FCC To Investigate Fake TV News

Sometimes enough well-documented bitching does produce results. A month and a half after the Center for Media and Democracy released their study of stealth PR on local TV newscasts, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin ordered the Enforcement Bureau onto the case.
Fines for violations (of which CMD documented several dozen) start at $32,500 and can be multiplied by up to a factor of ten. So far, the excuses offered up by those stations caught passing off video news releases as some sort of “journalism” have been quite underwhelming. Perhaps this will make the radio/TV station license renewal process more meaningful. One can always dream.

New SF Station Preemptively Called Out

This is a first: someone posts to an Indymedia site warning about the impending presence of a microradio station. The concern is that “Radio X”‘s dial position – second adjacent to a hybrid community/public radio station – might cause interference, and bring the FCC into town on a city-wide sweep. It seems as if the posting was made to deter the station’s operation. Continue reading “New SF Station Preemptively Called Out”

RF-Hacking Target Ahoy

Sprint releases a new mobile phone called the “Fusic.” Wouldn’t otherwise be noteworthy except this is the first mobile phone able to both transmit and receive signals on the FM dial.
Is the transmitter frequency-agile? How much power does it run? Can it be modified? (This review says it broadcasts in stereo with a range of “up to 10 feet.”)
Could a group of Fusic-armed people with phones synchronized to a single frequency effectively saturate a given area?

Droplift, the Sequel?

While doing some much-needed dead link-weeding recently I checked in at the home base of The Droplift Project. The top of the page reads, “Droplift II is in the works! Coming soon!” It would be great to know more: a quickie search turned up this web site whose links produce nothing but blank pages and a variety of error messages. More probing brought this artist-listing, along with the observation that Droplift II will be a combo audio-video extravaganza.
The forthcoming work is arguably the third in the Droplift series, the second being Free Speech for Sale. However, this has apparently been a controversial perspective among the collagists that conspire on this stuff – as they do not want the actual eye and ear candy to be overshadowed by its method of delivery.

Glass Houses, Etc.

Major-league bad blood is now gushing over at the Calvary Satellite Network, the Clear Channel of godcasting. A couple of months ago a civil suit surfaced, filed by Michael Kestler, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, Idaho, against Jeff Smith – son of Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel fellowship itself. Kestler accused Smith and several anonymous accomplices of siphoning money from CSN to finance other projects, like Chuck Smith’s syndicated radio program, The Word for Today.
Smith et al. have now responded – big time. In a 112-page counter-complaint, it is as if Kestler’s accusations are thrown back at him, amplified. Before getting into the dirty details, though, a bit of back-story is required. Continue reading “Glass Houses, Etc.”

Summer Radio Camps Back in Session

Free Radio Berkeley is again conducting four-day Summer Radio Camps, in which participants get immersively indoctrinated into the technicalities of radio by assembling their own microradio transmitters and antennas. The first one goes down on Memorial Day weekend; the last happens in September. With plans to be in the SF Bay area during the start of August’s Camp, it would be neat to pop in and see how these things are done.
Also duly noted: FRB has translated Micropower Broadcasting: A Technical Primer into Spanish, and has made available a complete, scanned-page version of the “radio comic book” A Popular Guide to Building a Community FM Broadcast Station.

Irish Government Warns Church Pirates

Last week, an unexpectedly large underground segment of the Irish pirate radio community was exposed when Ireland’s spectrum police, ComReg, made contact with churches around the country warning them to stop their buccaneering ways. It seems that lots of churches have the habit of conducting hit-and-run broadcasts of their masses over local open FM channels, as a service to shut-ins and others in their parishes who can’t physically make it to the church. Some have been at it for five or six years.
This story was the subject of an interesting segment (22:25, 10.3 MB) on RTE Radio 1’s Liveline afternoon chat program. Several pirate priests called in, as well as parishioners who lamented the loss of the service. At least one priest who called in admitted that he knew the practice was illegal, but was adamant in his belief that the benefits of the service his church-station provided outweighed the licensing regulations which prevent such stations from existing.

LPAM Handbook Bequeathed to Creative Commons

Kyle Drake, LPAM engineer and evangelist extraordinaire, last year put together a comprehensive guide to building and operating LPAM stations. Originally, only hard copies were available, and then for a small fee. Now, Kyle’s released his LPAM handbook in PDF format (2.3 MB) under a Creative Commons license.
This manual is amazing: 100+ pages detailed information on how to get the most out of medium wave. There is no other resource like it. It is essential reading and reference for anyone serious about LPAM broadcasting.

FCC Seeks Comment on Translator Petition

A recently-filed petition for rulemaking asking the FCC to change the rules governing FM translator stations in order to allow them to originate local programming has been formally accepted for public comment.
Comments on the petition can be filed via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System, and will be accepted through June 9; use the Proceeding number RM-11331. It’ll be interesting to see who chimes in on the idea.