Radio, TV Stations Could Be Seized in Emergency

President George W. Bush signed several standing orders following the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and D.C. that endowed the presidency with massive power in the event of a future national emergency. These orders created the Northern Command for National Defense, the military’s first-ever command explicitly directed at “threats” on American soil. In an actual emergency, Northern Command, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency would largely become the functional executive branch of federal government, assuming direct responsibility for anything related to that now-familiar rubric, “national security.”
One of these orders also reportedly makes possible the seizure of “radio and television stations and networks.” If true, it is unprecedented, as well as somewhat redundant. Continue reading “Radio, TV Stations Could Be Seized in Emergency”

Digital Multicasting Rollout Begins

The consortium of major broadcasters pushing digital radio are wasting no time deploying what they believe to be its “killer app,” multicasting – the ability to split a single radio channel into multiple program streams. Earlier this month they announced the rollout of digital multicast signals in several dozen markets. The broadcasts introduce industry-coordinated secondary program channels featuring formats like “Classical Alternative,” “Coffee House,” “Female Talk,” and “Extreme Hip-Hop,” and some miscellaneous strangeness. For now, these channels will be offered without commercials.
My ongoing research into digital radio is dredging up lots of interesting information, much of which has a direct impact on the viability of multicasting. Continue reading “Digital Multicasting Rollout Begins”

Guerrilla Marketing?

The fine folks at Clamor pointed out a BBC story about a Danish firm selling t-shirts for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to the retailer, a portion of each sale goes to help the organizations obtain “new equipment for radio stations and graphics workshops.”
The BBC notes that the FARC and PFLP are both considered “terrorist organizations” by the United States and European Union, which raises prickly questions about whether those that buy and sell such merchandise are in effect providing financial aid to terrorists. Given that the proceeds are explicitly designated to support media creation, though, adds a wrinkle to the consideration. However, as is increasingly the case, words and images can have as much or more power than any bomb or gun. Continue reading “Guerrilla Marketing?”

Enforcement Action Database Cracks 1,000 Actions

Just caught up on the FCC’s last two months of activity. It’s been a busy winter: 274 enforcement actions for 2006 and counting.
This includes fines, or threats of fines, of $10,000 against the transmitter-hosts of both microstations in San Diego, though escalating the enforcement process up to that level of severity remains mostly outside the FCC’s standard protocol (in related news, the agency’s Inspector General is planning an audit of its regulatory fee-collection process, something not done since 1999). Continue reading “Enforcement Action Database Cracks 1,000 Actions”

DIYmedia in NYC

I’ve been invited to the NYC Grassroots Media Conference, going down February 11 at New School University. This is the third NYC GMC, which is a project of the Paper Tiger-sponsored NYC Grassroots Media Coalition.
I believe I’ll be giving a workshop on microradio operations, similar to the one that went down at the Allied Media Conference last year. Lots of show-and-tell with emphasis on practical, tactical applications, tailored to this particular conference’s goals. Hundreds of others will be similarly sharing knowledge, which should make for much fun. I haven’t been to New York in more than a decade.

Sirius Wants Stern Pirates Silenced

Ah, the exquisite irony of indecency fine-money levied against the “old” Howard Stern radio program paying the wages of FCC field agents as they investigate acts of unlicensed broadcasting involving relays of Stern’s “new” show. Sirius has indeed petitioned the FCC to investigate the pirate rebroadcasters. The complaint reportedly only references the stations in New York and New Jersey, however, not those in the Midwest.
Patrick Reilly, Sirius flack, says: “Given the quality of Howard’s show, listening to it on a pirate radio is no way to listen to it.” I’d say the format fits the forum just fine, and I’m kind of surprised Stern’s not at least leaving the underdog alone here. I guess $500 million will do that to you.

Stern Pirates Proliferate

Listener reports from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota suggest microradio stations there are simulcasting Howard Stern’s new radio show on the Sirius satellite network. Last week unlicensed outlets in New York and New Jersey broadcast highlights from Stern’s first week on Sirius.
Is there a meme in play here? Continue reading “Stern Pirates Proliferate”

New Jersey War on Microradio: Mobilizing the Troops

Reaction from the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, after acting governor Codey affixed his signature to legislation criminalizing unlicensed broadcasting: “Thanks, Florida.”
However, instead of hitting up the cops first, the NJBA plans to deputize the audience directly, via “a series of Radio announcements alerting listeners to this new law, and what to do if a pirate station interferes with their favorite local station.” These I’ve gotta hear. Continue reading “New Jersey War on Microradio: Mobilizing the Troops”

Pirates Rebroadcast Howard Stern in NY, NJ

This week Howard Stern‘s empire evolved to a new level when he debuted his new program on the Sirius satellite radio network. Howard’s departure from the realm of terrestrial broadcasting caused much consternation. Fear not, for pirate radio is keeping Stern alive on the airwaves: the New York Daily News reports that two pirate stations aired uncensored segments of “Howard 100” on FM frequencies in Brooklyn, New York and the Newark/Secaucus, New Jersey area.
Several pirates operate throughout the NYC metroplex; the article quotes a commercial station‘s program director on the subject: “You’d like to catch them, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, they come and go.” Continue reading “Pirates Rebroadcast Howard Stern in NY, NJ”