New face at the FCC

Following the abrupt resignation of totally unqualified Mignon Clyburn, Donald Trump has nominated an employee of the FCC.

Geoffrey Starks is running the enforcement Bureau and under his leadership, I have noticed a serious improvement cracking down on pirates and derelict licenses.

He has law degrees from Harvard and Yale. His policy interests are reported to include redirecting Universal Service fun money away from fraudsters, like cell phone companies giving away multiple Obamaphones to one individual

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12 Responses to New face at the FCC

  1. briand75 says:

    Goodbye Filet 🙂

  2. TheChairman says:

    Upon returning to northern Michigan this week, we noticed something had changed during the winter. While doing errands in Alpena, we attempted to find an AM station, but the ‘seek’ function just kept looping… nothing. Apparently, AM is dead in Alpena. Meanwhile, 45 minutes to the north (where we live), a little AM station has boosted it’s signal and switched to a syndicated line-up of conservative talk. 🙂 I get the impression the station selected shows from an ‘a la carte’ menu to build (fill) it’s program schedule.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Not having done any research on this, what I suspect is that AM stations are acquiring FM translators, after a couple weeks of encouraging their core listeners (P1s) to switch to the FM station, they turn off the AM transmitter or lower the power output and wait for complaints. When none of their 7 remaining listeners complain, they leave it off. The losers are the rural histeners who could hear the fringe AM daytime signal, but are beyond the contour of the FM signal.

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        It used to be (circa the 1970s) that cable TV systems had their own local channels that showed cars for sale ads with still images, and community events on another channel. Both channels looked like a very basic PowerPoint presentation would today and as audio, they would simply stream the local radio station.

        The ads went away with eBay and the local channels are now controlled by the incumbent politicians as payback for awarding a cable monopoly in that geography.

        • Fred Stiening says:

          Amiga computers were good for those cable TV channels. They could produce inexpensive video and show graphics.

          • briand75 says:

            Ah yes! Amiga computers. The first (that I remember) computer with flat memory addressing. Such an improvement over the PC (Piece of c___) running DOS (Don’t Own this System).

            Fond memories and, for that time, the graphics were awesome.

      • TheChairman says:

        During our travels we noticed a fair number of AM stations across the heartland states… most often with weather/crop and futures market reports during breaks with local or national talk shows.

        • Fred Stiening says:

          Many of them probably carry the CBS top of the hour news and features. There was strong hatred of Sarnoff and NBC in the Midwest, although it is fading as the Greatest Generation owners die off. ABC had Paul Harvey, but generally lagged behind NBC and CBS. GE dumped radio as soon as they acquired NBC

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            What was behind the greatest generation owners not liking Sarnoff and his RCA/NBC? I would have expected the opposite as RCA had long been a defense contractor.

            Ts and Cs that were tough against the owner?

            • Fred Stiening says:

              Sarnoff was the 600 pound gorilla.

              He essentially wrote the industry rulebook for Radio defining acceptable ethics. Keeping your membership at the NAB meant not crossing swords with Sarnoff.

              NBC/RCA used patents to stifle competition. Eventually, it was resolved in the late 1920s that GE would build transmitters, RCA would build all receivers (or license patents at outrageous costs) and AT&T would exit Radio (except Radio telegraphs). In return, NBC would sign a long term contract with AT&T to put its two national radio networks (Red and Blue) on AT&T’s newly deployed Coax cable technology.

              That left stations outside of the major cities “off the cable”. AP refused to allow Radio to use their news, which was an entirely separate fight. UPI and a radio run syndicate tried to compete with API, but eventually API allowed radio subscribers (commercial TV didn’t exist yet)

              So when CBS showed up and offered network programming, they found grateful owners. DuPont and Mutual were smaller players. While NBC had live programming on the coax, much of the entertainment on the other networks was sent out to the stations on long play records. Moody Bible was very famous for doing that.

              Some night time national programming was done by relaying the AM signals from Station to Station. A radio transmitter tower is going to have a very long “line of sight” to another Radio tower even without the bounce off the troposphere.

  3. Parrott says:

    Hey Chairman: Is the shortline Lake States railway still serving the quarries and cement plant there in Alpena ? I saw some 2015 footage on youtube .

    • TheChairman says:

      Yes, we crossed their tracks last week upon our return. Apparently, they have been awarded ‘short line’ railway of the year for 2018.

      There’s an interesting private line in the U.P. just east of Cedarville, MI on the northern shore of Lake Huron. Tracks from the upper quarry run south, over state highway M-134, to the lower quarry and freighters at Port Dolomite.

      Curiously, they did not use rail on Drummond Island, 25 miles to the east. At those quarries, they use Truck Haul Rd.

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