Micro Radio goes to Occupy Wall Street

I read a very interesting article from John Anderson regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement’s 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 the use of amplified speakers and or public address systems. By using a micro radio station, persons in a crowd too far away to hear the 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 thought 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.

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3 thoughts on “Micro Radio goes to Occupy Wall Street”

  1. I found this use of micro radio interesting but I do question just how reliable it may be in an urban setting such as lower Manhattan. As part of my site’s product reviews and lab evaluations I tested numerous Part 15 FM transmitters, confirming their legal field strength as defined in Part 15.239 with a Potomac FIM-71. With various portable FM radios it seemed the useable coverage was out to about 100 feet, perhaps 150 maximum. Automobile FM receivers appear much more sensitive and with the handful of vehicles I had to use as test subjects it appears these radios will pick up a tolerable signal at the 200 foot distance. I also ponder if this is in part due to the blend circuitry on most analog car receivers? A Part 15 FM transmitter with either a switchable stereo/mono transmission setting or one designed solely for monophonic FM transmission would likely be preferred in this application.

    I would guess that their “live stream” could be sourced from a powered microphone feeding the FM transmitter or, if it’s an internet-based stream, could be fed from a smartphone, portable tablet or laptop and likewise fed into the transmitter.

    Bill DeFelice

    Former Chief Engineer
    Westport, Connecticut

  2. I just love the idea that “that large corporate media has been controlling the narrative for far too long, to the detriment of the average citizen.”

    Oh yeah. MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR and PBS are DEFINITELY in the hands of the far right. When you counter with FOX News and WSJ, I’ll counter-counter with everything else … Pacifica Radio, Public Radio International, etc.

    So, the questions I have are:

    – What are you Smoking?
    – Do you smoke it while on the Job?
    – Is it dangerous to climb high towers after you
    have smoked it?
    – Why aren’t you sharing it?

  3. @anon, Generally speaking, I ignore anonymous comments from people who leave fake e-mail addresses, however, since I am bored, I’ll give it a crack:

    Nothing was said or implied about left or right wing politics, but I find it interesting that you jump to that conclusion. I might suggest a reading comprehension course or two. The article’s gist is about the technical operations of a part 15 radio station, expected coverage area, etc.

    Regarding the corporate media model, if you think that the networks you listed (not me) are giving you the whole story, I’ve got several bridges in Brooklyn that my uncle left me in his will, I’d be happy to unload them to you, cheap like.

    Regarding your questions: I don’t smoke, I don’t climb towers and there is nothing to share.

    Now, if you want to have a real discussion, question and answer like, leave a real comment with a real email address, otherwise I’ll just ban your ip address.

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