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The Media

Radio Re-Volt: Broadcasting For The Common Man 163

An anonymous reader writes "Well, almost for the common man. This Wired article describes a project of the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis to teach people about the power of radio through the use of cheap low-power FM transmitters. Although each transmitter is limited to a range of about a block, they're cheap enough that I could see them being spread out across a city to cover it with a signal. It'd be interesting to do something like that and feed these inexpensive networks via a netcast. You could use something like this to air programming that commercial stations won't broadcast because it's not commercially viable or because it doesn't fit in with the interests of big media. You can read the above article or go directly to the Radio Re-Volt Web site."
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Radio Re-Volt: Broadcasting For The Common Man

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  • Oh, I get it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rts008 ( 812749 )
    "Radio Blogs"...I should probably be scared, yet somehow I'm fascinated!
  • I know low-power FM broadcasts are legal without a license (such as an mp3 player that broadcasts to your car radio,) but would current regulations have anything to say about a network of such transmitters spread out over an area larger than an individual transmitter is allowed to broadcast?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Of course that wouldn't work if you were in the US because they don't have the Internet there yet. Perhaps for a backwards nation like the US where the media is tightly controlled by the Stat^H^H^HCorporate overlords, this is a really big step. But for modern countries net streaming a far better broadcasting alternative.
    • One could use icecast and reach globally - given one has the bandwidth to do so. On a normal DSL connection, however, you're limited to < 1MBit upstream. So, you could have (at most) about 8 people worldwide listening to your broadcast. THEN you have to worry about licensing fees if you're really thinking about setting anything viable up. I help operate at a 13-watt radio station at the University I work at. We are pretty popular in the radius of a few miles that we reach. Last year we added a Shou
  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:09PM (#10487249) Homepage Journal
    The government has been defaulting on the First Amendment ever since it started licensing broadcast rights to centralized groups and excluding others from those rights.

    Of course, such small radio stations will not recover the First Amendment -- the Internet has done a lot more to recover First Amendment rights anyway.

    However, even with one person one watt, the failure of the government to protect freedom of religion and indeed impose politically correct beliefs upon the private lives of citizens continues not only unabated but exacerbated through the multiplication of government agencies overseeing out compliance with federal mandates about with whom we must associate in our private affairs.

    The damage caused by that interference has now built up a debt as large as slavery. Such debts are so enormous and the government so unlikely to pay down those debts that basically the current US government cannot claim any legitimacy any longer.

    • Open Source radio (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ir0b0t ( 727703 ) * <mjewell@openmiss o u l a.org> on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:35PM (#10487400) Homepage Journal
      I think this is a really interesting comment. But doesn't Lawrence Lessig (who thinks a lot about electronics and free speech) write that private interests pose at least as large if not larger threat to free speech rights on the internet?

      Maybe low power radio will make a comeback in part because of commercialization of the internet? That is, low-power broadcasts represent an affordable, noncommercial space for creative experimentation and communication within a community (a/k/a free speech)?

      The homebrew quality of the transmitter also recalls early descriptions of the personal computer kit-builders in the 70s, also a good time for free speech fans.

      The small scale of the communities recalls Linus Torvalds posting about his Minix-alternative project.

      Its fun stuff. What's not to like?
    • What the hell does any of this have to do with "freedom of religion?" If you want religious programming come to mississippi - there's a transmitter every ten goddamn miles. There's one about a mile from here that comes in so strong on top of this hill I can only get three herringbone covered stations - and that's WITH an FM trap.

      "Mandates about with whom we must associate? What, are you a convicted felon? The US certainly has its share of troubles at the moment, but your tirade on the cause of it sounds ab

      • What does "herringbone covered" and FM Trap mean?

      • EEOC compliance [eeoc.gov] requires you to abide by a set of beliefs about how you should conduct your private business. These beliefs are religious beliefs being imposed by the government on private associations. They are a state religion.
        • I see nothing n there about giving preference to anyone, only limitations on what you cannot do without good cause - one of those being "you cannot screen job applicants by religion."

