Mosquitos Are Ruling Seattle’s Airwaves

  • Mosquitos Are Ruling Seattle’s Airwaves
    The “Mosquito Fleet” of unlicensed low-power FM radio stations are in full effect durnig the second day of the Reclaim the Media conference. There are between 6 and 13 stations on the air throughout the city at any given time, broadcasting at power levels of between 4 and 150 watts. On Thursday at noon the stations coordinated on a joint broadcast of a scathing Negativland parody of a local Clear Channel owned station — listen to excerpts at radio4all thanks to Brad at Partytown Radio.

    Mark Hosler, a founding member of Negativland, gave a talk and video presentation on Creative Media Resistence to a packed and steamy little theater called Rendezvous. Despite some video glitches, the presenation was fun and inspiring, as Hosler showed some video projects the group has collaborated on — one with a Disney employee using Disney equipment — and shared anecdotes about the group’s travails with the likes of U2, television news and ad agencies. Hosler, who lives in Olympia WA, gave mad props to the mosquito fleet — at least one station carried a broadcast of much of his talk. I attempted to audio record the presentation, but haven’t yet checked the recording quality. If it’s good, I’ll share it.

    Many of the mosquito fleet stations have been broadcasting the panel sessions going on at the conference and teach-in portion of the Reclaim the Media conference, which is being webcast by Seattle IMC’s Studio X. Tonight, there’s talk that a party at the IMC’s downtown space might be webcast and rebroadcast by at least one of the micropower stations.

    So far there’s been no obvious presence of police or the FCC around the broadcasts. There is police presence at the rally being held in Freeway Park, although the rally has a permit. Yesterday and today the rally has been pretty thin, despite the presence of live bands. I suspect this is because there are lot’s of things going, like the teach-in, that compete for people’s time. Perhaps the weekend will see more participation since many more people also won’t have to work.

    Overall, I’m having a great time. This is my first time to Seattle and it’s a great town. The people are mellow, but very cool and committed — a very good combination. (Though I do have to say there are too many goddamn cops.) The Seattle IMC volunteers and conference organizers are amazing, as are the folks who have built transmitters and antennas to put the mosquito fleet on the air. It’s quite inspiring to be around such a motivated and wickedly smart bunch of people.

    Finally, I produced today’s mediageek radio show at the Seattle IMC. It’s available in mp3, though right now only in 64kbps broadcast quality, making it a 13 mb downloand. I’ll try and post a smaller one when I get a chance.

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