Sunday, June 24, 2007

Eminent Domain for Private Gain?

A Virginia based company bought a license for a Willow Creek radio station. Now they've filed with the FCC for a permit to expand, a move that would force KKDS, Blue Ox Millworks low powered radio station off the air. I agree with KKDS founder Viviana Hollenbeck, that β€œIt's like eminent domain, but for a private business.”

The Eureka Reporter Article points out that KKDS is a "secondary station" and is "...
not entitled to protection.”

The rules are set up to benefit the wealthier players. The Hollenbecks are doing a beautiful thing, providing a community radio station that allows youth to be involved. But that's a "secondary" activity. Money comes first.

I'm so demoralized, I don't know if I can muster the energy to fight. I'll probably write letters to the FCC, and to Miriam Media, the owner of the new license. If the bump happens and KKDS is forced off the air, I will boycott the new station, and any business that buys commercial time on it. Although, I'm not sure how I will figure out who's advertising without listening, but I'll think of something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What's the logic?

Sunday I was at a well attended Crabs game. We arrived in the second inning, but fortunately for us, we found some empty bleacher space right behind home plate. Great seats, great fans, great game. At 7pm, when the sun was still shining bright, the stadium lights came on. We were having a good laugh making fun of the lights being on so early and wondering why. Turns out, one of the board (the all volunteer board do it because they love the institution) members was sitting right behind us. He explained that the lights are controlled in Kansas. If the Crabs want the lights on or off at a different time, they have to call it in. He then wondered, if the fiber optic connection was down, would they be able to control the lights?

What in the heck is up with that? Shouldn't there be a panel right there at the stadium? I can understand the advantage of having the company that installed the system having remote access, allows them to trouble shoot. But why would they want to control the lights and remove control from the ballpark staff? Is it so they can bill for the service? Is it part of a trend to centralize control of everything?

I remember sitting in on a College of the Redwoods board meeting. The head of maintenance was giving an update about their new system. A meeting was taking place in the forum on a Saturday, and was somehow left off the schedule, or was impromptu. They couldn't turn the lights on, but they were able to contact the head of maintenance who was able to turn the lights on from his home computer. Everybody seemed to think that was just grand. I wondered why there wasn't a switch there in the forum where they could turn the lights on.

I think perhaps we're surrendering too much to the machine.