The "War on Pirates" in 2008: Paper Beats Rock, Scissors

I’ve just finished updating the Enforcement Action Database. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reported its field actions through mid-December, and as you can see, given any activity over the balance of the month, it is on target to meet and/or (most likely) beat the record enforcement year of 2007.
eadbyyearWhat does this mean? It depends on how you look at the data. Sure, the FCC’s busting more pirates than ever, but does that really mean it’s making a dent in station proliferation? A couple of major conclusions from the year-in-review are striking: Continue reading “The "War on Pirates" in 2008: Paper Beats Rock, Scissors”

FCC Allows Stealth HD Power Boosts

Although the Federal Communications Commission has deferred (for now) any formal action on its inquiry into whether or not to allow broadcast radio stations to increase the power of their digital (“HD”) sidebands by a factor of ten, the agency’s employing the tried and true method of “creating facts on the ground” by allowing individual stations (or station clusters) to individually apply for special temporary authority to hike their HD power levels. Continue reading “FCC Allows Stealth HD Power Boosts”

Cooking By The Book? Not Quite

I am never short of amazement at the heights to which collage artists, especially in their most popular form – the mashup – are taking this expressive outlet. I really have to learn more about video collage, especially, as many innovative DJs whom I respect – and some of my own students – are taking a shine to the mix-medium.
This one, for example, features two subjects I’ve never had much love for – Strawberry Shortcake and Lil’ Jon – and transforms them, on multiple levels, into something I can’t get out of my head (in a good way). By the way, the preceding clip is neither safe for work nor lil’ children.
Props to one of my most-recent COMM 264 students for tipping me off to this gem. It’s always fulfilling when the learning process works both ways.

U.S. Military Resorts to Radio Piracy to Win Hearts and Minds

Well, isn’t this something. While the Wired reporter is all agog about an iPod being used in a battle zone, I like the spectral appropriation motif better:
Radio geeks would be familiar with the tools: a 100 Watt Harris AM/FM “radio in a box” transmitter coupled with a Marantz rack-mountable portable CD/cassette player. The PsyOps team loaded up a laptop with contemporary Iraqi and Arabic pop music and started broadcasting on a local frequency, 93.9 FM.
The transmitter is designed for use by emergency responders. It has a small range — [Maj. Byron] Sarchet estimated it had a reach of only a few kilometers — but in a densely populated area like Sadr City, it can reach a large audience. Continue reading “U.S. Military Resorts to Radio Piracy to Win Hearts and Minds”

Scene Report: California

While I may still be on partial hiatus, as the fall semester ends in its typical whirlwind of student-meetings, evaluations, and grading, life moves on. And I am pleased to report that the microradio movement is alive and well. I will be most interested to see just how the FCC wraps up this year’s “war on pirates” – when I finally find the time to digest the data.
Some heartening news comes from the old guard in California. Berkeley Liberation Radio, after suffering a government raid on its studio premises (not related to the station itself), has safely relocated and is kicking as usual. Across the Bay, San Francisco Liberation Radio has also been revived – the correspondence I received does not explicitly state that this return will include a frequency-modulated signal, but it leaves room for speculation: “Since our court case was resolutely rejected by the Ninth Circuit, SFLR dropped the legal proceedings but continued to stream internet radio. Now [a new crew] will continue in the long and storied tradition of SFLR in the South of Market area.” You can’t keep a good idea down. Continue reading “Scene Report: California”