Thursday, May 19, 2016

Here comes a nice beautiful La Nina


Did we just have an El Nino?, no, perhaps I should rephrase that question; did we have a one hell of a monster of an El Nino?  And the answer is of course....... wait for it..... a unanimous yes... it was a killer.  This is especially when living in a Sydney flat without any air conditioning.

Coupled with the sensory experiences of Asperger Syndrome, the heat feels ten times as bad, which is why over the last so many years I've taken a keen interest in the El Nino and La Nina phenomenon.  It usually gives a good indication whether I'm going to live in comfort, or be baked alive during the up coming summer.

As in the present, I have to say that things are looking very hopeful.  Though I'm not a climatologist by any stretch of the imagination, I know enough to say that there is a very good chance that the summer of 2016/2017 will be a La Nina.  In meteorological terms, this means a much cooler summer with notably more rainfall - and they are the kinds of summers I LOVE!

Okay, one certainly doesn't want to see the place flooded out either, but I guess in past case studies, Sydney's summer of 2007 to 2008 became the perfect text book example of what an La Nina summer is all about; lots of CLOUD COVER, and ONLY ONE DAY where the temperature reached above 30°C.

Those in the know understand that though not the only climate indicator, the sea surface temperatures along the equatorial area of the Pacific Ocean provide the main driving force of the Nino Phenomenon.  Either an El Nino (equatorial waters warm up several degrees above the average ocean temperature), or a La Nina (equatorial waters cool substantially below the average ocean temperature) plays a major influence on the worlds climate over a particular twelve month period.  The cycle commences usually in the early southern autumn (April), and then reaches its peak during the Southern Summer (December).  Though not in all cases, climatologists can already get an idea how things will trend by May and June.  At present I wouldn't know what the main consensus is, besides what is written on the BOM ENSO Wrap Up webpage; however I'm willing to bet my money for this summer to be a nice comfortable La Nina.

First, check out this picture from NASA's Jason 2 satellite.  Though remnants of last years El Nino are still quite predominant, you can clearly make out a line of cyan blue along the equator, and that has me very excited.  This can be seen clearer in the second picture, where I've placed a black arrow parallel to the belt of cooler waters.   

So a summer coming up where the temperature doesn't go above 30 degrees.  This would be nice, what would be nicer if this trend lasts possibly by the next fifteen years.  Though I wouldn't take the below website as complete gospel, it at least offer some food for thought for all those climate warming forum moderators who have hijacked many internet forums.

Thursday, January 14, 2016



Blackness can seem enduring,
But darkness is only a colour,
Brightness of light will forever shine,
In the furthest of places beyond sight,
Where space is endless in time,
The fear of the unlit is crushed,
Let the glow of light spread wide,
As the resilience of doubt burns away,
The intenseness of white will shine,
For the energy of discontent has dissolved,
The shared spirit demonises the selfish,
May the breed of greed face a fatal fate.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It's finished - It's over.

Though 2PR FM will continue indefinitely on the internet, with a heavy heart and a much freer mind, I'm quietly announcing that my licensing campaign, it's relating publicity, and promotions has come to its end.  I hinted at this during November last year, but this is now certainly the final call. 

As of a few weeks ago, there was a final article in the Leader, noting my attempts at obtaining an unused AM license.  What has finialised this decision was an event that has hit close to home.  There is the realisation that there is a low to non existent tolerance level for those with a disability, receiving exemptions on things such as radio licenses.  One can only imagine how one would feel after 15 years of work, with no broadcast license to speak of.  It's realising on what I've been doing is now resulting in adverse reactions, and with this drawing a line in the sand to say that's it. 

At least the upside - I've digitised most of my CD and record collection into WAV, and enjoying music has never been so easy and fun. :)  I'm also discovering that I'm having more time to do other things, with so much less stress.  I'm very much looking forward to spring - a time to find new light. 

This is the way of the world, and for me it's time to move on to greener pastures.  On what this will be, it will be revealed in good time. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our final traffic report.


As the days drift by like cars on a road, life at present has presented me with a crossroad of my own, one more aptly in the shape of a fork.  With the radio project now becoming a rather low key event, I want to move on as quickly as possible into the next phase of my life, and to a degree, another phase of thinking.  

I guess the last 15 years has not just been an experience of an Asperger's Syndrome person trying to reach out, but one that has washed every fiber of naivety away from my very existence - the clarity of life around me has never been clearer.  The upper point of this I guess is wisdom, knowing the true colours of my surroundings are no longer obscured by any fuzzy romantic thoughts.  

This very much bights to the very essence of my thinking; where everything, and I mean everything that passes through my head like mountains of mail through a mail centre is divided up into to major camps - the realistic and the romantic.  Is this a rapid evolution of my thinking or just a sharp reality check - honestly it could be a bit of both or more to the point I don't really know.  One thing is for certain, there is been a major mind shift in the way I'm starting to approach things.

One of these things that have become very evident over the last 12 months is how I'm communicating - just sticking to the flow, which brings us back to the first few words of my blog today; "like cars on a road".

If you drive, then you know they are a number of rules that one abides to, particularly when traveling on a multi-lane highway that has a set speed limit.  Let's just say it is 80 Kph or for our American friends 50 Mph.  As you guide your car through the traffic, you observe that everyone merges, exits, and changes lanes - it all seems to flow like a ballet.  You know there's a give and take behaviour - when a truck comes, everybody moves accordingly, and if you're blocking someone who wants to go faster, you move over, and so forth - you get the idea.  Though they are rules, as one can see, there is a give and take interaction in motion for the sake of keeping things flowing.

Now consider if the car in front of you is going to stick to the rules exactly, and stay at 80 Kph.  Imagine what the consequences of doing such a thing - the person is either going to crash into you when the traffic speeds up, or he is going to smash into somebody else when the other cars slow down.  So in short, you are BLOCKED behind this particular car.  

Now see how one needs to understand that in order to move along in an orderly fashion, that at times they'll need to go somewhat faster or slower when the circumstances arise.  It's not breaking the law, but understanding that such rules at times need to be flexible for the circumstances that they have been designed for.  In this case keeping the traffic flowing smoothly, not for bringing everything to a screeching halt.

So to end this off, let's have a final rundown of our traffic report.  It looks like we have one of these cars, currently located on the ground floor of 287 New South Head Road Edgecliff, just outside the train station.  He is strictly sticking by the rules, and his non-flexible "Act" is not winning any Oscars from my group of friends.  Now that we're skirting dangerously close to the forbidden ground of a neurotypical's world - that's where we'll stop, and trust that you can join the dots. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Could we be saved from the El Nino monster?


Back in March, the combination of satellite data and sea temperature maps were telling us that we were going to be in for another El Nino.  This is the weather phenomenon that basically screws up the world’s climate for a year and here in Australia gives us below average rainfall and higher then average temperatures.  In short we cop the worst end of it.  This generally happens over a 12 month period, proceeding from when an El Nino first forms around April of one year through to April of the next year when a typical event has formed, peaked, and subsided.

