The True Face of the Dark Side

It was to be a busy annual convention for the National Association of Broadcasters: with consolidation at a fever pitch and various new technologies being unveiled, corporate broadcasters all over the nation converged on Las Vegas last week to talk shop and pitch wares.
As is the typical form, FCC Chairman William Kennard addressed the assembled executives and managers at a breakfast meeting.
These annual addresses typically are a “state of broadcasting” kind of speech, where the FCC Chairman at the time lays out his goals for the coming year. One of those goals will be the creation of a low power radio service. In fact, Kennard made special mention of it in his speech.
The entire event was broadcast over the Internet – all but Kennard’s low power broadcasting comments.
You see, someone at the NAB got very uptight when Kennard laid out his sympathetic views on the subject. So much so, that the person in charge of the webcast censored it by throwing up a generic slate and playing jazz music until he was finished.
Viewers were confused, but they should be more concerned than anything.
See for yourself: Fast-forward until about 26 minutes 15 seconds (26:15) into Kennard’s speech. This is where he began his low power radio comments. About a minute and 20 seconds (1:20) into them (around 27:30), the censor strikes.
Fortunately, because the NAB doesn’t control every information outlet, we’ve managed to get the text of his comments:
That’s why I want to work with you, not against you, to find a way to make low power radio work. Low power radio has the potential to create outlets for an array of new voices like churches, community groups, and colleges. It can give voice to those ideas not always heard, but which many yearn to hear.
Now, I know many of you are very concerned about this. In fact, some people are saying that I want to write the obituary for radio.
Well, I want to be very clear about two things. One, this FCC is committed to preserving the technical integrity of FM radio. And two, this FCC is committed to a digital future for radio. Low power radio will not change that.
And frankly, it’s not helpful to hear only rhetoric that “the sky is falling” even before the rulemaking comments have been filed. It’s not helpful and it only serves to undermine the credibility of your arguments in the end.
Interestingly enough, it’s Kennard’s specific chastising of the NAB that got censored. Looks like if you can’t take the heat, pretend it doesn’t exist.
Apparently, those in the positions of power in the world of broadcasting will stoop to new lows to prevent legalization of low power radio from happening. Hell, they’ve already issued their own lobbying kit on the issue.
All of this from an organization representing an industry which purports to serve the public interest. A few seconds of jazz music and a nearly-blank screen goes a long way to debunk that myth.
If the NAB has to resort to censorship of a webcast to suppress pro-low power radio views, what’s next? Will journalists working in the broadcast media be forbidden to report on the story, unless the spin is favorable to the NAB, at risk of termination?
Don’t laugh – it’s already happened to one broadcast engineer who spoke out at work in favor of low power radio, only to find his employment in jeopardy. Is it any coincidence that the broadcast media, as a whole, has refrained from covering the issue?
WAKE UP AND REALIZE what is happening. File comments on the proposal.
At this point, corporate broadcasters should worry more about shooting themselves in the ass than whether or not “the sky is falling.” Shame on you all.