Heads Roll @ Ibiquity; LPFM Forced Off the Air; Berkeley Liberation Radio Alive and Well

Some news that didn’t make the headlines this week: Ibiquity Digital Radio has fired three executives over the ongoing flap involving the inferior sound quality of the IBOC “HD Radio” technology.
Of the three, the departure of E. Glynn Walden is the most notable: he’s been the company’s main contact for the broadcast industry, having worked on the IBOC system since 1989. Walden was also responsible for all testing of the new technology. Ibiquity says the departures are due to “cost reasons,” but methinks the company is shaking up its management after the current team gave birth to a digital dog.
On the LPFM front: WFBP-LP in Taylors, South Carolina was forced off the air by the FCC this week after a full-power station owned by Barnstable Broadcasting complained of interference from the 71-watt LPFM to its 25,000-watt station, WGVC.
In the eyes of the FCC, LPFM stations are secondary to full-power ones, which makes all LPFM stations potentially susceptible to such bumping, although the station’s owner is thinking of a legal challenge to the shutdown (to recover the $200,000 he spent to build the station – must’ve been one killer 71-watt signal!).
The problem here isn’t that WFBP did anything wrong: on the contrary, Barnstable moved WGVC 60 miles closer to the Spartanburg market so as to attempt to reach a larger audience for its oldies pabulum, covering two metropolitan areas instead of one with a “rimshot” signal. This business decision leaves WFBP pretty much out in the cold.
And finally, while the FCC is again hot on the trail of San Francisco Liberation Radio, another long-term microradio station in the Bay area is alive and very well. Berkeley Liberation Radio – the descendent operation of Free Radio Berkeley – got a positive writeup in the local paper this week. The station has been forced to move locations and operates on a limited schedule, but its electromagnetic middle finger still flies high.