An Archive of Jacob Appelbaum’s Post-Katrina weblog

Do you wish you could contact the people blocking the LPFM radio station?

Posted in astrodome,fema,housing,houston,JIC,Katrina,media,radio,supplies by jacob on September 8, 2005

Every single person I’ve spoken with really wants to speak to the people responsible for stopping the LPFM station.

Please let them know how you feel. The obvious disclaimer stands, be polite, be respectful, be constructive:

R.W. Royall’s boss is the Harris County Fire Marshall, Mike
Montgomery – 281-931-1085. Marsha N. Lindsay is his executive

480 N. Sam Houston Pkwy, Suite 105
Houston, Texas 77060-3521

Rita Obey (cell phone) is 832 715-6008 .


23 Responses to 'Do you wish you could contact the people blocking the LPFM radio station?'

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  1. Craig DeForest said,

    Thanks for the contact info. I spoke with someone who identified herself as Rita, and who claimed to have no idea why the radio station is down.

    When I called the fire marshall’s office and asked about the radio station in the astrodome, the fellow there said it was the first he’d heard of the issue. He gave me the number 832-667-3192 to call.

    I gave my name to someone there, said I was a contributor to Evacuation Radio Services, and asked why the radio station was being blocked. They took my number and promised to call back.

  2. Ezra Ekman said,

    Well, I just called (832) 667-3192, and spoke with a woman by the name of “Melanie” at the Joint Information Center. It sounds like this is the right place. She said she was just answering the phones, but took down my name and number. I told her I was trying to act as a facilitator between LPFM and the JIC, and wanted to help alleviate the JIC’s concerns while also helping get LPFM what they needed. I explained that the FCC licensing had been acquired, equipment purchased/donated as required, and that an alternate power source was available. I then asked if there were other concerns that had not been mentioned because as of yet, we had not actually received an answer as to what was holding up the process, and I was eager to help resolve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction without wasting too much of their time or causing undue hassle. Frankly, I doubt that I’ll hear from them; it sounds like they’re stonewalling. However, the request is in place. I suppose we’ll see.

  3. Polite email sent. Let’s go, People. There are contacts, so let ’em know that these seemingly little things are actually important. Remember to be nice – as hundreds of notes hit the inbox they’ll get the picture.

  4. MB said,

    Can you post a copy of the FCC’s authorization issued for the station? Interfering with licensed facilities has consequences. I’m very interested in the nature of the authorization (i.e., whether it’s an actual license, Special Temporary Authority, operation by waiver of the FCC’s rules, etc.).

  5. Joel Johnson said,

    To my knowledge — which is limited — I believe they had a special 90 day permit.

  6. John O'Brien said,

    I just reached Rita Obey at her cell phone. I politely complained and requested she allow the licensed station to broadcast. She said,”I go off shift at 8pm. You can call back when I’m at work tomorrow.”
    If we’re going to persuade her to change her mind, it might be good to wait on calling her till she’s at work again.

  7. Brant said,

    I just called the Montgomery City Fire Marshall. I spoke to Investigator Harris. He suggested I call the “Joint information center” at 832-667-3192.

    I called the Joint Infomation Center and spoke to a volunteer who forwarded me to “Gloria”. After an explanation of the issue, Gloria indicated that the “radio station issue” had been cosidered by “incident command” two days ago and rejected. According to Gloria, the rejection was based on the lack of recources available to accomodate the radio station. She said those seeking to set up the station required continuous acces to office space, computers with internet access, and the facility itself–all of which were in very limited supply and prioritized for other needs.

  8. Effie said,

    Thanks for the info. I’ll act on it and pass it along to others.

    Out of curiousity, what is the planned format for the broadcast? News and New Orleans updates? Found persons announcements? Soothing ambient dub? 😉

    Good luck on this. I could certainly have understood the local authorities being too busy to deal with you at all, but that doesn’t seem to be what’s going on here. I admit I’m a little confused by the continued roadblocks.

    Side topic – you gonna be uploading any pics anytime soon?

  9. Heiko said,

    That’s all good…but why not do it from outside the dome, like someone suggested? Either way, it’s good to see you guys care.

