Jack Mitchell is pretty cool. He was National Public Radio’s first hire, co-creator of All Things Considered, and rose from there to chair NPR’s Board of Directors. He’s now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just wrote a book on the history of public radio.
I have yet to read Listener Supported but Jack just did an hour-long interview on our local public radio station (MP3 link / RA link) and he gave a colorful description of the political origins of NPR, at one point comparing the initial work environment to a commune (check stereotypes at the door, please). He also honestly and deftly handled some critical calls about the state of public broadcasting today.
At Madison I had a chance to take Jack’s class on “public, community and alternative media,” and it was pretty good – he’s got a nice, dry wit. He even let me take half a period to spell everyone about the days I had missed class for the Seattle Mosquito Fleet operation. Knowing public radio has roots in folks like Jack gives me a semblance of hope for its future.
Recently a radio station called “Radio Free Ohio” got some attention. It operated in the Akron/Canton area and once had a web site that generally bitched about the suckiness of corporate radio. Most importantly, the station allegedly interfered with the broadcasts of a Clear Channel station in the area.
Sounded intriguing, until an amateur sleuth discovered that the station’s online home tracks back to Clear Channel. Now CC has backtracked, nearly wiping the site and a related message board clean. Lest we forget that Jacor Communications, which was assimilated by CC in 1999, was founded in Ohio and now HQ’s just over the river in Kentucky. Continue reading “Clear Channel Pirates in Ohio?”
During the National Conference for Media Reform I was lucky enough to sit down and throw a few questions at FCC Commissioner Michael Copps in formal interview-style (24:52, 11.4 MB), courtesy of Free Speech TV producer Lee Buric and John Grebe (Sounds of Dissent). As you can hear, we basically took turns in the chair.
The interruption of Grebe’s line by Jordan Goldberg, Copps’ senior legal advisor, kind of threw things off and made my own lines of inquiry a bit more circumspect (IBOC, microradio, and the future of the Telecom Act). Grebe was trying to get at the translator speculation/trafficking controversy. I felt like Copps played an adroit politician, in that he didn’t give up any substantive information. Continue reading “Work Noise”
Captain Fred tells DJ Rubble (via Indybay IMC) that the station’s received notice to move out by the end of June. BLR’s been at its current location (in Oakland) for more than three years.
The landlord was initially supportive of the station, but there have been some complaints about blanketing interference. Normally such complaints are pretty easily rectified but BLR’s neighbors happen to be band practice spaces that contain gear especially sensitive to strong RF fields.
The station is looking for a 10×10′ room with roof access, preferably in a commercial space, where “a somewhat raucous atmosphere” can flourish. “We’d really like to find some landlord who has a grudge against the federal government,” says Fred.
The Allied Media Conference has accepted the proposal for a microradio workshop. Don’t know its exact spot on the schedule, but if you’d like to get a comprehensive overview of the current scene and explore some of the tactical evolutions currently taking place, then AMC is the place to be next month.
The entire schedule looks excellent and includes sessions on zines and DIY distribution generally, blogging, webcasting, puppet-making, “artistic recycling,” copwatching, and lots more. AMC organizers themselves are blogging in the runup to the event – sounds like the entertainment side of things will also be chock full of goodness. Rumor has it next year’s AMC will be here in Champaign-Urbana.
I cannot claim to have participated much directly in the National Conference for Media Reform, given that I was paid to observe: busy recording, editing, and uploading stuff as the radio-centric house organ of sponsor Free Press. All of the conference audio and video is now up on their server and should be publicly available within the next few days. I expect Be the Media! blog traffic will continue to trickle in for a while as well.
Personally speaking, the best parts of the conference were not even related to the event itself. Thursday night’s benefit party for KDHX at the City Museum blew minds. Think of a funhouse for adults, with live bands and beer: it puts the vaunted Arch to shame. Then there were all of the friends both old and new who’d come into town for the weekend. The ratio of extracurricular fun to sleep that was taking place should have killed me (14 hours of crash time upon return home helped). Finally, I had the chance to tag-team (with Free Speech TV and Sounds of Dissent) an interview with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps (audio forthcoming), who artfully mostly-deflected questions on microradio, IBOC, and other sundry subjects. Watching politician-sweat break out up close can be fun! Continue reading “The St. Louis Experience”
It’s off to St. Louis for the National Conference for Media Reform. Things will be quiet here till next week, so I suggest clicking over to the Be the Media! blog where several of us attendees will be collectively chronicling thoughts. The action has already begun to flow, which is a good sign. I will do my best to satisfy the ear with daily summary pieces and, hopefully, oodles of raw audio enjoyment.
~30,000 square feet, including massive open space, suites of offices, and crazy hidden nooks and crannies (where postal inspectors once kept secret watch on the staff).
$218,000 goes a long way in east-central Illinois. The IMC already has about a third of that on hand, and the rest, it is hoped, can be paid by renting out space to other groups and such. The potential for a performance space nearly dwarfs anything else available off-campus. The post office still maintains a station in the building, but as tenants ($1 a year for the next ten): Uncle Sam say hi to your new landlord! Continue reading “UC-IMC Buys Post Office”
KNOZ-LP has no license from the FCC. It’s an 84-watt hip-hop outlet run by a local publisher/promoter in Sacramento, California, squatting 96.5 Mhz. It’s pretty open about why it exists: to offer airtime to local artists who can’t crack the door at the three licensed “urban-format” stations in town. You even can grab aircheck-style mixtape samples of its programming online.
KNOZ went on the air in May of 2004 after the station’s founder, Will Major, consulted informally with the FCC. He was told he’d have to file a license application for an LPFM, and that he couldn’t do that until a new LPFM filing window opened (possibly in 2006). More informally, claims Major, he was told that so long as he stuck to the operational guidelines of the LPFM rules, kept a filled-out license application handy, caused no interference, and generated no complaints, he shouldn’t have a problem. Continue reading “Sacramento Microbroadcaster Sues FCC”
Nyack’s full-on microbroadcast maven, DJ Johnny Silver, has announced “My so called Life on the Radio” – “i walk around Nyack in total disquise, and visit the diffrent establishments, and do ‘real radio’ getting myself in diffrent situations that are stimulating and fun for listeners….Each disquise will be a totally different radio character, and have a totally different personality.” Radio doesn’t get much more local than that.
There’s already been discussion about whether Silver is crazy; I believe this pretty much confirms it, in a most excellent way. Did I mention this “My so called Life on the Radio” will be done live? Apparently Thursdays are Iron Action’s “Remote Broadcast Night,” and this will be one of the rotating summer programs.