FCC Develops its own Enforcement Action Database

It’s been a busy year for the Federal Communications Commission: leadership changes, shutdowns and sequesters, and increased pressure from Congress and its core industry-constituents to "modernize" itself.
A goodly portion of the latter is happening on the agency’s web site. With little fanfare earlier this year, the FCC rolled out a "Maps" section which visualizes various aspects of agency business, including FCC Enforcement Actions Against Pirate Radio By Location. Continue reading “FCC Develops its own Enforcement Action Database”

Radio's Digital Dilemma: Published!

Today, Radio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the Twenty-First Century was formally unleashed upon the world.
As I’ve said before, for the most part it’s a work that chronicles an important constitutive moment in the history of U.S. radio broadcasting, and holds lessons about how our system of contemporary media policymaking works (or doesn’t) more broadly. I approached it more like an act of muckraking, in the purest sense of the term, than anything else. Continue reading “Radio's Digital Dilemma: Published!”

Congress Tries Intimidating FCC to Drop Information Needs Study

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission announced it was preparing to conduct a test of its protocol for a "multi-market study on critical information needs" in Columbia, South Carolina. The study proposal suggests a two-pronged approach: the first is a "media market census" which will look at broadcast, newspaper, and online news content in sample markets around the country. The second prong is a "community ecology study" in which surveys will be conducted to "measure community members’ actual and perceived critical information needs." This will be coupled with "in-depth neighborhood interviews" involving actual citizens.
With studies like these, the devil is in the details. There’s no clear definition of what "critical information needs" actually are, and while the proposal plans to focus on these needs from the perspective of "vulnerable/disadvantaged populations," these are also not clearly defined. Sample-size is also key: this particular study will look at six media markets—two large, two medium, and two small—and we still don’t know what other five markets will be involved. Continue reading “Congress Tries Intimidating FCC to Drop Information Needs Study”

RadioDiscussions Killed By Greed

It certainly hasn’t been a kind year for online radio discussion sites.
For more than a decade, one of the most vibrant sites online to talk about U.S. broadcasting of all stripes was RadioDiscussions.com. It began in the late 1990s when three radio enthusiasts merged their own bulletin boards into a common site called Radio-Info, providing an outlet for discussion about dozens of speficic radio markets, boards for every state, as well as specialty forums for things like community radio, digital radio, engineering, and FCC policy. Continue reading “RadioDiscussions Killed By Greed”