An Archive of Jacob Appelbaum’s Post-Katrina weblog


Radio station has been blocked

Posted in houston,radio,supplies by jacob on September 7, 2005

Rita Obey is the person that told Austin Airwaves they had to have 10,000 radios before they could broadcast. We purchased a number of radios and while we’ve had some issues with this, it was just a meaningless golden egg. We called her bluff by getting the radios lined up to be purchased and they threw something else out.

At 16:29 (CST) today, RW Royal Jr. Incident Commander of the JIC (Joint Information Committee) has denied Austin Airwaves the ability to run the emergency low power FM radio station inside of the dome. This is contrary to the FCC licenses that have been issued to Austin Airwaves. However RW Royal Jr is a member of the JIC. He has decided to deny the request. When they asked why they were being turned down, they were told that the Astrodome could not provide them with electricity. When the Austin Airwaves team offered to run on battery backup, they were still denied.

This is an OUTRAGE.

The people on the ground I spoke with personally asked me why I was there. I told them that I was with a group helping to bring emergency radio information to them. Broadast from right inside the dome. Those people were overjoyed to hear that they would get a radio station with emergency information, with information on job interviews, food, housing, lost children, found person, clothing and other important information. It breaks my heart.

Why has this man denied this? Why is the government going out of its way to stop us from helping people?

41 Responses to 'Radio station has been blocked'

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  1. Carl said,

    Has anyone contacted Amnesty International ?

  2. Carl said,

    Channel 4 interviewed postal worker / qualfified & certified rescue volunteer who was held up for two days with ‘red’ tape’ – and a Articulated Lorry driver with a truxk full of water who said he was held up for three days by ‘red tape’.
    WTF are FEMA upto and why are they still up to it.

  3. Carl said,

    Thats Channel 4 UK – John Snow reporter.

  4. Tim Keller said,

    It’s all about information control. There’s a mindset that feels threatened by uncontrolled access to information and will do whatever it takes to put themselves in the middle of the datastream so they can monitor & censor it, or failing that put it out of business. Whether it’s useful isn’t the question. If it’s not controlled, it’s a threat that has to be stopped. Sad but true. Jake, along the same lines you should expect blowback on the Astrodome pictures you’ve been posting. More uncontrolled information & that can’t be allowed.

    Tim

  5. baz said,

    Does anyone have any contact information for RW Royal Jr?

  6. brett said,

    In the words of my fathers and their fathers before them, “It’s easier to ask for forgivness than permission.”

    Screw that guy, plug the sucker in and get it running. When he takes it down he will look like a total ass.

  7. dave said,

    When controlling the way that events are perceived (via traditional media, low-power radio, and other means) is considered by the authorities to be more important that the success or failure of the actual events themselves, I think it is safe to say that things have gotten completely out of control.

  8. dave said,

    One more note: is this “Rita Obey” (ironic name alert!) the same Rita Obey that is or was the Harris County Health Department spokeswoman?

  9. Kevin said,

    Because when the truth gets out… then the riot(s) will begin (again) – there is something really, really surreal about all of this – kind of reminds me of th SF novel – “Dhalgren”

  10. jacob said,

    Dave, I am unsure of the answer to that question but I assume it’s an uncommon name.

  11. Chris Danes said,

    “Why has this man denied this? Why is the government going out of its way to stop us from helping people?”
    Time Keller and Dave I think are correct- Karl Rove is keeping an eye on things- that is what he does so well. And re: Kevin, “When the truth gets out..” is an optomistic unlikely eventuality it seems to me.. but very impressive to me to hear of actual attempts of Jacob and others to get real information out.

  12. trick said,

    You’re being way too conspiratorial. You had a neat idea, and you got shot down with little discussion by people who are simply trying to limit variables at an unsteady location. It’s what authorities are charged with doing, dude. Take a breath. How do they know what you’re plugging in and broadcasting, and why on earth should they take valuable time to try to figure out if you’re nuts or not? What if they spend half a day with you trying to verify you’re above board, and then you only have 100 radios and you just want to hang out and hog electricity until the other 10,000 (umm… right) arrive? You’re chewing up people’s time when they’re trying to stop rapes and beatings. And you’re assuming people are ready and/or willing to listen to your little broadcast. Get real. Call me when you’re ready to feed someone and not brag on the Internet about it.