          Private business? In what sense? If you have a church it is likely to be tax exempt and operating in a non profit capacity. if you want to staff it, common sense says you hire people you know from the congregation - you don't place advertisements for "jobs" within the heirarchy of the church, so eeoc compliance at that level i
          • You are quoting the Declaration of Independence which lays out the foundation for the rest of the official documents of the United States and itself is founded on its first paragraph:

            When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the

            separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind

            • All men are equal by the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God to separation entirely at their discretion

              and if you don't want to work with a black man, you don't have to.. you can quit. If you don't want to work with an atheist, you can quit.

              If you don't want to hire an atheist, hire a friend you know. If this is impractical because your business has grown to this point, you are no longer an individual. A business does not have the same rights as an individual and, in fact, they have far too many "rights"

              • If this is impractical because your business has grown to this point, you are no longer an individual.

                The Delcaration of Independence's first paragraph says:

                one

                people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another

                In the present circumstances, the signatories to the Declaration of Independence would consider you a traitor and have you hanged by the neck until dead for one very obvious reason:

                The moment the second man added his signature to the Declaration of Independence acc

                • The moment the second man added his signature to the Declaration of Independence according to you it was invalidated because when individuals act as a group they lose their right to self-determination.

                  ROTFL. Talk about neck stretching!

                  I'm sorry I replied to you. You are obviously retarded and incapable of logical thought.

                  My bad.

          • And what the FUCK does any of this have to do with "bootleg radio stations?"

            It has everything to do with it only almost 70 years too late. The Telecommunications Act of 1934, by recentralizing control of disemination of ideas under the new technologies of broadcast, undid the Guttenberg revolution. The Guttenberg revolution was the undoing of the theocratic control of Europe which was maintained largely through monopoly on the disemination of ideas through the written word. It was the theocracy of the

  • Alternative uses... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by terraformer ( 617565 ) <tpb@pervici.com> on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:10PM (#10487255) Journal
    Although each transmitter is limited to a range of about a block, they're cheap enough that I could see them being spread out across a city to cover it with a signal.

    Or as a micro station at outdoor festivals, concerts and sporting events to name a few. If you have ever been to Grass Roots, Jazz Fest, or a phish anything, you could see how this could be viral and allow for some interesting intermissions.

  • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:10PM (#10487256) Homepage
    Of course I like the idea of the classic 80s pirate radiosenders but today you can just broadcast whatever you want via the net and make it available to a much larger audience. I really like those for iTrip like applications, though.
    • The trouble with web "broadcast" is that it isn't a broadcast. You have to spend bandwidth for every lister connecting. The beauty of radio is that you can send one signal to everyone at once. Also, it is difficult to get proper internet connections in moving vehicles for the price of a radio receiver. If there were a similar initiative where I'm at, I'd love to operate a transmitter.
  • by TimmyDee ( 713324 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:12PM (#10487264) Homepage Journal
    That culture and new ideas can come from "that place you fly over on a SFO-JFK flight."
    • that place you fly over on a SFO-JFK flight."

      Do you mean the Midwest?

      I think it is sad that this innovation had come because small radio stations aren't being licenced.
    • No kidding. Minneapolis is one of the hotspots of creative cultural activity in the US right now. I'm really hoping I get a job at the Guthrie theater soon which is attached the the Walker. Amazing creative energy here, it really has to be seen to be believed.

  • by MCRocker ( 461060 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:19PM (#10487305) Homepage
    This reminds me a lot of the RHZ Radio Network [rhzradio.net], which aims to

    create a publicly owned and operated broadcast radio network that is built like a peer to peer network.


    RHZ radio is already up and running and streaming content on the internet so that remote stations can rebroadcast it. Very cool stuff!
  • sync (Score:4, Interesting)

    by reverse flow reactor ( 316530 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:21PM (#10487315)
    How does it work out buffering and syncing? How does it avoid "ghosts" or echos in the broadcast when a radio is simulateously received broadcasts from two base stations broadcasting the same broadcast on the same frequency, one getting the source broadcast over a DSL line with some latency, the other over fibre with much less latency?

    I expect that is something that must be solved in software, and, according to the article, this is a hardware device. The original poster's dream of a blanket grass-roots radio station is a little far away. That being said, a small FM broadcaster would be great for broadcasting something in the house and being able to tune in from any simple FM radio around the yard.
    • I was wondering about similar issues - the idea of a distributed raido 'station' is an interesting one but likely not really possible in the sense of 'multiple cheap transmitters' that the original author seems to have in mind.

