Last Week's Top 5 Hits at Reason.com

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These were the most popular columns at Reason.com last week:

America's Most Successful Stop Snitchin' Campaign: The failure to protect whistle-blowing cops is inexcusable, by Radley Balko (10/18)

Public-Sector Unions Choke Taxpayers: It's time for reform, by John Stossel (10/21)

The Man Who Could Really Fire Pelosi: Meet John Dennis, Nancy Pelosi's anti-war, pro-civil liberties, pro-gay rights Republican opponent, by Brian Doherty (10/22)

Rise of the Bitter Clingers: Understanding the Tea Party's appeal, by David Harsanyi (10/20)

Radio Theater: An all-star gallery of Republican politicians say they want to defund National Public Radio. We've heard that line before, by Jesse Walker (10/22)

NEXT: What Do You Wear to a "Gov't Doesn't Suck Rally"?

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  1. Radio Theater: An all-star gallery of Republican politicians say they want to defund National Public Radio.

    Instead of defunding it, why not simply get rid of the subsidy to the spectrum:

    The Federal government under the Roosevelt Administration allocated 88.1 megahertz to 91.9 megahertz to non-profit broadcasting. This spectrum was deliberately removed from visibly commercial use. Radio stations broadcasting in this spectrum may not sell advertising time.

    These stations were not worth much money until the 1960s, when Japanese transistor radios got cheap enough to create a large audience for FM radio. FM signals are cleaner than AM radio. They are high fidelity. They soon became stereo.

    Any station operating in this spectrum receives a subsidy. The value of this subsidy is whatever money the station would bring at an open auction. If these frequencies were sold off, once and for all, to investors, not one of these stations would be able to buy back its frequency. Commercial stations that most people want to listen to would buy them.

    These stations are used mainly by college radio stations and Christian stations. At least one college station in every region broadcasts NPR in the afternoon.

    The only way that NPR stays on the air is through this ancient subsidy. Without it, NPR would go off the air. For good.

    From How to Get Rid of NPR. For Good. – Gary North 10-25-2010

    http://www.garynorth.com/public/7159.cfm

    1. North’s argument is silly. Yes, if commercial stations could bid for frequencies in the noncommercial band, they’d cost more. But if the government would stop closing off other frequencies to broadcasters, the cost would come down — much further down. Anyway, why should the government take spectrum away from the stations that occupy them now and auction them off? If the stations’ value has gone up since the frequencies were allocated, that isn’t a subsidy; it’s the market at work.

      His argument is also historically inaccurate: The reserved spectrum wasn’t set aside until after the Roosevelt presidency.

  2. I feel your pain, Gobbler.

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