Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What can I add to Wikipedia?

For our next assignment we get to add to a Wikipedia entry. This is especially exciting because I have always used Wikipeda as a reference and always find plenty of information but I have yet to make additions to existing Wikipedia entries. In order to begin I decided to use the most simple search terms in order to find the Wikipedia entry that correlated with my search term best. My first search term was "lpfm radio" and I was able to find the Wikipedia entry titled "Low Power Broadcasting" While quickly glancing over this entry I could tell that it was already very full of information so I feel that this one could be challenging to try to add to. Instantly I thought that I could incorporate the most relevant news with LPFM, specifically, the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. Unfortunately, there was already some information on this topic. However, I feel that I could make a useful contribution to Wikipedia by expanding on that topic so help readers better understand the current issues regarding LPFM radio. Especially with something so current it would be beneficial for readers to know all the ins and outs of the local community act of 2010.

Since, my first search was already full of a lot of information I decided to use another search term that perhaps was not so often searched on Wikipedia that I might be able to add information to. My new search term was "micro-broadcasting." Upon searching this I found an entry titled "Micro-broadcasting" Luckily, or not, this post did not have much information at all. I'm excited that it lacks a lot of information because then I will be able to incorporate some of the information I was able to find during my research. Specifically, I feel like I can add to this post regarding more in-depth details regarding who uses micro-broadcasting stations, how they are run, and how they compare to LPFM stations. The Wikipedia entry briefly goes over the differences between LPFM and micro-broadcasting, I feel that it would be essential to have a clear explanation of the difference in order to better understand both LPFM stations and micro-broadcasting. I am eager to keep developing my thoughts to be able to add some information to one of these Wikipedia posts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

LPFM Controversy

To continue to do research on LPFM I needed to understand the controversies behind low power FM radio. Something that had been briefly touched upon while doing background research was teh fact that there have been several issues with how much or little the government should control who can use LPFM to broadcast. Thus, I decided to use Google News to find a source that would explain why the government wanted control over lpfm. While on Google News I used the search term "lpfm government control" and almost instantaneously I received lots of responses for my keywords. The site that I was most attracted to was This site proved to be credible, I was able to easily find that the site is run by an LPFM station in Central Oregon. The radio station is called 106.7 FM KPOV. The site is funding with government money because the stations focuses on educating its listeners. The information on the site is extremely current they even post changes to various bills that affect LPFM on their website. This website is useful because I was able to gain a better understanding on the controversy behind government control over LPFM stations. This radio station is devoted to educating the community of Central Oregon and they greatly benefit from LPFM laws that have been passed. Since they are a commercial free station they meet all guidelines necessary by the FCC to operate as a LPFM with the help of some government funding. It was especially interesting to read the value of LPFM's to a small radio station. The only thing that could be missing from this website is a more detailed account of why the government has decided to take control and allot permits for LPFM stations the way they have done so.

  • LPFM service created in 2000 by FCC
  • used for noncommercial educational broadcasting
  • must operate on 100 watts or less
  • LPFM's were a reaction to the media consolidation during the 80's and 90's
  • thus, FCC made permits that would be given to those who qualified for a LPFM station
  • over 1000 organization have received these permits in order to "democratize our airwaves"
In order, to get a more detailed  account of the main issues regarding free use of LPFM and why the government had to intervene I decided to search on On Ask my new search term was "Prometheus Radio" because I had vaguely read upon this group that worked to try to free LPFM from too much government control. Upon entering this search term I was directed to exactly what I was looking for, using this site proved to be extremely helpful. The group in charge of this website is the Prometheus group of radio activists who are dedicated to the support and growth of various LPFM stations. This site is funded through the various supporters of Prometheus and volunteers who work to keep the organization and site running. Furthermore, the information on this website is current as well proving to be an excellent source for my research. Perhaps, the only thing missing now would be insight on the government's side as to why there should be so much government regulation.

