The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Thursday, October 10, 2002
DOING ANYTHING THEIR RADIO ADVISED: The Federal Communications Commission
approved a digital broadcasting standard called IBOC today. (The initials stand for "in-band, on-channel.") The new technology is certain to cause some substantial interference problems, but this didn't bother the commission -- Radio World reports that "If any interference occurs...the commission hopes the parties would work it out. The agency would be ready to intervene in cases where stations are unable to come to an agreement about how to solve the interference."

A couple years ago, Congress virtually destroyed an already heavily restrictive plan to put new low-power radio stations on the air. Why? They said it was because the stations might cause interference, which in that context was considered too horrible an outcome to let the affected parties work it out themselves.

The difference: The established radio industry hated the idea of low-power broadcasting, since that would have meant more competition. But it wants IBOC, which it believes -- probably falsely -- will boost its profits. The government, as is almost always the case, has fallen in line.


posted by Jesse 5:02 PM
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