The main focus of studying such events is scanning the Pacific Ocean for water surface temperatures.  In a normal year, such temperatures are flat across the entire ocean with very little fluctuation from area to area.  In an El Nino year, waters around the Western Pacific cool by about 5 degrees, while waters on the Eastern Pacific will rise in temperature by around 5 Degrees.  This is caused by a current several hundred meters under the ocean surface.  At this stage we'll leave it there, as the rest is rather complicated.  But for the maps below this will basically explain things.

This satellite scan from the 21st of April shows an El Nino event rapidly forming.  Note the white area in the ocean west of Peru, and the blue and deep purple areas above Australia.

Now interestingly check the image below here, taken on the 5th of June.  Though the signs of an El Nino are still present, look at the intensity of the colours - this is what is looking hopeful.  The El Nino could be pulling back.  Note the purples above Australia are almost absent (mostly blue), and the white patch west of Peru is gone.    The recent weather in Sydney would also support such a trend.  April and May were very dry, while the first few weeks of June have been moderately wet.  Over the last two weeks, there has been a number of days where solid rain has fallen.   

For all of us who live in non-air-conditioned units or flats or whatever - this is of particular interest.  If one knows of when we have a stretch of 35 degree days in a row, then you'll know exactly where I'm coming from.  Hopefully it may completely revert, and instead we get a La Nina, which is cooler wetter weather.  This is especially so when one has Asperger's Syndrome, as they are much more susceptible to the heat. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Five Million Dollar Syndrome.

Could this be my addition to the MacQuarie dictionary - I guess time will tell. :)

First, why five million?  Because it seems to be the average size of today's lotto or lottery win.

Now what in hell is the syndrome it self?  Well how many times has the story been told, that a family has won a huge lottery win.  Then relatives, cousins, or other family friends that haven't been in touch for many years suddenly either come door knocking, or ringing up pleading for a piece of the prize money.

You've heard the story before, or at least you know you've heard tales of such happenings, but anyway, this is what I call the five million dollar syndrome.

The primary phase of the syndrome is characterised by a relationship that has past the stage of maximum engagement / interaction, but where the two parties are still related in some kind of minimal contact.  This could be either by a family bond, or friends that have been in business together, play sport, traveled, and etc.  The key word here is "minimal" as in where neither of the parties has engaged in any form of activity for an extended period of time. 

The main phase of the syndrome kicks in where one part of the relationship has either found themselves with a windfall, such as a lottery win, a business that has boomed (making huge profits), or anything that involves much money.  For explaining this in an easier context, we'll call this part of the relationship the "Windfaller".

The other part of the relationship will then make contact out of the blue and either indirectly or upfront will plead to have a part of the money.  This person in this part of the relationship is called the "Pleader".

It is the pleader who has the five million dollar syndrome.  Note how the pleader doesn't have much interest anymore in the windfaller's life or well-being, until the windfaller finds themselves in possession of the money. 

For the most part, this is purely driven by greed, mainly on the part of the pleader whose interests or values regarding relationships are shallow and materialistic.  The pleader's values are based on how much they can draw or suck out of somebody or any kind of situation.  They are completely oblivious that relationships, whether they are family, friends, or business; are based on mutual respect and trust. 

But between the pleaders and the windfallers there is another very, very small minority, many on the Asperger Syndrome spectrum, but they are certainly not shallow and materialistic, or most importantly don't lack respect or trust.  I'll be explaining this in my next posting coming soon.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sporting super stars admire mass murdering dictator, coming from the "utterly insane" file.

CURRENT MOOD:     Speechless
Wow - I don't know if this is insane or utterly mad.  But when I awoken to the sounds of News Radio this morning, the female announcer announced that retired basketball player Dennis Rodman loves Kim Jong Un.  A cut from the 9News World website states.....

"Former basketball star Dennis Rodman is headed to Pyongyang with a group of former NBA players, and says he won't raise concerns about repression in North Korea because leader Kim Jong-Un is his "friend" and he "loves him"".

Um, yes, I did manage to get out of bed this morning, after hearing that, but hell, was it a very precarious walk to the kitchen, it was a miracle I made it to the breakfast table in one piece - yes I was truly dizzy.

I'm reluctant to bring this back to my radio station project, as I feel that the time has come to move on.  I'll try and put this short, sharp, and to the point.  I've pretty much encapsulated everything I've done with the radio station in my last update; "After 14 years, it's time to reflect.";  The main thrust of what I'm saying here today is that those with Asperger's Syndrome find it impossible to find acknowledgment and affirmation, yet here we have a dictator held in high regard.

As noted before, my Asperger's makes communicating somewhat difficult on my behalf, in particular having the intuition of being assertive at the right time.  Respecting other people’s agendas and schedules is all part and parcel when corresponding with those in important positions, but at the same time I want to be heard.  Despite so much effort in trying to conduct a project that has proven merit, consistency, and commitment, I have found it extraordinarily disappointing and upsetting that speaking to the right people who could make a difference have been so unreachable.    

Though I've had a few articles in the local community newspaper, telephone contact, e-mails, or correspondence from those with some influence has been completely silent. The last straw came a few days before Christmas, when a letter arrived from the minister I've been dealing with.  It was of a rather condescending and belligerent tone.  It basically noted how their departments have contacted me three times, just for being told no, no, and no. 

On the other hand, we have Kim Jong Un, who is just as ruthless as his dictator father Kim Jong il, being loved by sporting stars, in this case Dennis Rodman.  It is totally mad how I've been trying to set up a radio station that represents 17% of Sydney's population (handicapped and carers) without a slither of interest from politicians, celebrities, or anyone in a similar vane.  I am utterly dumbfounded how a mass murderer, human cannibalizer, an animal who treats the people in his country like scum, and one who is now killing off his family (aunte killed of this afternoon), being held in such high regard and admiration by notable sporting figures.  Despite us getting out and attending various meetings, events, and expos, us Aspies feel that we're the ones copping the sanctions from society.  In light of how hard we try to reach out, integrate, and be involved, we feel that we're being constantly pushed back into an unbreakable cocoon.  

So to sign off on this blog, I'm struggling how someone like Dennis Rodman can admire such an animal that has caused so much suffering, hatred, pain, death to millions, and often makes war threats.  If someone of such horror can be admired, then I'm wondering in a general sense what either I or those with Asperger’s have to accomplish to be taken seriously.  In Denmark, they are looked upon highly, as they are hired by a firm called the specialists - who believe that those with Asperger's have great skill.  In Australia we are looked upon as outcasts.

So for a little light hearted fun, I would like to ask through this blog, if any other football or soccer stars like David Beckham for a little of their time.  I would like to explain that If I could have enough funds for buying a small office, and some digital radio spectrum in Sydney, that us disability people could have a radio voice - surely we are a camp of people much more deserving then someone to the likes of Kim Jong Un?  Surely 14 years of hard work in building a radio station must mean so much more, then somebody who murders his population on mass, dictates with a cast iron fist, and threatens war?  Maybe or maybe not - drop me a line at radio2prfm (at) if anyone has the answers.


For further reading, here were some of the other news items used as sources.

ABC News 24 Story on Dennis Rodman

9News World story on Dennis Rodman

Though I'm sure that most who are reading this would be well versed in the activities of this piece of scum, for those who aren't, here are some documentaries worth seeing.  I have to note that they all contain images of a sickening and abhorrent nature.