  • Prometheus' goal "freeing the airwaves from corporate control"
  • started in 1998 by past radio "pirates"
  • work on growing the "community of LPFM stations"
  • in 2000 FCC allowed the creation of LPFM stations
  • work to protect LPFM's from encroachment
  • work to show the FCC that the use of LPFM stations is important

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Deeper Look at the Funcionality of Radio

With the previous post I was able to gain insight into the history of radio and how it has evolved today (primarily focusing on the development of LPFM); now I hope to do research upon the functionality of radio in order to gain a greater sense of understanding for the radio as a whole. In order to begin my research I turned to, which is a reliable website designed to answer questions. In the search bar I simply typed in "radio". Upon doing so I was presented with 500 pages of material. I knew that within these pages I would find something of value so I began to skim and soon enough I found, a detailed website on how radio works. This website is run by John Owen, who lives in the UK. His website is designed to educate people on various technologies. The site is funded and supported by,, and This source is relevant because its copyright date is 2011 and the information it has on the functionality of radio is clear, detailed, and easy to understand (not to mention it is full of useful diagrams). The only thing that could be missing from this website is, perhaps, the usage of a time-line to detail when certain radio functions were emerging. Despite the lack of time-line, after having analyzed the credibility of this site I decided it would be a perfect source for my research.

Furthermore, I needed to find another useful website that would give me a closer look at the functionality of AM and FM radio. Fortunately, while perusing the first site I was directed to another extremely helpful website, This website is especially helpful because it has sections on amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM) which is the next focus of my research. In order to use this website I needed to validate that it is a credible source. While analyzing the website I found out that this site is run by Ian Poole of Adrio Communications Ltd. and the site is funded through Google advertising. Moreover, this site is extremely current featuring daily posts on interesting technological advances or just a random tech fact. It also doesn't hurt that this site is extremely reliable because of all the citations throughout the posts. Another part that caught my attention was the goal of the website which clearly states that, "Electronics and Radio Today contains a vast amount of information, data and articles about basic electronics." Perhaps the only thing missing from this website is their lack of a summary of the functionality of radio. Nonetheless, this is also a very useful and credible source.

Below are my notes on the two websites:

1.  How Radio Works
  • radio waves are everywhere
  • a radio wave should be the shape of a sine wave
  • first device used to make waves: vacuum tube aka thermionic valve
  • the vacuum tube was later replaced with semiconductors in form of transistors & integrated circuits
  • waves are based around the concept of amplification and positive feedback
  • when oscillation occurs it is known as positive feedback
  • resonance-the ear-piercing howl sound
  • capacitor-"two parallel metal plates separated by a small gap"
  • inductor- coil of wire 
  • together (refer to image on page 9)... 
    1. a capacitor will block low frequencies but let higher ones pass
    2. the high frequencies will ground through capacitor, leave low freq's at output
    3. with a coil it will block higher frequencies and allow lower freq's to pass
    4. will block lower frequencies and allow higher freq's to pass
  • frequency modulation-amplitude of radio is fixed and the frequency is varied
  • antenna is used as receiver
  • antennas used for: VHF/FM, MW, and SW
  • radio waves travel at speed of light
  • higher frequency=shorter wavelength
2. Amplitude Modulation & Frequency Modulation (From Electronics and Radio Today)

Amplitude Modulation
  • modulation form used for radio transmissions for broadcasting as well as two way radio comm
  • first modulated signal was transmitted in 1901
  • became standard for voice transmissions
  • is used for audio broadcasting on the long medium and short wave bands
  • AM use is declining
  • audio must be modulated to be carried or broadcasted
  • the "apmlitude of the signal is changed in line with the instantaneous intensity of the sound"
"Therefore when a tone of 1 kHz is mixed with a carrier of 1 MHz, a "sum" frequency is produced at 1 MHz + 1 kHz, and a difference frequency is produced at 1 MHz - 1 kHz, i.e. 1 kHz above and below the carrier."

Summary: AM is advantageous because of its simplicity but it is not the most efficient

Frequency Modulation
  • widely used on frequencies above 30MHz
  • well known for its used for VHF HM broadcasting
  • can provide near interference free reception
  • is far more popular then older transmissions
  • used for fixed or mobile radio communication systems
  • when signal is modulated the new frequency signal moves up and down
  • the amount by which it moves is known as deviation
  • it is resilient to signal level variations
  • its easy to apply modulation at a low power stage of the transmitter
  • is possible to use RF amplifiers with frequency modulated signals
Summary: FM is more commonly used for its greater advantages over AM

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Findings on the History of Radio with an emphasis on Low Power FM (LPFM) Radio

In order to begin researching the Low Power FM radio I felt that I needed a better understanding on the history of the radio to be able to follow the evolution of the Low Power FM radio. To do so I used Google's advanced search option because it helps to better narrow down my search to the exact topic I desire. On Google advanced search I entered the term "radio history," upon doing so I came across my first website: . To ensure that this website was credible I analyzed it and found out that it is an online encyclopedia that is owned and operated by the Economic History Association and is funded through the, "support of other sponsoring organizations." The specific entry I found is titled "The History of the Radio Industry in the United States to 1940" and is written by Carole E. Scott who is a professor at the Sate University of West Georgia; it was written with intentions of educating those interested on the subject. This entry also features a detailed works cited which makes for a reliable source! Moreover, it was posted about a year ago which makes the information reasonably up to date and since we are dealing with history anyway it doesn't matter that it is not totally current. However, what is missing from this site is more than a brief introduction of LPFM.

Now, to find more history on Low Power FM radio I had to alter my search term. Again, I used Google advanced search with the term "Low Power FM history," this time I was directed to the site: Normally, I would not have used a link like the one above because the web name indicates that it is posts from various people such as is wikipedia. However, after seeing that it was highly recommended by the Christian Community Broadcasters association I decided to take a look and noted the credibility of the website, it came full of citations and useful quotes, it is fairly current and has a full 18 pages of history on the lpfm and its impact on the U.S. Ultimatley, I was convinced of the validity and usefulness of this website despite its lack of author/organization and formal webpage. However, something that could be missing from this source is some more structure to how the history is presented.

Below are notes from each of the sites:
1. The History of the Radio Industry in the United States to 1940
  • radio's existence is thanks to the discovery of electromagnetic waves in 1877 by Heinrich Rudolf Hertz
  • 8 years later, Edison took out patent for discontinuous radio waves
  • later, marconi ultimately put the waves to send morse code messages
  • thus, the idea of radio and its emergence began
  • after 1920, large corporations dominate industry
  • emergence of RCA (radio corporation of america) was govt owned and a radio monopoly
  • radio was cheapest form of broadcasting
  • populately grew between 1920-1930
  • in 1920: 5 radio stations; 1940: 765
2. What is LPFM?
  • LPFM=Low Power FM radio broadcasting
  • LPFM is a term used to define an FM station that starts its own programming and has power of a translator/booster
  • it is not legal to operate an LPFM
  • FCC regulates its usage through licenses (class D [eventually fails & disappears], class C)
  • Dunifer (from berkeley) fought against the FCC  to have an lpfm and rights to use the airwaves
  • again people decided to fight back in '98, hundreds of microradios stations emerged
  • FCC closed more than 250 that year ('98)
  • '90 FCC faced budget setbacks and forced to consolidate
  • increased growth of microradio
  • eventually FCC to re-establish LPFM licenses
  • high-power broadcasters were not fans of microradio users
  • 99-25 petitions established to take best qualities of both petitions filed to reconstruct LPFM
  • FCC Legalizes LPFM january of 2000
  • then congress hopes to terminate LPFM
  • large broadcast station convinced congress to "eviscerate the LPFM plan"
  • today, Prometheus Radio Project emerged which helps those interested to apply for LPFM stations
All in all, the websites proved to be full of information!