Doctoral dissertation defense success!
Radio’s Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting in the 21st Century represents the definitive chronicle of HD Radio’s development and proliferation. It also attempts to unpack the apparent global failure of terrestrial digital broadcasting, and envision how “radio” will continue to evolve in a convergent digital media environment. Continue reading “Certified "Expert"”
Community radio stations are strange animals. While they all have paper-missions to be inclusive, alternative, and oriented toward citizen access to the airwaves, the reality is that they often have poisonous internal politics, can get caught up in their own legacies to the detriment of their futures, and – like many volunteer-driven organizations (but ironic for a radio station) – don’t necessarily communicate well amongst themselves.
My current home for radio-catharsis, WEFT, is not immune to this. I’ve served a year on the Board of Directors and came away completely frustrated. Fortunately, many community radio stations – if the volunteers are detached from the baggage, empowered with a sense of collective responsibility and left to do their thing – can almost run themselves. This applies to WEFT as well. Continue reading “Props Out of Nowhere”
Two days early, a crew of engineers and volunteers re-wired our transmission facilities to install WEFT’s new 10,000-watt transmitter. Coverage has not only returned to normal, but increased slightly, and the fidelity provided by the solid-state unit we now have has noticeably improved our signal.
According to a story in the daily newspaper, WEFT’s station manager says we’ll be “raising funds to replace more aging equipment as well.” Just in time for our fall fundraising drive….
For the last few weeks my home community radio station, WEFT, has been hobbling along at reduced power, due to severe weather which fried our 20 year-old, 10,000-watt transmitter. Over the course of this time, the station’s rented a 1,000-watt transmitter, bringing our effective radiated power up to about 1/5th of its licensed capacity.
Buying, shipping, and installing a 10,000-watt transmitter is not cheap (think approximately $60,000). Fortunately, because our old transmitter was insured and verifiably destroyed by an “act of God” (lightning/water damage), we should be receiving something around $27,000 in compensation. In conjunction with that, WEFT had a “rainy-day fund” set up shortly after we paid off the mortgage for our studio building more than 10 years ago. We paid off the mortgage early and saved the remainder. That fund has about $25,000 in it. Continue reading “Mother Nature, Meet Rainy-Day Fund”
On Friday, May 30, my local community radio station, WEFT, suffered a lightning strike to its antenna tower. Although the tower’s lightning protection system protected part of the airchain, it did not save it all: a critical piece of our 10,000-watt transmitter’s innards got fried. Upon inspection, there also appeared to be water damage, with “debris” found inside the transmitter itself. Repairs have been unsuccessful.
Regionally, the Midwest is suffering from a particularly rough patch of severe weather; WEFT is but one of many casualties to Mother Nature this summer. Typically, the weather extremes is one of the things that makes living here fun. Continue reading “When Lightning Strikes”
Illinois: It seems that a group of folks headed out after the WRFU barnraising to pay a visit to Springfield, the home of Mbanna Kantako‘s Human Rights Radio. They found Kantako and the station in good spirits, albeit at extremely low power, thanks to a blown amplifier, which is now under repair.
Kantako celebrates his 18th nearly-uninterrupted year on the air in five days – a large portion of which has been archived on tape. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Illinois, Louisiana”
When Prometheus comes to town to throw down a barnraising, they’re not so much building a radio station as they are planting seeds for collaborative media production. This is because it’s really impossible to fully build out a radio station in three days, even with 100+ of your closest friends. Which means, after the weekend work-party, you still have a sh*tload of work to do.
The process of initial construction is merely the hefty push that launches the collaboration. WRFU’s transmitter and antenna are fully secure – it’s everything else that’s left to finish.
Hence I am remiss both at posting frequently and documenting the experience. Fortunately, lots of others did that: Continue reading “WRFU: We're Really Functional, Usually”
FCC agents reportedly paid a visit (32:39, 15 MB, thanks V-Man and Indynewswire) to Radio Algiers in New Orleans on November 2. The station is off the air indefinitely; plans are to try and utilize the facilities of WTUL to help those desiring to speak truth to power acquire a spot on the local radio dial. Please note the irony: the FCC can make the rounds but FEMA is still missing in action. Hopefully the gear will stay in circulation.
More than 120 folks have signed up to help build our little LPFM station in Urbana this weekend. Registration will be accepted on-site, so it’s not too late to get involved. Even if you can’t make it, you can still participate in our inaugural broadcast. Visit this page and follow the instructions to give WRFU greetings, which we’ll broadcast as part of our inaugural smorgasbord show Sunday evening.
Just in case posts are light for the next month or so, you have been duly warned.
No longer content to engage & enthrall scores of volunteers with a plain old radio barnraising, Prometheus and the UC IMC take the mammoth task of building a radio station over the course of a singe weekend in stride. We’re not stopping at the FM AIRWAVES; we’re setting our sights on freeing the whole SPECTRUM for use by democratic communications as we look to the future of radio! … While some of us construct the studio & raise the antenna to get WRFU on the air, others will set up access points to expand and protect [an] open source community wireless network!
Registration for all of this fun closes on November 6. We can use all the help we can get.
~30,000 square feet, including massive open space, suites of offices, and crazy hidden nooks and crannies (where postal inspectors once kept secret watch on the staff).
$218,000 goes a long way in east-central Illinois. The IMC already has about a third of that on hand, and the rest, it is hoped, can be paid by renting out space to other groups and such. The potential for a performance space nearly dwarfs anything else available off-campus. The post office still maintains a station in the building, but as tenants ($1 a year for the next ten): Uncle Sam say hi to your new landlord! Continue reading “UC-IMC Buys Post Office”