I read a very interesting article from John Anderson regarding the Occupy Wall Street movements use of media, specifically low powered radio. Being a native New Yorker, the demonstrations are of some interest to me. To date, the demonstrators have placed a wide variety of grievances at the feet of “Wall Street,” some justly and some not. What I found interesting about it is this:
Last week, the Occupy Wall Street encampment established a microradio station at 107.1 FM. The station simulcasts the 24/7 live stream which provides coverage of life inside Zuccotti Park, as well as street-level reportage of daily protest actions in New York City’s financial district.
One of the reasons for this is the City’s ban on use of amplified speakers and or public address systems. By using a micro radio station, persons in the crowd too far away to hear orator can use a small FM radio or even their smartphones to listen to the speech. Another reason is the idea that large corporate media has been controlling the narrative for far too long, to the detriment of the average citizen.
Zuccotti Park is in lower Manhattan, about two blocks away from Wall Street itself. It is described as 33,000 square feet, which makes it about 3/4 of an acre. A part 15 FM radio station (47CFR 15.239) can easily cover this area and more. Even with the station limited to 250 µV field at 3 meters from the radiating element, generally though to be 100 mW TPO, the reliable coverage area would be a radius of approximately 200 feet, depending on local interference. That makes the coverage area approximately 125,600 square feet or more. There are several other stations licensed to 107.1 in the greater NYC area; WXPK, WWZY are the closest and most likely to cause problems.
I am not sure how they are generating their live stream, but when listening to it for several hours over the weekend, I found it interesting and technically well done. They seem to be running circles around others, who are only grudgingly admitting that there might be something going on in some forty odd cities across the US.
Micro Radio is a creative way to use the available technology and keep the public and protesters informed.