Clear Channel: For Sale?

Interesting stories abound in the news about the world’s largest broadcast/outdoor advertising/live music venue conglomerate entertaining the idea of going private, possibly selling itself out to a “vulture capitalist” firm.
Clear Channel’s official line on the buyout talks is that it seeks to “enhance shareholder value,” which is an eloquent way of saying there’s greed at play, and the typical sources of funding aren’t working out so well anymore. Continue reading “Clear Channel: For Sale?”

Some Corporate Airwave Piracy Gets Its Due

Last year the FCC issued several Notices of Apparent Liability to several cross-border companies in southern California. These companies were using unlicensed microwave data links to connect corporate and production facilities. Recently the FCC finally formalized the forfeitures against most of them. Continue reading “Some Corporate Airwave Piracy Gets Its Due”

$100 Million Worth of Copyright Liberation?

My friend Andrew recently forwarded me this message from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales:
Imagine there existed a budget of $100 million to purchase copyrights to be made available under a free license. What would you like to see purchased and released under a free license?
Photos libraries? Textbooks? Newspaper archives? Be bold, be specific, be general, brainstorm, have fun with it. Continue reading “$100 Million Worth of Copyright Liberation?”

A Conversation With Jeremy Lansman

This week I guest-hosted the Mediageek radio show and had the sublime pleasure of making the telephonic acquaintance of Jeremy Lansman. He’s a living bit of community radio history, not to mention a genius when it comes to hacking DTV and FCC licensing regulations, though he is somewhat ambivalent about pirate radio these days.
Mediageek is a half-hour program, but Jeremy and I talked for much longer on a wide variety of subjects, from what it was like to be at ground zero of the first golden age of community radio, to trying to eke out a living as an independent TV station, to consolidation in the telecom environment. You can download the raw interview here (1:20:25, 76.63 MB) if you’re interested, otherwise Paul will have the abbreviated version up later this weekend.

State-Level Challenge to Florida's Anti-Pirate Law?

The only attempt made so far to challenge Florida’s law making radio piracy a state felony involves a petition from the American Radio Relay League asking the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling nullifying the state law on jurisdictional grounds. Although the FCC has been historically very aggressive in asserting its jurisdictional superiority when it comes to regulation of the airwaves, in the cases of Florida and New Jersey it’s looked the other way – the ARRL’s petition has languished in the FCC’s circular file for 19 months now.
But Rayon Payne, of all people, thinks Florida’s law can be successfully contested at the state level. He recently called the Florida Secretary of State’s office and asked for a license to broadcast. Payne’s premise is, if the state of Florida wants to assert some sort of policing authority over use the public airwaves, then it should include a licensing power as a part of that authority. Continue reading “State-Level Challenge to Florida's Anti-Pirate Law?”

Satellite Radio Network is Partially Pirate

Unlike earlier this year, when XM and Sirius admitted to selling souped-up in-car transceivers that operated beyond acceptable FCC power levels, XM Satellite Radio now reports that its terrestrial-based network of repeater-transmitters – designed to bolster its space-based coverage pattern, especially in urban areas – has not only been operating at excessive power, but on unauthorized frequencies. Continue reading “Satellite Radio Network is Partially Pirate”

Class Ds Survive in Washington

The on-again, off-again story of Mercer Island High School station KMIH appears to finally have a happy ending. Threatened with expulsion from the airwaves by a commercial station looking to move closer to a metropolitan market, community support rallied local, state, and Congressional officials to seek a compromise involving the FCC and affected stations. Continue reading “Class Ds Survive in Washington”