Packed House in San Antonio

A couple of clarifications from an observer on the scene at the microradio protest outside Clear Channel’s corporate headquarters: the transmitter used by “KRRR” was ~10 watts and could be heard for at least a couple of miles. More power to ya!
Also, the station reappeared during the FCC’s Localism Task force meeting yesterday and operated completely unmolested, despite mainstream media reports to the contrary. Houston IMC now has photos of the pirate crew (and their clever subvertising) outside CCHQ.
As for the hearing itself, “to call [it] a zoo would probably be too kind,” reports one LPFM broadcaster who stood in line for more than three hours just to get 60 seconds at the mic.

Scene Reports: Washington, Texas, Vermont

Two reports from Free Radio Olympia confirm a male/female team of agents from the FCC’s Seattle office were first caught snooping on the property around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Confronted by someone, the agents finally identified themselves and were repeatedly denied entry to inspect the station.
After more than 20 minutes of getting nowhere the agents retreated to their “mini-van/suv type” vehicle, where reportedly “the female fcc agent called into the studio with a cell phone.” Don’t know if the call was broadcast, or if anything was taped, but the FCC went away after that. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Washington, Texas, Vermont”

Florida Broadcasters Prepare Next Offensive on Pirates

Last August an NPR affiliate got the Broward County Sheriff’s office to raid two unlicensed FM stations, using building code violations to gain entry.
C. Patrick Roberts, president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, was overjoyed with the success of the local raid, which did the job the FCC failed to do.
The push is now on to formalize this tactic as law: the FAB (ha!) is now working with sympathetic state lawmakers to criminalize pirate radio in the state of Florida. ”I believe it’s better to use a Mack truck than a flyswatter,” said Roberts. Continue reading “Florida Broadcasters Prepare Next Offensive on Pirates”

Free Radio Brattleboro Threatened by U.S. Attorney; KBFR Back on Air After FCC Visit

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”

KBFR Receives Fourth FCC Visit; Skidmark Bob Produces "Pirates of the Air"

Agent Jon Sprague from the FCC’s office in Denver showed up Tuesday evening and simply dropped off yet another warning letter, reports Monk. The station is temporarily off the air as it moves to a virgin location (this is a drill they have down well by this point). The FCC visit comes just as KBFR prepares to hold a benefit concert featuring some of the musicians who’ve cycled through the station’s van/studio. A compilation CD of those performances, Studio Free Boulder, is now for sale, along with T-shirts (only locally, unfortunately).
Monk also recently blogged that they’ve got new company on the dial: Continue reading “KBFR Receives Fourth FCC Visit; Skidmark Bob Produces "Pirates of the Air"”

Fun in Clear Channel Country

In about two and a half weeks, the FCC’s Localism Task Force will set up shop in San Antonio, Texas for a public hearing. This is the second one; the first happened in October in Charlotte, North Carolina. That produced a 153-page transcript, if you’re interested in catching up on the pontification.
I still don’t quite see the point of this effort, as the damage done to localism in the media (however you want to define it) from industry consolidation is already done, and is just getting worse as time goes on. At least those that get to speak to some FCC officials will feel momentarily important, as said officials momentarily act like they care. Change/progress? Not likely (however you want to define it).
That being said, the image at right arrived in the inbox this week courtesy of “RPMRADIO,” a shadowy entity that claims to operate a network of unlicensed microradio stations in San Antonio, also the home of Clear Channel. Photoshopped or not, the sentiment’s dead-on. Task force public hearings are only one venue through which the public may be heard.
(click on image to see a larger jpeg)

FCC Enforcement in 2003

Looking over the cases collected in the Enforcement Action Database for last year, there are a couple of interesting (yet very basic) conclusions to be found.
1) While the number of overall enforcement actions tops 2002’s figures, this is due to hits on single stations multiple times. If anything, it signifies an efficiency improvement within the FCC’s enforcement process. The strange thing is, this new-found tenaciousness doesn’t seem to be nationwide, more like case-dependent…but there just isn’t enough info to say for sure. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement in 2003”

Schnazz is Back; Collage Remains on Hiatus

Some kinks in the plans to move servers, I’m hoping to get things squared away by the end of this month. I’ve updated the media collage galleries with lots of new material…but you can’t get at it until I find a place to put it online. I think it will be worth the wait (although it’s killing me).
Not wanting to keep everything in stasis, regular updates have begun again to the rest of the site. This includes the Schnazz, which features a heavy dose of catch-up news. I especially like the FCC release about its $25,000 fine to A-O Broadcasting for zapping forest rangers with its improperly-mounted antenna on a firewatch tower in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. Continue reading “Schnazz is Back; Collage Remains on Hiatus”