Guerrilla Radio News

One of the things mainstream radio in America has all but abandoned is journalism. It’s only been a half-century since the advent of television, and from then to now is the time it’s taken for radio news to all but disappear.
Radio news departments were some of the first casualties in the industry’s downward spiral into consolidation and cost-cutting sparked by the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It costs a lot of money (read: salaries) to produce local news, and offers some of the lowest return on investment (read: ad rates).
As an independent media movement took root at the end of the last century, activists rediscovered radio journalism. A portable minidisc recorder makes it possible for one person to archive a large amount of sound on a matchbook-sized medium; regular cassette tapes are cheaper still. And the MP3 file system makes coverage of events and interviews easy to produce and distribute online. Continue reading “Guerrilla Radio News”

Low Power Limbo

We are two months into 2001 and halfway through the first FCC filing windows for new low power FM (LPFM) station licenses. The progress being made is slow and uncertain.
Two of the three filing windows that have opened and closed so far happened while Big Broadcasting was engaged in its overtime lobbying of Congress to kill the LPFM service. When that effort all but succeeded in December 2000, it put all of those LPFM applications filed – more than 1,000 in all – in jeopardy, as the rules governing the service shifted under the feet of the applicants, in some cases immediately disqualifying many of them.
Since LPFM’s evisceration, a third filing window has opened and closed – and another 500-plus LPFM applications have been submitted. In all, more than 1,700 applications for LPFM station licenses have been received by the FCC. Continue reading “Low Power Limbo”