'Reaching a wider audience'

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Gizmoguy
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May 14 2009 15:17
'Reaching a wider audience'

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, and we were talking about telling other people about anarchism, and basically opening their eyes to the ass-raping we're receiving from the corporations and governments. Direct action is all well and good, but people see it as counter-cultural; if we really want people to listen to us, we need to do something mainstream. I half-jokingly suggested an "advert" for TV that explained what anarchism was and what's happening to people in the current system, but I knew it would never be broadcasted. Then a thought occurred to me: pirate TV. Pirate radio has been around for some time, and pirate TV also started emerging a few years ago, and I've thought of a way we can apply this for us. A receiver will pick up whatever signal is strongest, which is why we have Ofcom and the FCC in order to stop channels/stations from overlapping and interfering with one another. We could use this to our advantage by building TV and radio transmitters and basically hijacking peoples' TVs during primetime when everyone is watching, and broadcasting such an "advert". Plans are available online for all manner of TV and radio transmitters, and the parts can be easily and cheaply acquired from Maplin or Radio Shack. If everyone broadcasted the same video/audio over TV/radio simultaneously we would be able to have a country-wide impact, and everyone would see it. It would be best to make multiple transmitters, so that each can be on a different frequency and thus take over multiple channels/stations. Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I'd like some info from someone who knows about radio, as I'm not an expert on the subject by any means.

futility index
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May 14 2009 17:00

For this to work you would need a transmitter of at least equivalent power to the ones used by legit broadcasters.

Skips
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May 14 2009 17:12
Gizmoguy wrote:
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, and we were talking about telling other people about anarchism, and basically opening their eyes to the ass-raping we're receiving from the corporations and governments. Direct action is all well and good, but people see it as counter-cultural; if we really want people to listen to us, we need to do something mainstream. I half-jokingly suggested an "advert" for TV that explained what anarchism was and what's happening to people in the current system, but I knew it would never be broadcasted. Then a thought occurred to me: pirate TV. Pirate radio has been around for some time, and pirate TV also started emerging a few years ago, and I've thought of a way we can apply this for us. A receiver will pick up whatever signal is strongest, which is why we have Ofcom and the FCC in order to stop channels/stations from overlapping and interfering with one another. We could use this to our advantage by building TV and radio transmitters and basically hijacking peoples' TVs during primetime when everyone is watching, and broadcasting such an "advert". Plans are available online for all manner of TV and radio transmitters, and the parts can be easily and cheaply acquired from Maplin or Radio Shack. If everyone broadcasted the same video/audio over TV/radio simultaneously we would be able to have a country-wide impact, and everyone would see it. It would be best to make multiple transmitters, so that each can be on a different frequency and thus take over multiple channels/stations. Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I'd like some info from someone who knows about radio, as I'm not an expert on the subject by any means.

I think you would get banged up if you tried that.

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May 14 2009 17:30

Yeah... not too sure about the viability of the plan put forward here... though I agree that Anarchism needs to gain a wider social basis/audience if it's to go anywhere.

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May 14 2009 17:39
Auto wrote:
Yeah... not too sure about the viability of the plan put forward here... though I agree that Anarchism needs to gain a wider social basis/audience if it's to go anywhere.

I agree with this but I'd say that the way that such an audience is created is through showing the relevance of our ideas to the struggles going on in people's lives. Even if hijacking TV airwaves was viable, I still don't think it would be as good as participating in grassroots organising amongst our class..

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May 14 2009 18:02
Ed wrote:
Auto wrote:
Yeah... not too sure about the viability of the plan put forward here... though I agree that Anarchism needs to gain a wider social basis/audience if it's to go anywhere.

I agree with this but I'd say that the way that such an audience is created is through showing the relevance of our ideas to the struggles going on in people's lives. Even if hijacking TV airwaves was viable, I still don't think it would be as good as participating in grassroots organising amongst our class..

I agree. I should have made clearer that I don't think hijacking TV would be particularly wise thing to do... nor very worthwhile in the age of multiple digital channels and the internet anyway.

Grassroots organising is of course the best thing to do... but doing that and also trying to spread the ideals of anarchism aren't mutually exclusive, in my opinion.

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May 14 2009 20:47
Gizmoguy wrote:
Direct action is all well and good, but people see it as counter-cultural; if we really want people to listen to us, we need to do something mainstream.

I think you're confusing direct action (strikes or other actions by the people directly affected by a specific problem, without appealing to authorities or middle men) with symbolic action, like summit counter protests. I think alternative media things are more likely to be seen as counter cultural, but that's just a problem we'll have to overcome.

Anyway, isn't all TV going to be digital very soon? That will mean all old TV bands will be empty and ready for anyone to broadcast what they want... or will they be permanently jammed by the government?

futility index wrote:
For this to work you would need a transmitter of at least equivalent power to the ones used by legit broadcasters.

Not if you were only planing to cover a small area

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May 14 2009 21:29

Yeah the real problem with any sort of long term alternative tv (as opposed to just 'hijacking' someone else frequency) is the problem of getting people to tune in. This is pretty easy on radio as most people still have a pretty user friendly 'twiddly knob' tuner, but everyone knows how much of a nightmare it is to retune your tv. So you have to have some sort of localised advertising for it. Then you have to provide constant footage (because if someone tunes in and there's just white noise they'll never come back- tv audiences are that fickle). Then on top of that you have to make the content interesting. This is the hardest bit- 80 years on the BBC still haven't got the hang of it 98% of the time.