      Not only would there be problems caused by two transmitters getting a signal off the internet with different latency times, but even supposing the transmitters were in perfect sync the signals from the two transmitters would only be perfectly in phase if you were standing on a line

      • What you just described is called "phased antenna array" [earthlink.net]. These are directional antennas, if they are properly aligned. If not aligned, they can be awfully inefficient.

        Generally speaking, you can not have multiple antennas emitting non-synchronous signals because then you will get a lot of low frequency interference (beating) between adjacent cells. And it would be fairly difficult to phase-lock all the oscillators, though it is possible (by locking to GPS timing signals, for example.) If you do that, th

    • Re:sync (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @04:14PM (#10487880) Homepage
      How does it work out buffering and syncing? How does it avoid "ghosts" or echos in the broadcast when a radio is simulateously received broadcasts from two base stations broadcasting the same broadcast on the same frequency, one getting the source broadcast over a DSL line with some latency, the other over fibre with much less latency?

      Simple - the naïve concepts of universal free speech over an inherently limited electromagnetic spectrum will overcome the physics-induced difficulties of multiple transmitters on the same frequency.

      It doesn't matter if a technology is completely unsuited for a proposed mode of usage; all that matters is that it's the thought that counts. With a good heart, bandwidth shall be greater than what is physically allowed, and overlapping FM broadcasts shall not encounter the same problems discovered years ago by broadcast engineers!

      I've got a radio astronomy background. The electromagnetic spectrum is an incredibly valuable resource, and is heavily regulated for a bloody good reason. Don't mess with it.
      • I've got a radio astronomy background. The electromagnetic spectrum is an incredibly valuable resource, and is heavily regulated for a bloody good reason. Don't mess with it.

        What does radio astronomy have to do with fascism (the combination of corporate and government power)?

        As for your other point, I'd rather have a free society with rough edges than a technically flawless society that oppresses the people.

        This is exemplified by the fact that the technical shortcomings of the proposed system (which are
        • There are certain parts of the bandwidth which are "off limits" to everyone, public or private.

          Take a look here [setileague.org] for some of the frequencies.

          The idea is that, if we want to take clear radio-frequency "images" of distant images, it makes sense to avoid polluting the sections of the bandwidth where those images are to be found. No, I don't think any of these lower-power trasmitters will be broadcasting directly in these ranges. Unfortunately, most transmitters also transmit harmonics of their main frequenc
    • Why, RT Linux [slashdot.org], of course!
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:24PM (#10487337) Homepage
    Putting multiple low-power unsynchronized FM transmitters on the same frequency in a small area is going to yield mutual interference, not wide area coverage.

    This would work better with Wi-Fi enabled boom boxes. Wi-Fi can handle multiple transmitters. An Wi-Fi enable Walkman-like device has real possibilities.

  • except that only someone on your block can hear you, unless the signal is constantly repeated to extend range by fans/fellow radio low watt types.

    Anyway, looks very cool to me.

    Freedom of speech, even if a small voice. Rock On!

    .
  • Announcing the launch of
    RHZ AMATEUR RADIO NETWORK

    The RHZ Amateur Radio Network is a articipatory experiment aiming to create
    the possibility of a legal, publicly owned and operated radio that grows
    successively with each new participant. Based on the FCC allowance for individuals to operate a one milliwatt> > micro-radio station, RHZ uses the internet to share content between micro-stations so they can broadcast the same content at the same time.
    > > Anyone can have their own radio station,
  • MP-308 (Score:3, Informative)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:34PM (#10487395)
    There's a product along these lines I've been interested in checking out.

