The FCC filed a civil suit Tuesday seeking an injunction against radio free brattleboro; today the station filed a counterclaim, challenging FCC licensing authority on several constitutional grounds.
The (hopefully) good news of this move is that the FCC forego the route of the station raid, preferring instead to exert a more diplomatic form of muscle. It could still try to fine someone, but it sounds like the heavy community support may be paying off in keeping the goons away. You never quite know with them wily FCC types…rfb’s referendum for local support goes down March 2. Continue reading “Dueling Filings and Journalistic Kudos”
Time’s at a premium right now, hence the lack of regularity here. The transition and restoration of the collage galleries is in progress, which explains part of my absence. The rest you’ll just have to wait for, but there’s much more coming.
Free Radio San Diego reports the FCC made another courtesy call on Friday. Agent Bill Zears and an unidentified “younger kid” poked around and asked the landlord of the property about the antenna on the roof.
Her response: “Aren’t you guys the ones that are supposed to answer that question?” After being told not to return without something stronger than curiosity, the agents were gone within 30 minutes. Continue reading “FCC Back in San Diego; Mediageek Updates rfb Situation”
rfb got a letter and phone call from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Burlington, Vermont January 8 threatening “action if the station does not stop broadcasting,” according to rfb’s local attorney. This likely a precursor to (at least) a raid, or (at most) the filing of an injunction against the station and its volunteers. rfb continues to collect signatures for its referendum drive – which would put the issue of official community support for the station to a vote of the people or Brattleboro – and its attorney has written a letter to the FCC and U.S. Attorney informing them of the station’s intentions in detail.
In Boulder, Colorado, KBFR rebounded from its FCC visit Tuesday with the quickness, returning to the air from a virgin location less than 48 hours after contact. Continue reading “Free Radio Brattleboro Threatened by U.S. Attorney; KBFR Back on Air After FCC Visit”
Another petition drive has been launched by the station – this time in support of an effort to place the question of its legitimacy in front of the community itself.
The proposed referendum question reads:
Shall the voters of Brattleboro give to radio free brattleboro (rfb) authority to broadcast until such a time that a Low-Power FM license is issued to radio free brattleboro or to another non-profit, locally-based, community group which is prepared to offer to the Town of Brattleboro diverse, all-access, non-commercial, community radio? Continue reading “Radio Free Brattleboro Seeks Community License Referendum”
After rfb collected more than 3,000 signatures in its local and global petition drives, the Brattleboro Selectboard finally approved a resolution in support the station last week. It is a somewhat hollow victory, though, as it took two tries to get the resolution approved – and the version voted through was heavily watered down.
Most notably missing from the “official” town resolution is the fact that one out of four Brattleboro residents are on record in support of the station’s “authority to broadcast,” as demonstrated by its petition drive. A second petition, maintained online for non-Brattleboro residents to show their support, continues to collect signatures.
According to station members, the server was taken off-line over the weekend. It’s unclear whether the hack was specifically directed at the station or a more general exploit of the box its site ran on, but the site files have been “destroyed.” The site will be re-created, but it’s going to take some time.
RFB itself remains on the air, awaiting the FCC’s next move, nearly 20 days after the last encounter which promised a raid. Its legal assets are in gear and include an experienced member of the microradio legal defense team. Community support continues to build.
Stung twice in California by the cities of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, who like their microradio stations unlicensed, thank you very much, the FCC shifts focus and moves on two stations in Vermont.
Radio Free Brattleboro, who just returned to the air two weeks ago after a visit from field agents, got an FCC follow-up yesterday. None of the station DJs actually spoke face-to-face with them; two strained yet cordial conversations were conducted through a locked door.
The first time the agents asked to enter and inspect the station they were prompted to show a warrant. The FCC duo responded by asking to see RFB’s authority to broadcast. Someone inside shot back: “the people of Brattleboro had authorized us to do so.” Continue reading “Stimulus/Response Goes Coast to Coast: FCC Visits Vermont”
When the FCC came and intimidated Radio Free Brattleboro off the air in June, the Vermont community responded with zeal. A parade float, petition drive, and countless benefits and station meetings later, the station returned to the airwaves today on 107.9 FM. That frequency is currently vacant, but there is a pending LPFM application for it. RFB has promised to vacate the frequency if and when the license is awarded and the station is ready to broadcast.
A local petition drive has drawn “way more than 2,000 signatures” in support of the station, reports RFB’s Steven Twiss: “The petition’s signatories include several area heavy-hitters including politicians, business owners and artists. One, a wonderful older woman, is on the town council. She bought a ‘Free rfb’ T-shirt and wore it to a few council meetings, which are broadcast on the local cable access channel.” There is also an online petition drive for anyone else interested in symbolically standing with them. Continue reading “RFB Returns; FRSD Gets Grant; RFPI Gets Reprieve”
Brattleboro, Vermont had its annual Fourth of July parade today, and although it is off the air, Radio Free Brattleboro had a float in the festivities. The station’s always been strongly focused on the community it served – it got its start as a project of the local teen center – and in many ways it transcended that goal. Some examples:
The Brattleboro Public Library, in need of space, was forced to get rid of its entire record collection. This included the LP library of the Chelsea House Folklore Center – an incredible collection of folk music, bluegrass and 1930s/40s-era blues/R&B. The library wanted to keep the entire collection together and wanted it to remain publicly available. There’s no better way to do that than to air it, so the music was donated to Radio Free Brattleboro. When the town of Newfane, VT’s public library had to give up its LP collection it also found a new home at RFB. This doesn’t count the individual record collections donated by several listeners over the years. Continue reading “Radio Free Brattleboro: A True Community Resource”
More reports of microradio enforcement activity stretch the FCC’s efforts this month from coast to coast. Radio Free Brattleboro, a Vermont microradio station that got its start in a teen center some five years ago, got a nasty visit from two FCC agents Tuesday. Video was recorded of the incident (which we hope to get) and although the agents had no search warrant a list containing contact information for many of RFB’s volunteers is missing from the station. Radio Free Brattleboro’s web site went down at approximately the same time as the visit.
From RFB’s official announcement: “It’s a real shame because in addition to providing entertainment and information to the community, we have trained hundreds of local citizens of all ages in the art of radio broadcasting.” DJ trainer Steven Twiss emailed with more pointed reaction: “The community here is building up a nice case of outrage.” Continue reading “FCC Strikes Again in Vermont, Florida”