North Korea Uncovered is a BBC Panorama documentary aired sometime around April May 2013.  It is a look at the Stalinist state under 29 year old Kim Jong Un.  Reporter John Sweeney describes the filth North Koreans have to live through; people scavenge in mud for food, women wash clothes in icy rivers, and even he tells of having breakfast in a gilded cage.  Ji Seong Ho; a North Korean Defector tells how simply disagreeing is enough to be killed; sent to a labor camp to be slaughtered - yes they do this to living human beings.

Children of the Secret State is a discovery documentary that shows a frank look on the disgusting conditions that children in such a totalitarian state experience.  Shot around 2002 2003, it notes how over three million of its people have died, out of a population of twenty million in less then ten years.   From the start, the program shows graphic visions of orphans from a black food market.  A place where criminals sell food at super inflated prices to the few adults who can afford it.  Children are left to scavenge for crumbs in the mud, as adults eat in full view of starving, delirious orphans as young as five.  Children often live in conditions infested with rats, cockroaches, and other contagious diseases, with no medicine or medical controls.  Un Shoul (sudinam) who often sneaked out and into the country for leaking out damming video on the hostile conditions of such a state exposes the true living hell that North Korea is.  This is a state where many humans are treated like animals and are left to rot and die.  This is if they haven't been sent to labor camps and slaughtered under the countries ruthless punishment regime.

More documentaries on the horrors of North Korea can be found at this wikipedia page.  Just copy the title into youtube, and it should pop up. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Time to chill out a bit:

CURRENT MOOD:  Reflective
Another year is almost over, and it's been another busy one with 2PR FM.  I'm glad to say that we are fully licensed when it comes to our webcasting stream.  This has been a great achievement when considering how much copyright regulation has evolved over the last fifteen years or so - the time in which we've been around.  It's been a confusing exercise when trying to keep up with all the changes.  In the end, I just wanted to do the right thing. 

Conversely, I've been getting some signals that I should step back a little from my efforts of getting 2PR FM licensed.  As many are aware, our attempts of getting an FM license have met very hard resistance.  Understandably I've found this very upsetting, particularly when 14 years of work has been given no consideration by the appropriate people.  I believe some of this emotion has coloured my presence over the last twelve to eighteen months or so - basically since getting the rejection letter from the Department of Broadband and Communications.  With my asperger's syndrome, sometimes picking things up is like Voyager 2 sending it's week signal back to earth - it's wanting to listen to what is being received, but understanding it is not always so easy - particularly when the pulses are being picked up with the delayed effect. 

I guess as unpalatable as it may be, for me it's a time to chill out.  I guess this has been the year for change, already earlier on this year; I started re-evaluating the amount of stuff I've got in my flat, and what I've been buying over the years.  Some serious declutterising was in order.  This is from the prospect of Housing NSW wanting to move me into a smaller flat.  I guess now is the time were this reevaluation is going to take place in the mind, and where I would like to go in life - this is not going to be an easy thing. 

As a start, I'm going to give the activities of 2PR FM a break, it will just continue on the internet for the foreseeable future.  I've become fed up with having doors slammed in my face, and it has started to take an emotional toll - they are some days where I just don't know what is happening, and can't find clarity of mind.  I've also gone through some of my online assets, such as my website, facebook, and this blog, and deleted some stuff.  I'm thinking I may have been somewhat to frank with some issues, maybe this has rubbed some the wrong way - I don't know.  I've generally just talked about the injustices that us as the handicap have to live through.  At least having a look a bit closer to home every once in a while is a start. 

I still feel that there has been something dreadfully wrong with the way things have gone.  But getting emotional about it is going to cause more hurt in the long run - perhaps jeopardising the reasonable amount of comfort that I'm enjoying at present in life.

So without anything further to say, I'm off to enjoy my other hobby, chilling out in the pool, it certainly makes the body feel that much better.  

I've posted a large update regarding 2PR FM's current situation on the station's front page, located below the petition and listening links:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Opportunity Knocks - Getting the 2PR FM Word Out!

Waking in the early Monday morning darkness, I was listening to an AM news radio station.  Though very, very briefly, they mentioned the Carers NSW expo in Martin Place.  My mind immediately fired up and went ummmmmm!.   Carers....... and disabilities........ and an opportunity.  An opportunity to speak to people who know and understand the issues of those with a handicap, and ultimately know the struggles, and the fact that these issues are hush hushed on Sydney's mainstream media.  It was my chance to get the word out about 2PR FM's licensing petition, and well..... it was a pretty good day.

The weather was fantastic - heaven on a stick with the cool spring breezes, and the atmosphere was enjoyable and exuberant.  It was casual, which made it easy for me to fit in, speak to people, and discreetly promote 2PR FM without being a nuisance.  Everyone I met was interested, and many brochures about our petition where distributed amongst the crowd.
There has also been a fresh article in the St George Leader relating to the Department of Broadband and Communication's uncompromising stance.  This is no longer just a letter telling me no, but now a government department's obstinacy in the full glare of the media.  With this in mind, coupled with my petition, I would feel that it would be in Malcolm Turnbull's best interest to address our radio license issue sooner rather then later.   I think from his view, allowing such a station to flourish would be a constructive step toward recognising those with a disability.  This would highlight Australia in a positive light, something that would create positive hope, such as the Specialists company in Denmark.

"We as disability people have the same right to express our views, and enjoy the same level of income that a commercial radio station can offer.  This seems to be a very simple concept, yet those in power want to deny us this opportunity". 

It is very interesting to note that the political environment at present is rather fragmented.  This is with the lower house and the senate on two totally different wave lengths - well until July next year anyway.  With a different picture of representation in the Parliament, this may possibly reveal some cracks in the existing political party structure.  This potentially could get us a road in to being heard, particularly with a number of minor parties holding the balance of power.

As noted on numerous other occasions, 2PR FM is an established concept that's been operating since 2000.  With press coverage going back so far, it's rather obvious that we are NOT just a backyard station, or an overnight fun gig.  What does it take to get this message through to the powers who decide these issues?  The overwhelming interest that I encountered yesterday at the NSW Carer's expo, again demonstrates the strong need for such a station.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's black September: a worrying move to the right?

The election has come and gone, and so has the campaign I aired on 2PR FM over the last month or so.  I was hoping that it would stir up more interest in independents, and of course the Palmer United Party, who were talking about raising pensions.

However it seems that the Liberals (conservatives) have taken control of the House of Reps, but at this stage, it is not known how the Senate is going to shape up.  All I know that this is going to make our fight for a license much much tougher.  Usually by convention, the conservative culture is one of the free market (which in itself is not a bad thing), but conservatives often have a bad habit of extending this principle to those most vulnerable.

Though I wouldn't exactly class myself as vulnerable as others with a handicap, the choices one has under such a system are not pleasant.  The point is that a strong element of the free market system is the take it or leave it mentality.  The vulnerable (most with a disability) would find themselves in a position where their only option is a job offer that is based on poultry pro-rata wages.  Or on the other hand, someone like me who refuses to work for such slavery is offered nothing.  There seems to be this uncompromising line in conservative thinking that those with a disability have to live with much less, whether they like it or not.

My previous blog entries note my concerns with the Liberal Party, but I can't exactly say that the Labor Camp is squeaky clean either.  As noted by The Green's website, both parties have received substantial donations from major corporate entities. 

So in the case of presenting my material to both parties, I honestly don't know how serious my submission was taken.  Without naming or detailing any particular minister or party, the question has to be asked:

If your party receives a substantial financial donation from an opposing radio network (in this case Southern Cross Austereo), then would they be much motivation to assist a competitor like 2PR FM with their license submission?

I'm hoping very much that I'm wrong with this, but after doing so much work, and getting nothing in return, one has to wonder.  After all, the Liberal party (particularly under John Howard) was well known for calling the unemployed job snobs and lazy.  Well, after all the work I've done with 2PR FM, am I still a job snob or lazy?  And that's where I'll leave it for today

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A fantastic broadcasting opportunity for the handicapped, denied by selfish radio incumbents and government.


Think about this for a moment; a radio station that plays a huge archive of music, over the pre-existing formats where the same 100 songs are played everyday - something that would arouse excitement in the Sydney radio market.  Think then when the station rates, it could raise the same advertising revenue as other radio stations.  But here's the most important element - The news bulletins and information segments would be exclusively about disability issues, something not available in the current Sydney radio market.

Then, this only gets better.  When the station starts turning over a stable profit, it could then employ those with a disability, giving them the same income and opportunities as everyone else.  These things include being able to rent or save up for a comfortable unit or house.  These include even just the basic things, like being in a position to shout friends to the movies, dinner, and other social events.  Most importantly, those with a disability would be able to easily pay their groceries, electricity, phone, and internet bills, with having money on the side to save.

Now think how much less of a load this would be on the government welfare system.  With someone being employed, generating an income, and in a position of paying their own way, they feel emotionally, mentally, and psychologically healthier.  Even better yet, they are contributing tax back into the system, rather then being a financial liability.  This means less money comes out of social security, less stress on emergency government housing, less of a patient load for doctors, and well, in the end I can't emphasise how much commonsense this makes.

Having a radio station that frequently airs handicapped issues; the wider community could then appreciate the full scope and array of material this area covers.  Essentially this would also be a learning opportunity for many who don't understand certain disabilities, and can enrich their knowledge without the embarrassment of not knowing.  It seems many people are not familiar with certain disabilities, because they would feel awkward in asking the person straight out.  So with this in mind, the radio fulfills this gap, spontaneously enlightening many others, who without such a station would not understand. 

When the 2PR FM concept was first entertained in early 1999, this was the driving ethos behind establishing such a radio station.  With the station now in its fourteenth year of operation on the internet, this is still the exact same principle, why not? Everything is good about it, and if pitched to the right person, it would sell.  

This is easy for me to say as it's my own baby, but obviously I was already making the right waves when ZD Net reviewed 2PR FM in 2000, the very year the station launched.  Back then they understood that I was not just another backyard radio station, but a project targeted at gaining an FM license in Sydney for fulfilling such a dream, one that would be beneficial for so many out there with a handicap. 

This model of thinking has already paid dividends in other areas like software testing.  The Specialists in Denmark is a company established by Thorkil Sonne that mainly employs those on the Autism spectrum. Sonne understood that most on the spectrum don't get a fair chance at paid employment, because of the difficulties they have navigating various social situations.  Worried that his autistic son would also suffer such a fate, it was this concern that motivated him to start such a venture.  The company has been so successful that it has completed projects for Microsoft and Cisco.  

Back here in Australia, It is certainly great when we hear about the few with a handicap who have made it, like Australian paralympian; Kurt Fearnley.  He has won a number of medals for Australia, demonstrating what those with a disability can do when given the chance.  Unfortunately the vast majority of those with a disability in Australia struggle everyday on a meager income, like a support pension.  In many cases they are frustrated by government bureaucracy when trying to get things done.

This is why I was determined from the beginning to distinguish 2PR FM from not just being another internet stream operated from someone's living room.  From the vary outset, all the elements of the station were approached as if it was going to be a terrestrial broadcaster. 

Building the radio station has included the ground up development of a website, which included much graphic design, page layout, research, and constant updating.  The on air activities involved the production of many radio shows, station promos and IDs, advertisements and sponsor announcements, and scheduling.  Marketing 2PR included the designing, printing, and distribution of thousands of flyers and brochures across Sydney, and getting the word out to press.  As the station evolved, Penrith Press published a further story on 2PR FM in June 2002.  This was when I announced plans for launching a regular program schedule.

As copyright rules and market conditions changed, I felt very much that the internet radio scene was becoming rather crowded, so by 2005 my plans for obtaining a terrestrial license for Sydney were expedited.  Understanding that ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) just don't hand out licenses, I had to present a pretty damn good case for obtaining an FM license. 

The FM band in Sydney has a number of commercial stations, all of which play the same 100 songs everyday.  ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) auction commercial licenses off, and they generally go for around and over $100 million.  With these price tags together with a six year moratorium on the issuing of new broadcast licenses, our selfish government has successfully kept the ownership of a radio station exclusively for the rich. 

Radio licenses in Australia are granted to those with the deepest pockets or the right social connections, rather then who can provide the best experience for the listener.  They are also two High Power Open Narrowband licenses that have been granted in Sydney.  Both of them have been snapped up by minority groups that in total present no more then 5% of Sydney's population.  10% of Sydney's population has a disability of some sort, yet there is no radio channel that represents this group, again highlighting the point that one has to have the right social contacts to have a chance at these things.   

So with this in mind, I researched, compiled, and published a detailed submission to explain why 2PR FM should obtain a license.  I had many ideas in my head, but had to find many sources, including newspaper articles, essays, university papers, and other documentation from accredited authors and institutions to support the arguments and proposals presented in my submission. 

Seven years later, the main part of my submission was completed, and submitted to my local Member of Parliament.  It was also sent to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, who then referred me onto the Department of Broadband and Communications (ACMA's parent department).  My local MP was gob smacked on the amount of work I had placed in, but soon afterwards lost any enthusiasm to help me further.  I learned six months later that his party was in receipt of a major donation from Austereo, one of Australia's largest radio networks.  So I guess with that, we don't want to upset our donors, which explains his reluctance.  Also at the same time, I received a defiant no from the Department of Broadband and Communications with no will or attempt of exploring the concept.  I continued lobbying various minor parties and potential candidates, but again, no progress could be made.

The strangest experiences I've encountered with this entire project, was the meetings with my local MP and his secretary.  As noted earlier, he did inform me that he read the entire thing, but the question is, did he really?  During another meeting he expressed the concerns that if ACMA gave me a license for 2PR FM, that it would set a precedent.  He also noted that being a single guy rather then a group, was not going to count in my favour when attempting to obtain a license.  As both these concerns were thoroughly addressed in my submission, his arguments and advice had become rather irrational, as it was quite apparent he was half cocked.  But then as noted earlier, I guess he didn't want to upset those donors from that other rival radio network. 

