Sunday, August 21, 2005
Radio Lessons Learned
I will give you an brief overview of the situation on the ground here in Crawford, and an final update on our attempt to put Crawford Peace Radio on the air here.
The media presence dropped off considerably after Cindy left on Thursday. The local network stories I have seen continue to be skewed towards "that crazy lady doesn't speak for me..." I made a point of telling the cameraman and hairdo from Austin's Fox7 News, "Fox News was recklessly irresponsible in their coverage of the Iraq War..." The hairdo pretended not to hear me, but the camera man smirked as if to say, "That's news?!?"
A total of 26 friends and family donated about $750, ranging from $20 to $100. Another $300 was pledged when we stopped gathering funds. The money was all spent, within 24 hours, on 100' of coax cable and a 40 watt xmitter from FRB.
We will continue to gather up audio gear and other related equipment so that "next time" we will be ready. Thom Irwin, a wise fellow of the Pacifica-stripe from LA weighed in with:
"Not a criticism but just a thought. I am forwarding from Obvious Man (the caped Semi-Hero from the Non Sequiter comic strip). Your situation will repeat itself in other venues. We should be prepared with rigs pre-packaged to be shipped to the site as needed. Perhaps they should have separate field/studio with a microwave or other link to a remote xmitter and antenna package so that things are not TOO obvious and have better service life expectations."Excellent advice O' Obvious Man! We still plan on pre-fabbing a radio tower out of Moso bamboo. The Austin and national Bamboo Festivals are in the coming weeks.
HOWEVER...What is significant is that the good folks of the Crawford Peace House and Camp Caseys ultimately did NOT want a "pirate" radio station in their midst, despite their repeated requests for "an lpfm station." Even as late as this weekend, someone was putting up requests for "lpfm engineers" on the CPH listserve. We responded, "We're already here!"
ULTIMATELY...the taint of illegality kept us from completing the project. The fact that the FCC would almost certainly never would have gotten around to enforcing their broadcast regulation in a cow pasture in rural McClennan County, Texas, is beside the point. No apparent consensus was forthcoming from those on the ground, the local organizers. We have absolutely no criticism to offer these fine folks. They are doing a remarkable job.
One of our main contacts with the CPH and CC organizers said that if "we just showed up and did it, it would probably be okay." But we were not prepared, in oh so many ways, to sit on a cow pasture with no power, internet connection, building, etc. AC or DC? And what of elevation? We certainly hope none of the two dozen fam and friends are disappointed in us for not completing our effort. More good will come from this in the future.
Meanwhile, Crawford is now the "Live Music Capital of McClennan County" baby! Steve Earle, Marcia Ball, Joan Baez and a steady stream of others now crossing the stage. Austinite Guy Forsyth, with his tremendous new song "Long, Long Time..." from "Love Songs...For and Against" is becoming something of an anti-war anthem.
(PLUG: Music Directors/Programmers! http://www.guyforsyth.com/)
Police presence continues to be minimal and Texas friendly. Two quick cop stories: McClennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch, a fellow with his hands full no doubt, did have to lay down the law a bit with the peace folks, giving specific instructions that there is to be "No liquor (McC is a "dry" county...), no marijuana and no naked girls." Seriously. The good folks at the CPH dutifully posted the new rules on the pecan tree in the front yard. Can't report seeing any naked girls first hand, or for that matter, any beer or doobies. But it's getting to be a pretty big peace party here. And a certain Mr. Scooter, a, uh, malcontent of the KPFT Houston/Pacifica Family, partner of Wendy, former T staffer and fellow malcontent ;) reports being ARRESTED in Crawford for some undesignated "radio crime":
"Busted in Crawford, Texas is almost, too weird for radio -- except the tape was running -- and it's not what you think. Check this twisted story out from radio4all.net or Free Radio Santa Cruz. or, the inner side. I'll be working this for awhile,, it is too funny and bizarre to be a radio play or goof.... please stay tuned for the real thing,, I'll see yall on the actuality. nice to be home being arrested sucks. You are helpless and bored and, have no idea how long you are down for..However, I have not been able to find out any more about his bust. Any info would be 'preciated. Glad to hear you are out of the pokey Scooter!!
