>(REPOST FROM Thursday, July 13, 2006)
I came across a story the other day in the Sacramento Bee about local “pirate” radio station KNOZ attracting the attention of the FCC. Or rather its wrath. KNOZ specializes in Hip Hop and whatnot. Ha, “Hip hop and whatnot”…
The station doesn’t interfere with other stations operating near the frequency of 96.5FM, such as “Mix 96”, and indeed has not garnered any complaints from the likes of these generic, corporate competitors. Not “competitive” in terms of audience demographics (Jewel and Sarah Crow!), but simply frequency competition. Yet the FCC, through its ability to bully because it can, mustn’t allow such a rogue agent to operate without its approval. And it demands 10k. An online version of the story is available here.
The FCC has demanded the station furnish them with a license, which they don’t have, but are apparently trying to obtain. The license and attendant fees can amount to thousands of dollars, easily.
Is it any wonder radio all sounds the same? With cartelization like this, due to exorbitant regulatory requirements, it’s to be expected.
For a brilliant theory of property in “the air” (frequencies to be precise), check out B.K. Marcus’s article “The Spectrum should be Private”.
Currently reading : Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America By Jesse Walker Release date: By September, 2001