LPFM’s Demise
In the waning moments of 2000 Congress has performed a partial abortion of a plan to expand community radio. As part of the federal government’s new budget, the House and Senate have approved a law that trumps the FCC’s authority to move forward with a plan to legalize new low power FM (LPFM) station licenses.
The FCC’s original intent (nearly two years ago) was to create as many as 800 new radio stations around the nation by slightly relaxing interference rules on the FM dial; this plan – and the threat of the competition it would create – mobilized America’s broadcast industry to protect its turf. Commercial broadcasters even teamed up with public radio interests in an unholy alliance never seen before to oppose these potential new voices on the dial. Continue reading “Screwed!”

FCC: More Bark than Bite?

Fudging the Numbers for Victory
Pirate radio broadcasters in America have been locked in a low-intensity war with the government that shows no sign of slowing down. The Federal Communications Commission “declared war” on unlicensed radio back in 1997 after the broadcast industry urged them to do so.
What’s resulted over the last three years has been a traditional guerrilla battle involving hit-and-run attacks that result in publicity for the FCC and relatively little damage to the pirates.
There are signs, though, that the free radio has an upper hand in the war right now. Continue reading “FCC: More Bark than Bite?”

Hacking the Dial

In the wake of stepped-up enforcement efforts by the FCC and a move by the radio industry to quash new legal community radio stations, microradio activists are thinking of embracing strategies to broadcast that go beyond setting up their own stations.
This fall in Green Bay, someone hijacked the local public radio affiliate by breaking into its transmitter building, splicing a cheap CD player into the air chain and hitting “play.”
Though technically daunting and physically risky, the “station hijacker” was able to broadcast death metal for several hours before someone from the station noticed. Continue reading “Hacking the Dial”

Free Radio – A Documentary Video

Note: Clicking on any bordered pictures in this feature spawns a clip from the documentary
Real Player required
The last time someone chronicled the story of free radio in the United States on video or film was Pump Up the Volume, and before that there was only one DIY-style video out there, which has long ceased production and distribution.
duniferThe story of modern microradio had yet to be told; enter Kevin Keyser, a field producer working in mainstream TV news on the West Coast. He once did a story for his station on Stephen Dunifer and Free Radio Berkeley and was intrigued by the concept of unlicensed broadcasting. Unfortnately, the story that ultimately aired didn’t do Dunifer justice – as was the problem with much of the news Keyser found himself covering. It wasn’t his fault, though – it was the medium’s. Continue reading “Free Radio – A Documentary Video”