I had a nice long chat with Rayon Payne earlier this week. He’s been up to some interesting stuff.
Payne’s latest project is Myspace Radio. The plan involves establishing a database of music from which users will be able to access and assemble playlists for free. Said playlists can then be streamed from anywhere. Payne describes it as akin to Shoutcast, except you’re in complete control of the programming.
Users will be able to upload and request new audio files and share their playlists with others, but they will not be able to download files. The system will log everything that’s played, with the appropriate streaming royalty payments to follow. The entire service will be free; Payne hopes to generate revenue via advertising. Continue reading “N$X: Seeking Direction”
Jesse Walker recently wrote a nice treatise on the anti-pirate laws in Florida and New Jersey (albeit in dubious trappings, but you can read around that). Inspired, I decided to drop a line to the two Democrat FCC commissioners, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, both of whom are supposedly somewhat accessible via e-mail. They got this:
Since 2004 the state of Florida has asserted jurisdiction over the broadcast airwaves, something the FCC has historically worked very hard to keep within its exclusive domain. Last year, the state of New Jersey followed suit. Both states have essentially criminalized the act of unlicensed broadcasting, punishable as a felony involving jail sentences and multi-thousand dollar fines. Continue reading “FCC Still MIA on State Law Preemption”
Last November, state officials got a conviction involving a used-car dealer that rented out space on a tower to two pirate stations. Accused initially of felonious unlicensed broadcasting, but he ultimately copped to a lesser charge.
But what about the cases of Marquis McDonald and Rasheem O’Riley, two men arrested last July who were held up then as being “test cases” for the new law? They were directly involved in the operation of stations and one even admitted to owning some of the radio gear police seized. Continue reading “Florida War on Pirates: Going Nowhere?”
Paul the Mediageek notes National Public Radio’s Morning Edition ran a piece on pirate radio in Florida last week that screams “lame.” The reporter, WGCU news director Amy Tardif, only talked to a representative from Clear Channel (who whines about losing advertisers to a pirate), someone from the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and a cop on the hunt of a station. This makes her come off as a well-played, ignorant cracker. And the news hook is only a year and a half old. Possibly one of the worst pieces on the subject ever run on public broadcasting. Continue reading “Public Radio Hacks On Florida Pirate”
Rayon Payne aka N$X sends word that he’s landed a deal with Orlando TV station WRDQ to produce a weekend “reality show like no other in existence, transforming a nightclub into a mini-television set.” A further teaser is available at 95Live.net. This is part of Payne’s ambitious plans to not only resurrect the 95Live sensation, but blow it up in ’06 to include “international promotion, a fashion line, merchandising, etc.” The first 95Live TV show airs on New Year’s Day.
The Hallmark Channel will screen the United Church of Christ-sponsored documentary LPFM: The People’s Choice on Sunday, January 8. This will be a re-run of the documentary’s extended version, which first aired on a smattering of NBC affiliates late last year. Continue reading “Radio-Related Video of Note”
More than 100 enforcement actions have been logged through early December, besting the previous record (2003) by a fair margin. It’s important to recognize that these are just numbers, though: FCC contact with most stations generates at least two data points in the Database (a visit followed by a warning letter). Thus, when broken down by actual stations busted, the number drops to far below 100. Continue reading “FCC in 2005: Busiest Enforcement on Record”
It was an unhappy Thanksgiving for Panagiotis Frangiskakis. He runs a used car business in Lake Worth, on land that used to belong to a cab company, which included a small tower. Frangiskakis rented out office and tower space to people who ran two Haitian FM pirate stations from the premises.
Investigations into those stations began in February. In June, the stations were raided and Frangiskakis was charged with unlawful transmission – a state felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Note Frangiskakis did not actually broadcast himself: he was just the landlord. The authorities never figured out who actually ran the stations. Continue reading “First Florida Conviction Railroads Used Car Salesman”
It’s been nine months since the American Radio Relay League formally requested the FCC void a statute implemented in Florida last year that criminalized unlicensed broadcasting. The agency’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is supposed to do the deliberation. So far, no word.
The FCC’s in a sticky situation. Pirate radio activity in Florida is off the charts compared to the rest of the country – way, way more than the FCC field offices in Tampa and Miami can handle. So they would prefer to look the other way while state officials clean up the AM and FM dials: the chief of the Tampa office has already said as much. Continue reading “Anti-Pirate Laws Under Fire, Nearing Passage”
I recently got an e-mail from Rayon Payne (aka NSX), who made U.S. pirate radio history in 2003 by becoming the first person to serve time behind bars on a federal criminal conviction for unlicensed broadcasting. He just got out of jail in July. We ended up talking for nearly two hours:
Hi-bitrate version (64kbps MP3, 51.2 MB)
Low-bitrate version (16kbps MP3, 12.8 MB)
Some salient bits: Continue reading “Rayon Payne Free, On Hunt for Open Mic”
The trend in Enforcement Bureau statistics over the last year suggests the agency is doing a better job of following up on pirate radio complaints, but still lacks the ability to actively shut stations down.
This year field agents have become much more consistent about following through with the first few steps of the enforcement protocol. Whereas it used to be months (if not years) between, say, a station visit and a warning letter (or two), field agents are pretty uniformly following up on initial visits with a warning letter within a month or two of first contact. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement: Initial Follow-Through Improves”