It’s been a surprisingly slow year so far in the FCC’s low-intensity war against unlicensed broadcasting.
After 2010’s decline in year-over-year enforcement actions, it would seem that field agents’ priorities are shifting.
Four people have been hit with a total of $75,000 in Notices of Apparent Liability (i.e., pre-fines) this year. However, three of those cases are carry-overs from 2010. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement: Pirates Less a Pirority?”
Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge has some incredibly insightful analysis on the proposed purchase of T-Mobile by of AT&T.
The $39 billion deal would effectively reduce the number of national wireless broadband service providers to three (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint – and as a Sprint customer, why do I have a feeling this development will f*ck me, too?).
Brodsky’s piece catalogs the immense amount of backstage preparation AT&T accomplished to sow the seeds of government approval for the buyout. However, he also touches on one implication of this deal that deserves more attention: it’s “the one issue that never seems to go away – Net Neutrality.” Continue reading “Hardening the Oligopoly in Wireless Broadband”
2011 has not started out well for advocates of HD Radio. Last week, Microsoft announced it would discontinue production of the Zune portable media player – one of only two portable devices that had built-in HD reception capability. Earlier in the year, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, HD Radio’s presence was pretty underwhelming. Not good indicators for increasing uptake by listeners.
In addition, the political campaign to defund federal support of public broadcasting has HD squarely in its sights. Over the last decade or so, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has invested more than $50 million in HD Radio, through infrastructure “upgrade” subsidies to CPB-funded stations and support of National Public Radio’s in-house research division, NPR Labs. Continue reading “More Lumps for HD Radio”
This spring sees the beginning of the FCC’s license-renewal cycle for radio stations. Stations in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia must begin running license-renewal announcements next month, and file their formal paperwork to renew station licenses by June. (Other states will follow in batches through the next three years – find out the license-renewal deadlines for radio stations in your state in this FCC document.).
Although the license-renewal process has long been pretty much a pro forma exercise, it does provide an opportunity for the listening public to examine and critique the performance of their local radio stations. Continue reading “Radio Station License Renewals Ahoy”
Last month, the Norwegian Culture Ministry published a report calling for the turnoff of all analog radio broadcast services in the country by 2017.
Domestic boosters of the plan claim that the switch to the Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) protocol represents “a tool for democratization and a vast increase in choice.” Although DMB is a different technology than HD Radio, the U.S. digital radio broadcasting standard, both suffer from a technologically-agnostic failure to provide qualitative improvements to existing analog radio service. Continue reading “Norway: New Vanguard of Digital Radio?”
Last Thursday night, when I heard of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plans to forcibly evict those who have occupied the state Capitol building for nearly two weeks, I couldn’t not go home.
I ended up in Madison not just to add my voice to the hundreds of thousands who rallied in protest last weekend of the corporatization of Wisconsin, but to help my friend at the Isthmus, Kristian Knutsen, who has nearly-singlehandedly held down the alt-weekly’s real-time online coverage of the massively fluid events.
It felt nice to put the journalistic shoes on again. During the threat of a “forcible evacuation” of the Capitol building on Sunday afternoon, I perched my netbook on the marble railing on the building’s second floor in the Rotunda and hunkered down, with thousands of my newly-found best friends. The police, who are working people, too, made no move and the Capitol remains occupied today. Continue reading “Being the Media: Covering Wisconsin's Uprising”