Thursday, September 08, 2005

Low-Power FM station for Astrodome blocked


Following up on previous BB posts and a Wired News item about tech volunteers' attempts to set up a low power FM radio station up to provide information to evacuees at the Astrodome, Jacob Appelbaum blogs from Houston:
Rita Obey is the person that told Austin Airwaves they had to have 10,000 radios before they could broadcast. We purchased a number of radios and while we’ve had some issues with this, it was just a meaningless golden egg. We called her bluff by getting the radios lined up to be purchased and they threw something else out.

At 16:29 (CST) today, RW Royal Jr. Incident Commander of the JIC (Joint Information Commity) has denied Austin Airwaves the ability to run the emergency low power FM radio station inside of the dome. This is contrary to the FCC licenses that have been issued to Austin Airwaves. However RW Royal Jr is a member of the JIC. He has decided to deny the request. When they asked why they were being turned down, they were told that the Astrodome could not provide them with electricity. When the Austin Airwaves team offered to run on battery backup, they were still denied.

This is an OUTRAGE.

The people on the ground I spoke with personally asked me why I was there. I told them that I was with a group helping to bring emergency information to them over a radio inside the dome. Those people were overjoyed to hear that they would get a radio station with emergency information, with information on job interviews, with information on food, housing, clothing and other important information. It breaks my heart.

Why has this man denied this? Why is the government going out of its way to stop us from helping people?

Link to Jacob's account, and here's the LPFM station website: