Total posts : 45366
“Security theater” indeed. I would suspect this all has more to do with creating the illusion of security, giving out government contracts, and overblown (and way late) responses to the tragedy of 9/11. While I, too, am concerned with “over-surveillance” (we’ve got nothing on the UK with its electronic monitoring, ubiquitous cameras, etc.), I think the conspiracy theorists are giving the bureaucrats entirely too much credit and imbuing them with a level of competence which may not be warranted.
Way back (when radios ran on kerosene…actually the late 80s-early 90s), I worked at a 50KW clear channel “Primary Entry Point” AM station and had to go to a series of FEMA-sponsored meetings about “hardening” our transmitter and setting up a sorta “last man standing” bunker so that Washington (the city, not the Founding Father) could address the nation following The Big One. A redundant communications system that used telco lines, satellite, and HF radio was designed so that audio programming could be sent sent out to the various PEP stations.
At the meetings, two different FEMA “directorates” battled openly over what the mission of this program was about (one directorate was firmly stuck in 1960s Conelrad duck ‘n’ cover mode). Ultimately, we received a stack of manuals, and a series of contracts were let for all the specialized gear that had to go into the transmitter’s “bunker”. One of the oddest things required was a rack-mounted turntable. Mind you, vinyl was still getting played at some stations, but…by this time in history, the CD had firmly taken over. Besides…a rack mounted turntable? I guess the thinking was, the Last Engineer on the Planet could, after transmitting the special “kiss your @$$ good-bye” message from D.C., slap on some Barry Manilow LPs.
I went to work in TV before all of this could be implemented, but eventually it was all installed–rack mounted turntable and all.
My point is this: this week’s test is the first time that every U.S. broadcast station has had its programming simultaneously interrupted. The PSAs are more likely designed to inform the public that this test is just that, that Jersey Shore will be right back on, and that the ghost of Orson Welles isn’t living in your TV. That the PSAs are, in themselves scary, is just a by-product of creativity as exercised by bureaucrats.
Besides, if this really were Big Bro grabbing control of the World o’ Wireless, wouldn’t that give us even more reason to have a bunch of home-grown Part 15 stations? 😉