Monthly Archives: November 2007

Folger gets under lefty bloggers’ skin

I use Google Reader (I know that there’s probably better ones) for reading syndicated content, and it has this nice feature where it aggregates posts about topics using Google Blog Search. I’ve got it tuned to “Christian radio” so I can keep up with what was a big part of my life for 14 years.

Interestingly in the past week there have been several posts commenting on a piece in World Net Daily by Janet Folger entitled “Letter from a future prisoner.” In it she predicts a future world three years from now where Christian radio would be outlawed, Christians will be persecuted for their beliefs, and uttering the words “mom” or “dad” would be hate speech. All of this would occur if Hillary is elected.

Ok, maybe Ms. Folger sounds a little hysterical, but she’s obviously trying to make her point through exaggeration, a literary tool historically used in much of political literature. What is alarming to me is the equally hysterical reaction of the left-wing blogosphere. First off, most discard her as “typical nut-job.” But if that’s the case, why make such a fuss and sound so defensive? Their references are drawing more attention (like mine) to her column than she would typically have. Take a look at some of these (careful, possible bad language).

Second, you get the sense that the lefties “doth protest too much.” I’ve heard Speaker Pelosi talk about how important reestablishing the Fairness Doctrine is to her party. It is well understood that the Fairness Doctrine is anything but fair, and would absolutely squelch free speech in broadcasting, kill conservative (and liberal) talk radio, as well as Christian radio.  The Democrat Party doesn’t like talk radio because their multiple attempts to match Rush Limbaugh have been abysmal failures, both in ratings and revenues. Do I think that a Democrat Congress backed by a Democrat President could bring back the Fairness Doctrine? Probably.

What about this criminalization of Christianity? I have written in the past that the only sociological demographic that can be ridiculed and demonized with impunity are white, male, conservative evangelicals. It’s a stretch to go from marginalization to criminalization…right?

The apparent rejection of John McCain’s candidacy

I watched the Charlie Rose interview with Senator John McCain this morning. As I’m watching this former pilot and POW, accomplished member of Congress, highly-intelligent yet self-effacing individual, I asked myself why he is nearly summarily rejected by the Republican base.John McCain

On both the social and fiscal balance sheets, McCain has solid conservative credentials. He is the greatest defender of the War on Terror in the race, an advocate for the troops, and has a firm grasp of the issues in foreign affairs, with loads of experience in dealing with heads of state around the globe.

My take on why the base doesn’t trust him comes from the nature of the Senate, which often makes strange bedfellows in pushing agendas. The paling around with Ted Kennedy, his pushing through the McCain-Feingold campaign reform, and his rebellious nature does not endure him to the true believers. Senators in general don’t seem to make good executives, although that doesn’t seem to matter to the Democrats, as they will almost certainly nominate a current or former one this year.

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying that I’m behind McCain’s candidacy; I just find it curious on how terribly he is doing in the polls, being a man of high recognition and regard. Of course, with only 40 days to Iowa, this race can heat up and change very quickly.

Wounded soldiers must pay back signing bonuses?

In a “you’ve got to be kidding me” blast of exasperation, I read this story from KDKA about the military demanding portions of wounded soldiers signing bonuses, because they did not complete their original commitment.

I’m sorry, but losing a leg or being so forever scared from a roadside bomb that you have to be discharged must trump any commitment made on the front end. This is un-American, and an affront to our war heroes. Somebody in Congress do something, now.

The power of media to move you

I just listened to this conversation that was aired on Christian radio station KSBJ/Houston. I’m not sure I’ve heard anything as powerful on-the-air in a long time. It sure moved me.

Erie taxes: a line in the sand

It’s gut check time for Erie’s mayor, Joe Sinnott. Last week, he announced that he’ll be presenting to City Council a budget without a tax increase. That’s good news, considering the 12% increase last year. However, on Sunday, the Erie Times News’ Pat Howard warned that if negotiations and arbitration with city fire and police don’t go well, the result could mean sky high taxes or even the city’s slide into distressed municipality status.

Let’s get this one thing straight: city property owners cannot endure any higher taxes. We are maxed out. Any raise in taxes will just lead to a corresponding reduction in property values, continuing the downward spiral we’ve seen for years now. Erie has to face the reality of its finite revenue stream and live within its means. It will more than likely mean some kind of employee giveback, since 75% of the city’s expenses are personnel related. Efficiency will need to increase, and bells and whistles are a thing of the past.

