Sunday, April 04, 2021
This is an interesting use of old technology to circumvent new technology restrictions by an oppressive government: the military in Myanmar. In this case, when the government shut down all internet, the people turned to Pirate Radio.
These are the messages of a psy-ops campaign called Operation Hanoi Hannah, one of many digital fronts opening against the military in Myanmar, whose creators said would be broadcast over pirate radio in hope of persuading soldiers and police to side with the people – and to not rely on the internet, which the authorities ordered shut down yesterday.
For the full story Click Here.
For an actual pirate radio guy in the US's blog click here.
For a pirate radio community on reddit, click here.
Monday, March 22, 2021
On Public Service Broadcasting:
Public service broadcasting.
The BBCs remit is to serve the public. There have been several commissions over the years to define what "public service broadcasting" actually means. The most recent one reiterated some of the old definitions but added that part of it was to serve the needs of people who are not normally served content. This is why they show niche content. It's their purpose.
(If you want to know more about the benefits of public service broadcasting keep reading. It's all half remembered knowledge so sorry if I fuck anything up.)
This was part of the reason Channel 4 was created. The goal was that small cultures and subcultures within the UK would be served. Afro-Caribbean, Irish, Asian, Grime, Garage etc. That's why Father Ted (Irish) The Big Narstie Show (grime) The Kumars at no. 42 (Asian) and other shows were commissioned.
And guess what happened? They were successful! The prevailing wisdom was that you aim everything at the largest possible market. And more specifically with commercial television the richest, youngest market. But these shows could be huge.
What happened was they would capture a huge portion of these target markets and that was enough people to drive the other markets that the show wasn't aimed at to embrace it. 2 Irish lads in the office talking about how funny Fr. Ted is and soon enough it's one of the biggest shows in the country.
So what happened next? Commercial channels noticed. Moone Boy (irish) The Kumars(asian) on sky and other commercial channels and other shows tried to capture that success for monetary gain. Not to mention stuff that wasn't designed for minorities necessarily like natural history programmes and good quality current affairs content. Sky and Netflix now do great natural history series. It never would have made financial sense until Planet Earth was one of the most successful BBC series ever.
A good public service broadcasting system raised the quality of ALL broadcasting. It's a quantifiable and repeatable phenomenon. You could argue that the success of stuff like Black Panther and other content that would never have been made a few years previously has shown this phenomenon can absolutely work in America too.
I'm Irish, we have a relatively shitty public service broadcasting system compared to the UK but it has still had an unbelievable impact on our general broadcasting landscape.
I see so many people asking how you solve the huge issues in US media and I think the answer is a robust, independent and well funded public broadcasting service.
A rising tide raises all ships. One of the purposes of the government funding stuff is to try to show private enterprise that these things can be worthwhile. And even without the private sector you get amazing results from a service that is meant to serve the people. Even if only a few thousand people watch something the service has been successful and every so often the service can show commercial entities how to do it properly.
Anyways rant over. Sorry but believe it or not I'm quite passionate about public service broadcasting. PBS should be heavily funded by the US government and possibly exclusively. Of course the issue is independence. Even the mighty BBC is feeling the pinch of government interference (please fight this people of the UK). But with some safeguards you can prevent this from happening.
-Hyippy An Irish Reddit user
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
US and allies to build 'China-free' tech supply chain- We're heading into a very different phase of world history
And so it begins.
You're watching the beginning of the splitting of the world into two major power centers that aren't that different than what we had before the 1990's with 'communist' Russia, China and their vassal states.
The difference is that it's fascism that's in charge now. China may call itself communist, but it operates just like Stalin's fascist-like extreme version of communism.
And Russia, well, Putin IS Stalin all over again. He's running a mafia state (i.e. fascist state) and has been for over a decade.
The only difference between Hitler's fascist/Nazi Germany and todays fascist states is they're better at handling information in general and the media in particular both inside and outside of their respective spheres of influence. Especially China.
This is going to completely disrupt commerce, politics, education and pretty much everything that's been developed the last 30 years or so that's global in nature. Late stage capitalism is showing it's cracks more and more.
It's also going to fuel a re-charging of the military industrial complex like we haven't seen in decades.
All that's old is new again.
Sunday, February 21, 2021
I recently wrote an email to a few colleagues (one an executive at Google, one an executive at McClatchy Newspapers and one to a fellow I've worked on and off with in various media entities over the years). This post is based on that email.Just for fun, I worked out a 'thing' that's been running through my head for a few months now. Particularly the last few weeks with the insanity happening with our government.
With the Chicago Tribune's publishing company on the verge of being swallowed up by the hedge fund industry, capitalism’s ongoing destruction of the free press through downsizing and asset-stripping has become the number one threat to American democracy.
