Clear Channel/KJR Re-Jammed in Seattle

Last September, when the National Association of Broadcasters descended on Seattle for their annual radio convention, they were met by a swarm of microradio stations, who dubbed themselves the “mosquito fleet.”
During the convention the stations coordinated a simulcast spoof of local Clear Channel classic hits outlet KJR-FM, which ran on spots across Seattle’s FM dial for the better part of a day. The on-air culture jam, produced by Negativland, ripped into KJR and Clear Channel for billing the station as playing the “SuperHits 60s and 70s,” yet sneaking in a significant number of 80’s tunes. It was a sideswipe at Clear Channel and the NAB’s focus on broadcasting for a demographic and the bottom line. Continue reading “Clear Channel/KJR Re-Jammed in Seattle”

Reportback from Seattle FCC Festivities

“Strategically optimistic” is the way Jonathan Lawson, an organizer with Reclaim the Media, feels coming out of Friday’s FCC media ownership field hearing with Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. The two certainly got an earful.
Reclaim the Media, along with many other groups, spent a lot of time and energy making the field hearing happen. Because it was not officially sanctioned by Chairman Michael Powell, the FCC wouldn’t release funds for the two Commissioners to travel. Copps paid his own way, presumably out of his own (limited) office expense funds; Reclaim the Media paid the freight for Adelstein.
Having originally scheduled only 30 minutes of time for public comment at the hearing, the Commissioners pledged not to cut off anyone who wanted to speak. They listened to more than three hours of public comment as a result. Not only that, but corporate media executives in the onstage discussion panels were openly jeered. Lawson says the overall sentiment was “overwhelmingly, if not totally opposed” to further relaxation of media ownership rules. Continue reading “Reportback from Seattle FCC Festivities”

Microradio Notes

The FCC has fined a Naples, FL man $10,000 for running an unlicensed station out of a church. Radio Mision Posible got multiple visits and warning letters before getting a pending-fine notice and, ultimately, the forfeiture itself. The Enforcement Action Database has logged 28 actions to-date for the year, bringing the overall running score to 239.
We’ve also updated our Mosquito Fleet Operational Analysis with additional information emailed from fellow participants. It looks like a total of 11 frequencies were occupied during the event, one more than previously estimated. Some frequencies were shared by more than one station. Continue reading “Microradio Notes”

Mosquito Fleet Feature Complete

The major components to our coverage of the microradio activity that took place during the NAB radio convention in Seattle earlier this month are now in place. Please keep in mind that the operational analysis is only one man’s opinion, and I’d love to hear from others who want to share their experiences. If you recorded anything, please let me know and spread the love!
Looking back on all the action, I must say that it felt good to be part of something special, although I’m in awe of so many peoples’ dedication and resourcefulness. Hopefully the dialogue that started in Seattle continues and evolves. Continue reading “Mosquito Fleet Feature Complete”

Mosquito Fleet Stings NAB

“Mosquito Fleet” of Microbroadcasters Occupy Seattle FM Dial During NAB Radio Convention, September 10-15, 2002

manyvoicesOperational Analysis – Behind the mics: a reportback on the fleet’s activities
During the week of September 9, 2002, members of the radio industry traveled to Seattle, Washington for the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual radio convention. Continue reading “Mosquito Fleet Stings NAB”

Mosquito Fleet Feature in Production – Have a Taste of What's to Come

Still slogging through lots and lots of multimedia goodies collected from Seattle that should, when properly assembled, paint an entertaining and informative picture of the Mosquito Fleet of Microbroadcasters who swarmed the recent NAB convention. Once I get access to a scanner and some video encoding equipment, the real party will start.
In the meantime, take a listen to the KJR-FM culture jam simulcast on at least six microradio stations on the opening day of the convention. Produced exclusively by a member of Negativland for the festivities, with extra-special digs at Clear Channel!
Much more should be online as the weekend rolls on. Stay tuned…

Seattle is Radioactive!

It has been a busy couple of days since we arrived into town…the Seattle Independent Media Center has been an awesome hub of activity, serving as a workshop, reception space and newsroom. At any given time you can find people sawing lumber, soldering equipment and making stories.
The Reclaim the Media! events got rolling in earnest last night, and they have been well-attended. The schedule of panels, workshops, rallies and concerts is an ambitious one, and kind of works against everyone meeting en masse in a single location. Rallies at Freeway Park have been relatively sparsely attended, but that will probably change as the weekend progresses.
I have been working hard trying to follow the Mosquito Fleet of microbroadcasters who are here in quite a significant contingent, but it’s dicey because operating locations are scattered throughout the metropolitan area and those running the operations are understandably low-key about disclosing information. Needless to say, though, that there’s people from all over the country here, and they’re all fired up about firing up. I’ll have lots more about this when all is over and the immediate risks have passed. Continue reading “Seattle is Radioactive!”

Seattle or Bust

It’s packing time for the trip out to Seattle for the Reclaim the Media! conference next week, being held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters’ own radio industry convention.
In addition to the panels, workshops, rallies and conferences, there will be plenty of time to follow the “mosquito fleet” of microbroadcasters who are mobilizng to send commercial broadcasting a strong message about media and democracy. Continue reading “Seattle or Bust”

Links: Separating Transmitter from Studio

The act of broadcasting without a license is a very public thing; it is going on the air that makes it a crime, not what a pirate station does once it’s on. Because of this, a delicate game of balance has to be played by pirate radio station operators. As a pirate garners more notice from a community, the risk of having the powers-that-be notice also rises. But if nobody knows about the station, then what good can it do?
To try and prevent (or at least partially blunt) the eventual enforcement action, pirates have experimented with unique ways of “protecting” their studios. After all, transmitters are replaceable; dedicated people are not.
The easiest way to protect a studio is to separate it physically from the transmitter. Radio authorities find pirates by the signals they produce, and the place where those signals are coming from is the first place they’ll visit. If that place is not the studio, it forces enforcement agents to at least take one extra step to catch a pirate. Continue reading “Links: Separating Transmitter from Studio”