Free radio

Free radio

: Doc Searls writes an amazing piece on the possibly doomed fate of radio — and more than radio — at the hands of so many competing forces who have it in their crossfire, including Congress, the FCC, the music industry, and more. I can’t summarize it and do it justice — so go read it — but I will quote this:

To Congress and the FCC, broadcasting isn’t speech. It’s transport: a delivery system for “material” and “content”…..

Think of a metaphor as a box of words. We all think and talk inside the shipping box when we speak about “moving” or “delivering” goods we call “content” to “end users” or “consumers”. This is what Powell does when he describes broadcasting as a “medium” through which we “receive” stuff he calls “material”.

Broadcasting isn’t the only business in the shipping box. In fact, business itself lives there. Ever since the industrial revolution created an enormous system in which the few produce for the many, most business finds itself somewhere amongst the distribution chains that run between producers and consumers. That’s why we have so many more people “adding value” than creating it…..

All the talk about “content” reveals a conceptualization of broadcasting as a delivery system, primarily for visual goods: stuff you see. Not stuff you hear or read as you would with speech–the freedom protected by the First Amendment….

Which brings us to the place where we’re peaceably assembled right now, the Net. That’s what we need to defend, against the very transport metaphors we all unconsciously use. Specifically, we need to fight against the characterization of the Net as yet another medium….

We’re fighting for a place here. Or, in the original parlance, a space. Either way, it’s no freight-forwarding system.

Go read the rest.