The most intensive and involving task of setting up the radio station, has been the production of a multi thousand track music library.  Over the last seven years, I have manually mastered 18,000 individual audio tracks to lossless WAV format, with many more to be added over coming years.  This has involved obtaining the best quality copy of every individual track, and mastering it to professional radio standards.  This is akin to what is done at radio production houses like TM Century Studios in America.  Aside from having a playlist based on a large archive of music, 2PR FM would also have a superior sound quality.


Employers are generally reluctant to take on someone with a visual impairment, because of the occupational insurance risks such a handicap would represent, plus the reduced speed of work when compared to other colleagues.  However with all the background work almost complete for my radio station, having it broadcast like other FM stations would remedy all these issues. 

For example a typical job like data entry, customer service, or anything else is dependant on how many units of work the person completes an hour compared to others.  If all the elements are setup, a radio station plays the same amount of songs and ads every hour regardless of how fast the station owner can work.   With 2PR FM almost ready, it seems I'm only a broadcast license away from making this dream come true.  I would have a format of music to sell to a market, rather then the slower speed of my work. 

In today’s market, there is no place for the worker that's a little slower.  Here in Australia ones only option is a sheltered workshop, known here as Business Service Centres where the going rate is $1.70 an hour.  There is no way in the world that a bank would consider someone with such an income for a house mortgage.  

Despite having moderate Asperger's Syndrome with only 20% vision in one eye, I've successfully completed my Higher School Certificate in the late 80s.  I've also graduated from several courses (both TAFE and private), numerous work experiences with good reports, and accomplished many personal projects.  In all my attempts of finding employment, I've signed with many job agencies, many of which cater for those with a disability.  In 2008 my TAFE teacher with his wife, who had an autistic son themselves, made a documentary about my struggles with Asperger's Syndrome, and how I've never seen paid employment.  Most spectacularly "Rainman goes to Rockwiz" highlighted my gift of listing any top 40 chart from the 80s from the top of my head.  Never being able to find work, coupled with this incredible skill, being self employed with my radio station seemed to be the perfect solution.  

With an election currently pending in Australia, I've launched a petition, together with a radio and television campaign.  Gaining enough signatures on my petition would encourage the relevant ministers to do something.  I guess being honest though; no competing station is going to advertise an opposing radio stations license campaign, so with this I approached the television networks.  The ABC's 7:30 report could not do a story on 2PR FM because all their stories have been commissioned for the foreseeable future.  Channel Nine could not commit to running my television spot because they feel they get so many requests and can only fulfill so many.  Community radio FBI couldn't syndicate my stream overnight as they use this time to train up new programmers.  I also looked into syndicating my stream overnight with 2RPH radio, but after some initial correspondence, that line of enquiry also fell silent.

I've joined up with some social clubs and organisations, such as People with Disabilities (PWD), and Aspect NSW who advocate for those on the autistic spectrum.   Wile attending one of Aspect's social nights, I kind of rediscovered my love for the 80s game Trivial Pursuit, but more incredibly found a hidden enthusiasm for my radio station.  There was around 50 to 60 people attending, and many of them were very, very interested in the 2PR FM idea.   The flair and fire for such a radio station is definitely alive, and I have hit a nerve

On the other hand, whether it be getting the message out about 2PR FM or trying to get the station licensed, attempting to speak to anyone with any influence is just impossible.  I seem to hit the great Berlin wall of communication.  The person I'm trying to reach is either at a meeting, or has there answering bank on.  I'm often given e-mail addresses from receptionists where my mails are either ignored, or a quick response like "Unfortunately we can not.....".

Which begs the entire point of this blog; it’s incredible that nobody in any influential position has the time to listen to my ideas, but I'll have staff from Housing NSW constantly harassing me.  I currently have my rent subsidised from Housing NSW as I no longer can't afford the market rent of the place I'm in.  They are trying to push me out of my current place of residence and into a studio.  Where I live is a modest two bedroom unit, it's not luxury, but it's comfortable, and it suits my visual impairment and Asperger's Syndrome.  Anyone with half a brain could work out that it would be more beneficial for the government to be devoting the same energy to getting me a job, rather then threatening to cut off my subsidy, if I don't look at their offerings which are nothing more then dog cages. 


So to conclude, it's amazing that at 44 I've done so much in life, everything possible to be a contributing member to society.  I now have a radio station that's been broadcasting live now for the last four years, with a format firmly established and a program schedule that contains nearly 20,000 tracks.  I have an idea that would reinvigorate Sydney's radio scene, and spark excitement.  I am a person capable of operating a radio station, but incredibly I can't even find a job stacking groceries, because the employer again is scared of occupational insurance issues. 

With Australia being such an affluent country, recently coming off a huge mining boom, I can't believe that nobody has recognised my skills, and wanted to investigate the possibility of operating 2PR FM as a fully operational terrestrial FM broadcaster.  Even if the Department of Broadband and Communications could not grant me an FM license, they are still many alternatives.

a:)  We recently had a legal aid lawyer; David Mann who took on the Gillard Government's immigration laws and won, yes, a lawyer defeats a government in Australia's high court.  Through compiling my submission, I've discovered more holes in Australia's broadcast law then Swiss cheese.  It would be great if there was another David Mann who could exploit these holes for getting 2PR FM a license.  Again, this is not just getting my radio station a license, but a voice in Sydney that advocates for those with a disability. 

b:) another avenue that 2PR FM could pursue is the acquisition of digital spectrum.  Apparently the advantage of digital radio is that it can offer many more channels.  But here in Sydney, the incumbents have squandered the entire spectrum again, leaving nothing for the likes of 2PR FM.    One network has gone to the lengths of buying so much spectrum, so they'd be none left for any new competitors.  Could this be an ACCC issue?  Again this is something that someone could look into; no doubt they would be some very enlightening anti-competitive behaviour to be discovered.  

c:) With 2PR FM already established on the internet, it could migrate into a terrestrial model very quickly.  This could present it self as a great opportunity for a new overseas network to break into the Australian market.   Maybe they can buy out one of the Sydney stations, give it a clean sweep, and employ the 2PR FM model. 


I find it incredible that after the amount of work I've placed into such a project, that I haven't even been offered some digital spectrum.  The main route of achieving such things is lobbying - an exercise which involves much social interaction, and the ability to reach the right contacts.  I feel in the end, my ultimate obstacle has been my Asperger's Syndrome.  I certainly don't, and never would make it an excuse - that's not my attitude.  But not being able to reach the right people over such a long period of time - one has to wonder.  So now that I've explained all above, I'm hoping that they will be some well connected people reading this.  With this in mind, I hope it will cross someone who has much influence, someone who can give this a go - for all the good it offers. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A little experiment: A method to my madness:

Before I get started, this blog is in reaction to my postings on facebook where I noted that I was going to start a pirate radio station.  Well hypothetically anyway.  Apparently this was enough to get ACMA into a spin, and now is the time for me to explain. 

Well, as everyone who reads this blog knows, I've been working on a submission since 2005, for getting my radio station an FM license.  It was submitted late June last year to both ACMA and Department of Broadband and Communications.  Ultimately their was no reply from ACMA, and about six weeks later a one page letter from Communications and Broadband noting a defiant "NO"; they have no intention of changing their auction based system for granting spectrum. 

