FCC: AM Stations Get FM Translators

Yesterday the FCC issued a Report and Order formally allowing AM radio stations to use FM translators to rebroadcast their signals.
The idea was first proposed nearly three years ago, and over the last 18 months or so the FCC’s quietly been allowing AM stations to apply for translators to “fill in” existing gaps in their coverage areas. These gaps have been caused by the general degradation of the AM band, due to electromagnetic or radio-frequency interference (RFI) from a growing myriad of electronic devices and skywave signals from stronger co- or adjacent-channel stations. Continue reading “FCC: AM Stations Get FM Translators”

The Next Best Thing Since Pump Up The Volume?

There haven’t been that many big-screen films made about pirate radio. The only ones that come to mind, except for the slew of documentaries produced in the last decade or so, are On the Air Live with Captain Midnight (1979 – extra-cheese, please!), Sir! No Sir! (2005 – more of a documentary about internal military resistance to Vietnam, it highlights the role of Dave Rabbit and Radio First Termer quite prominently), and, probably the best-known of the bunch, Pump Up the Volume (1990 – a cult classic).
None of the above movies (save for the documentaries) are big on facts; to wit, the FCC does not chase people around broadcasting from Jeeps in big orange bread trucks with “F.C.C.” stenciled on the side of them. Continue reading “The Next Best Thing Since Pump Up The Volume?”

GM Loses A Potential Customer

I know that one of the prime adages of the media reform movement goes something like that if your first issue-of-interest is not “fixing the media,” then it should be your second. Can that sometimes work the other way around? With respect to recent developments in the auto industry, I would argue yes.
Since 1997, the year I started writing online, I’ve been the (somewhat) proud owner of a Saturn SC2. Not the most perfectly-built car (at least it looks fast). I just flipped the 108,000 mile-mark on it this weekend; I drove it off the lot with just 215. It’s the first and, perhaps, the only brand-new car I’ll ever own. Now, General Motors has gone into bankruptcy, and as a part of this move it’s spun Saturn off to a third party (so at least I’ll still get parts and service). That’s nice. It’s the rest of GM I worry about. Continue reading “GM Loses A Potential Customer”

LPFM: Offensive and Defensive Victories

Late last week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the National Association of Broadcasters’ appeal to have FCC-tweaks made over the years to the LPFM service thrown away. In a nutshell, the NAB claimed that the FCC’s moves to make LPFM stations more equal to others on the dial, and to provide remedial efforts in the case where an LPFM’s existence is in jeopardy by another (larger) station, overstepped the statutory bounds of the LPFM service as dictated by Congress in 2001.
In an 18-page ruling, the D.C. Circuit basically tells the NAB to stuff it: “Congress did not intend to restrain the Commission’s authority to respond to new circumstances potentially threatening LPFM stations other than with respect to third-adjacent channel minimum separation requirements.” Administratively, the Court could find no grounds to back the NAB’s objections. Radio World says the trade organization “is studying the decision and its options,” but the smart money is this horse is dead. Continue reading “LPFM: Offensive and Defensive Victories”