Our Civic Duty

I hate the term “pirate radio” to describe unlicensed broadcasting. I am against thievery, I don’t condone anarchy, and I am not against commercial activity. In fact I am fairly conservative in my ways.

I don’t think radio, licensed or unlicensed, needs to broadcast vulgar material in order to achieve some sort of shock value. I don’t see how doing so serves the community in any meaningful way.

But the fact is, the obligation to serve the community is largely ignored by the majority of licensed broadcasters to which “pirates” are purportedly responding.

My apologies, I am starting to rant here a little bit.

What I wanted to do with this post is respond to NAB’s AM study as I read about on the Engineering Radio blog – if in fact the NAB is pushing AM toward an all digital, patented technology, and if the FCC is going along with it then it would appear that analog broadcasting on MW is all but being abandoned. And, abandoned in favor of a technology that has only a smattering of listeners, if that many.

Again, I’ve lost sight of how the community is served.

If I can serve people in my neighborhood with existing, inexpensive, and reliable technology then why shouldn’t I? Should I wait for the MW airwaves to fall silent? Should I wait for disaster to strike before developing my station and skill in aid of my community?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against licensing. I hold a license in an other radio service. I value that license and believe that it’s my duty to use my station and expertise to aid my community and country in time of need.

I also understand the need for order on the airwaves. Chaos serves no one. But chaos is just about what we have now and the government solution seems to point toward abandonment.

So, at what point does it become our civic duty to use analog over the air broadcasting to serve our local communities, irrespective of whether our station is licensed?

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