  13. […] posted by: cooper 07-Sep-2005 21:04 EDT Rita Obey is the person that told Austin Airwaves they had to have 10,000 radios before they could broadcast. We purchased a number of radios and while weve had some issues with this, it was just a meaningless golden egg. We called her bluff by getting the radios lined up to be purchased and they threw something else out. At 16:29 (CST) today, RW Royal Jr. Incident Commander of the JIC (Joint Information Committee) has denied Austin Airwaves the ability to run the emergency low power FM radio station inside of the dome. This is contrary to the FCC licenses that have been issued to Austin Airwaves. However RW Royal Jr is a member of the JIC. He has decided to deny the request. When they asked why they were being turned down, they were told that the Astrodome could not provide them with electricity. When the Austin Airwaves team offered to run on battery backup, they were still denied. This is an OUTRAGE. The people on the ground I spoke with personally asked me why I was there. I told them that I was with a group helping to bring emergency radio information to them. Broadast from right inside the dome. Those people were overjoyed to hear that they would get a radio station with emergency information, with information on job interviews, food, housing, lost children, found person, clothing and other important information. It breaks my heart. Why has this man denied this? Why is the government going out of its way to stop us from helping people? Jacob […]

  14. foo bar said,

    Pardon the obvious question, but:

    Why not run your radio station from just OUTSIDE the Astrodome? LPFM should have plenty of juice to get through.

  15. Marchbanks said,

    As trick said, you’re being too conspiratorial. This is no more than governmental bureaucrats acting as they’ve been trained. I should know; I was a governmental bureaucrat for fifteen years.

    When presented with a choice, a bureaucrat’s first impulse is ALWAYS going to be to say no. No is safe. No means you don’t stick your neck out and maybe get it chopped off when the thing you said yes to becomes inexpedient. No means you don’t have to change anything, don’t have to make up any new procedures, don’t have to reallocate resources, don’t have to monitor something *else* that you probably don’t have time to monitor because you’re ludicrously under-staffed and over-tasked (which is the condition in which most bureaucrats generally find themselves).

    Remember what Nick Diamos said: “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.” It sounds to me as though you’re fighting institutional bureaucratic stupidity, and my experience tells me you’ve got a long fight and an awfully short stick there.

  16. Alias Undercover said,

    Are any of these bureaucrats Harris County elected officials? I live in Spring and might be able to yell at someone that might have to try to get my vote later, if it would help.

  17. Kevin Myrick said,

    If I may make a suggestion, contact one of the local college radio stations in Houston with enough transmitting power to take on the project, and see if maybe they will host your station for a while. Hell, if they’re real nice (as I’m sure everyone will be at this point) they might just let you take over their current FM frequency and use their equipment if it’s related to the Katrina victims. If not that, you could at least ask for a two hour time block on which to release information.

    This is of course assuming that it is a student run station like it is here at Auburn, and hasn’t been taken over by NPR in some way. If that’s the case, then you might run into some problems. But if it’s student run, it’s a simple matter of talking to the University, and people in those organizations tend to be nicer to the common folk than the government.

    Just a thought. It, of course, might not work. But it might be a simpler solution, and this way the radios aren’t totally wasted.

  18. Bruce said,

    From the website for the radio station, Harris County officials have been cooperating:
    “KAMP is still facing bureaucratic obstacles, despite its FCC licenses and support from Harris County officials, FEMA, and others. We hope to begin the build-out process inside the Astrodome soon, after which we will begin equipment testing and personal radio distribution. We intend to have the station on-air as soon as possible. A list of needed supplies will soon be available on this site.

    We extend our gratitude to the FCC, Harris County, the office of Mayor Bill White, KPFT, Democracy Now, and our numerous other supporters.”


  19. […] Jacob Appelbaum is on the ground in Houston trying to open the flow of information to and from Katrina evacuees but running into sizable giovernment roadblocks. Sad but hardly surprising. I met Jake at BarCamp, this guy is scary smart and uses his deep knowledge of networks (and their vulnerabilities) in combination with his political skills in ways I cannot pretend to even consider. He’s constantly trying to get into places where information is being walled in, or out, and change that–just before BarCamp he’d returned from four months in Iraq where he was constantly hassled, detained and blocaded by American forces. […]

  20. Robert said,

    Someone has asked about Amnesty – what about reporters without borders? This could be a case of stupidity and fear on the part of a single bureaucrat, or it could be an instance of the wholesale suppression of information for the sake of suppression. The administration policy of suppressing information negative to its image and asking for media assistance in the same would seem to be a direct indicator of a similar urge here, especially when conjoined with Barbara Bush’s comments implying that there are no problems to be solved at the Astrodome. Information suppression and manipulation, especially as affects human rights, seems more up R.w/o.B.’s alley.

  21. bob said,

    Go low power. Just like what radio free berkeley wanted to do. a thousand laptops each with a 5 watt transmitter. Blanket a city, use multicast to send out the data stream over a secure network using encrypted STUN sessions. You stay within FCC’s limits at 5 watts, and you’re mostly unstoppable… Overlay subnets as often as possible, rebroadcast the multicast through proxies every N/100 nodes, you won’t saturate the pipe, but at that point you’re really unstoppable.. especially if broadcasts aren’t from a central location, but phoned in by multiple people.


  22. […] What’s up with the low powered FM station project? “Provide 10k readios” was the wicket — then, when met, the locals started to throw up more obstacles. […]


  23. […] Link […]

  24. GEO said,

    No one, I mean NO ONE, outside of the FCC can tell an individual they may or may not broadcast.

    F%$k parish rule. Tell the MF to either lead, follow, or get out of the way. There is work to be done and people to be saved. F his turf.

