NAB = Need Another Barrier

June 22, 2006

According to THIS Radio Billboard Monitor the NAB has conducted it's own tests of FM transmitting devices (FM Modulators) people use to play iPODs and Sat radio signals onto nascent sections of the FM spectrum. 

  • As for the results of those tests, NAB spokesperson Dennis Wharton says, “Our tests showed that 13 of the 17 wireless devices (76%) exceeded field strength limits set by the FCC. Six of those devices exceeded the FCC field limit by 2,000%. One device transmitted a signal that was 20,000% stronger than allowed by FCC rules. Many of the devices also transmitted signals that were substantially wider in bandwidth than permitted by the FCC, resulting in potential interference to 1st and 2nd adjacent channels as well.”

I'm probably alone on this one – but this seems really petty. 

Is this what the NAB is good for?  Do they do ANYTHING to actually make what comes off our wonderfully government protected transmitters BETTER – or serve the listeners and communities BETTER? 

Or are they only concerned making sure potential competitors have obnoxious burdens and barriers to climb over. 
The truth is – most of those FM Modulator devices suck anyway  – even if they are operating at 2000% over the FCC Limit. 

That fact, in and of itself causes me to assume that the original power limits set by the FCC were probably arrived at by recommendations of people like . . . ohh I don't know  . . . say – the NAB?  

Afterall – it was the NAB that made sure the charter granting Satcaster sthe right to deliver audio content over satellite DID NOT ALLOW any local generated content of any kind.  So for them to have a say in how much power these Modulators could transmit wouldn't surprise me at all.  

The NAB is about 1 thing – making sure the Government erects and maintains high barriers and absurd conditions on ANYONE seeking to compete in the wireless audio delivery business.   

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Irrelevance of Ubiquity

June 22, 2006

I don't know why exactly- but some radio folk love to trot out the stats about radio's ubiquity in modern life. Yes – it's true – there are radio devices EVERYWHERE. And some 200 + million people listen to the radio at some point during any give week. So what?

Seriously. What benefit does this create and for whom? Radio as a medium reaches everyone. Woo hoo. But let's distinguish that these claims are always about the DEVICE – a radio. Never about anything specific the device actually does.

There isn't a single radio offering or company that can claim access to ALL 200+ million people who had a radio turned on today. Not one. So what does the devices "ubiquity? matter?

On the local level radio's "ubiquity" means nothing

Why do I care that people in Broken Spoke, WY own radios when I live and work in San Francisco? In fact – chances are pretty good that even many people in the San Francisco Bay Area can't hear my station with their radios because of the terrain and where they live.

What good is "ubiquity" again?

It's a meaningless concept used to help people feel good about the "concept" of radio. The reality is however, the ubiquity of the medium speaks about everyone collectively, yet benefits no one individually.

How pointless is that? We can't sell radio's ubiquity. You can't trade on it – so stop talking about it. It's wasted breath and it obfuscates larger more important issues – like how do we deepen our connection with the people who are actually USING OUR product?

Our product is not the device – our product what the device enables people to hear.