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News Archive: November 2008

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11/25/08 - "Is This My New TV?" [link to this story]

Yes, Grandma, you may very well be right. Seriously, though: while the previous link is to a parody, check how many views it's gotten. Now compare that to the number of overall viewers that were exposed to the NASCAR "DTV Transition Ford" which, in its four glorious races as-sponsored by the FCC, finished at best in 27th. Crashes aside, was this 'lil stunt really an outreach effort worth $350,000 of taxpayer money? Granny's probably more done to elevate DTV in the public mind than the FCC has so far - with a homemade video that clocks in at under two minutes.

(Of course, in the interest of "balance" it is appropriate to point out that racing favoritism at the FCC is a bipartisan issue - Democratic Chairman William Kennard effectively gave a race-track in Texas the right to run a pirate radio station after some badgering from said track-owner's Congresscritter. But I digress.)

There's still a lot to be sorted out in D.C., but in the media policy context it certainly can't get any worse than the reign of Mikey Powell and Kevin Martin's "faith-based" agenda. Good riddance to that.

11/13/08 - More HD Radio and DTV Fun [link to this story]

Check this "confidential survey" designed to gauge industry acceptance of HD Radio. Question #10 is my favorite, as it really encapsulates the overall tenor of the survey itself:

Overall, which of the following statements best applies to you and HD Radio technology?
* - I was never a fan, and don’t believe in HD Radio’s future
* - I’m not sure about how I feel about HD Radio
* - I was a fan, but now am very pessimistic about HD Radio’s future
* - I was a fan, but am not so sure about HD Radio’s ultimate success
* - I am a fan and believe that HD Radio will succeed
* - Other (please specify)

I filled out the survey, and since it's not quite confidential anymore, so can you. It will be interesting to see if its results are ever published.

Then there's the ongoing saga of the "#38 DTV Transition Ford": New race, new crash. In this one, the car went airborne and landed on top of another, causing a fire. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. If only the same could be said for the transition itself.

11/2/08 - Catch-Up Notes of Miscellany [link to this story]

Going to try to ease back into the swing of things, though there's still a lot of non-site work in my life right now still going on. But just a few notes to let you know I'm still alive:

1. Good friend and collagist extraordinaire rx has released an eight-minute trailer of his latest magnum opus - a remix-documentary of the 2008 presidential election. rx isn't a big fan of deadlines (especially those self-imposed), but he tells me the full doc should be ready for public viewing hopefully by the end of this year or early next.

2. The NAB is waving the interference canard again in an attempt to sway the FCC (and Congress, if necessary), not to allow the unlicensed use of analog-TV white-space spectrum once the DTV transition is completed in February. Ample evidence shows that such use will not cause interference - but the NAB begs to disagree, spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about this new (and budding) technological advance on spectrum that could be repurposed for anything from spread-spectrum wireless in the home or office to a viable wireless "last-mile third pipe" for broadband access (something all Americans desperately need, whether they recognize it or not yet). In fact, the disingenuous cries of interference from the NAB sound eerily familiar...oh, yeah, it used the same trope to try and squash LPFM. Its blatant warping of scientific fundamentals for political gain was enough eight years ago to sway ignorant Congresscritters into eviscerating the new LPFM service; don't get fooled again, folks.

3. And speaking of DTV: WTF? The best way FCC Chairman Kevin Martin can think of to "educate the public" about the oncoming DTV transition is to sponsor a NASCAR driver? Outside of the fact that this expenditure, according to the available evidence, is arbitrary and capricious, and the average NASCAR race is only watched by eight of the 300-odd million citizens in this country, the first race FCC-sponsored driver David Gilliand competed in after signing his FCC sponsorship ended in an early crash. It's pretty emblematic of the FCC's handling of the DTV transition process in and of itself.