    If this little guy has problem with this, tell him to contact GEO at hakerkatx@yahoo.com and I’ll fill him in on the facts, just then facts maam.

    GEO

    PS: I have more to say on this matter. If you are interested, see the above email address to contact me. I may lean LEFT! But I KNOW the rules!

  25. trick said,

    Nice rant GEO. I’m sure that would go over real smooth. Geek with a box full of radios and wires tells the local jarhead “Get out of my way. I’m going to set up a low-power Part 15-compliant radio station and broadcast whatever the hell I want to 30,000 tired, hungry, fed up people who just lost everything.” Newsflash for this board: your leftie Creative Commons utopia doesn’t exist. It is an silly little land of myth and only exists in the navel-gazing minds of small clutches of bloggers who have no impact. There’s a real world out here with real people… come join us. It’s the one with people who need money, food, shelter and a new start life because their old one now resides under eight-feet of rancid, toxic flood water. They don’t need your insipid proof-of-concept “radio station.”

  26. jacob said,

    GEO, thanks for the totally unrealistic comments.

    Trick, I was right with you until you got to the creative commons nonsense. I hate to break it to you but the creative commons is actually useful. As a result of it, my photos have been published without hassling me. I didn’t make any money and it’s gotten the information out in a way that’s very positive.

    The radio isn’t leftist or rightist if it’s talking about job interviews, food supplies, clothing, housing, money, lost ones, found people, etc

  27. MJA said,

    There is an older German fellow who lives just around the corner from us – he grew up in Germany during the 1930s and ’40s. He has been carefully watching the events that have been unfolding in the US with some interest over the past several years, as they are familiar to his childhood. In his words, ‘here we go again’. Now, this is coming from a man who was at ‘ground zero’ during the rise of the Nazi party in Germany – and he says ‘here we go again’. Take heed – we are being herded. The control of information, the Gestapo-style early-morning raids and subsequent disappearance of US citizens, the obviously intentional manipulation of our economy, our health-care costs, our ability to freely travel about within our own country and our ability to produce income; these are all reminders of past atrocities committed by past governments of other nations. ‘We The People’ need to wake up, and wake up soon! Because this time, there will be no one else to put an end to the madness…we have to do this ourselves.

  28. MJA said,

    BTW, if anyone has bothered to consult the US Constitution on the matter, the FCC has no Constitutional authority; in fact, according to Constitutional law, if CANNOT exist, because it has not been expressly granted to the Federal government, and also because for any government to license (ie: restrict) the free press is specifically prohibited within the Bill of Rights. For that matter, NONE of the federal ‘law-enforcement’ agencies have any Constitutional authority. The Constitution very clearly lays out what the Fed may and may not engage in, and law-enforcement is intentionally NOT granted to them.

    Just a minor technicality, I suppose…

  29. trick said,

    Jacob, I was a bit harsh to call out Creative Commons’ `nonsense’, but the greater goal of that project is to lure content creators into a business model that functions fine, but few get paid. You’re an example of that last part. You got some photos published, and they could help build a portfolio of sorts, sure. Right on for that. But 99.9 percent of the paying world is not looking to Creative Commons, or Linux, or other feel-good free-ish technology groundswells for solutions. For all its simplicity, Creative Commons is actually too complicated for most publishers. They merely want to write a check and pay for rights to content, and have a record of that transaction for legal recourse. That’s it. That’s capitalism. That’s America. It’s often cold, crass, monopolized and ugly. But it’s the game. If you want to change the rules along the way and tweak the nose of the system, don’t expect the local yocal Constable in New Orleans to be your first victory. Not trying to bash, just trying to keep this thread sober. I applaud your verve, but you’ve got a losing horse in this particular LPFM race. Get ’em next time.

  30. Shawn said,

    Call ’em up. Tell them how much they suck. I gurantee they’ll change their tune if enough people call them directly.

    R E L I A N T C E N T E R
    J I C
    Joint Information Center

    Hurricane Katrina Houston Response
    Monday, September 5, 2005 5:00 PM
    Contacts: 832.667.3192
    832.667.3193
    832.667.3188
    Fax: 832.667.3187


  31. […] Wired News reports and the situation is described at Jacob Applebaum’s weblog. […]

  32. John Fishman said,

    Give link, please.

  33. Dmitriy said,

    And how much I suck?

  34. Saha said,

    Right on for that. But 99.9 percent of the paying world is not looking to Creative Commons, or Linux, or other feel-good free-ish technology groundswells for solutions. For all its simplicity, Creative Commons is actually too complicated for most publishers. They merely want to write a check and pay for rights to content, and have a record of that transaction for legal recourse. That’s it. That’s capitalism. That’s America. It’s often cold, crass, monopolized and ugly.

  35. Ruckus said,

    but WHY this stations has been blocked??


  36. […] [Link] […]

  37. rachel said,

    in case, you call no body home!

  38. rachelr said,

    the area is nice but death is bad

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