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.

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