Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Cheeto In Chief and You; How the FCC is about to change your media consumption for the worse.

Making America great again, because having 6 channels on your black & white Zenith was just oh-so much the bestest!

You might have read that (do people read this?) and thought well tell us something we don't know.  Fine, as Billy Mays said maybe once, but wait there's more!  The FCC is a massive entity.  They do everything from regulate broadcast content, to ensure your new stupid 4G whatever doesn't end up jamming ambulance radios.  Their budget is larger than the GDP of quite a few countries (no not just Bhutan) and they can bring it to bear (more or less) however they feel like for whatever reason.  Recently the FCC has past new regulations which have deregulated the need for any major broadcaster to maintain a studio within a reasonable distance of a local community it serves.  Major broadcasters are going to love being able to shut down expensive local affiliates while making the same amount of revenue by just keeping the tower and having one guy to stick in the carts for the local adverts that will run during a canned news show filmed somewhere in the state with the least regulations, or just reruns of Seinfeld.

Or this.

Now it may just seem that this just means something like say goodbye to your local news team (you can bet your ass that's gonna happen if you're some small town resident), but there is going to be more to it than that.  To get the regular stuff out of the way, people will lose their jobs, and all of a sudden, second-hand studio equipment is going to become really cheap for a while.  That degree in journalism or audio engineering is going to become about as valuable as one in post-modern feminist abstract art theory, and all of a sudden studio buildings will become either parking lots or snapped up by colleges to teach degrees in that now-useless degree I just mentioned.

You are probably thinking; well so the fuck what, I watch all the things I want to on streaming service whatever, Crunchyroll, I have Youtube channels I like, and I am still torrenting stuff even though it devalues the license and you're a horrible person for doing it.  Lulz.  But you need a bit of some harsh reality.

You ever watch Green Room?  There is a scene in there where one of the bad guys explains the difference between a bullet and a cartridge.  See, a cartridge is the whole thing that you put in the firing chamber of a gun.  It consists of a casing, containing the propellant (AKA gunpowder), with a firing cap at one end and the actual bullet on the other.  It is the bullet that is launched out of the gun at dangerous speeds, but without all that other stuff, as well as the gears and springs of the gun itself, it is just a little hunk of more or less useless metal.

The worst part, is that I pretty much look like this guy (minus tattoos ...needles... ick!) but women still cross the street to get away from me and call me a creep when I volunteer for Community Board 6 in order to get petition signatures for more traffic lights and better traffic safety enforcement in my neighborhood because there are 2 schools right here and cars and trucks drive way too fast past them. Vision Zero.

See ok, the same thing is going on in this situation.   This is just the cartridge or even just the shell part of what the FCC is doing.  There is more than just the deregulation of local stations going on here.  The result of this will be that cord-cutting will become more prevalent.  We all know it is going to increase rather than decrease.  So you are not worried.  Well you should be, because here comes part two:

Listen, and understand. Th FCC is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until Net Neutrality is dead!

 Another clip!

But with the end of Net Neutrality, how easy do you think it is going to be to stream a Cronchyroll title vs something like HBO?  If you aren't worried, then congratulations on turning 14, I am sure you will have at least 8 years of a great life before the horrible downward spiral of the world comes and takes that away from you.   But in actual real reality of actual actuality, with the lack of localized options, (yes the local stations are antiques but lets not forget the Supreme Court can't tell the difference between an iPhone 6 and a beeper so they think they are totally relevant) it will   make the end of Net Neutrality to the right parties. Carriers, Telecoms, and now Content Conglomerates.  They have "lobbies" (AKA Bribe-Jawas Bribe-Jawas ...someone tell me I am the first person to come up with that one) anyway, they will tip the scale in the US Congress like they always do.  It will happen slowly and quietly.  And one day you will say "remember when such and such youtube channel came in just as good as the Disney Streaming Channel?"    Then maybe ...maybe you will remember that I mentioned this 6 years ago.

 Yeah, that is about how it is gonna go.  

If you are a Weird Al fan, you might know about a movie called UHF that he made. And I think it at this point strangely and inadvertently prophetic. These studios can become epicenters of... rent-able creativity.  Everyone creative can create, but an artist can't paint without an easel.  A sculptor can't sculpt without a table.  A musician can not compose without air.  These studios can become a facilitation for local creativity, eliminating the need to move to LA or New York (please stop moving to Brooklyn, I already charge you people $2400 a month for the bunch of 1 BR apartments I have, but I am getting so sick of you transplants).  You will be able to be content creators in local municipalities or just towns or even less.  But it can reach a global audience only if Net Neutrality is preserved.  The FCC and their Corporate Partners are counting on that being able to be legally abolished.  They will try anything to make that happen.  You just have to write a letter with a stamp on it and stick it in the mail box (you know, those blue things that you pass 100 of while you walk around all day...)  Just make sure they know that if they kill Net Neutrality, it will cost them votes. 

Ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.   You know that.

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