Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Prospects for buying a local, licensed radio station

During the spring months of 2015, I embarked upon a scheme to bring my hobby radio stations, Troubadour 1710 and Liberty & Justice 1640, to downtown areas of North Central Massachusetts and the Nashoba Valley through a network of micro AM transmitters. It quickly became evident, however, that this objective would require way too much work and persistence, with insignificant gains in visibility, listenership, and financial support. It was also a potential technical nightmare, keeping all transmitters on air on all sites in remote locations that I would have no control over and no way to monitor. Furthermore, paying a monthly rent to use a transmitter site was totally out of the question because I have, at the current time, absolutely no money. My living expenses have also gotten worse over the past few months, thanks mostly to the real estate industry, whose pathological greed knows no end.

I love the freedom and do-it-yourself craftsmanship of Part 15 radio. But after 11 years as a Part 15 broadcaster, I begrudgingly have to admit that its potential remains solely in the hobby realm. At current power levels and confined mostly to the AM expanded band, it can only serve as a small pocket of defiance where a regressive local radio establishment has disenfranchised large portions of the population they were licensed to serve. Even a chain of Part 15 signals can never truly compete with that local radio establishment and offer an alternative that is just as easily accessed by the entire community. Furthermore, unlicensed stations have no standing with the FCC even when they are legal.

I experienced this in a big way back in July and it is the reason why Troubadour 1700 is now Troubadour 1710. Frequency moves by high powered licensed stations can catch you off guard, just when you thought the FCC was no longer granting frequency changes or approving new stations that could effect your Part 15 operation. When that happens, it often takes weeks of research and work, including the decision for a new frequency, switching over one or more transmitters to that frequency, publicizing the frequency change, and eventually changing over any internet URL's and email addresses that may have been based upon the old frequency. It's a disrupting process that wastes a lot of time better spent on programming or community outreach.

So, since midsummer, I have evolved back toward the goal of acquiring a currently licensed station, hopefully in the North Central Massachusetts region, where my programming and values are so DESPERATELY needed on the airwaves. But this time, in spite of my worsening immediate poverty, I actually have a concrete hope of eventually obtaining the funding I need... at least enough for a large down payment and start up costs for a small, modest office and "studio."

My parents have been trying to sell 5-plus acres of undeveloped land they still own in Connecticut. The land is located next to where they built a home in the early 1970's and had lived until 2013. Back in the summer, my mother said to me that whenever the land sells, they will give the proceeds to me. The land is currently valued just comfortably into the six digit range. My father had purchased all the land in the area, including the lot where he eventually built a house, back in the mid 1950's with $500 he borrowed from my mother's step-father. (Such were the days.) Since the conversation with my mother, I have assisted my parents by listing the property in a couple of on-line publications including the New Haven edition of Craig's List. There have been no serious inquiries since that time. I feel it will eventually sell, and hopefully to a real homesteader who puts up a nice little barn, grows his own vegetables, and keeps a few farm animals as pets. But given the location, just a few miles from the Fairfield County line, and the suburban, upper middle class mindset of those who have moved into the area in recent decades, it will probably sell to yet another overpaid consumerist with an unsustainable lifestyle. At this point, I'm so desperate, I'll take what I can get, even if I have to hold my nose during the process.

Right now there is an AM station in North Central Massachusetts that appears to have been merely a stepping stone in the owner's objective of building a network of small FM stations. It is redundant, unnecessary, and controlled by yet another religious broadcaster. Doesn't Fitchburg, Leominster, Ayer, and the Nashoba Valley FINALLY deserve a local, community minded radio station with competent, educated management whose brains have not been sucked out by a childish, toxic religion or a fascist political ideology? I sure think so. I may have to funnel the absolute best of Troubadour 1710 and Liberty & Justice 1640 into a single station for a while. Nevertheless, I am determined to do two things:

1) Wake people up through talk programming that exposes the total fraud promoted by the competing stations, along with insights into the kind of society humans were really designed for, plus the political and economic means required for establishing such a society.

2) Revive Walden 1120's music format in some form in the local region. This goal has remained unchanged since April 1997 when that poor station was unjustly driven to its inevitable death by a corrupt, mentally ill manager who should have never been allowed anywhere near a radio station.

In the meantime, I am merely trying to survive, day to day, and it is not easy. For a number of reasons, I am now food insecure but I am not starving yet either. The beans that come from my tiny garden plot and the (delicious) fruit from a wild apple tree a mile or so down the road make the difference between a meal and something short of one. I try to make food last as long as possible and I only go food shopping when I absolutely have no other choice. Everything else goes to paying high monthly expenses and outstanding dental bills that were too high to be covered entirely by insurance.

