Links: Separating Transmitter from Studio

The act of broadcasting without a license is a very public thing; it is going on the air that makes it a crime, not what a pirate station does once it’s on. Because of this, a delicate game of balance has to be played by pirate radio station operators. As a pirate garners more notice from a community, the risk of having the powers-that-be notice also rises. But if nobody knows about the station, then what good can it do?
To try and prevent (or at least partially blunt) the eventual enforcement action, pirates have experimented with unique ways of “protecting” their studios. After all, transmitters are replaceable; dedicated people are not.
The easiest way to protect a studio is to separate it physically from the transmitter. Radio authorities find pirates by the signals they produce, and the place where those signals are coming from is the first place they’ll visit. If that place is not the studio, it forces enforcement agents to at least take one extra step to catch a pirate. Continue reading “Links: Separating Transmitter from Studio”

Scene Report: Tucson, Arizona

Within the last two weeks FCC enforcement agents have been spotted and encountered by unlicensed broadcasters in Virginia, Arizona and Colorado. Nowhere have the scene reports been flying faster then from Tucson, Arizona.
Tucson’s crackling with microradio activity. At least three stations have been on the air there recently, which made Tucson a prime target for the latest FCC sweep: we’ve gotten reports from all the affected stations that agents have definitely been nosy, to say the least, to varying degrees.
Contact has ranged from simple warning letters to the confiscation of equipment. In at least one instance FCC agents and their attendant Federal Marshals left a raid location empty-handed after barging in, weapons drawn, insisting there was a pirate radio station in operation there and finding no trace of it. Continue reading “Scene Report: Tucson, Arizona”

The LPFM Backlash

As of August 2001, slightly more than 100 new low power FM (LPFM) construction permits have been issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At least two stations are reportedly on the air for “program testing” purposes, awaiting receipt of their actual licenses to go to full-time on air status.
It’s been more than a year and a half since the FCC announced the creation of the LPFM service and many would say that coming so far so soon is excellent performance for a federal bureaucracy.
But some of the applicants that had hoped for an LPFM license have given up on the process. They cite third-party harassment and a diminished willingness by the FCC to work with them. Since Republican Chairman Michael Powell took control of the agency earlier this year, there’s been a definite chill on the pace of LPFM’s rollout. Continue reading “The LPFM Backlash”