One of the first big issues with this process has been the lack of communication between these government bodies and me.  This leaves much room for misunderstandings and misconceptions.   Many think that ACMA just deal with television and radio, but in fact they deal with all the various forms of licensing in these areas.  This would be a job within it self.  They also have to deal with other forms of communications, such as what spectrum marine and aircraft systems use.  They also have to consider other products like cordless phones, remote controls, wireless devices - all these also use broadcast spectrum.  ACMA's role would be to make sure that all these devices conform to our standards, and to communicate this info to the relevant companies intending to introduce new devices to the market.  

With all this in mind, I guess there is no way in the world that neither department could work them selves through a 300 page submission.  I guess this would be fare enough, but what I'm about to discuss is rather more an attitude generally from the Australian government - one of formidable conformity rather then discussion and assistance.    It is a government obsessed with greed, rather then sharing its resources.  I guess now this is where one would wonder I'm going off on a rant, right? 

Well let’s pose the question - is a government's money best spent on welfare, or enabling its citizens to exploit their talents - in return raising a livable income?  This ultimately would be much healthier for both the individual and the government.  The government doesn't have to hand out welfare, and the individual is producing; not being a dead weight on a countries welfare system.  All seems commonsense right?  Funny how all of this goes out the window when it comes to someone with a disability.  We feel like we're lobbed into a corner whether we like it or not, and all hit with the same brush.  

This is certainly not true for all people with disabilities; in fact, some have been quite successful like Stella Young.  Though she is wheelchair bound, she is in charge of the ABC's website that covers handicapped issues, but unfortunately this site is berried deeply within ABC's main website.   Thus it is not widely known, and like many issues in this area, they are well kept from the limelight.  

With this in mind, not every person with a disability has been as successful as Stella Young.  As a matter a fact, an AusAID report released in July 2010 noted that 80% of Australian's with a disability are unemployed.  So now I've just killed the concept that discrimination is a myth, we've established it is a stark hard reality in modern day Australia.   This now leads me off to my next question.   Why are we treated different in a negative way, but when we ask for special consideration, we get the defiant no?  This is basically a government that likes to wear the shoe on one foot, but not on the other.

For example, let's talk about these sheltered workshops, where those with a disability are getting paid as little as $1.70 an hour.  So you're asking yourself this is utter bull right?  Well here I quote my source again, an episode of ABC's PM radio program which aired on the 8th April 2011.

So now I get to the ultimate question of this blog post.  If we have a government that is happy enough to exploit those on a disability, as handicapped people, why can we not exploit a government's asset to make a livable income?  In this case the broadcast spectrum for operating a radio station.

This is where I emphasise that I definitely DO NOT want to be treated like someone so special that they should have a privilege that everyone else would love to have.  NO, but anything that get's people off welfare and into doing something must be good, in whatever form. 

But....... as the can of worms is now opened, I think it is absolutely more then reasonable to expect a government to give us the same opportunities as everyone else.  In this light - a radio station license, where we can operate a format similar to other commercial radio stations, and earn an income from the ads.  So with this, the handicapped can also afford to get mortgages, pay off our own houses, and permanently bee out of government subsidised housing.

Despite trying to communicate this to the right people, I've again, had the absolute wall of silence.  My phone and email are completely dormant.  Having Asperger's Syndrome, It feels like a formidable neurotypicals wall of resistance.  There is an innuendo that we just have to fit in like everybody else.  The idea that we have to pay the same dues, responsibilities, and burdens, but when it comes to reality's fruits, this is were we miss out.  Though having a disability is tough, living with Asperger's Syndrome is much harder, because everyone assumes you're just as much an idiot as Dustman Hoffman in Rainman.

I've often blogged, facebooked, and twitted about the latest things I'm doing with 2PR FM, but again no response.  So let's hypothesize someone asking the question, if you're not getting much response from your radio station, doesn't that mean your product is not good enough?  Should you look into another field of work?  Again, these are good questions, but in reality it hits the Utopia principle.

I've tried many jobs over the years, such as word processing, data entry, graphic design, customer service in call centres, packing, cleaning, photocopying, scanning, absolutely anything that has a routine.  This is the kind of work suited to one with Asperger's, as their mind works well with repetitive work.  Routine tasks also allow the Aspie to concentrate on one thing, thus performing at their maximum performance.

The reality is that in many of these jobs, key performance indicators come up.  This is how fast one works against others in the same working environment.  Being visually impaired with Asperger's, this just slows me down, no matter how hard I try.  On top of these many roles are varied with differing priorities that change regularly through the day.  Those with Asperger's also struggle to recognise facial expressions with indirect language, so bearing this in mind, a sacking or dismissal would be inevitable.  I've had a number of work experiences which have gone well, but when it comes to paid work, I'll usually fall short at the interview.  Honestly I don't know why as I feel I do my best, but obviously there is some kind of asperger kind of thingy that they pick up, which pretty much seals my fate.

So next logical step is work from home, right?  Again we hit the productivity issue, and this is why I want to do radio.  Regardless of ones handicaps and how fast or slow they work; a radio station will play the same amount of songs and ads every hour.  This is compared to other stations, thus doing away with the limitations of someone’s disability.  Ultimately the disability person has a format to sell, rather then their limited speed of productivity, which would work well for everyone.

So finally this brings me to my experiment, which on the surface was rather idiotic, but it was on purpose, and as titled in this blog - a method to my madness. 

I announced on Facebook that I was going to start a pirate radio station, and the location.  Well, as you can imagine, this would get those at ACMA all excited.  And guess what, it did.  It only took 60 hours from my announcement of the hypothetical pirate radio station, to the point in which now I've allegedly been placed on some registry.  And guess what, I'm not at all going to do something so stupid, it was just to catch ACMA's attention.  So now that I've got their attention, hopefully they have read this blog, and can appreciate my utter, utter, utter frustration with the system.  

The whole point of this exercise is to just let both ACMA and Department of Communications know that all I asked was just some common courtesy, a response with a face to face meeting.  As I stated earlier, I know these people are busy, but already trying to guess what is the right social etiquette from the Asperger's Syndrome view - this is what I thought would of been a normal response, rather then a flat out "NO".  That wouldn't have been much to ask back from eight years work, and a project that offered so many ideas.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Can Nipper the Dog be saved from the Digital Cold?

Well I guess the news is somewhat old now, but on Tuesday 15th January, HMV went into administration - the news is not good, more to the point of devastating.

This for me has touched a rather raw nerve, as per one of my previous blog entries from June last year; I noted the many sentimental memories I had of HMV, when it was here in Australia.  This was in particularly the numerous visits I made to the Mid City store in Pitt Street Sydney.  That store was closed down at the end of August 2007, when Westfield bought out the old Mid City Center for demolition.

But back to the moment of the present, it was announced on Tuesday evening the 15th of January (Sydney time) that the main UK division of HMV went into administration, when it could not secure $300 million in credit from its suppliers.  Thus Deloitte were appointed the task of either restructuring or winding down the business - depending on how proceedings go over the coming weeks I guess.  At this stage it seems the music suppliers are interested in supporting a slimmed down version of the store, and Hilco (a Canadian firm) is expressing a strong interest of buying out the stores debt. 

