Why is there a KBFR (pirate/underground/unlicensed radio in Boulder, CO) ?
Why is Boulder Free Radio an underground pirate station? It's because the NAB and NPR bought a couple of senators and killed the low power radio service rules that almost came into being in 2000.
"I've had all the diversity I can stand", said Conrad Burns (R-Mont), Chair of the Senate Telecom Subcommittee speaking at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) at the1999 annual April conference to show support for NAB and NPR's opposition to the Low Power Radio Service (LPRS).
You may be wondering, "why should I care if some freaks can't get their noise and culture out on a radio station?" Because radio is not just another business.
The Free Press must be free to carry the full spectrum of human experience, culture, news and views in order to serve as that chain of links between those who create policy and those who suffer from policy. When media becomes overly influenced by a few powerful interests, it's tainted with an overall bias. An unrepresentative media creates an unrepresentative and unresponsive government … leading to an unjust, unstable society and government.
Since radio stations use taxpayer funded government agencies to protect their use of a limited public resource, the airwaves ... an unrepresentative radio market is literally taxation without representation.
Justice of the Supreme Court William Brennan said "Freedom of speech does not exist in the abstract. On the contrary, the right to speak can flourish only if it is allowed to operate in an effective forum -- whether it be a public park … or a radio frequency. For in the absence of an effective means of communications, the right to speak would ring hollow indeed. And, in recognition of these principles, we have consistently held that the First Amendment embodies, not only the abstract right to be free from censorship, but also the right of the individual to utilize an appropriate and effective medium for the expression of his or her views."
The NAB and NPR oppose opening several dozen new slots in each city on our FM dial. Their position is that opening these slots will cause interference "like AM radio at night."
Just as when Ronald Reagan excused auto pollution by saying "trees cause pollution", they have taken a tiny grain of truth and blown it into a Mount Rushmore. Yes, at night when trees cannot photosynthesize, they emit hydrocarbon compounds that the daylight turns into smog ... at considerably lower levels than cars!
Yes, opening these new frequencies will cause interference ... for the magazine subscription's free radio teaser gift! The vast majority of radios will not have a problem. This is like saying that we must let horse buggies and "slopeds" on the Interstate. The top speed would drop to 30mph.
The FCC has long had (and not used) the power to require that receiver manufacturers build radios with enough "selectivity" to select the one weak station you want over the nearby close strong station. The FCC will have to require this if they go with current digital plans because the current American standard (called "IBOC") will "fatten" the current radio stations and their edges will get closer together!
So why the lie? Because the current radio businesses out there paid too much for the radio stations, competition would hurt their 20% profit margins, and they like that the high prices are excluding "those" people.
Gloria Tristani, ex-FCC Commissioner said in the mid ninties, "The number of broadcast owners have dwindled by 12% over the past two years -- even though the number of stations has actually increased by 3%." There are 641 more commercial stations but, for instance, minorities owned 8 fewer stations in 1997 than in 1992.
I Think I'm right, but I KNOW I'm wrong … my human frailties limit my perception that is modified by my values that are informed by my experiences. The only way I know with any certainty that I have "The Truth" is to either compare it with reality (the systematic trial-and-error of science) or to compare my experience with yours.
After all, at one time Galileo was a freak. But he was right.