspended the next application filing window, which was to be opened this week.
The forces fighting for and against low power radio are both gearing up for this final faceoff. The commercial broadcast interests, fueled by deep pockets and close connections on Capitol Hill, are making a final lobbying push to get Congress to kill LPFM through its federal budget approval process. If that doesn’t work, Plan B involves a court challenge to the FCC’s new rules. Continue reading “Moment of Truth”
Today Federal Communications Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth gave a talk to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Public Utility Institute. The event was open to the public, so I went. When’s the next chance of a Commissioner showing up in your backyard – especially on the eve of the vote on low power radio?
After his talk was a social reception. As it wound down, I was able to corner Harold and ask about the LPFM proposal and its future. I was up-front about this site and my work, and he was surprisingly cordial and attentive. It was a good discussion.
But what I learned was disappointing. We’ve already covered the severe limitations LPFM will be saddled with, and how its potential will be reduced to nearly zero. But hearing why from the mouth of one of the five Commissioners who will soon make it so was even worse. Continue reading “A Chat with Harold”
An interesting little email has cropped up among microradio activists recently.
It stems from the recent bust and arrest of the operators of Black Cat Radio in Memphis, TN. The station ops weren’t arrested for the actual act of unlicensed broadcasting, but rather for jacking into the University of Memphis‘ electrical system to to power their transmitter as they broadcast from a parking garage on campus.
The email allegedly came from the U.S. Department of Justice, and it’s reproduced in its entirety below: Continue reading “1998=1984?”
We’ve all heard that old adage, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” While it’s an overused cliché, it’s very applicable to the free radio community right now.
The buzz in the movement is all about the two proposals for an LPFM service filed with the FCC over the past couple of weeks. It’s important to remain realistic. While the FCC has received both Petitions for Rulemaking and is currently accepting comments on them, we shouldn’t lose sight of some simple facts:
Free Radio remains illegal. Check this scenario: the FCC receives a complaint about a “pirate” in the area. Through their voluminous investigative means, they’re able to track down the “pirate.” After taking field measurements, the goons get permission to move in. As they drive up to the station, they can hear the signal strong and clear. The lead goon knocks on the door, and the station op opens it. As they muscle in, the op can be heard crying, “Wait! The rules are changing! What I’m doing won’t be illegal for long!” Continue reading “Counting Your Chickens”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Lawyers Guild Committee on Democratic Communications
Court Rejects FCC’s Constitutional Catch 22
United States District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has rejected another attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to silence Berkeley Micro Radio Broadcaster Stephen Dunifer, founder of Free Radio Berkeley.
In a 13 page opinion released on November 12, 1997, Judge Wilken once again rejected the government’s motion for an injunction to silence micro radio broadcasts by local radio pioneer Stephen Dunifer. Continue reading “Free Radio Berkeley Wins Round in Court”