    It's called the "MP-308 Car USB / FM Transmitter", Here's a review of it. [the-gadgeteer.com]

    Strangely enough, it seems to be the only Car MP3 player out there that takes a USB card - the discontinued "EMPEG" used to have such an input, but it's hard to get now. I've been wanting to use a nice cheap USB stick instead of CDs for the sheer convenience of popping it into the car and listening with an interface that's much more casual than CDs. Instead of plugging into the car's existing audio system, it works by sending out a short-range FM signal across the 87.7-88.7 dial (you select which subrange). That makes setup easy (so long as you have a good radio in the car), but I can't help but wonder how many radio markets have that FM signal open at that range, and what interference this would have with nearby cars. Fortunately, the device is fairly cheap to experiment with - you can find it for around $50 on pricewatch.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .nafoyrc.> on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:37PM (#10487408) Homepage Journal
    What so many people are missing about the importance of this idea is that the mass media has created a world for us. Big Money used the media to convince Americans that lower taxes for the rich and lower trade barriers and tariffs were going to be good for Americans. Those ideas were found laughable by most Americans 40 years ago. But when the billionaires and corporations fund think tanks and foundations with billions of dollars, funding and developing rightwing talent, they were able to convince Americans to hold beliefs that were actually detrimental to their own well being.

    THat is why this kind of grassroots media is so important.
    • No not really. There as been public access TV on cable systems for years. It is mostly crap. The Web is mostly drek as well. If you give the average person the ability to publish what ever they want guess what you get mostly crap. Sure the these micro radio stations could be fun for small local events. It could also be cool for local hot spots. A fun idea would be to have a large collection of MP-3s/Oggs and let people program the radio station by vote. Or even by taking turns. A request style system where
      • you wrote:

        No not really. There as been public access TV on cable systems for years.


        Interesting insight into your logical processes: you seem to think that public access TV is as influential as all the other mass media networks, just because it exists at all. Go figger!

        It is mostly crap. The Web is mostly drek as well.
        If you give the average person the ability to publish what ever they want guess what you get mostly crap.


        How about we tax some of these rich people and use that money to provide soci
      • You should read this article [washingtonmonthly.com] by Ted Turner. Public Access channels are of vital importance because there are so few vehicles for us to get our content out there.

        Just like the web, the problem with any media is that just because you create it, doesn't meant they will come. You need to market your content to get eyeballs. Look at Viacom. Look at AOL/Time Warner. They suceed becuase they own the media chain from start to finish. They heavily market their own stuff. Why is there great programing on the
  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:40PM (#10487427)
    I'd be interested in browsing through their site but the diagonal green and white lines over the text makes reading a chore rather than a pleasure. Looks like a sample from the Bad Interface Hall of Shame.
  • If a message isn't commercially viable enough to get people to simply tune in and listen, what makes you think that somehow one dude on every city block will invest in a transmitter and the upkeep necessary to re-broadcast a singal they're receiving?
    • If a message isn't commercially viable enough to get people to simply tune in and listen, what makes you think that somehow one dude on every city block will invest in a transmitter and the upkeep necessary to re-broadcast a singal they're receiving?

      Given the assumption that such grass roots community actions are seen as a good thing, what makes you think they will come about if you don't try?

      Yeah, this project might fail--in fact, odds are it will take off in a big way. But even just this single slashd
  • only requiring users to do a little welding and drilling.

    I sure hope they actually mean soldering.

  • A beowulf cluster? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by poptones ( 653660 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @02:49PM (#10487466) Journal
    This isn't something that can be made into a "cluster." Either you have to put them far enough apart there are holes in the signal or you end up with overlapping transmitters just a few hz apart - essentially "stepping on" your own signal. Either that, or you'd have to ask your listener to retune every 500 feet to another channel so you got no overlap.

    Microwatt transmitters have their uses, but I'm afraid that ain't one of them.

    So... what's the point? Do people even listen to the radio anymore? I mean, maybe in their cars - but anywhere else? I've been involved in one way or another with radio since I was a teen and even operated my own fleawatt when I was a kid, but that was a long time before the internet.

    If you want to be a pirate it seems to me you'd reach a lot more people taking the max headroom route. When I was a kid I actually wanted to be a radio pirate - now I see no point in it at all aside from being any easy means of civil disobedience. But now, with the internet and the ease with which we can build a vast video library (not to mention it's just as easy to locate a tv modulator as an fm modulator) I'd much rather be Reg [webtv.net].

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )
      This isn't something that can be made into a "cluster." Either you have to put them far enough apart there are holes in the signal or you end up with overlapping transmitters just a few hz apart - essentially "stepping on" your own signal. Either that, or you'd have to ask your listener to retune every 500 feet to another channel so you got no overlap.

