As lobbying over the conditions of the merger between the Sirius and XM satellite radio networks entered the home stretch, iBiquity Corporation and the National Association of Broadcasters requested that the Federal Communications Commission mandate all future satellite radio receivers to be interoperable with terrestrial digital AM and FM broadcasts.
This was a move by HD Radio‘s proponents to try and get something for nothing. XM and Sirius both subsidized the adoption of satellite radio receivers, especially in vehicles, by making the reception technology freely available and offering special deals to new subscribers (such as free service for a year or more, especially for folks who bought new cars and trucks with a satellite radio receiver as an option). In contrast, iBiquity Corporation wants those who make and market HD radio to pay it a cut from every HD receiver sold – effectively asking auto companies to partially pay the way for HD’s adoption. This is a proposal that nearly all have resisted. Continue reading “Sirius/XM Merger Sidebar”
After a week-long, non-transparent deliberation, the Federal Communications Commission has reportedly signed off on the merger of the XM and Sirius satellite radio networks.
Many of the tea leaf-readers did not correctly forecast the outcome: most expected at least one Democratic Commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein, would vote for the merger, provided there were certain public interest obligations on the new, singular satellite broadcast entity. These would have included requirements such as a percentage of total satellite radio capacity be devoted to non-commercial, possibly public-access channels, and that the new company provide tiers of service that do not gouge existing and future subscribers. Some of these conditions will apply to the merged company, but the Commissioners’ votes themselves ultimately split along party lines. Continue reading “XM/Sirius Merger Hinged on Piracy Compliance”
No, not the massive archive curated here: this boost is courtesy of Stephen Colbert’s “Make [John] McCain Exciting Challenge.” The Colbert Report uploaded footage of McCain standing behind a green screen, and then asked the public to make his speechifying more attention-grabbing through the magic of digital video editing technology. Continue reading “Truthful Translations Almost Go Mainstream”
After months of frustration, the hosting provider for DIYmedia.net has saved my day by stepping in and graciously providing me with independent, unrestricted e-mail capability. I’ll never have to rely on Comcast again for that application (provided Comcast’s general broadband network uptime remains reliable, which is a questionable proposition).
You know you’ve got a systemic problem when the first prompt a customer encounters at your 1-800 number is, “For trouble with your service….” Continue reading “Miscellaneous Follow-Upage”
What a difference a weekend makes.
Last week, Congress passed a bill retroactively legalizing and expanding the surveillance of the communications of U.S. citizens. This bill may have unintended and negative effects on the campaign to re-instill the principle of network neutrality as a point of law.
Shortly after Congress’ action, two developments took place: both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits against the FISA Amendments Act, challenging its constitutionality on a number of levels. Notably, none of the principals of the media-reform movement have signed onto these legal efforts as of yet. Continue reading “"Glimmer" Downgraded to "Mirage"”
Although Congress may have just inadvertently given telecommunication companies a huge legal boost to engage in network management via the pretext of “terrorism-related” surveillance, it is a long shot from being a done deal. For starters, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched the first in what is expected to be a multi-lateral legal attack on the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act; the starting point is a claim that the law violates the separation of powers clause of the Constitution, in that Congress’ action unconstitutionally empowered the Executive branch while emasculating any judicial oversight or reprimand of abuses conducted under the permission of the legislature.
Should the entire FISA Amendments Act be declared unconstitutional – and not just the provision granting telecom companies retroactive immunity for spying on us without proper legal justification – the diminishment of network neutrality under the auspices of national security would be undermined, perhaps fatally. That would be a very good thing. EFF’s legal experts don’t expect action on their lawsuit to really begin to gain traction until later this year – right around (or shortly after) the November elections. The case itself won’t likely be resolved until sometime next year at the earliest. Continue reading “Glimmers of Hope for Network Neutrality”
Today the U.S. Senate voted to approve legislation that essentially legalizes the warrantless surveillance of the communications of U.S. citizens. We know such behavior’s been going on for more than two years, when a whistleblower stepped forward to disclose that AT&T had been working closely with the National Security Agency (NSA) – so much so that the NSA now has its own special rooms in AT&T communications backbone facilities. In these rooms are giant, electronic taps that essentially monitor, record, and allow for the analysis of every phone call, facsimile transmission, and all other electronic communications passing through AT&T’s network.
As the largest telecommunications provider in the United States, it is virtually impossible for any communications network traffic to travel from point A to point B without transiting some node in AT&T’s vast infrastructure. Which in effect means that for as long as this program has been going on, we’ve all been under Big Brother’s scrutiny to some degree. Continue reading “Congress Shreds Constitutional Privacy, But It's Not Over Yet”
Two days early, a crew of engineers and volunteers re-wired our transmission facilities to install WEFT’s new 10,000-watt transmitter. Coverage has not only returned to normal, but increased slightly, and the fidelity provided by the solid-state unit we now have has noticeably improved our signal.
According to a story in the daily newspaper, WEFT’s station manager says we’ll be “raising funds to replace more aging equipment as well.” Just in time for our fall fundraising drive….
I had the chance to visit some community radio stations in Budapest during my recent trip there.
Through the fortuitous circumstance of happening upon a fellow Wisconsinite while attending the ESF workshop (Paul the Mediageek just produced a show of us discussing that event in greater detail), who was also very interested in community radio, we ended up making contact with representatives from two community stations in Budapest, which we visited after the conference was over. Continue reading “Sampling Community Radio in Budapest”