With experiencing such a fate, it is no doubt that the chain store is receiving a lot of free advice from bloggers, ex employers, customers, and others within the industry.  This is regarding how they could've improved their stores and sales model.  Being in such a position is not envied by anyone, as usually it is a point where some hard decisions have to be made, and those charged with such a chore would not be interested in advice from those who are not in their shoes.  The unsolicited advice often comes from the armchair critics and observers who have the luxury of not having to deal with the headaches and possible risks a business in administration would represent.

For example the average blogger would not know the entire picture of operating a retail chain like HMV.  This would include considering all the elements of a physical retail business, researching markets, stock control, and niche product focusing.  Other tasks would include going through the company’s books, checking which stores are profitable, which ones are not, then deciding who is made redundant, and organising sale of the physical shops that have closed down.  No doubt all of these factors would be complex issues, and would take time to work through. 

It would be easy for someone reading this from HMV's head office to assume that I'm some 18 year old kid wanting to add his two pieces worth.  Regardless of my vast musical knowledge and experience, the thing about the internet is you don't know who is on the other side of that website.

Considering the above points, I would still like to present my take on the situation, after all I have been involved with music, listening to it, buying it, researching it, mixing it, and breathing it for over 30 years.  With that in mind, I believe they were three important elements missing from HMV's recent business model, but let start with a little background on why HMV was so special in its day.

When I lived in the Blue Mountains back in the 1990's, I would regularly take that two hour trip from Leura to Sydney, just to visit HMV's Mid City store.  Every time one stepped into such a shop, the selection of CDs on the shells was incredible, one was always gob smacked at the amount of stock, and the shear size of the store.  I would often lie to my parents, saying I was doing something else - they were fed up with the amount of money I was spending there.  But that is the all important key question; what was it that made me spend my money?  It was the fact that the store carried a huge amount of back catalog material - it was this vary attribute that made HMV stood out, something they could've carried through to an online model. 

More explicitly it is these three key points that they needed to concentrate on: Quality, Variety, and Accessibility.
  1. Quality - Instead of being another store with iPod docks and bargain accessories, It's focus should of remained with its core product; music - being able to purchase it in a quality format as either CD from a store, or lossless FLAC files from an online model, no more bloody mp3s, 
  2. Variety - offer something lacking on iTunes and Amazon, a huge back catalog of artists and titles, rather then the same chart toppers and best sellers,
  3. Accessibility - customers being able to access the merchandise, a crippling annoyance with Amazon, apparently they don't like to ship stuff outside the United States.

First off - sticking to their core product, HMV could have offered music for purchase in a quality format.   From those who know me, I'm coming at this from a different angle - my absolute hatred for lossy audio, and loudly cranked CDs, some areas HMV could have set themselves apart from the crowd - but they didn't.  

It's hard to blame HMV alone, but the direction they were taking was certainly killing them off.  Selling boring iPod docks and accessories was already putting them into a position where they were competing with a myriad of other stores, and selling mp3s online was the same, they were just NOT doing anything DIFFERENT.

Many carry on about the internet being some sort of Aladdin’s cave when finding music - it's like they think you can find any song out there, but let me assure you this is CERTAINLY NOT QUITE TRUE - They are still many charting pop tracks from the 70s and 80s that simply cannot be found, as if they never existed.  Sure, there is a lot of music to be found on the world wide web, much more then your suburban record stores, but definitely not everything, not like the HMV's of the 1990s.  Whether one wants to go down the legal or illegal root - that's another discussion, but reality is there is a ton of music that is just simply NOT ON THE INTERNET. 

Even when looking through eBay, they are the hassles of bidding, and loosing out to another bidder, and trying to make head or tale of the seller’s vague description of an item.  Many CDs and albums are listed without the seller placing neither a track listing up, nor what pressing or label the CD was released through.  99% of music available on online stores is mp3, this is particularly so with the major two; iTunes and Amazon, which takes me to my second point, when HMV used to have a huge selection.

It was all about Variety.  When walking into the Mid City store of the 1990s, already at the entrance of the store, you were greeted with the slogan, "Australia's biggest music store" - and it meant exactly what it said.  I would have my printed list of singles that I wanted to buy.  It was down the stairs, to the right, and a section the size of a small grocery store (like a 7 11) was just totally dedicated to CD singles.  Out of my list of 15 singles, I would always find at least 13 to 14 of them, no worries, the other two would arrive next week, and the staff would always assist with finding them if the need arised. 

I would walk past the wall full of blank cassette tapes and blank discs, which in itself was about the size of an average shop front, only to land in the CD album section.  I often got lost in there; the massive store space was utter magic.  At its zenith HMV had many CD sections, classical, jazz, movie soundtracks, compilations, dance, and of course rock and pop.   Browsing the CDs, you would find your common chart topping albums with "best of"s and "greatest hits".  More importantly though, there was thousands of overseas imports consisting of rare albums and artists.  HMV would have their shelves sprinkled with those hard to find and obscure back catalog gems, the ones you wouldn't find in today's JB Hi Fi or Sanity.  Here's a challenge, try and find the 2008 reissue of Kiki Dee's 1978 album "Stay with me" on CD at a JB Hi Fi.  I can bet my life you won't.  If you do, please contact me, I want a copy. 

Accessibility to the music - This now leads me to my third point, the actual fact I was able to touch the stock, pick it off the shelf, take it to the counter, and BUY it.  In many cases, this is something one can't do with Amazon, eBay, and other online stores, because of their ridiculous phobia about sending items over seas.  In the US this problem has become diabolically mad; some places just don't want to ship overseas.  Some have got the craziest excuses, including; "because we just don't feel like doing it".  I'm serious; I actually had someone communicate this to me in an e-mail.

Translating the "accessibility of music stock" factor into an economically viable model can be done.  The best part is that it doesn't require the spending of thousands, upon millions of dollars buying large foot-print stores. This simply is a killer in rent, and staff costs.  There is already the right idea appearing on the internet - it just requires a quality website where lossless files can be purchased - SIMPLE!  Unfortunately I'm suspecting it is being held back by the main-stream record labels "control freak" behaviour. 

Only over the last two weeks, I've purchased some FLACs and WAV tracks from a store called Beatport.  Though their concept regarding formats on offer is excellent, unfortunately I don't know 99.9% of there material.  Most of it is independent which is not exactly my type of music.
"I simply heard a dance track in a Youtube video which led to me googling it.  Beatport came up with the track as they had a WAV copy for purchase.  Out came my credit card and they got my business; HOW SIMPLE WAS THAT?  Beatport were at the ready, when I wanted to buy - HMV WERE NOT!"

Almighty is a record label who are dipping their toes with the right idea, but unfortunately they still seem to be crippled with the mp3 (don't want to use too much disc space) mind set.  As I noted in my e-mail to them, I've got no problem paying MORE for a wav or flac copy.  I understand that such files takes up more resources, and am happy to pay the price difference.  It is not having the choice of buying a bit perfect copy of the master that annoys the proverbial out of me.

