WHERE I LIVE, more noise comes across the FM band from splatter than from transmission towers. I have a particularly splatter-prone Dell computer that effectively blocks any AM radio sitting in the same room. Doc Searls reminded me about something I'd forgotten. "Tune a radio to 88.1 and you'll hear a signal with dead air on 98.9. If there's a real station on that channel, and you want to hear it on another radio nearby, there's a good chance it's getting interference. This, by the way, is why FM radio listening is forbidden on airplanes. Aviation bands start right above the top of the FM band, and can get interference from FM radio listening." True. And here's another little-known fact: Japanese imports with radios tuned to the bottom of their bands will interfere with some taxi radios. Our Honda Civic did that when we cranked its radio to to bottom of its band and parked it near taxi ranks in Dublin.
As Brian Greene has said for donkey's years, the Irish authorities have never really encouraged free over-the-air radio broadcast services. Just recently, they shut down church services that offered free broadcasts on common household radio frequencies. State policy seems to be focused on ensuring the Irish bands overflow with homogenised commercial content.
The system cultivates an artificial scarcity. We have been schooled to think that the wireless spectrum is a limited commodity when it isn't. The MyMedia generation is tuning out anyway. They rip, mash up and carry their own sound. Their consumption patterns have not set off alarm bells yet, but the marketing departments of major brands have copped onto the movement away from mainstream media by those in the 13-24 age group.
Doc Searls -- "Adventures in DIY Radio"
Yahoo Summit Series -- "Truly, Madly, Deeply Engaged: Global Youth, Media and Technology"