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Saturday, September 30, 2006


HD RADIO-Bonanza for lobbyists.

In an on-going stepped-up effort to influence Capitol Hill, Rehr said the NAB “will use all of its tools to help educate legislators, our regulators and the public on how over-the-air radio is unique in offering compelling local programming. No competitor has this unique value proposition.”
Rehr also stressed the importance of the industry as a whole promoting HD Radio and encouraging the FCC to adopt HD rules and standards.

“Listeners want local content and connection,” Rehr figured.
The broadcast conglomerates have done virtually everything they can to elliminate as much local content and origination as possible, including laying off thousands of local employees, and networking, duplicating, and automating many of their stations.

Friday, September 15, 2006



"WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.
The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz."
"'Every last piece' destroyedAdam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped - end of discussion," he said. Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC's Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said.
In a letter sent to Martin Wednesday, Boxer said she was "dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer."
Martin said he was not aware of the existence of the report, nor was his staff. His office indicated it had not received Boxer's letter as of midafternoon Thursday.
Local ownership benefitsIn the letter, Boxer asked whether any other commissioners "past or present" knew of the report's existence and why it was never made public. She also asked whether it was "shelved because the outcome was not to the liking of some of the commissioners and/or any outside powerful interests?"
The report, written by two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau, analyzed a database of 4,078 individual news stories broadcast in 1998. The broadcasts were obtained from Danilo Yanich, a professor and researcher at the University of Delaware, and were originally gathered by the Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.
Community responsivenessAt that time, the agency pointed to evidence that "commonly owned television stations are more likely to carry local news than other stations."
When considering whether to loosen rules on media ownership, the agency is required to examine the impact on localism, competition and diversity. The FCC generally defines localism as the level of responsiveness of a station to the needs of its community."
Click on title (above) for link to full article.
This is a direct link to the shredded document on media ownership:

"Senator Barbara Boxer has posted the text of the FCC's shredded study in FCC
Docket 06-121 on the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/ecfs_alt.html>>
This 24-page document was posted on September 12th. Listed below is a
citation of her filing.
I have requested an extension of time for public
comment on this apparently suppressed study of media ownership

Nickolaus E. Leggett"

Thanks for the tip. The public should be greatful for disclosure of this deception.
FCC reply letter:

Thursday, September 14, 2006






"Consolidation of media ownership is doing irreparable harm to local and national news coverage, and thus to the key fabric of democracy in our country," said John Connolly, President of the American Federal Of Television & Radio Artists at an FCC Town Hall Meeting in Los Angeles conducted by FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps yesterday.
"By allowing the reduction of outlets for diverse opinions via the concentration of power in fewer and fewer corporate hands, the Federal Communications Commission condemns Americans to a country where the public interest suffers, democracy suffers, and working people suffer," said Connolly. "AFTRA members oppose the continued de-regulation of the media and entertainment industries--and the resulting continued concentration of ownership in fewer hands. We urge the commission to protect and enhance the fundamental right and public interest of the American people as true owners of the airwaves."

Thursday, September 07, 2006


HD Radio: too little, too late-DOA

"Face it, folks...when you add it up, HD Radio as a platform will never be competitive with satellite or Internet radio on a value for value basis for the end user."
Your observations about the strange disconnect between industry spin and the realities HD radio is facing are all correct, but you politely stop short of the obvious conclusion: HD is DOA.
The only reason it has gotten this far is that such an amazing amount of time and money has been invested in it by iBiquity, with support from radio industry stakeholders and receiver manufacturers.
Many radio folk were skeptical from the beginning. Promoting HD as a quality upgrade (source of the HD moniker) was obviously bull — the typical Internet music stream is already higher quality than HD and can be upgraded easily as deliverable bandwidth gets cheaper. HD reminds me of DCC (Digital Compact Cassette), another attempt by a mature industry to administer life support to a sunset format. That didn't work either, and today almost no one even remembers it.
Promoting the increase in channels on HD sounded good until the usage reports came in and it became clear that with an IBOC system there really wasn't enough additional bandwidth on AM and FM to do the job properly. The U.S. really needed microwave digital radio spectrum like they got in Europe, so new radios could simply add a band. And nobody really figured out where the money would come from to staff and operate those new channels at an effective level, even if they actually worked technically.
And then there was the little matter of the hardware upgrade...it might have had a shot if the Internet wasn't evolving several orders of magnitude faster, the FCC approval happened three times faster, the manufacturers were more agile, and the public had a clear reason to do it. But of course none of these conditions were met and today we still have the ~$500 standalone HD radio and the ~$250 upgrade fee for a new car radio."

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