So where to now for HMV?

It is agreeable that the internet has taken a huge chunk of sales away from the physical shop front store, however noting all the issues above; HMV could have exploited these weaknesses.  They could of collaborated with the labels to offer exclusive in-store deals, and offered the same exclusivity online in a lossless audio store.

For example a relationship with EMI would be an idea.  Long out of print and hard to find albums from EMI's repertoire is a niche that could have been exploited.  Possibly these albums would not have the market to sustain a complete CD pressing, so HMV could have offered the album as a lossless Flac download.  One case is the English Singer Kiki Dee, who had most of her material on PolyGram during the 70s and early 80s.  She then had some albums released through EMI. 

Many releases were put out on a short run, such as Kiki Dee's 1978's album "Stay with me".  It was reissued in 2008, but I had no idea of its release until I found a review on Allmusic at the end of 2012.  I looked on Amazon and eBay, but the CD was completely gone, out of existence.  With it being long deleted, both HMV and EMI have missed out on a CD or download sale.  Multiply this scenario thousands of times, and one can see were HMV could have, emphasis on "Could Have" made sales.  Album and back catalog reissues are now a "Hot" craze.  HMV could've been on top of this, as already they had great expertise in this field.  

Offering the HMV model in flac audio quality?

Transferring this into a 21st century online experience, they could have then carried their back-catalog model through to the internet, and I don't mean more bloody mp3's, we already have enough of these nasty sounding things on the internet.  Where HMV could've stood out here is having a pure lossless "FLAC" digital shop-front - something like HMV pure-audio or HMV Platinum.  

One good example of advancing a lossless model is looking at the Dave Clark Concept Soundtrack "Time".  It was originally released on vinyl in early 1986, and included artists like Ashford and Simpson, Cliff Richard, Stevie Wonder, Sir Laurence Olivier, and many others.  Unfortunately this great album was never released to CD, however to my great disgust; it was released only as a lossy download on iTunes for $11.99. 

I thought that it would've been nice if at lease they had the courtesy to also release a lossless version.  Considering that this format takes more bandwidth resources, I was prepared to pay around $18.99 - $20.99.  But in the end I had no choice.  iTunes decided that I've got bad hearing, and that we all have to be content with mp3, a generalisation from iTunes management that very much grills me off.  Again we can see another opportunity here for HMV.  As noted on the Steve Hoffman boards, this situation has happened frequently with other releases as well.  This is where certain albums were released to vinyl in their day, a CD release was skipped over, then it is released as mp3s only.  One would think if they were bothered to get the original master tapes out for a remaster, why not also offer a bit perfect digital copy like flac. 

Another possibility is Singles.  Record labels no longer put out CD singles, because the costs of distribution, printing, and manufacturing no longer makes the physical CD single a viable concept.  In the 1990s I was overwhelmed by the huge selection of CD singles I saw when visiting HMV.  The mind seriously boggled on the amount of material available, it was a radio disc jockey’s dream.  It would be great if this experience could be recreated online, by having a website devoted to selling  singles in the flac format.  This could not be more important at a time like the present, as the only way to buy a single today is a lossy mp3 from iTunes, and again not everybody likes mp3.  From my own experience, I would have no problem paying more for a lossless copy over a lossy copy.  Again, Beatport and Almighty are touching on the right idea; this is a huge opportunity for HMV.  

Could HMV still have Bricks and Mortar stores?

Simply looking at the Las Angeles store Amoeba Records; shows that there is a place for the old style HMV's of the early 90s, back when their stores had every CD from a record labels catalog, sitting out on the floor.  This was the HMV's winning difference.

Personal Experiences?

Another personal anecdote from the last few days - This is the frustrating "accessibility to merchandise" issue.  Last week I was on the German site of Amazon to buy the "Bravo Hits" and "Dome" CDs (German equivalents to "So Fresh" and "Now").  I added all the CDs to my cart, was ready to pay my 180 euros, and just before checking out, I was informed that I could only buy one out of the ten CDs I ordered.  In shear rage, I cancelled my order with the thoughts; "Amazon can go and screw themselves".

With that scenario, I thought they may be some copyright issues, as the CDs may have been stipulated for the German market only.  But wait a minute; this only gets more ridiculous and Crazy.  On Saturday, my friends and I went to a second hand record store in Sydney's Newtown.  He bought some vinyl LPs, I went for the vinyl 45's, and walked out of the store with about ten singles.  The 45s themselves were in pretty good nick; however the jackets were badly ripped and torn. 

No problemo, so yesterday I logged into the United States version of Amazon (, and ordered a number of transparent outer sleeves, clear inner sleeves and a few packs of white cardboard replacement jackets.  When proceeding to the checkout, I was given the costs of shipping and the total for the goods, I was happy.  I then confirmed my order, and just as I did, I nearly fell to the floor in absolute horror.  Amazon told me that I had to remove all the items, as it COULD NOT ship any of the items to my address.

JB Hi Fi, which currently is Australia's leading entertainment retailer does have an "okay" stock level, but is still a store with weaknesses that HMV could exploit as JB Hi Fi seem to have access to limited markets.  In July last year, I tried ordering the German compilation series "Dream Dance"; a Sony BMG compilation series.  The guy behind the counter at their Galleries Victoria store told me that he couldn't order it, because JB Hi Fi could not access that market.

So in the end when HMV blames rival retailers, online stores, and downloading, I can't help and wonder how much truth is in this.  Though this would of contributed, to completely blame these things alone is just plain ignorant and foolish.

Some final thoughts on HMV and a brief recap:

So with some final thoughts on this situation, I guess I have two finishing comments.  Admitfully one based on emotion - a small physical store in Sydney, and another based on reality - an online version.

The emotional part of me wishes for an HMV physical store to open again on the Pitt Street Mall, or at least somewhere in Sydney.  Knowing that the staff and rent costs are a killer, particularly where real-estate is expensive in the middle of Sydney, they could open a small store dedicated to imported compilations and singles, and accessories relevant to music.  Not iPod docks or whatever, but actually replacement sleeves and jackets, needles and styluses and replacement CD cases.  Yes, even trying to buy replacement CD cases in Sydney is becoming difficult.  People like me are really becoming alienated by the mp3 obsession, but I'm not going to get into all that again.

But my second comment in this conclusion would be much more realistic, where no physical stores would be required.  As noted through this blog, it needs to be an online store that sets itself apart from the rest.  It was a store that caters to someone like me.  After all, HMV could have been the lossless iTunes.  Trying to keep an open mind, let's consider a degree of misjudgment on my behalf. Even if demand is not as strong for flac what it is for mp3s, I still strongly feel that HMV would have been in much better shape if they concentrated on this outcome.

So yes, this has been a long entry, and it's taken me the best part of two weeks to pull together.  Hopefully someone involved with the HMV restructure can take the time to read through this, and seriously consider implementing some of the models I've proposed above.

So to finish off, HMV was a large part of my life; it just was with the amount of stuff I bought there back in the 1990s.  In the end, I hope the business can evolve itself to a more relevant model, but sadly and honestly I'm not optimistic.