I believe one of the base issues with the threats to our democracy we see now is a lack of common understanding of what's happening, particularly at a local level, and one of the primary reasons for this is a lack of local news that provides local news, opinion, commentary and investigative reporting as well as connecting local businesses with local consumers.
But you know all this. My guess is you've already had these thoughts and, like I just did, run some numbers.
When I look at what it would take to create a national network of local news entities, it's not cheap, but, it's not THAT expensive either. Not in todays world where Airb-n-b hit's a $100B valuation on day one.
I came up with a cost of around $6.7B a year using a really simple model (simple can be good: occams razor solutions tend to work best).
With that money you could put a local virtual newsroom (no office, all online), like the compass experiment, with real staff in each town, focused on that town and building trust in the system in that town.
I'll bet that either a private consortium of billionaires with a social conscience, large companies with a guilt complex and government, if we positioned it as a key to how you fix our broken social and political system and was essential to saving our democracy (because it damn well is), could put together that kind of money reasonably easily. Either through commitments they make to support it, or funding an endowment ($115B earning 6% would throw off that much each year).
There's about $20 trillion (with a T) sitting, uninvested, right now. $42 trillion in the stock market. All just in the US.
Harvard and Yale, between them, have over $70B in endowment funds, for instance. That's just two institutions.
I know R-------'s doing a lot along these lines with Google, but, I'm not sure just one company can do something like this and have it be trusted by people. Not in todays 'Big Tech is scary' world. I also think the Compass Experiment* is thinking along these lines, but, I don't think a hedge fund owner with it's tendency toward predatory capitalism will have much interest (or capacity) either.
Alternatively, I also think you could fund it by creating a national tax of some sort that we all paid into. It would work out to about $3.58 a month per US worker in the country ($43 a year), assuming about 156M working people (2018 number). That's about what we each pay now for our local public libraries (usually via a tax as well; sales tax in our town. Property tax in many others).
Anyway, I know it's a little nuts. I just wanted to get my thoughts down and see if it even made sense to anyone else. Feel free to ignore this if you think it's too out there.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
I'm the co-founder and have been the general manager at Longmont Public Media for the last year and, even though we had some bumps at the beginning, have deeply enjoyed the experience.
It was a hell of a year to try and launch a new public access TV and Media makerspace (a global pandemic and all), but, we got it started up, we've got it running with a much better and more flexible technical infrastructure with far more reach (live web streaming, Facebook, YouTube and a ROKU app for smart TV's) and much more community content than was available before. Most importantly though is we have the basics required for long term success in place.
Why leave now? Because, this world of day to day media creation belongs to the next generation, not an old guy like me, so I'm handing off to my co-founder, Sergio Angeles. He'll be taking on the GM role as of Jan 1st, 2021.
He'll do great. Here's a link to the annoucement.
I'm going to call myself retired for awhile. I just had my 63rd birthday and taking some actual time off sounds like a good idea to me.
Saturday, March 07, 2020
So, what have I been up to the last few months?
I didn't really write about it here because of all the red tape, NDA's, people involved and, frankly, drama, but our little group of media jammers bid on an RFP to take over our cities public access TV station in mid 2019 and we won.
We took over the Carnegie Library building, where our cities Public Access TV station lives, on Jan 1st, 2020.
Now, after being in existence for nine weeks and starting, pretty much, from scratch, we're making good progress at Longmont Public Media in creating a new kind of public access, educational, government coverage and local news/information media entity here in my hometown.
We've got the cable TV channels at CH8 and Ch880 working nicely as well as live streaming and archiving to our website, we've figured out mobile and remote broadcasting with modern tech, we're now covering all of the various government meetings that affect our civic life here (about 20 councils, boards and commissions each month with video/audio and full transcription services) as well as creating new regular and one-off shows about the community and we're building new membership for a media makerspace model that'll create an 'owned by the community and open to the community' media center for everyone.
This last part is essential. Having a deeply and widely involved community of engaged members is going to be essential to keeping public access media alive and well (funded) into the future.
If you're in the area, drop by and say hello. Our video, podcasting, internet streaming radio and recording studios as well as all our regular open to the public meetings and broadcast operations are at the Carnegie Library Building at 457 4th Ave. in Longmont CO.
We're open during regular hours of M-F 9 am to 5 pm, we have tours every Sat from Noon to 2pm and the space is generally open to the public whenever a supporting member is in the space.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/longmontpublicmedia
Become an LPM member:
We still operate the Longmont Observer as well, however, there are some changes coming in the near future. As things develop with the Observer, I'll update what's happening there in a future post.
Longer version of this post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/media-makerspace-model-public-access-news-information-scott-converse/
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