Bring The Noise Redux: FCC Okays FM-HD Power Increase

With little fanfare on Friday, the FCC approved a blanket four-fold increase in the power of FM-HD digital sidebands, and also established procedures for stations to apply for a power-hike of up to 10x.
This outcome was no surprise. For the last two years the proprietors of HD Radio, iBiquity Digital Corporation, and National Public Radio have been wrangling over just how much of a digital FM power boost is needed to replicate existing FM stations’ analog coverage. Continue reading “Bring The Noise Redux: FCC Okays FM-HD Power Increase”

Whoa, Canada: DAB Effectively Dead?

Grant Goddard notes the publication of a report by Industry Canada (our northern neighbors’ version of the FCC) on the state of the country’s digital audio broadcasting transition. Short answer: do-over time!
In the report, the Canadian government basically admits that its DAB transition has stalled (at just 76 stations), and is now in reverse (digital stations are going dark). The report cites many reasons for its failure: large up-front capital investment; expensive receivers leading to little audience; and, most importantly, DAB was designed as a technical solution to a content problem. Continue reading “Whoa, Canada: DAB Effectively Dead?”

Data Privacy Long Gone At U.S. Borders

Remember the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)? It’s not in effect yet, though some 40 countries are secretly negotiating the final details before its endorsement and implementation.
One of the most controversial elements of ACTA would be participating countries’ ability to arbitrarily inspect and, if they deem it necessary, impound electronic devices (cell phones, PDAs, laptops, etc.) at the border of entry. Ostensibly justified to combat terrorism, ACTA’s main function is to turn the hunt for copyright infringement into a new police duty. Continue reading “Data Privacy Long Gone At U.S. Borders”

War on Pirates in 2009: (Paper) Fur Flies Furiously

For the ninth year in a row, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has broken its record for the number of enforcement actions taken against unlicensed broadcasters in any given calendar year. 429 enforcement actions spanning 22 states have been catalogued; there are likely to be some stragglers into the database but 2009 goes into the books as the year of the one-armed paper-hanger.
ead09statesThe numbers themselves are relatively unsurprising. Enforcement actions in 2009 were more geographically-concentrated (Florida, New York and New Jersey accounted for nearly 63% of all enforcement actions), but unlicensed broadcast activity was reported coast-to-coast. Continue reading “War on Pirates in 2009: (Paper) Fur Flies Furiously”