Sampling Shortwave With Ease Online

The shortwave pirate broadcast community is significantly small enough that most station operators are friends with one another, though the frequency of station broadcasts over the last year has, at times, been high enough that some have accidentally clashed signals. The FCC has not taken a documented enforcement action against a shortwave pirate since 1998, which has also led to the proliferation of stations. This long run of heavy activity has resulted in an increase in the shortwave listening community.
However, shortwave listening may not be for everyone. Audio quality on shortwave can leave a lot to be desired, and in many cases the pirates broadcasting are so weak (less than 100 watts) that hardcore listeners have to endure lots of static and noise, if only to hear a snippet of a show. Continue reading “Sampling Shortwave With Ease Online”

Quad Cities Pirate Takes FCC Head-On

Much in the spirit of Kantako, when the FCC paid a visit to Power 103.3 in Bettendorf, Iowa last week, the field agent was met at the door by a video camera. Two representatives of the station informed him that they were operating under the authority of 47 CFR 73.3542, which allows for emergency authorization of broadcasts in times of war or national emergency. The local paper’s article about the encounter does not note whether Power 103.3 has complied with the notification provision of the relevant Code.
As if that wasn’t enough, the station plans to preemptively strike in the courts, requesting its own injunction against the FCC to prevent a station raid. Not a lot of details on the grounds for this maneuver, but you have to admire the fight. Should things escalate, “we will probably move the station to buy more time. Then they have to start all over and come inspect that property and serve us another notice. We have back-up plans.” Continue reading “Quad Cities Pirate Takes FCC Head-On”

AMC 2006 Ahoy

In a more constructive vein, should wealthy progressives want to find projects worthy of support they should trek to Bowling Green, Ohio during the last weekend in June for the Allied Media Conference. There, in one place, you will find hundreds of creative people who are already “greenlighting media projects.” The theme this year even fits the bill: “From truth to power: because being right is not enough.”
Having expended my single-dimensional skill-sharing ability last year, this time round I plan to hide out among the films…and bowl.

Take Your Money, Set It On Fire

AlterNet is running a two-part feature on the need for better progressive media in the United States. The sentiments are nice, but they replicate old and tired refrains that money will fix many ills.
First comes a piece from Rick Gell, wherein he laments that if only progressive America had a television network of its own to rival the majors, everything would be better in the political world. Specifically, progressives need a for-profit television network, as the corporate sector is where all the money is.
Gell says we need to wake up and stop believing that “progressives are still the back-to-the-country, anti-automation, communal-living hippies of the sixties and not the Starbucks-drinking, iPod carrying, SUV-driving people many of us really are.” That’s the first hint of a problem. The Starbucks-drinking, iPod carrying, SUV-driving people like Rick aren’t really progressives – they’re Leadership Council Democrats, who sully the term “progressive” by appropriating it. Progressivism represents a way of life, not a lifestyle descriptor. Continue reading “Take Your Money, Set It On Fire”

Scene Report: California

106.9FM, the on-air relay for RadioActive San Diego, is back on the air. The station went dark last year citing financial and FCC troubles (the host of its transmitter was hit with a $10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability). When it signed off it pledged to come back five times stronger. That pledge has been fulfilled: the old 30-watt transmitter’s been replaced with one that does 150.
Earlier this month, Free Radio San Diego went back up to full power, after hobbling along in a weaker configuration since being raided last summer. Station founder Bob Ugly reports the coverage area is “as good if not the best it’s ever been.”

Federal Judge Disses Radio Free Brattleboro

A short story reports that J. Garvan Murtha, the federal judge overseeing the FCC’s original case against the station, ruled in the FCC’s favor on March 31. The ruling contains a “John and Mary Doe” clause, which basically calls for a blanket ban on any unlicensed broadcasting within the community of Brattleboro.
Unfortunately, the story says nothing about the judge’s rationale. It does, however, quote station lawyer James Maxwell as saying that the station’s tactic of mustering community support for an alternate “authority to broadcast” is still valid: “The basic argument that a town gave an entity permission to broadcast still exists. That argument is still useable by other stations.” Continue reading “Federal Judge Disses Radio Free Brattleboro”

Dave Rabbit to Resurrect Radio First Termer

Following up on February’s reappearance of Dave Rabbit, the legendary DJ of Vietnam pirate Radio First Termer, Corey Deitz snagged extended correspondence with Rabbit last month, wherein he says there may be a feature-length documentary about RFT in the works. Rabbit’s also putting together a 35th anniversary program to air sometime this year, perhaps in Saigon (though he doesn’t say how).
Ragnar Daneskjold of the Pirates Week podcast has also extensively interviewed Rabbit and plans to play back that conversation in two parts, starting with next weekend’s show.

Pervasive Fake News Documented, FCC Shrugs

Yesterday the Center for Media and Democracy released Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed. It tracks the use of some three dozen video news releases (VNRs) by television stations across America.
The use of VNRs is serious business. Companies and other special interests pay PR flacks (usually former journalists) to essentially produce generic television reports, which are then freely fed to TV stations nationwide.
Television reporters and news directors like VNRs because they’re easy fodder with which to fill a newscast, meaning fewer reporters to pay and less work needed from everyone involved. Companies like VNRs because they get free commercials masquerading as journalism. Continue reading “Pervasive Fake News Documented, FCC Shrugs”

A/V Miscellany

Passed along recently was a link to Immortal Technique’s “The Fourth Branch” set to a slideshow of war imagery. If you’re of the queasy sort, viewer discretion is advised. In a related vein, Skidmark Bob’s most recent episode of Pop Defect Radio, “A Day in the Life 2006,” lives up to its tagline in an especially metal flavor. Fellow talented splicer rx lays down faint funk around Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, resulting inRise Again” (9:56, 9.2 MB), making a piece first spoken 39 years ago (as of yesterday) sound like it’s talking about today.
Just for kicks, I looked up this site’s own top 10 music chart, based on the number of hits in March: Continue reading “A/V Miscellany”