      Actually, what you really do is tune them to the same frequency - as long as you're using FM. FM has the wierd property that if you have two FM stations tra
      • Ummm... not exactly (Score:4, Informative)

        by poptones ( 653660 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @10:26PM (#10489960) Journal
        What you describe is fine if you're just talking about talking. But one would assume the objective here is to be able to broadcast something people will enjoy listening to - and "capture" is limited by a factor known as capture ratio and it's not infinite nor perfect not consistent from radio to radio, which means you cannot "engineer it in." And in the transition you get exactly what's described: multipath distortion; picket fencing; swooshing... people finding another station.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I originally submitted this article to Slashdot, and I'd like to follow up on some of the posts I've seen so far, in hopes that you can see where I'm coming from here.

    Using FM as opposed to Internet streaming: Don't get me wrong, I love streaming audio and video, and I use it daily. However, not everyone does, and I've yet to see someone have it set up in their car. However, FM receivers are everywhere. To me, technology is a tool, a means to an end. If you reach more people using FM, then that makes
    • by poptones ( 653660 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @03:10PM (#10487590) Journal
      it's "out of sync transmitters." If you have two adjacent transmitters on the same band and the phase of the two signals is not in sync you will get multipath distortion - this is what causes all that shit you hear on FM when you drive through the city near big buildings. Now imagine you're surrounded by 100 signal sources, all of them very low power, all of them swooshing in and out of tune (because these are just cheap devices, not even carefully calibrated transmitters with stable oscillators).

      It just don't work the way the OP "imagined" it. This isn't digital, it's not a "software" problem.

  • Don't get busted (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Any emission of this kind above 100 milliwatts violates FCC rules. You will eventually be busted, particularly if your homebrew transmitter and antenna system is causing interference to other services. These services could include things like paging, aviation, and so forth on harmonically related frequencies.

    At best, your gear will be seized. If you're feeding your station with a computer, it will be seized, too. You may also face fines.

    If your broadcasts cause interference to a licensed service and res

    • True, but the FCC doesn't have the resources to bust a load of people for one watt broadcasts. If this ever gets big, they'll bust a handful of people, get it all over the mass media, and hope that stops it. It all relies on getting rid of the "It won't happen to me" mentality that most americans have.

      Lack of resources is the same reason that they don't bust people using unshielded PC cases. Otherwise, anybody who added a window to their computer's case would be busted (unless the window was metallized
      • True, but if you got a lot of people running one-watt FM transmitters, you'd have a problem that transcends enforcement issues -- you'd have absolute bedlam on the airwaves. That's why the FCC exists in the first place, and that's why licensed users get priority.
  • Since your listeners are so close you could use a FRS radio for requests and chats. Just list the frequency and CTCSS in the same place.
  • You could use something like this to air programming that commercial stations won't broadcast because it's not commercially viable or because it doesn't fit in with the interests of big media.

    This is a highly flawed concept, because "broadcast" of programming of this type would require the coopertion of hundreds of transmitters, which would interfere with each other at the edges of their individual ranges. Cell phones fixed that problem by broadcasting on a range of frequencies instead of just one, but t
  • by ikoflexer ( 779106 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @03:36PM (#10487711)

    1984. The height of communism in at least one Eastern European country. We were teenagers, and very much into AC/DC, Judas Pries, and ever'thing western. One of us knew some electronics; so we got ourselves some parts and soldered together some FM transmitters. Then we broadcasted AC/DC, other heavy metal rock, stupid teenager rants :), and sometimes even Radio Free Europe. All this at random times all around the neighbourhood, so we don't get caught. Those in the know realize how much the secret service hated people like me and my friends (and they really hated AC/DC). And we knew that is was dangerous to taunt them. Nevertheless, it was fun.

    Present: people probably realize how powerful it is to be able to disseminate ideas, even in a limited and local setting. And this type of radio TX is all but forgotten in these day of the web, but it can be much more personalizable. People react different to hearing a real voice for a change. I'm glad to see people pushing the idea of microradio. In fact they should make radio TX free, not hand guns.

