Last September, when the National Association of Broadcasters descended on Seattle for their annual radio convention, they were met by a swarm of microradio stations, who dubbed themselves the “mosquito fleet.”
During the convention the stations coordinated a simulcast spoof of local Clear Channel classic hits outlet KJR-FM, which ran on spots across Seattle’s FM dial for the better part of a day. The on-air culture jam, produced by Negativland, ripped into KJR and Clear Channel for billing the station as playing the “SuperHits 60s and 70s,” yet sneaking in a significant number of 80’s tunes. It was a sideswipe at Clear Channel and the NAB’s focus on broadcasting for a demographic and the bottom line. Continue reading “Clear Channel/KJR Re-Jammed in Seattle”
Just a quick note of housekeeping: the Truthful Translations of Political Speech MP3s hosted here have been upgraded from 64 to 128 kbps quality, where the source material allowed for it. I’d estimate more than half got beefier but better sounding. This comes in response to a surprising number of requests from broadcasters (legal and otherwise) who are spreading the subversion far and wide.
The gallery has topped 80 files, a full two-thirds of which do up a single man…way more than I’d ever expected to see/hear. Keep ’em coming!
When the FCC came and intimidated Radio Free Brattleboro off the air in June, the Vermont community responded with zeal. A parade float, petition drive, and countless benefits and station meetings later, the station returned to the airwaves today on 107.9 FM. That frequency is currently vacant, but there is a pending LPFM application for it. RFB has promised to vacate the frequency if and when the license is awarded and the station is ready to broadcast.
A local petition drive has drawn “way more than 2,000 signatures” in support of the station, reports RFB’s Steven Twiss: “The petition’s signatories include several area heavy-hitters including politicians, business owners and artists. One, a wonderful older woman, is on the town council. She bought a ‘Free rfb’ T-shirt and wore it to a few council meetings, which are broadcast on the local cable access channel.” There is also an online petition drive for anyone else interested in symbolically standing with them. Continue reading “RFB Returns; FRSD Gets Grant; RFPI Gets Reprieve”
This time, the vote was unanimous: the resolution condemning the FCC’s moves against San Francisco Liberation Radio got the support of the city’s full 11-member Board of Supervisors at its meeting this afternoon. Not only does the resolution ask the FCC to keep its mitts off SFLR, but it also “urges state and local law enforcement officials to refrain from involvement in activities that prevent San Francisco Liberation Radio 93.7 FM and other diverse local media from providing healthy democratic local media in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
That should keep most of the dogs at bay, but the FCC doesn’t have to listen to the city if it doesn’t want to. Usually the agency is loath to stir up publicity for a pirate, and while SFLR isn’t the first microradio station to get an endorsement from its hometown, the action can’t hurt. Free Speech Radio News is also airing a story on SFLR and its recent struggles on Wednesday.
On Thursday the San Francisco City Services Committee approved a resolution supporting San Francisco Liberation Radio in its struggle with the FCC. The vote was 2-1; the lone dissenter was concerned with the city butting in on a “federal issue,” not with the station’s unlicensed status. The full Board of Supervisors takes up the resolution tomorrow.
Digital radio is essentially streaming audio over the air. Anyone who’s handled an audio file knows the rule of thumb: the better the bitrate, the better the sound. In the file-sharing community most songs are offered is 128kbps – okay, not CD quality, but not cruddy like a tape dub. Some audio encoders offer better quality than others, due to subtle differences in the encoding algorithm each system uses.
For “HD Radio,” the U.S. brand name for digital radio, the bitrate for most stations is expected to be between 64-96kbps, with AM running as low as 36kbps. iBiquity, the company behind the system, promises “enhanced sound fidelity” at these bitrates. In May the National Radio Systems Committee disagreed, suspending the official standard-setting process for the IBOC technology (at the heart of “HD Radio”) after declaring its audio quality unsuitable for broadcast, jeopardizing the full-scale rollout of consumer receivers for that all-important holiday season in the process. Continue reading “IBOC Overhaul: Good As Advertised?”
Like it or not, to run with the big dogs in Congress it takes funds. Money, moolah, dinero, cash, the stuff everyone likes but others would rather not think about. Don Schellhardt gives a glimpse of the hard reality: even the cost of postage is out of most of our means individually, if one were to go into lobbying full-time. People also need to be paid for spending time on the Hill.
In completely unrelated news, the latest addition to Truthful Translations of Political Speech deserves special mention. Tom Compagnoni perfectly beat-matches the Prime Ministers of Great Britain and Australia with G.W. Bush in WMD – American Justice (MP3, 1.7 MB). This is, amazingly, just Track One of a forthcoming album’s worth.
Look for more sporadic news updates this month as I hunker down and pound out major portions of my master’s thesis. Regular refreshes (like the Schnazz) will continue, and news updates will occur if the story’s is big or unique, both of which could happen considering the FCC’s official implementation of its media ownership rule revisions takes place on September 4.
All of the coordinated grassroots media reform e-mail and call-in campaigns have worked so well to date that a big petition push is now on, and a national conference on media reform is slated for November 7-9 here in Madison. The Amherst Alliance has also ginned up a double-sided flyer for “LPFM Summer,” which is starting to hit full stride. Continue reading “Partial Hiatus Ahoy & Miscellaneous Notes”
On Monday officials with the University for Peace attempted to make good on their threat to evict Radio for Peace International from its studios on the University campus (even though RFPI owns the building). This comes after a previous agreement worked out following the eviction notice sent last month in which both sides were supposed to sit down and discuss their problems on August 11.
RFPI staff had been operating on the timetable of the agreement, so when they showed up for work Monday and the initial attempt to enter the building was rebuffed there was plenty of shock to go around. The station’s web site has been modified accordingly, and a Save RFPI site is now operational as well.
Democracy Now! is on the story and the short interview sheds some interesting light on the roots of the conflict. Even the U.N.’s University for Peace is being forced to follow the flag of corporate globalization, and RFPI may be a casualty in the struggle against that.
An article in the business section of Sunday’s Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper highlights the “pirate problem” in southern Florida and features lots of quotes from irate broadcast industry-types. My favorite comes from David Ross, Clear Channel’s regional vice president for its 27 south Florida broadcast properties:
“They’re destroying the ability of listeners to hear what they choose and our ability to serve advertisers. It’s a form of squatting. They don’t pay any taxes, they’re breaking the law, they don’t need to meet any licensing requirements and they affect all of us, from the biggest to the smallest operator.” While there is a huge mass of pirate activity in Florida, making that state the most active by far, one gets the sense Ross would say the same thing in any situation where there’s “pirates.” Continue reading “Florida Broadcasters Change Tactics Against Pirates”