Bad News, Good News


Reader Jeff Patterson passes along two stories from the broadcasting beat. First: In a bizarre case of a punishment not fitting the crime, the Washington TV station WJLA has been fined an astonishing $8,000 for failing to display closed-caption information during a storm report. Why the high penalty? Because the FCC believes that this error is "analogous" to "failure to install and operate Emergency Alert System equipment." (The EAS was not involved with the alert in question.) Two other stations face $16,000 fines—seems they made the mistake twice.

Patterson, who works in TV himself, comments that it's "the consensus of myself and my counterparts at several other stations that the easiest way to insure we won't get in trouble for improperly captioning our weather alerts is to just not do them."

On the brighter side, Wired News describes the possible emergence of roadcasting:

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an ad hoc networking system for cars that would allow any driver to broadcast music to any other vehicle within a 30-mile radius….

The system—still largely theoretical—will also feature a collaborative-filtering mechanism that compares music in a recipients' collection to that of the broadcaster. The filter will pump out a mix of songs matching the listener's tastes.

There are more practical applications as well:

Using 802.11p technology, a Wi-Fi variant designed for vehicles, mobile ad hoc networks would serve two important purposes, [analyst Dan] Benjamin said. First, vehicles with built-in 802.11p could serve as nodes in mesh networks and send each other safety notifications in case of accidents, or potential accidents. Acting as nodes in a mesh, each car would extend the network's signal a mile at a time.

Secondly, Benjamin said, vehicles with such technology could serve as nodes and pass on traffic information that would help drivers choose the most efficient routes to their destinations.