Tactical Microradio Blogging; Radio Free Cascadia Makes Jump from FM to Shortwave

Monk, the prime founder of Boulder microradio outlet KBFR, is now blogging about the trials and tribulations of advanced microradio station operation. KBFR has been somewhat of a laboratory for tactical broadcasting shortly after its first visit from the FCC more than two years ago. It’s experimented with (and implemented) some clever ways of separating the transmitter from the studio, including the use of webcasting as STL and mobile operation. These tactics have kept the FCC chasing down blind alleys in its quest to bust the operation.
In somewhat older news, a group of microbroadcasters in the northwest are now focusing their efforts on the shortwave band. Radio Free Cascadia (a former Eugene, OR microradio project, also responsible for station Y2WTKO during the Seattle WTO protests of ’99) recently conducted regular broadcasts as Radio Free Cascadia International in support of the WTO protests in Cancun, Mexico earlier this month. It received reception reports from all over North and South America and Asia.

September Amendment One Parses Politics of Media Reform

In an exhaustive feature this month, the Amherst Alliance’s Don Schellhardt not only breaks down the situation in Congress on the prospects for media reform, but whomps you with charts detailing the latest Senate vote, including a symbol-laden synopsis of each vote-caster’s current political situation. It is a huge mass of information, with a grassroots lobbying tips for your own use sprinkled through.

Radio Free Brattleboro Web Site Hacked

According to station members, the server was taken off-line over the weekend. It’s unclear whether the hack was specifically directed at the station or a more general exploit of the box its site ran on, but the site files have been “destroyed.” The site will be re-created, but it’s going to take some time.
RFB itself remains on the air, awaiting the FCC’s next move, nearly 20 days after the last encounter which promised a raid. Its legal assets are in gear and include an experienced member of the microradio legal defense team. Community support continues to build.

Mikey Powell Floats Trial Balloon on Departure

First came the rumor, then the call from a member of the “business press” – now FCC Chairman Mikey Powell himself appears to be floating the notion of stepping aside. In Sunday’s business section (naturally) of the New York Times, Powell got to bitch about his job: “I have a tired family, tired children and a tired spouse. Candidly, I once said I would be in this job for three years and then leave. That was three years ago.”
The entire article is quite long but worth a read. The basic synopsis is that he’s a nice guy who is politically ham-handed. It’s not that he’s a bad regulator; he’s just not good at greasing the political wheels of D.C. with enough finesse. It’s analogous to praising a thief for his line of work but lamenting the time he gets caught.
There are, however, a few doozies which deserve highlight: Continue reading “Mikey Powell Floats Trial Balloon on Departure”

Courts, Congress Move on FCC Media Rules

As was somewhat expected, the Senate approved a Resolution of Disapproval yesterday which would force the FCC to redo its media ownership rulemaking. I’m with Mediageek on the relative importance of this. More interesting was the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to retain jurisdiction over the spate of suits seeking to reverse the FCC’s decision.
Prometheus and the Media Access Project are duly pleased with the decision, and rightly so – when Mikey Powell waves his hands and says “don’t blame me, blame Congress and the courts for making me do it,” he speaks partial truth. Continue reading “Courts, Congress Move on FCC Media Rules”

Freak Radio vs. K-LOVE: V-Man Wins by Forfeit

On Monday, KUSP’s “Talk of the Bay” was to host a 20-minute verbal spar between Vinny Lombardo (V-Man) of Freak Radio Santa Cruz and Dick Jenkins, president of Christian translator networks Air-1 and K-LOVE. K-LOVE just put up a translator that broadcasts into Santa Cruz on Freak Radio’s frequency.
As the segment began, the V-Man was in-studio and he and host John Sandidge chatted while the show’s producer tried to raise Dick Jenkins via phone. Four minutes in, the message was passed: due to “back trouble,” Jenkins could not appear on the program. An act of God, perhaps? Continue reading “Freak Radio vs. K-LOVE: V-Man Wins by Forfeit”

BusinessWeek Wants Mikey Powell's Head on a Stick

As he stews in his own political juice, with Congress breathing down his neck, FCC Chairman Mikey Powell can use all the friends he can get. One would assume those friends would include the business/finance community, seeing as how Powell’s a fervent acolyte for their religion.
Think again: BusinessWeek magazine published this piece online yesterday, which is a pretty straightforward indictment of Powell, ending with,
“Powell refused to make a public case for the merits of his proposal. Then, he skewed the data to try to fool people. Plenty of other telecommunications policy experts have the political skills to handle the FCC job less contentiously than Powell. He should leave, before he’s shown the door.” Continue reading “BusinessWeek Wants Mikey Powell's Head on a Stick”

Stimulus/Response Goes Coast to Coast: FCC Visits Vermont

Stung twice in California by the cities of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, who like their microradio stations unlicensed, thank you very much, the FCC shifts focus and moves on two stations in Vermont.
Radio Free Brattleboro, who just returned to the air two weeks ago after a visit from field agents, got an FCC follow-up yesterday. None of the station DJs actually spoke face-to-face with them; two strained yet cordial conversations were conducted through a locked door.
The first time the agents asked to enter and inspect the station they were prompted to show a warrant. The FCC duo responded by asking to see RFB’s authority to broadcast. Someone inside shot back: “the people of Brattleboro had authorized us to do so.” Continue reading “Stimulus/Response Goes Coast to Coast: FCC Visits Vermont”

Last-Minute Court Action Halts Media Ownership Rule Changes

Everybody owes a round of thanks and praise to the Prometheus Radio Project, who filed an emergency petition to stop the implementation of the FCC’s media ownership rule changes, which were scheduled to go into effect tomorrow. After a two-hour hearing in Philadelphia today a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted the stay, suspending all rule changes until Prometheus’ case gets a proper hearing on its merits.
In a  three-page decision, after deferring a chance to predict the success of Prometheus’ challenge to the media ownership rules, the court agreed that the challenge deserved full consideration before the rule changes were implemented, especially “given the magnitude of this matter and the public’s interest in reaching the proper resolution.” Continue reading “Last-Minute Court Action Halts Media Ownership Rule Changes”