I've been hunting for better jobs and I finally have an interview for one lined up later this week. However, in order for me to respond to any ad, the employer's total compensation offer must work out to a minimum of $30k per year or $15 an hour for part-time work. NO EXCEPTIONS! If you are job hunting, you should have that requirement, too. If they don't meet it, don't work for them and don't buy from them! I am sick and tired of poverty and I am fed up with prosperous business owners who insist on paying poverty wages. (I'll take revenge on them through programming when I get my station.) This prospective job pays well over 30K during the first year and the firm's very business appears to be assisting working people. I'll see if they live up to their hype.

In the meantime, I can't predict when and if a buyer for the property in Connecticut will come along. So I am looking for an enlightened individual, group of individuals, or business with ethical practices who would be empathetic with my aspirations. It MUST be a flexible individual or company (not a straitjacketed ideologue), but nevertheless, obviously devoted to true progressive values such as world peace, economic justice and equality, natural health and health freedom, critical thought, freedom of expression, environmental restoration, free renewable energy innovation, exposing official lies and mass deception, co-ops and community supported agriculture, community involvement in the arts, etc., etc. I am looking for such an individual or enterprise who has the financial means to make an otherwise destitute pauper a qualified radio station buyer in the eyes of the industry. Any funds would be placed in an escrow account that would require signatures from both myself and the other entity in order to be dispensed, and they would only be dispensed if needed or as needed. The ideal amount would be roughly equal to the likely selling price of the property in Connecticut. If and when the property sells, the individual, group, or company can revert to sole ownership of the funds if they haven't been used, or be reimbursed for any that have up to the full selling price of the Connecticut property.

If any of you know of such a qualified individual, group, or company that can help me with the situation I have outlined here, I would appreciate it if you forward this post to them and have them contact me.

My thanks to all who have read this screed to its conclusion.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Troubadour frequency change to 1710 kHz pending

Sometime over the next several days, I will be experimenting with what will likely be a change in frequency for Troubadour from 1700 kHz to 1710 kHz. I now have the information I need from the transmitter manufacturer to move to that frequency. The new interference from WRCR is too great to tolerate indefinitely, so something has to be done. If all works well technically and the change is made, the station's branding and web address will remain "1700," although that may be a little confusing for people locally.

All AM radios designed and manufactured since the late 1980's should be able to tune 1710, along with the official expanded band which ends at 1700. Most antique radios built from the early 1930's to the early 1940's should also be able to tune the frequency if they are fully restored and aligned properly.

Currently, the only licensed stations operating at 1710 kHz are a network of 10 watt travelers information stations serving Hudson County, New Jersey. The FCC does not grant operation to any licensed facility on 1710, and those New Jersey TIS stations are there only through a rare waiver. For this reason, Part 15 broadcasters have been trying to get 1710 kHz recognized, either officially or unofficially, as a safe haven for Part 15 radio.

The prospects for full range reception on 1710 kHz should be even better than they were on 1700 before the appearance of WRCR.

Yet another URL change for the audio streams

Unfortunately, I have to announce another URL change for the audio streams of Troubadour 1700 and Liberty & Justice 1640.

Troubadour 1700's stream is now the following:

Liberty & Justice 1640's stream is now as follows:

Please update any native device apps or media player bookmarks. Zeno Radio's listen over phone service has already been updated and the Tune In app for portable devices should be updated by the time you read this.

Again, I have absolutely no control over these changes and they are even more disruptive and time wasting for me than they are for listeners.

The streaming is a donated service for which I am grateful. I have no choice but to tolerate it because such an arrangement is all I can afford.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Surprise move of WRCR (Rockland County, New York) to 1700 kHz limits Troubadour 1700 AM's night reception to Acme Park and immediately adjacent properties

This development could not have come at a worse time! I had just embarked on a campaign to find additional transmitter sites in downtown areas of the Nashoba Valley and North Central Massachusetts, having sent proposals to building owners in Concord, West Concord, and Fitchburg, plus a contact in Ayer, with letters of inquiry to Groton and Pepperell waiting in the wings, when all of I sudden at work I discover a new signal on the car radio at 1700 kHz, just after sundown, coming in loud and clear. I knew instantly it was bad news. Here is my commentary about it posted on

For the past 10 years, the last thing most of us Part 15 broadcasters using the expanded AM band worried about was new, full powered, licensed stations from within our own national borders coming on our frequencies and blowing us away. Only the occasional new station authorized by the CRTC in Canada was of any concern. The FCC stopped approving of both moves into the expanded band and new stations coming on there many years ago now. So this move of WRCR, formerly a 500 watt station on 1300 kHz with a deteriorating transmitting infrastructure, is totally unprecedented on the part of the FCC and has grave implications for the future and stability of Part 15 broadcasting in the expanded AM band.
In the hours and days ahead, there may be a few interruptions in both Troubadour 1700's AM and FM signals as I work through a few issues spawned by this development. Although Part 15 transmitters have come a long way in recent years, a $225 transmitter still cannot match a $20,000 transmitter's accuracy and stability. I am going to try to lessen the "motor boating" effect that occurs when the two signals collide, which my SSTran AMT-5000 transmitters enable me to do. Also, the FM antenna has still not been precisely trimmed for 97.9 mHz. It's a job I have put off for more than two years. (It is still trimmed for 89.3.) With no AM reception at night beyond a thousand feet, it is imperative that the FM's signal is maximized. This will require the FM to go off air for several hours.

