Mbanna Material Resurrected, Good Riddance Randy Michaels?, IBOC Surprise

A busy week. The Human Rights Information Network is back in action – all of Mbanna’s previous material is back online, and there’s 13 new episodes of the Human Rights Patrol, a new album of music from Ebony Kantako, and the start of a new archive of raw audio from the Human Rights Radio tape library. Mbanna now has more than a gigabyte of audio online, with plenty more sure to come.
There’s also new entries to the Enforcement Action Database – primarily a slew of NALs to operators in Florida, and one to the owner of a licensed station in Kansas who operated a pirate station on the same frequency out of a local nightclub. How smart is that?
We’ll be putting up the rest of our audio library and more features over the course of the next week. Soon, we’ll be back in business for real.
In other news, media borg Clear Channel announced this week that the CEO of its Radio Division, Randy Michaels, is stepping down to assume a “newly created” role as head of the company’s “New Technologies Division.”
Many are happy to see Michaels exit radio, which he repeatedly compared to Wal-Mart and McDonald’s in his ego-inflated quest to strip the industry of all of its humanity and drag its programming to the lowest common denominator. He also masterminded alliances with the now-controversial “independent music promotion” system, whereby record companies funnel kickback fees to Clear Channel radio stations for playing certain artists.
Yes, Michaels has done a lot of damage, but in his new role, he’ll be overseeing the company’s fledgling initiatives in “new media,” like its new Delta V ISP-via-TV service. It’s services like these that may eventually replace programming on the radio dial, as large media conglomerates like Clear Channel find new, more profitable uses for the spectrum they squat on.
In other words, if Michaels has been moved to head up Clear Channel’s convergence initiative, then we may be pretty phucked, and it’s time to start gearing up for an even bigger fight against this behemoth.
Related news: radio engineer David Maxson, head of Broadcast Signal labs, once spoke eloquently to the board of National Public Radio about why the interference arguments surrounding LPFM were specious. This week, RadioWorld ran a guest article by him where he waxes optimistically about the potential for digital radio in America, and essentially admits that the largest potential it contains is in its potential to use radio for more than radio. On the subject of setting the standards for the digital radio infrastructure, Maxon writes:
“I don’t see any way, or reason, to call for this to be a democratic process. IBOC would not have gotten this far without the concerted efforts of highly focused expert enterprises.”
If this would have been a democratic process from the start, IBOC would have been killed in the womb, and rightly so, and the dawning of a new age in radio just might have been crafted in the true spirit of the public interest. It’s sad that the reminder comes from someone once considered an ally.