3 Apr 2006 cdfrey   » (Journeyer)

I seem to be on an opinion editorial streak lately. A reply to another blog post turned into a blog entry of its own that I thought I should post again here.

    I don't know why people are buying radio either. Sirius satellite radio seems to me to be a replay of cable TV. I'm sure someday people will want to play commercials on it after sufficient people have paid and joined.

    If you're already paying for something, you shouldn't have to watch commercials with it as well. But greed and cost cuts seem to make things continually worse in our commercial world.

    I was reading more information on Sirius at Wikipedia. One of the interesting things mentioned there is that the Howard Stern show was voluntarily not available in Canada. i.e. the company itself chose not to make it available.

    This should send warning flags to anyone technically savvy, and anyone concerned about freedom for the consumer. Isn't satellite radio supposed to be available everywhere in North America? Isn't that one of the draws of satellite? Then how can the company choose who gets to listen to certain shows?

    From the wikipedia article, it notes that satellite radio receivers can display the name of the song. That implies digital.

    So either there are different satellites for the US and Canada (could very well be, I don't know), or it's digital and protected with some form of DRM-like technology (Digital Rights Management). Maybe both.

    DRM is coming to your computers, your TVs, your computer monitors, and your radios apparently. And its primary purpose is to shift control away from you the listener, and to the broadcaster or content producer.

    This leads to grey market activities, just like with satellite TV. People pay to get hacked or "illegal" access to content that should be available anyway, or that would be available if older technology was used. There is no way to segment your audience with conventional radio, but apparently there is with satellite radio. And you're paying for the privilege!

    This kind of thing burns me up, if you haven't already guessed. I urge everyone to be wary of technology like this, and vote with your pocketbooks. Unfortunately, not everyone has the technical savvy to notice when these chains are placed on them, or they just don't care. The former I can try to help with information. The latter are aiding their own captors.

    On a political note, Sirius Satellite radio in Canada is backed by the government-funded CBC. This is even worse. For one thing, it calls into question the entire business model of Sirius radio. I'm sure CBC programming is being funded publically. What does this imply for the other shows? Is Howard Stern completely funded by his share of the Sirius subscription fees? Or does he get other funding? What about the other radio shows? If the subscription fee doesn't cover the whole cost of production, it's almost guaranteed that commercials will arrive someday.

    Then we'd have the worst of all worlds: a content restricted by DRM, with commercials, that you pay for! Agh, why doesn't anyone see this?

    In addition, CBC shouldn't be anywhere near commercials, or subscription radio. This is a publically funded operation, not a commercial enterprise. The minute you allow commercials and alternate streams of revenue to influence your public broadcaster is the minute you undermine the whole reason for having a public broadcaster.

    I'm sure this is what some people want. It is definitely not what I want. I want a strong, publically funded broadcaster that is not beholden to any commercial advertisers, and whose only goal is to produce quality, Canadian news and entertainment. There has to be a balance, and we already have lots of commercial media. It's the public media that is hard to maintain and needs to be maintained.

    Even the CBC website has banner ads now. What am I paying my taxes for!?

Latest blog entries     Older blog entries

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!