Here I am walking around downtown and I see this guy with a black hoodie, ripped up cargo pants, and a ratty messenger bag. On the back of the hoodie is a bogus call sign and a frequency number. Then I see his cargo bag has an LED reader board that has the same info, and lists a song name. As it turns out, he is road casting. He has the LED hooked up to a laptop, and a FM transmitter hooked up in the headphone jack. It turns out he originally used an iPod, but since he was always taking his laptop to the coffee house with him anyway, and he could the LED reader board off the serial port, he just uses the laptop now.
To me, this is a great idea. A pirate radio renaissance, if you will. But it is flawed by our reliance on antiquated technology. I look forward to, with great hope, a take over of digital radio, something like how wi-fi works, but one-way. What I mean is, when you boot your laptop with wireless it scans a whole frequency range for usable signals and it identifies them, and then you can select a data stream to connect to. That data stream could be on any frequency in the frequency range and can jump around as needed. What frequency the stream is is completely invisible to you, you just see a name and click on it and the rest is managed for you. I would like to see digital be like that.
One of the big excuses for the existence of the FCC and it's licensing schemes is to make sure that b roadcasters can broadcast from from radio interference. To do this they license broadcasters and issue them a frequency to use in an area. You must be a licensed and approved operator, using licensed and approved equipment, in a licensed and approved area, at a licensed and approved broadcast strength.
I would like the digital radio of the future to have a couple frequency bands. One for government use, one for licensed broadcast use, and one for civilian use.
The government use frequencies would be used for instructions in case of an emergency, weather broadcasts, road conditions, and what ever the local municipals feel is appropriate. The restrictions would be based on the use and municipalrange than needs to be covered.
The commercial frequencies would still be licensed and operate much how they do now, except it would be digital and they would not be assigned a specific frequency.
The civilian frequencies would be unlicensed, but would be limited in the power of the broadcast, and would be subject to whatever copyright laws that would apply if you were running an internet radio station, and they can not advertise or be a for profit organization, nor can the station be run through a repeater to broaden it's range.
I really like the idea of being able to see a menu of the radio stations available and the idea that anyone can broadcast to the world (or at least their neighborhood).
I do think there would be abuse of this, so I also think that when you buy broadcasting equipment it should be registered like a car and broadcast a unique id to the equipment you are using. This is to try to prevent spammers from taking over the civilian airwaves, in that the owner of the broadcast can be tracked down and forced to stop.
If this dream were to come real, what part of town would you go to for the best music?