  10. jacob said,

    The reason it wasn’t run from outside the dome is because the permits require it to be inside of the dome.

  11. Why don’t the radio operators act in the time honored method of all LPRO? They go pirate. Start broadcasting immediately from a close location. It’s not like the FCC is actively scanning for pirate stations right now. Remember! It’s always easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.


  12. Juicy Mixx said,

    (go pirate)

    Radio is my bomb!

  13. Jason said,

    polite email sent urging Mr Montgomery to reconsider for a number of reasons. Text below:

    Mr. Montgomery-

    It is with great dismay that I have followed the story of how one of your employees, RW Royal, has denied the operators of a low power FM (LPFM) radio station permission to broadcast to the Astrodome and other Houston-area shelters. This is a glaringly insensitive move to those displaced by the storm. As someone who has been through a number of serious hurricanes, including Hurricane Marilyn, which devastated St. Thomas in 1995, I can speak firsthand for the need for a reliable source of information.

    After the basic needs of food, water, and shelter have been met–and you have done an admirable job of providing these–the next most important step is establishing communications. An LPFM station like the one denied by RW Royal is an ideal mechanism for disseminating reliable information to those who need it. And while I understand that the stadium has a public address system, LPFM has several advantages. First, it can be used to broadcast less important information, thus minimizing the number of times people must stop what they are doing to listen to a PA system. Second, it can be tuned into by people whenever they wish, meaning that people who are resting are not disturbed by the PA, and people who are in areas where the PA cannot reach (showers, etc) do not miss important announcements. Third, it can provide entertainment in the periods between information broadcasts. This cannot be underestimated when thousands of restless people are gathered together, with nothing to occupy their time.

    While I understand that resources are limited, the objections raised simply have no merit. The volunteers who have attempted to organize the radio station have proven to be incredibly resourceful, and I am sure that they can overcome any obstacles such as garnering computers with internet access, finding suitable nearby office space, etc.

    I urge you to reconsider the LPFM issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me via email or at xxx xxx xxxx to discuss the matter further.



  14. Bob Higgins said,

    Why do I get the feeling this is more about YOU than the evacuees. There are so many bigger things to worry about than your fuckin’ radio station, but you want to keep hounding officials (and siccing your sycophants on them) so that the focus can be on what a wonderful person YOU are.

    You make me sick.

  15. Craig DeForest said,

    Actually, Bob, this is a very important experiment. The radio station is a good idea from the point of view of coordinating the refugees. It is a bad idea from one perspective only — the perspective of an oppressor. Coherent communication among the refugees could help in many ways — building a sense of community, helping spread news, connecting separated families, etc. etc. But it also helps those people *act* as a single community, effectively consolidating political power. Given how resourceful the radio guys are being (they just want to be allowed to set up, not any A’dome resources, if I understand right), the only reason not to let the station be set up is to maintain control over the people in the A’dome.

    Yes, it’s a little funny to see people fighting to provide radios when food and shelter have only recently been provided — but the Evacuation Radio Services people are thinking about the next few weeks or months, not just today.

  16. jacob said,

    Bob, I’m sorry you feel that way. If you think that the LPFM has no merit I’ll have to disagree with you. It’s not my radio station, it’s Austin Airwaves. It’s not about me, it’s about what’s happening to THEM. It’s about officials in charge denying information to people who need help. People who sit idle on a cot inside of a building with no hope beyond some food and clothing. People who don’t know if their family members have been found, dead or alive.

    I suppose if you still think it’s worthless, I’m sorry you think radio stations are worthless. Amazingly, the FCC disagrees with you. I never would have thought the FCC would be on the side of the LPFM.

  17. […] Here’s contact information: Link. […]

  18. M said,

    Jacob, I really think you should just set it up anyway. You’ve got the license from the FCC, just set the station up. Don’t worry about the JIC, if they don’t even notice a hurricane is coming, why would they notice some little radio station which clearly they consider insignificant if they don’t want you to have it?
    Screw them, just set your radio station up!

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  20. rachel said,

    my air call is all about that too!

  21. brad said,

    Try a different phone. Each phone is a little different. Another phone with an external antenna may work better

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  23. Alice said,

    haha nice one! :p

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