As a postscript, night time reception of Troubadour 1700 AM in the mid-Horsepond Road and North Shirley/Bull Run Restaurant neighborhoods, where the signals from WRCR and Troubadour 1700 arrive at a near 90 degree angle from each other, may still be possible on home radios and portables with internal loop antennas. Turn the radio to see if we are still heard in the null of WRCR.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Super Town Meeting, Monday June 8th

Super Town Meeting on Monday, June 8th in Shirley, Ayer, Harvard and Devens to decide four proposed zoning changes in Devens.

6/6/15  Minimum Wage Media endorses the following votes:

Vote YES for proposed change to Shirley Village Growth District.
Vote YES for proposed healthcare use for Shirley Village Growth District.
Vote YES to protect Rogers Field, restore Willow Brook, and allow expansion of Adams Circle Zero-Net-Energy neighborhood.
Vote NO to prevent more biotech firms, defense contractors and other alledged "businesses" from occupying the south end of Grant Road.

We need to enable more poor people, working class people, and middle class people to own businesses in Devens, not give more land to psychopaths! Here are my comments on Courbanize, a site MassDevelopement is using to promote the changes:

All good except...

The last thing we need is more biotech, pharmaceutical, and private military contractors locating in Devens. In my opinion, these corporations are either destroying our planet, destroying our physical and mental health, engaging in mass deception, or profiting from war. Instead, we should be helping our own struggling local poor and middle class establish small businesses in Devens. We should set aside the residential area of Grant Road as an "artist colony" type of intentional community. It should feature dirt cheap affordable housing and be populated by creative people (artists, musicians, peaceful inventors, writers, investigative journalists, media creators, antique restorers, etc.) who, more than anything, want to practice their craft and want "out" of the rat race and the spiraling cost of living. Only a community such as this can begin to undo the horrible legacy of Deven's destructive military past.

"... Homeland Security put it there."

Newtown, Corrupticut First Selectman Patricia Llodra, testifying under oath at the Sandy Hook FOIA Hearing #2 in Hartford on June 3, 2015:

"I believe that Homeland Security put it there."

[ ...referring to the illuminated sign near the Sandy Hook Fire House that was present for at least the entire day on December 14th, 2012, as depicted in the photo below.]

Everyone Must Check In - DHS/FEMA Procedure Sign

Here is the video of the entire hearing:

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false.”
-William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

“Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.”
-Richard Salant, Former President of CBS News

Monday, June 1, 2015

Enact a Basic Income for All Americans

Implementing a guaranteed Basic Income ("Social Security for All") would end poverty in the United States and provide a 21st-century social safety net to deal with looming widespread unemployment
caused by advancing technology and trade policies that benefit only the top 1/10th of 1 percent. Income inequality in the United States has risen sharply in recent years and continues to get worse. Without serious intervention, we WILL face massive increases in poverty and civil unrest in the years ahead.

A guaranteed Basic Income, which will directly provide all Americans with just enough money each month to pay for food, housing, and essential bills, will shift our economy to one that doesn't require full employment in order to be healthy. It will also eliminate a huge layer of state and federal government bureaucracy whose sole purpose is to determine eligibility for current public assistance programs.

A Basic Income for all Americans would relieve most of us from the greatest source of stress, confinement, and unhappiness in our lives, namely the prospect of losing everything we have due to a termination of employment or other source of essential income. It would free up inventors, artists, and entrepreneurs to follow their dreams with abandon, unencumbered by persistent worries of how they will support themselves during the months and years it often takes for their efforts to produce a monetary return (if a monetary return will even manifest in some cases).

It would revolutionize the workplace, because in every sort of business or institution, the staff would be there because they WANT to be there or have CHOSEN the occupation, not because they HAVE to be there in order to avoid homelessness, hunger, or bankruptcy. A Basic Income would finally free all of us to live AUTHENTIC LIVES.   

