You Shall Not Bear False Witness

During a recent regional convention of members of the National Religious Broadcasters there was a session called “LPFM Boot Camp” for people with new LPFM stations or license applications in-progress. From all reports the panel was expertly organized and moderated, with plenty of helpful technical and legal advice given to all.
But problems lurked in the room. It seemed that several “Boot Camp” attendees – some affiliated with already-notorious translator networks – openly admitted that they had lied on their LPFM license applications.
There’s hundreds of cases where multiple groups have applied for the same LPFM frequency in a community, and the FCC has a procedure to pick the licensee from competing applicants. In simple terms, it’s a system of points: if you pledge to meet specific criteria in the operation of your LPFM station, you award yourself points on your application. The applicant who has the most points wins. Continue reading “You Shall Not Bear False Witness”

Safety Cast Gets Dissed

Yesterday the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology dismissed a wacky scheme that would have equipped police cars, school buses and other vehicles with broadband, low-power AM and FM transmitters. Safety Cast’s Interceptorâ„¢ technology would’ve allowed these vehicles to flood all AM and FM channels within a quarter-mile with emergency bulletins and information.
After granting, scuttling, and resurrecting Safety Cast’s experimental license in June, the FCC finally decided to open up the whole issue for some public comment, the deadline for which was today. But the FCC’s dismissal without prejudice of Safety Cast’s application seems to put the whole matter to rest – lights and sirens will have to do. Continue reading “Safety Cast Gets Dissed”

A Call to Seize the Airwaves on Media Democracy Day

Media Democracy Day is October 17. The holiday, begun by a group of Canadian media activists three years ago, is designed to “connect existing critical and creative media with active social movements, creating a coherent message for public attention and local and global action.”
In this spirit, Free Radio Berkeley founder Stephen Dunifer has issued a call to action for U.S. microradio stations to speak as one on October 17. In conjunction with workshops held around the country to teach interested folks the art of transmitter-building, microradio stations are encouraged to coordinate a nationwide simulcast. Continue reading “A Call to Seize the Airwaves on Media Democracy Day”

RFPI Being Evicted; How Many Ears Can Hear LPFM?

Staff at Radio for Peace International are now speaking out about the lockdown and presence of armed guards at the shortwave station. A news release from a group of station manager/directors says RFPI is being evicted from its building on the campus of the University for Peace, a United Nations-chartered institution.
The station has two weeks to vacate the premises; some staff have remained at the station since the initial confrontation on Monday, but it sounds like that might not be by choice.
Quoting from the release: Continue reading “RFPI Being Evicted; How Many Ears Can Hear LPFM?”

Radio For Peace International Under Siege

Radio For Peace International, an independent shortwave radio station broadcasting from El Rodeo, Costa Rica, has been surrounded by security guards and its doors chained shut. The reason for the siege is unknown, as is the status of RFPI staff.
Radio For Peace International got its start in 1987 with the help of progressives from around the world and has been volunteer-driven and listener-supported ever since. It’s seen some fame for its extensive research and reporting on right-wing hate groups, and especially their prolific use of shortwave broadcasting as a propaganda outlet. Continue reading “Radio For Peace International Under Siege”

"We See You, Mr. FCC Man"; Powell to Leave?

More skirmishes between the FCC and free radio – this time the good guys are on the offense. FCC agents were discovered snooping around a suspected broadcast location of KBFR last week. Nobody was home at the time, but the agents spoke with others on the premises and swore them to secrecy: “We were never here, okay?”
This particular game of hide-and-seek in Boulder has been going on for more than a year now and it sounds like the FCC’s angling for a raid over fines and/or criminal prosecution. Continue reading “"We See You, Mr. FCC Man"; Powell to Leave?”

Heads Roll @ Ibiquity; LPFM Forced Off the Air; Berkeley Liberation Radio Alive and Well

Some news that didn’t make the headlines this week: Ibiquity Digital Radio has fired three executives over the ongoing flap involving the inferior sound quality of the IBOC “HD Radio” technology.
Of the three, the departure of E. Glynn Walden is the most notable: he’s been the company’s main contact for the broadcast industry, having worked on the IBOC system since 1989. Walden was also responsible for all testing of the new technology. Ibiquity says the departures are due to “cost reasons,” but methinks the company is shaking up its management after the current team gave birth to a digital dog. Continue reading “Heads Roll @ Ibiquity; LPFM Forced Off the Air; Berkeley Liberation Radio Alive and Well”

Free Speech For Sale Set Free; Multimedia Collage to Descend on D.C.

This just in from the curators of the sequel to The Droplift Project: all interested droplifters should send email to including a mailing address to receive copies of the Free Speech For Sale CD. 33 tracks of exquisitely recontextualized commercial speech, sure to mind-blow quite entertainingly.
The CDs up for droplifting have one small blemish – the track orders are slightly scrambled, affecting about 90 seconds mid-album. FSFS curator Every Man estimates this blemish affects approximately 2% of the compilation’s overall content. Continue reading “Free Speech For Sale Set Free; Multimedia Collage to Descend on D.C.”

San Francisco Liberation Radio Strikes Back

Having been served a $17,000 threat just prior to Independence Day, San Francisco Liberation Radio was given 10 days to respond to the FCC’s visit. The station’s official correspondence from its lawyer, National Lawyers Guild Center for Democratic Communications director Peter Franck, sounds more than happy to meet ’em in court:
“It is the position of the parties addressed that operation of the radio station cannot be interfered with by the government at this time. In order to respond within the 10 days requested in your Notice, the grounds for this position are stated here in overview form. This statement will be supplemented by a more detailed explanation of each of the points in a timely fashion.” Continue reading “San Francisco Liberation Radio Strikes Back”

Long-Overdue LPFM Interference Report Complete: No Third-Adjacent Channel Protections Necessary

When Congress gutted the low power FM service enacted by the FCC in 2000, it reduced the number of available LPFM frequencies around the country by more than two-thirds by implementing “third-adjacent channel spacing protections.” This forced LPFM stations to find a clear frequency with at least three channels separating it from existing local stations, which in urban areas is all but impossible. This single fact alone cut the number of potential LPFM stations from thousands to a few hundred at best, with most of those located in rural or suburban areas.
The passage of the “Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act,” however, did contain one caveat: the FCC was mandated to conduct an interference study to make sure the third-adjacent channel protections were necessary. The study was to be completed by February 21, 2001. It was actually finished in March, 2003, by the MITRE Corporation, who subcontracted the field testing of temporary LPFM stations in seven communities around the country. Continue reading “Long-Overdue LPFM Interference Report Complete: No Third-Adjacent Channel Protections Necessary”