"Pacing the cage reminds me what it would be like if we were free speech and the opportunity to express this wonderfully bizarre experience.
"Oh Yeah. I forgot...See you on the radio -- soon."
FreeRadio Santa Cruz
And LANCE ARMSTRONG! What the HELL is the matter with you boy?! Why in the hell did you choose THIS weekend to ride bikes with Shrub? The only photo shown on the local 'casts was a slightly blurry telephoto shot, no video, of Lance and the Shrub. Shame on you Lance, shame on you. (Overreaction mental image: thousands of yellow "LiveSTRONG" bracelets going up in sooty yellow black smoke...)
Also sorry we were not able to help out more with the folks from the Brad Show, who hopefully will still be able to report live from Crawford. Next time FLY to Texas from Eugene!! (http://bradblog.com/BradShow/)
Them Boy Scouts got it right: "Be Prepared." I have to end somewhere, and so I shall. The final call to action remains the same, with a rejoiner.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Crawford Peace Radio Increasingly Unlikely
The temporary radio station we had hoped to provide at the request of the good folks in Crawford is, IMHO, not likely to happen, at least not this weekend. Just too many people (up to 10K now considered possible), not enough time, (tomorrow morning), way too hot (100+), etc, etc.
We still lack a secure location, (a local folks political decision, we feel), a "tower" (the pickup truck to carry the bamboo poles can't make it), power source, (AC or DC?) all the audio equipment, a limiter, plus basic signage to tell people where to tune in, etc. etc.
At this late hour, 9pm Central, I will still entertain ways to pull this off, and will still be heading to Crawford in the morning with whatever equipment we have in hand, but it seems unlikely we will be on
the air tomorrow.
Prove me wrong, people.
Hot heads and hot temps are a dangerous mix...
A CAUTIONARY NOTE:
In addition to the inhospitable Texas weather, there is an increasing likelihood of other unpleasantness in our Central Texas atmosphere. So far, hecklers have been few, ill-informed and merely impolite. "Abortion is murder! Homosexuality is a sin!" The potential for far more, uh, boisterous, confrontations from the thousands of soldiers and their supporters from the nation's largest military installation, Fort Hood, just
15 minutes up the McClellan County road is a distinct possibility. The following should give good example of the fanning of flames...
Bush Launches "Operation Cindy Sheehan"
by Ahmed Amr
Once again, Karl Rove has let the dogs out. A vicious campaign to maul Citizen Sheehan is in play. Instead of answering her questions -- the right wing media hacks are focusing on her motives, her mental health, her ideology and her family. These are standard and classic Rovian tactics used to smear administration critics. The predictable pundits at FOX have taken the lead by portraying Sheehan as a treasonous "crackpot" who is exploiting the death of her son to gain fame and fortune and advance the extremist political agenda of leftist "anti-American" groups. Hate radio stations across the nations are assailing Cindy's integrity and questioning her patriotism. The objective of this smear campaign is to draw fire away from Bush. Instead of focusing on the argument between Sheehan and the president -- we now have a contest between Sheehan's supporters and her detractors. What started out as a search for the truth is being reduced to an ideological spat between the left and the right. The success of the White House plan of attack is by no means certain. Unlike the small band of neo-cons that infest the administration, most Americans are not glued to any ideology. They tend to navigate the political landscape using nothing more than their common sense. Millions of honorable conservatives want answers to Cindy's questions. As for the phantom "extreme left" in America -- it only exists in the imagination of the extreme right, which unfortunately has a very real constituency . . .
(full article at http://dissidentvoice.org/Aug05/Amr0819.htm)
Crawford Peace Camp Grows....
We could still use a CD player, cassette player/recorders, an audio mixing board, an MP3 recorder, mikes and headphones, TENTS, and a coupla' hundred more dollars. We are planning on constructing a 40 foot bamboo radio tower.