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Japan broadcasters group requests gov't to abolish AM radio


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Potentially scary stuff here ... a further consolidation and nationalization of information.

My reasoning is as follows:

When I first moved to Japan some 36 years ago, I was dumb-struck at how few radio stations there were compared to the states. Whereas Japan was known for really cranking out the hardware, those tiny transistor radios, even small colleges in the U.S. had their own FM radio stations, catering to local, international, and historical music ... as well as socially progressive and educational NPR (National Public Radio) programs.

But on moving to Japan, I was pretty much left with NHK radio, J-Wave, FEN, and a handful of others ... none of which were operated by local college kids or communities.

Now with this move to all FM, in the name of efficiency, I was struck by this statement ...

'... broadcasters will need to install a lot of relay stations and some listeners may have to buy new radios.'

So the underlying assumption is that the shorter range of FM will not be catering to local communities, but rather be nationalized, standardized, and sanitized programs — and 'news' will be relayed throughout the country, conveniently buttressing the current power structure.

Although Japan currently does not have the equivalent of China's 'Great Digital Wall' of the internet, I can imagine it coming, and using America's current neo-liberal 'fast-track' monopolization of internet access as the model.

Following on the heels of the growing right-wing hold on public media through television and newspapers, Japanese citizens and communities, not the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, need a Chomsky or two. Fast.

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When I first moved to Japan some 36 years ago, I was dumb-struck at how few radio stations there were compared to the states. 

The US is odd man out. European countries including Britain generally have very few radio stations compared to the US. That does not prevent radio from being independent and critical of the government.

Moreover, a large fraction of all American radio and television stations are owned by a small number of right-wing companies, Sinclair being only the most infamous example. Right-wing religious organizations also own many radio stations in the US. Japan has nothing comparable.




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I say we abolish the JCBA.

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Steve Martin   Potentially scary stuff here ... a further consolidation and nationalization of information.



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Am radio is the most convenient and technically resilient radio communications there is. I take my Panasonic radio when going back to my hometown. The size of a cigarette pack, it needs no "connection," subscriptions, passwords, modems, routers, registration, hot spots, activation, SIM cards, monetary payments, installation or anything, (except for 2 penlight batteries). It has never, ever let me down like modern communications frequently do.

Cell phones and internet will let you down during an earthquake or other serious emergencies. AM radio, however, can save your life.

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Transmitters are not expensive and I doubt it costs much more to broadcast AM and FM simultaneously. Besides, if one AM transmitter has to be replaced by multiple FM transmitters then where is the cost saving? AM radio also penetrates apartment buildings here, whereas FM radio is often blocked by the metal frame of the building and the metal in the windows.

Still, I only listen to internet radio as the local stations are full of people wittering on about what food they ate the previous day.

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