  • I could see them being spread out across a city to cover it with a signal

    I can't. It's hard to have on-channel repeaters of the same signal work together propery... issues with phase shift will end up causing the signal to be spotty even right next to transmitters. It just wouldn't work on a city-wide basis.
  • by sugapablo ( 600023 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @03:49PM (#10487767) Homepage
    http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2004/10/15699 .php
    http://www.tnimc.org/feature/display/2762/in dex.ph p
    http://santacruz.indymedia.org/feature/display/ 115 95/index.php
    http://www.indybay.org/archives/arch ive_by_id.php? id=1407&category_id=12

    From http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org :
    " Two community radio stations, one in Knoxville, TN and the second in Santa Cruz, CA have been raided in the last 2 weeks by armed US Marshalls (and/or FBI) and the FCC. Last October, San Francisco Police and the FCC raided a popular Bay Area radio station. Despite the federal government's war on community media, radio activists across the US are operating community stations in open defiance of FCC regulations. The FCC strives to squelch community radio so that the airwaves remain free for media conglomerates like right-wing ClearChannel Communications, which owns 1,250 radio stations (six in Pittsburgh), and Viacom-owned Infinty Broadcasting, which owns 180 stations (four in Pittsburgh).

    Also, in Pittsburgh, two broadcasters were shut down in the past week due to FCC intimidation. South Side Radio broadcasting at very low power on 102.9FM, and "WCSA Radio" in Plum, PA (Allegheny County, east of Pittsburgh near Oakmont). Indymedia Rustbelt Radio, our biweekly news program on (licensed) WRCT 88.3FM, will feature reports on these actions in Pittsburgh and around the US this week on Tuesday, October 5th at 6pm.

    Next week the National Association of Broadcasters, a powerful lobby group, will meet in San Diego. In opposition to their corporate agenda, independent media activists will be holding a four day convergence of workshops, speakers, and actions to tell the NAB "We Want Our Airwaves Back!"."
    • I have trouble being sympathetic with these people, because they didn't do their homework as far as getting on the air legally. Simple fact is, without some progress on the LPFM issue, AM is the best venue for community radio.

      There is a case to be made that mid-level radio -- the LPFM debate -- is being squelched by big media (including, shamefully, NPR). But part 15 still exists, and it works just fine on the AM side of the dial -- just ask Allston-Brighton Free Radio (www.abfreeradio.org). They started o
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @05:57PM (#10488507) Homepage Journal
    Coordinating with other 'micro broadcasters' so that you blanket a city, might pose a legal problem.. Since the intent was for you to have limited coverage of your content..

    No, I don't have the law handy, but .. I would bet there is something in there to account for such an idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you are going to try something like this, Ramsey electronics has a MUCH better quality transmitter. It broadcasts in stereo, not mono, and is crystal controlled, so it wont drift in frequency and need to be tuned like they recommend in the article. The maximum output is right at the legal limit of 1/10th of a watt.

    They also have compressor/limiters that make the audio sound louder (STC1C).

    http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/hk/default.asp ? pa ge=amfm

    I personally have the FM25 (predecessor to the 25B) - t
  • Its an art project (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gone.fishing ( 213219 ) on Sunday October 10, 2004 @09:40PM (#10489736) Journal
    I live in Minneapolis and am pretty sure that this project will have absolutly no effect on the population at large. I see it as an "art project" done by the Walker ART center. The majority of these transmitters will be used for a brief time and shelved. The participants in the project will feel that they have learned something about radio and will have shared a common experience and that's about it.

    Commercial and to a lesser extent public radio in the Twin Cities is pretty big thing. We have a couple of "giants in the industry" here with two AM stations that are historic giants of the industry (WCCO-AM and KSTP-AM) both 50,000 watt clear channel stations and an FM station that consistantly captures the highest market share of any station in the country (KQRS-FM). On top of these giants, there are many other stations on both the AM and FM bands that cater to nearly every taste imagineable. Our airwaves are crowded.

    Over the years we have had our share of pirate and "underground" stations. Most of them have gone off of the air before I even heard them - but the several that I did get a chance to hear reminded me more of "Bob and Ted's Excellent Adventure" than anything else. Nothing special at all.

    I do believe that there is a major problem with public airwaves here and probably in most every major market. The stations are locked into playing the same old stuff. I really do think that stations should be required to devote a portion of their broadcast time to programming local and new talent. They are too locked into the charts, the major music labels and other things that sort of homoginize and blend the music into pablum for the masses.

    There is a whole lot wrong with radio but a bunch of low power transmitters aren't going to do anything to fix it.

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