Also, there have always been those among us who do not flourish well in employment situations. These individuals either lack organized thinking, or attention to detail, or they don't hold up well under the social, physical, or top-down management structures that most jobs force upon us.
For them, the risks involved in employment are very high. A Basic Income for such individuals will spare them the pain and stigma of multiple firings, along with inevitable poverty and hopelessness, while they either explore self-employment options or find ways to be useful to society outside of employment.

Recent studies have indicated that poverty reduces brain power. Poor people and others with financial problems do poorly on cognitive and logic tests. Poverty also results in diminished social opportunities, which reinforces diminished brain capacity and inspiration. Do you find yourself often complaining about how hard it is to function in a "dumbed down" America? A Basic Income would go a long way in reversing it.

The management of Minimum Wage Media wholeheartedly endorses the concept of an unconditional Basic Income for all.

We urge our listeners to support this petition.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Welcome Mutual Radio News

Today Minimum Wage Media welcomes Mutual Radio News to our airwaves on their maiden voyage. Obviously, founder Leo Ashcraft was inspired by 20th Century memories of the old Mutual Broadcasting System and their cooperative structure with affiliates. Troubadour 1700 will be carrying either the 1 minute or 3 minute newscasts during most hours and Liberty & Justice 1640 will air the 5 minute newscast during many hours of the day. CBC News will continue to be heard at various times each day on both stations, so we will still be hearing the Canadian perspective on current headlines.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ayer and Shirley: America's Newest Food Desert

The following is the text of a commentary airing mostly on Liberty & Justice 1640:

Hannaford Supermarket in Ayer is now gone. Hannaford management wanted to bring the store up to 21st century standards. The local land owner said "no."

The Ayer Farmers Market is no longer operating on Saturdays during the Summer and Fall. Why? The local land owner said "no." He also said "no" to rail commuters who need access through "his" land to reach the few job pools in the region still able to sustain middle class life. He also said "no" to the parking needs of nearby small businesses. After all, he is *The Land Owner.* If he unrealistically expects his slice of downtown to remain as pristine as an acre of remote northern Maine woods, that's his prerogative under capitalism, isn't it?

And finally, lest we forget, we do (or did) have a local farm stand in Ayer. But it's only open from July to Labor Day and only during years when the owner feels like opening it.

Welcome to Ayer and Shirley, where narcissism and eccentricity have produced America's newest food desert.
To anyone even casually familiar with the recent departure of Hannaford Supermarket from Ayer, as well as the small seasonal venues for fresh vegetables that either no longer exist or are no longer reliable, it should be obvious which groups are almost entirely responsible for their demise: selfish land owners, greedy real estate developers, and dysfunctional town zoning boards.

Food that is nourishing enough to sustain health is essential to human life. Maintaining local retail sources of food should be of such importance that it warrants intervention by town governments, even to the point of exercising eminent domain, when private land owners repeatedly demonstrate self-centered, pathological behavior with no sense whatsoever of the greater public good. Yet, this behavior should be no surprise. Just look what the local real estate developers and land owners have given Ayer and Shirley over the past 15 years. They have destroyed nearly all of our remaining viable agricultural land and filled it with cookie-cutter, energy wasting McMansions that fewer and fewer people can afford. What, you want new organic small farms? That's for those hippies out in western Mass. and New York state. What, you want zero net energy homes? That's for those hippies on Devens... or something like that. And for all you working poor people who make up the bulk of the population of these two towns, don't you just love those rents which have more than doubled over the past 15 years? Don't you love how easy it has become to pay your bills and stay out of debt, thanks to the local land owners?

"Hey, get me to the money with as little effort or thought as possible! And those poor people, they deserve what they get."

Of course, it's easy to think that way if you have the time and money to climb into a $50,000 vehicle and go food shopping in Leominster, Lunenburg, or Acton, or better yet, have a servant or employee do it for you. But most low income working people in Ayer and Shirley do not have such options. Many do not own even an old, beat up vehicle. The local landlords and business interests have made sure that most are within a 10 minute walk from all the alcoholic beverages they could ever want to drown their sorrows. But a nice bunch of health sustaining, organic kale? You have to hitch a ride out of town for that one, boy!

If you think town governments will finally rise to the call and seize these vital, limited properties until truly appropriate buyers emerge who will end the food desert, don't hold your breath. In the early years of this century, a plan to expand Roux's Market to two stories and vastly increase their grocery offerings was shot down by the Shirley zoning board. But a year or two later, that same board had no problem allowing a chain franchise like Dunkin Donuts to come in by knocking down a classic, residential building in otherwise good condition.

As long as idiocy, eccentricity, narcissism, and greed continue to persist in the local real estate industry and in town governments, the Ayer-Shirley Food Desert may persist for many years to come. So, brace yourself. But for every month it continues, the more and more likely the two towns will become the laughing stock of the state, especially considering that most surrounding communities avoided such problems by exercising sanity, vision, and common sense.