FCC Summer Menu
Just in time for a party-line battle over relaxing media ownership regs, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin posed for a chummy photo (left) with the VP of XM and a high-rolling telecom lobbyist (who also moonlights as Bill Frist's lawyer), which appears in the June/July issue of Details Magazine. With nothing but the playing cards' -- er, the public's? -- best interest in mind, Martin is looking to use his republican majority on the commission to revisit loosening media ownership restrictions (a similar ploy failed to fly past the courts in 2003). The commission's democrats are raising a stink over the issue, hosting community forums that examine big media's ability to deal with local issues and underrepresented viewpoints.
Meanwhile, on the Copyfight Front...
A House committee met to discuss the merits of audio and video broadcast flags, which will prevent consumers from legally "taping" or transferring legally-obtained programming between their satellite radios, MP3 players, Tivo, DVD players, and TVs. Public Knowledge submitted an excellent written statement to the committee in opposition to both flags, which you can read here. Of course, the content industry would like to charge consumers multiple times for viewing/listening to the same work, but that's just because they don't understand how to use the digital revolution to their financial advantage. The RIAA and music licensing industry prefers to send nasty cease-and-desist letters to kids who post fan videos on the internet (how dare you enjoy our music!), while at least a few TV and movie companies have finally embraced digital technologies, discovering new ways to make money and create buzz by partnering with YouTube.
FCC Remixes Doreamon
As you can see in the side-by-side comparison to the right, the FCC's Kidszone page mascot gently samples more than a few qualities from popular Japanese cartoon character, Doraemon. P2Pnet reports that the FCC claimed ignorance when the cartoon's creators raised the issue a few years ago. The Dinosaur Gardens blog uncovered even more fun with the FCC: they've posted an MP3 of Cary Grant singing the federal requirements for station identifications, which you can grab right here (Thanks, Kim).
Embezzlement at Seton Hall
A former director of the very metal student radio station WSOU in South Orange, NJ, was recently arrested for embezzling over half a million bucks. (Thanks Mike and Therese!)
Other radio-related news from the past month:
- FCC indecency fine hike is in effect: each naughty slip will now cost broadcasters $325,000.
- CBS claims that their $3.3 million indecency fine for broadcasting a re-run of Without A Trace is invalid.
- School bus radio: the latest marketing ploy for capturing that elusive 7-12 demographic.
- Join the Professor in his wild and woolly voyages through the crevices and hidden corners of the shortwave radio band.
- Despite an outpouring of public support, the Net Neutrality amendment that was nearly tacked onto a larger telecom reform bill failed to pass a critical vote in the Senate Commerce Committee. Thankfully, the debate remains heated, and we hope that our legislators will pen a new bill to keep the internet free from meddling hands.
- An Aboriginal group of broadcasters in Canada arose victorious from a bitter turf battle with a U.S.-based christian station that bleeds across the border.
- The Zimbabwean government appears to be jamming the signals of independent broadcasters in the capital city, Harare.
- Senator McCain included language in a recent communications reform bill that would reduce restrictions for new LPFM stations that interfere with full-powered FM stations. Full-powered stations in densely populated states like New Jersey retain protection from LPFM interference.