White House Spokesman Laughed Out of White House Press Room

This is just too good: if you visit CSPAN.org right now, and check out the center column marked “most watched video,” you can see that Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer’s Feb. 25 press briefing sits at the top of the list. The reason is due to the last three minutes of the half-hour video.
It involves a spate of tough questions which end in Fleischer’s rhetorical de-pantsing. As expected, the questions come from representatives of the “foreign media.” Continue reading “White House Spokesman Laughed Out of White House Press Room”

FCC Gives Public A Last-Minute Listen? Don't Believe the Hype

It’s enough to make you puke: the FCC has released its agenda for the one and only “official public hearing” it will hold on its pending revisions to media ownership rules. Check it out in text (page 1, page 2) or .PDF (page 1, page 2) format.
After the corporate media belatedly began covering the issue (publishing its first stories on the weekend after the written public comment period officially closed), and after an outburst of concern from Congress over the FCC’s foregone conclusions (bigger media is better), FCC Chairman Michael Powell responded like the savvy politician he is. In a symbolic display of civic engagement he agreed to convene the Commission for one “public hearing” in Richmond, Virginia – a whopping 100 miles from Washington, D.C. Continue reading “FCC Gives Public A Last-Minute Listen? Don't Believe the Hype”

Free Radio Networks Against War

Last weekend’s global anti-war protests were streamed live by various Independent Media Centers around the world, and voices for peace bypassed corporate media filters to give reports straight from the streets.
Many pirates picked up the various IMC feeds and rebroadcast them to their communities: the impromptu network had affiliates the U.S., U.K., Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany, to name those we know of. All of the rebroadcasts took place on the FM dial. Could’ve been bigger – maybe next time.
Miscellaneous site news: a third gallery of media collage is now online. This one features works that use adverts as ammo and poke the eyes of consumer culture.

Clear Channel Watch: Ramping Up D.C. Presence, Pressure

This should come as little surprise after Clear Channel Chairman/CEO Lowry Mays’ recent ceremonial grilling in front of a Senate panel.
Clear Channel’s D.C. lobbying arm grows from one to three as chief corporate glad-hander Andrew Levin entices two more away from the Hill. The expansion buys Clear Channel valuable access to key members of Congress, which should help smooth over the company’s image problems and increase the company’s influence on media lawmaking.
Robert Fisher comes straight from Arizona Senator John McCain’s backyard, having worked on McCain’s most recent re-election campaign in 1998. That earned him a place on McCain’s D.C. staff as the Senator’s media issues adviser. With Clear Channel’s purchase of Fisher, the company has all but installed a direct hotline to McCain’s ear on telecommunications policymaking. It’s almost as good as buying McCain himself. Continue reading “Clear Channel Watch: Ramping Up D.C. Presence, Pressure”

Microbroadcaster Gets 4 Months Home Detention

Benjamin Leroy Carter once ran a station in Orlando, Florida. After “complaints from residents and broadcasters…of interference to the reception of licensed radio broadcast stations,” the FCC swooped in. The good news is it took nearly four years for the agency to follow through.
The actual sentence – after pleading guilty to seven counts of unlicensed broadcasting – was 18 months’ probation (of which four are home detention) and 50 hours of community service. Sounds like the FCC didn’t think they’d be able to squeeze dough out of Carter, who becomes (to our knowledge) the second microbroadcaster to be criminally convicted and sentenced for broadcasting without a license.

Viacom Wants Insurance to Cover Lost 9/11 Ad Revenue

The January 13 issue of Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Viacom – parent company of the CBS and UPN television networks, Infinity radio conglomerate, Paramount Pictures, and a bevy of cable-TV channels, among other properties – has filed a claim with its insurance company seeking $200 million in compensation for lost advertising revenue due to the 9/11 attacks on NYC and DC.
You may recall (with a pleasant, warm feeling) that for a brief few days following the attacks the major networks (both broadcast and cable) went ad-free with wall-to-wall news coverage and docudrama. The common wisdom at the time was, within the broadcast industry, that running adverts during a time of national crisis was in bad taste.
That was then – this is now. Continue reading “Viacom Wants Insurance to Cover Lost 9/11 Ad Revenue”

Collage Gallery Expanded

More MP3s are online now. The Truthful Translations of Political Speech gallery has been expanded (New Nixon, Bush I and II stuff) and a new gallery has been added: Celebrity Speech.
Notables skewered in the new section include Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, among many others. I especially like Rush Limbaugh’s tribute to fascism and Paul Harvey’s ode to his bong.
There will be more galleries to come in the coming weeks as the media collage section gets more fleshed out. Spread the joy of open source music far and wide!

Miscellaneous Piracy Afoot

Some scene reports to share:
Steamboat Springs, CO – “We went on the air about 9 PM Friday (1/30) and took things down at 11 AM Sunday (2/2). The X-mitter was a North Country MPX-96 feeding 2 modified and filtered Radio Shack HTX-10 amplifiers in series. Power out was ~30 watts into a wire 1/2 wave dipole on the balcony of a 2nd story ski-in/ski-out condo about 500 vertical feet above town and 200 feet above the base of the resort. Coverage was excellent as you could imagine. Covered downtown and the whole resort area, didn’t drive far enough to lose the signal. Oh, and the snow was OK, skiing great, and weather WARM.”
Boulder, CO – There has been some sort of split within the Boulder Free Radio organization. Most of the station’s founders are now working on an internet-only radio station presumably called “Real Public Radio.” New folks now have the transmitter; their intentions are unknown. Continue reading “Miscellaneous Piracy Afoot”

"Nonsense on stilts": D.C. Appeals Court Upholds Anti-Pirate LPFM Ban

More depressing news from our so-called “justice” system: the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the “no-pirates” clause in the FCC’s LPFM rules. The clause was challenged by Greg Ruggiero, a member of the former Steal This Radio collective in New York. A three-judge panel of the the same court initially declared the blanket exclusion unconstitutional about a year ago. The FCC petitioned for a re-hearing of the case in front of the full bench, which was granted – leading to the reversal of the previous decision yesterday.
After rejecting both primary arguments articulated by Ruggiero and the FCC against and for the anti-pirate clause, the court struck out on its own path to denying the challenge to the ban. Ruggiero, in part, argued that many other individuals and entities licensed by the FCC have been found guilty of worse crimes than radio piracy. Therefore, Congress’ late-2000 passage of the “Radio Broadcasting Protection Act,” which overrode the FCC’s original rule and banned pirates completely and permanently from the new service (the FCC originally granted unlicensed broadcasters a limited window of amnesty under which to apply for an LPFM license) was unconstitutional. Continue reading “"Nonsense on stilts": D.C. Appeals Court Upholds Anti-Pirate LPFM Ban”