A significant broadcast complaint has been filed with the FCC by the Media Action Center. MAC is a broadcaster watchdog with a particular focus on assessing how radio and TV stations operate in the public interest. Of special concern are the hyper-partisan leanings of talk radio – which makes the basis for MAC’s most recent activity here in Wisconsin.
As you may have heard, Wisconsin is in the throes of an historic recall election which seeks to oust Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch for promulgating policies that have decimated Wisconsin’s economy as well as its systems of education and health care (these are just a few of the many beefs the electorate has with the current administration). Continue reading “FCC May Scrutinize Milwaukee's Rabidly Right-Wing Radio”
It’s been an active spring for field agents in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, but the agency’s pirate-hunting fervor still seems tempered. The present pace of this year’s activity mirrors 2011 – good news of a sort, because last year saw a massive drop-off in enforcement action.
That said, about four dozen pirate stations in 13 states (and Puerto Rico) have had some sort of contact with the federales this year. Although the FCC’s enforcement protocol remains firmly in the administrative realm, there have been some interesting developments this year. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement: Check, Please!”
Sometimes futurists don’t look far enough into the past before proposing their next big idea.
Case in point: Eliot Van Buskirk seems pretty excited about the pending expansion of the LPFM radio service, and he suggests that stations look into crowdsourcing their programming: “using music apps to control low-powered radio stations within small urban (or suburban, or even rural) areas” seems like a great way to program a station on the cheap, and it would most likely sound like nothing else on the dial.
Initial reaction to the idea is mixed. But it’s not necessarily new: pirate radio’s already been there and done that, more than a decade ago. Continue reading “Crowdsourcing Community Radio”
After seven and a half years, Free Press has discontinued the production of Media Minutes, its weekly headline radio newscast that examined issues at the intersection of media and democracy.
I developed and launched Media Minutes in 2004, as a doctoral student at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Communications Research. I’d left the broadcast industry in 2000 out of disgust at what it had done to stymie the rollout of LPFM, and had thought that my days as a radio journalist were behind me.
This was not to be. During my master’s work at the University of Wisconsin, I co-founded Workers Independent News, the first labor-centric radio news program to be launched in the U.S. in more than 50 years. My work with WIN caught the ear of Bob McChesney, then a professor at ICR, and when I was accepted into that program he e-mailed me out of the blue to ask whether I’d be interested in starting a similar program focused on issues of media policy and reform. Continue reading “Media Minutes: 2004-2012”
A recent paper (PDF) from the Society of Broadcast Engineers paints a stark picture for the vocation of broadcast engineering.
The SBE notes that the number of broadcast engineers (especially those employed full-time) has been in a steady decline since the 1980s. This is when the FCC began getting rid of rules that required engineers to hold specific (and often multiple) qualifications to work at radio and television stations. Broadcasters could thus get by with fewer engineers, and many jobs which engineers used to do could now be done by lesser-qualified staff. Continue reading “Broadcast Engineers: A Dying Breed?”