Total posts : 45366
This site does a wonderful job of providing information about legal part 15 broadcasting. That’s what I do.
However, I’ve also got to say that I think that pirate stations also serve an important purpose. Whether legal part 15 or pirate the numerous start ups of independent broadcasting show that the current FCC environment is wrong.
Broadcasters were supposed to be “trustees of the airwaves” and serve the public with their programming. We all know that isn’t the case anymore. I was incensed that political bimbo FCC commissioner Abernathy* said during a public hearing that there was no evidence that consolidated media ownership had reduced the quantity of local originated programming? Obviously she knows where her political alliances lie and it’s not with serving the public.
The FCC has frozen applications for new stations using the rather lame excuse that digital issues need to be resolved first. There is no way to start a new licensed station to truly serve the needs of local communities or even to provide alternative programming and views.
Meanwhile the corporate broadcasters have a few hours of a minimum wage dj playing some records and reading the weather in the morning, then they switch to satellite delivered programming for the balance of the day and night. One full power TV station in our market now promotes that they cover ONLY the metropolitan area for news and information even though their 5 million watt signal covers 65-70 miles from the “metro” area.
Now to my point: Legal Part 15 broadcasters and Pirate stations both point our the inadequacies of broadcasting in our country. It’s hilarious to read in press releases how the FCC has closed down some pirate stations and used the justification that “they never applied for a license.” Perhaps that would have a bit more validity if they actually accepted license applications. Equally sad is that they formed a committee on localism. I guess it looked good on their website. It served no purpose.
Part 15 broadcasting is a legal way to try to distribute a diversity of music, news and opinions that simply isn’t there with regular broadcasters. We get some attention, but have little coverage. It’s a start.
I don’t like pirate stations being confused with Part 15 broadcasters, yet I have to admit pirate stations are a much more effective form of protest against the “big corporations have more rights to broadcasting than communities” attitude of the FCC. Much like early newspapers helped shape our democracy, it may take the work of both part 15’ers and pirate stations to force the FCC to do the right thing. The part 15’ers are on the air with alternative programming of various types and there’s not much anyone can do to shut them down. The Pirate stations may be subject to being shut down, but they get more publicity and point out the need for more localism and diversity in programming.
If the FCC were taking their responsibility seriously, there would be no need for pirate stations.
*I have Abernathy’s testimony on DVD. My use of the word “bimbo” reflects only my opinion and should only be construed as valid in a political sense. Other words which would imply accepting favors for actions might be more accurate, but I’m sure not appropriate for this forum.