I get most of my information on this sort of subject matter from Mr. Wired, who has just informed me that the Great Bandwidth Robbery will not only wipe out our current broadcast TV frequencies, but may very well seriously impair FM radio reception.
A bit of history here: Does anybody recall when cell phones first emerged into our technosphere? Shortly afterward, we discovered that, when not properly tweaked and expensively insulated, they could cause interference with medical gadgetry, most notably cardiac pacemakers. Got that? A techno-toy, if not properly manufactured, could conceivably cause death by heart attack to numerous of our citizens who depend on another gadget for their very lives!
What did Our Leaders do about it? Did they immediately order the recall of all cell phones, to be retrofitted with whatever it might take to keep them from interfering with lifesaving technology? Did they mandate that all cell phones bear warning stickers on them, saying something like, “Do not use in medical facilities or around anybody over 60 with whom you are not closely enough acquainted to know they do not have a pacemaker”? Did they mandate a fix to pacemakers that would automatically cause any cell phone in their vicinity to go dead?
As you probably remember, the answers are no, no, and are you kidding? That would have caused inconvenience and expense to an emerging but very big business. Instead, hospitals and doctors’ offices have been protecting themselves from liability, and their patients from physical harm, by posting signs requesting people not to use cell phones on the premises. That’s right, requesting. Well, since then, cell phones have been refined to the point where most of them probably won’t cause serious interference with either medical technology or airplane gadgetry, but that’s only within the last couple of years. It was not any kind of urgent priority with the Wireless Conspiracy, but they did eventually get it done, more or less.
So, returning to our own day, the FM radio band is located right between Channel 6 and Channel 7 on the television band. The television band that has just been sold off to the Wireless Conspiracy. The FM band itself has not been sold. But the likelihood that all those cell phones in the frequencies immediately around it will interfere with it has not been explored at all. We don’t know what will happen to FM reception after February, 2009. We will find out the hard way. And maybe ten years later, the Wireless Conspiracy will come up with a fix. In the meantime, of course, we will all switch to satellite radio, which generally carries better programming anyway, but is outrageously expensive and about to get more so, now that its two providers are involved in merging. Ya think the satellite radio folks are in bed with the Wireless guys? And the FCC is in bed with all of them? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaah.