thinking about regen receivers
which were unintentional transmitters.
RCA's advertising blitz for superhets took advantage of our long-established and semi-conscious common law view of privileges and limits. We habitually assume that we should be free to read or hear anything we want, and we assume that we can say and publish and broadcast anything we want, PROVIDED that our output isn't bumping into somebody else's enjoyment of his own privacy. If we want to interfere, we need official licensing or permission to balance out the various interests.
RCA treated the regen 'blooper' as an unfair invasion of our neighbor's enjoyment, and we had enough sense of community in 1926 that the empathy worked. I doubt that it would work now.
Here's a 1929 article
that shows an entirely different legal culture.
Japan assumed from the start that listening was like buying a magazine or renting a utility connection, so the broadcaster was entitled to make money from the rent. It was a two-sided transaction. Note that JOBK had 700 offices devoted to selling listener licenses! [I suspect this was really 700 employees, not 700 offices.]
In the web era we are sneakily but quickly moving toward the Jap model. Because cellphones were based on the wired phone system, they were paid and licensed 'utility connections' rather than unlicensed 'receivers'. Thus we no longer have the privilege of passive listening.
BUT we're not getting the basic relationship of a rented connection either. When you pay for an AC power connection, you don't expect the AC to be modulated by advertising that forces its way into all of your light bulbs and heaters. With cellphones we're paying for zero privilege and total censorship, and we're forced to endure advertising at the same time.
= = = = =
Later thought: The magazine was an April issue. Japan's radio call letters do start with J, but JOAK sounds like a clue. Even if the article was a JOAK, the concept of licensing listeners was common. BBC still does it.
= = = = =
Next day: Nope, JOAK/JOBK were actual Jap stations. Here's a DX report from November (not April) 1928.
Labels: defensible spaces