You could try and flood someone else's frequency, but that'd lead to you getting caught VERY quickly, plus it'd piss the hell out of anyone who'd tuned in for their favourite soap. Could work possibly during some massive, newsworthy national uprising, but, like Greece, if it's reached that scale you may as well occupy the studios.

A better plan would be a regular, politicised pirate radio station or harnessing the power of the web. Some sort of international open submission tv station, maybe.

The most difficult part of the whole operation is content, not tech. You're right, it's pretty easy to build or buy a transmitter, and with enough power and height you can get a decent range. But making 30 minutes of barely interesting tv is incredibly hard. I speak from experience- my friend set up a pirate tv station using a tower, transmitters and ad-hoc broadcasting studio. That bit was easy, getting people to tune in harder and making something anyone cares about nigh on impossible. After our three interesting ideas we were fucked. Ran for about 3 wonderful days.

Search for the artist Gregory Green who does all this kind of stuff, some of it bad but some very interesting.

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May 14 2009 22:09

All I can think of when contemplating this suggestion is:

'Good Evening, London'.

Skips
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May 15 2009 11:49
huw wrote:
Yeah the real problem with any sort of long term alternative tv (as opposed to just 'hijacking' someone else frequency) is the problem of getting people to tune in. This is pretty easy on radio as most people still have a pretty user friendly 'twiddly knob' tuner, but everyone knows how much of a nightmare it is to retune your tv. So you have to have some sort of localised advertising for it. Then you have to provide constant footage (because if someone tunes in and there's just white noise they'll never come back- tv audiences are that fickle). Then on top of that you have to make the content interesting. This is the hardest bit- 80 years on the BBC still haven't got the hang of it 98% of the time.

You could try and flood someone else's frequency, but that'd lead to you getting caught VERY quickly, plus it'd piss the hell out of anyone who'd tuned in for their favourite soap. Could work possibly during some massive, newsworthy national uprising, but, like Greece, if it's reached that scale you may as well occupy the studios.

A better plan would be a regular, politicised pirate radio station or harnessing the power of the web. Some sort of international open submission tv station, maybe.

The most difficult part of the whole operation is content, not tech. You're right, it's pretty easy to build or buy a transmitter, and with enough power and height you can get a decent range. But making 30 minutes of barely interesting tv is incredibly hard. I speak from experience- my friend set up a pirate tv station using a tower, transmitters and ad-hoc broadcasting studio. That bit was easy, getting people to tune in harder and making something anyone cares about nigh on impossible. After our three interesting ideas we were fucked. Ran for about 3 wonderful days.

Search for the artist Gregory Green who does all this kind of stuff, some of it bad but some very interesting.

Do the cops wanna bust your ass? i agree with you auto, that was the first thing I thought of.

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May 15 2009 12:32

Libcom News 24 would be sweet. I'll do the sport. "Superb strike to seal a united victory". Just keep repeating phrases like that, inappropriately, and the workers will end up subconsciously revolting. yeah?

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May 15 2009 13:01

I still think the point about reaching out to a wider audience of people is an important one. Any 'revolution' requires a mass number of people to kick off and thus have some kind of a revolutionary consciousness - even if it's a relatively basic one.

Obviously you don't want to take a vanguardist route, trying to 'lead' people into a revolution by the nose, as has been tried and failed numerous times. However, I'm of the opinion that western capitalist society makes people broadly complacent as a safety mechanism - what can we do as a movement to combat that?

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May 20 2009 14:28

Hijacking the telly during primetime would be hilarious.
Maybe i'll come over and help you do it, we can broadcast during neighbours and play the newest episode from australia, that'd ruin the next 6 months of primetime telly for ya's!

Skips
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May 20 2009 14:46
Gabs wrote:
Hijacking the telly during primetime would be hilarious.
Maybe i'll come over and help you do it, we can broadcast during neighbours and play the newest episode from australia, that'd ruin the next 6 months of primetime telly for ya's!

Fuck off gabs ive had to here with all your fucking threats.

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Jun 6 2009 11:29
sickdog24 wrote:

Do the cops wanna bust your ass? i agree with you auto, that was the first thing I thought of.

Yeah unfortunately pirate stations are only caught when they have an audience, on this premise I reckon we could still be broadcasting today. But that was pretty much an entire setup devised and built by one man (I only did a bit of programming), and probably cost him less than £200, so it's possible. It's range that's the difficulty.

Parker
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Jun 6 2009 12:08

Pirate radio and TV has connection with Italian autonomia. There was Radio Alice which broadcast around Bologna in the late-1970s, plus there is now an Italian pirate TV network, Telestreet, but I don't know much about it.

To be honest, I don't think it has had much political success.

Felix Guattari was inspired by Radio Alice to found Fréquence Libre, which was broadcast in Paris in the 1980s (though iirc it actually had a licence from the authorities). It was a disaster. Guattari thought that free radio would be a means to prefigure the anarchist revolution because it was an alternative to the "repressive" mainstream broadcasts of pop music and conservative politics. Because people would be able to make their own programmes, free radio would also be democratic and liberating, leading to an unleashing of revolutionary desire.

Unfortunately, Fréquence Libre only put out its own, pre-selected propaganda, as well as all sorts of New Age nonsense and lectures from Deleuze and Guattari and their acolytes. No-one bothered listening because D&G weren't bothered with what "ordinary people" were thinking. They just wanted to get across their own message in the hope that this would magically enlighten the population and bring them round to their way of thinking.