Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Community Radio Stations Run by the Federal Government

This has got to be a parody, right? No one can be so deluded as to believe that "community" radio stations run by the federal government, and a huge new cadre of thought police, is a good idea.

Can they? Excerpt:

Instead of slowly grinding down thousands of repeater station applications that leave no room for community radio, the FCC essentially threw most of those applications away by limiting who can apply, how many filings a single entity can make, and which markets can consider new repeaters — all of which frees up the regulatory body to examine applications for new community stations. The regulatory agency still gave some deference to corporate broadcasters, however, by allowing them one shot at revising their applications to fit the new guidelines.

That means “as early as this fall, as in 2012, there will be opportunities for local community groups to plan and start their own independent radio stations,” Doyle said. “This is what we’ve fought for [over] more than a decade, and the FCC has opened the door to that.”

While there aren’t any official numbers yet, several “radio geeks” who spoke to Raw Story off the record estimated that as many as 10,000 applications for community radio stations could be filed in the coming years.

Prometheus activists and local radio affiliates all over the country played a dramatic role in helping shape media coverage of the “Occupy” movement last year, providing a sharp contrast to the often detached approach taken by mainstream, corporate sources. Their influence was broad enough to remind many listeners that community radio — an otherwise rare commodity in the U.S. — is often the dissenter’s best friend.

Though the FCC’s decision may not sound all that important, it really is. For the first time in decades, Americans living in major cities will soon be hearing the voices of their friends and neighbors flooding the airwaves — a far cry from the typical morning DJ fart jokes and the same “top hit” songs endlessly droning on a looping playback.

I agree that radio sucks. But it sucks because most people want to listen to something that sucks. All the efforts to put sensitive people on the air have failed because no one wants to listen to that crap.

Sensitive people already have NPR and MSNBC to congratulate them on how sensitive they are. Rush Limbaugh, whatever you think of him, SAVED a.m. radio. It would be dead as a medium by now unless conservative talk shows had risen up to save it. And it will be dead once the government decides to create a state-run media. The economies of scale in producing content are just too large. There is no chance of small, local groups producing anything.

Then, when a.m. radio does die, our government will blame it on changing technology, not on crushing regulatory restrictions.


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Anonymous said...

"Then, when a.m. radio does die, our government will blame it on changing technology, not on crushing regulatory restrictions."

Notably absent from this article you link to is any reference to the words a.m.

The FCC regulates the airwaves; sure that has some downsides, it also has it's upsides.

It's doubly-ironic that you cite NPR as the sensitive people's radio of choice. Over the past decade NPR, when not pimping wars or fracking, has been adamantly against community radio. NPR is for soccer moms who want to feel like they're being informed and people who love schlock. They have their reasons.

Anonymous said...

Why not just scrap these frequencies all together and use them to increase broadband?

Eric said...

" ...urban areas that have for decades only known what’s being broadcast by major corporations and America’s political right. "
Ha. Rush Limbaugh might be all they've "known" but you wouldn't know that by the way urban polities act.

Ten Mile Island said...

I think I can falsify at least one of your conclusions, that Rush saved the AM band.

I ran an AM station, and we were consistently getting a 28 share in a market with five local stations, and at least another twenty signals from "distant" stations.

We had no Rush. Just great personalities that focused on the local community.

It's content, not the medium, that matters.

Anonymous said...

It is an absolute MYTH that Rush Limbaugh "saved AM radio." There is NO WAY AM radio would have disappeared if there was no Rush Limbaugh.

It is so easy to say "Rush saved AM radio" but the people who make that claim never tell us what would have happened if Rush never existed. AM radio would NOT have evaporated. More likely it would have retrenched and become a more localized, more community oriented, more productive medium.

Rush Limbaugh, as far as I can see, has helped destroy AM radio, turning it into a force to promote hatred and anger and division in our society.