Right now Erie has some of the highest tax rates in the country, while it has endured a stagnant economy for decades. There is negative population growth, flat-lined buying power, and increased poverty. There’s no more money to be had.

Within this very difficult state of affairs is a great opportunity. If the mayor and city council could draw a line in the sand on behalf of the taxpayers, get City Hall in order, and be able to live within its means, it would speak a great deal to the adjoining municipalities and the county as to the seriousness of our leadership. You might see some softening of positions regarding regionalism and cooperation. And taxpayers might get a new understanding of the priorities of our elected officials.

Few locals apply for new Erie FM stations

Further analysis of the applications for new non-commercial/educational FM stations in the Erie area shows that a minority of the 13 apps came from local organizations. By my count, only four of the thirteen have headquarters in Erie County. This information comes from the FCC’s FM Query, which has listed the applicants days before the stated public notice date of November 14, 2007.

Three local concerns applied for 89.3 FM, including the Erie Seventh Day Adventist Church (application for North East), which operates the now dark 95.9 WXNM-LP, which had given fits to FM 96/London, ON devotees. The LECOM medical school applied for Erie on Rocket 101’s tower. To the south, my alma mater Inspiration Time applied for a new FM for Union City. The only other local applicant is the “mystery” Greg Schlueter’s Vision IDX, who applied for a 1.8 KW station on 90.1 in Edinboro.

The nine other applications came from out of town. Alabaster, Inc. of Greensburg applied for a monster 27 KW station for North East, and a tiny 225 watt one for Meadville. Their website indicates that they maintain a performing arts ministry and school in the Pittsburgh area, doing assemblies and church performances. It looks like they applied elsewhere in the state, including a station for Lock Haven.

An institution from the State College area, Muncy Hills Broadcasting of Turbotville, applied on 89.3 for Corry. Tucson AZ based Family Life Broadcasting, headed by Dr. Randy Carlson (Intentional Living national program) applied on 89.5 for Erie. They own stations in the southwest, Georgia, and Michigan. They are a different organization than Family Life Ministries of Bath NY, who currently operate a full power station in Jamestown, NY and operate translators in Erie, North East and Corry for their Family Life Network. FLN applied for 89.9 in Cambridge Springs. Both Family Life’s are big ministries with conference centers and many stations. The Bible Broadcasting Network qualifies under that description as well, as the Charlotte NC outfit attempts to reenter Erie at 89.5 (they used to own the Erie translator at 98.7, which FLN now owns; still with me?).

As far as totally random applications go, the owners of WMKL/Key Largo FL, Call Communications hope to build a 50 KW station on 89.5. Their format in South Florida is Christian Rock Alternative. Edinboro Early School seems to have no connection with the Erie County borough, as they own a low-power station in Ocean City, MD, and applied for a 500 watt station on 89.5 for Erie. Finally, a JCM Radio of NY applied for 1.6 KW on 89.5 for somewhere called Fairfield. I know that there’s a Fairfield fire hall, but there’s no incorporated municipality with that name that I know of.

It seems that the aforementioned big hole in our reserved FM band attracted a lot of interest. Unfortunately, the situation with multiple mutually-exclusive applications may keep the people that care the most for our community from improving our broadcasting service for a long time.

New FM stations for Erie?

The answer is not anytime soon. In what must have been one of the biggest broadcasting bonanzas in the country, a total of 13 applications were submitted to the FCC to build new, non-commercial/educational radio stations within a 50 kilometer radius of Erie. Because of the sheer volume, and the multiple apps on individual frequencies, they will most likely be all considered “mutually exclusive.” That means that the government will have to sort out the mess and award just a couple of the applicants the license they seek based on a point system.

The reason why the Erie area attracted a boo-coo of applications was the big hole in that part of the FM band left when WERG (Gannon) moved from 89.9 to 90.5, and expanded their listening audience to the entire county. That meant that there were no local licenses from the 89.1 frequency to the 90.3, a big space in a populated area like Erie. There is actually one 50,000 watt application on the books, from Call Communications Group based in Miami, FL, which would make it the highest power non-comm station in the area (not necessarily the largest coverage area, however, because of its tower height).

For the radio geeks, I put together a quick PDF list of the applications: Erie October 2007 NCE Applications

This recent window of applications came nine years after the last one, and it will probably take years more to award licenses and make room for more stations. Meanwhile, internet radio looms large in the present and future. Will it make all of this wrangling for frequencies a thing of the past? Maybe.