Free Radio Santa Cruz may be down but they are definitely not out. The station’s webcast is back online and it is being relayed on-air by other microradio stations around the country in solidarity. Reaction to the raid is pouring in from around the globe (hopefully material support is, too). A local benefit for the station is already in the works early next month.
The Santa Cruz IMC continues to collect raid coverage, including more than 100 photos, audio/video coverage, and reaction from Freak Radio volunteers. Links to corporate media coverage (neutral-to-positive in tone) will be posted in this weekend’s Schnazz update.
A team of Federal Marshals – some in riot gear – arrived at the station’s home during the 9 o’clock hour this morning. Residents there were rousted with the barrels of guns (including automatic weapons); nobody was in the studio at the time, however. Five FCC agents arrived after the show of force and confiscated everything.
When word got out between 100-150 people showed up on the spot to protest the raid. This included slashing the tires of the FCC and Federal Marshals’ vehicles, which stranded them at the scene for a time. Nobody was arrested and no fine has been issued against anyone. Continue reading “Update #2 – Free Radio Santa Cruz Raided”
Radio World talked with FCC Enforcement Bureau chief David Solomon this month and shutting down unlicensed broadcasters was at the top of the list of things Solomon thinks the FCC could stand to do better. The relevant excerpt below:
Solomon: One area that we continue to give a lot of attention to, and is a high priority, is pirate radio. I do think pirate radio continues to create some real challenges for us. We’re responding to the challenges in the sense that we continue to shut down numerous stations. Every year we probably shut down from 150 to 200 stations through various means. We’ve had a lot of success for one portion of the pirate radio problem – for those people or entities who are not really focused on the fact that there are licensing requirements; they’re small groups or individuals who go on very low powered and basically without a license, but provide some sort of local community service. (W)e go and we warn them; those people generally go off the air. And don’t do it again. But there’s a second aspect of the pirate problem where, it’s a continuing challenge; and that’s with what you might call the professional pirates. Continue reading “Solomon Speaks on Enforcement Issues”
The National Association of Broadcasters Radio Show kicks off in San Diego in less than two weeks and media activists of all stripes will be ready for their arrival. A coalition of groups has organized a counter-convergence: Media emergenC. Continue reading “Media EmergenC: Confronting the NAB in San Diego”
A massive weekend update to the Featured MP3s section of the site nearly doubles its size. Lots of new tracks about pirate radio and media freedom from the likes of Anti-Flag, The Clash, David Rovics, Eric Idle, Steve Earle, and Utah Phillips, among many others.
As a part of this project the music section of the DIYmedia store has also been overhauled, although I’ve yet to add links to many of the works featured in the Media Collage section of the site. Most links point to Insound, an independent retailer of everything from CD/DVDs to zines. Their selection isn’t perfect but it’s the principle here that counts.
Next up will be a long-overdue update to the bookstore, which is woefully out of date at present.
An update to a story earlier this week: the United Church of Christ’s documentary, LPFM: The People’s Choice, is most definitely an optional-carry program for NBC affiliates. This is evidenced by the fact that less than two dozen stations have agreed to broadcast it so far – some of whom won’t actually play it until next year. There is a link on the UCC site marked “click here to view the video (RealVideo)” but I can’t get it to work (after trying two different browsers).
While the LPFM service itself seems to be stuck in limbo (no new station application windows on the horizon, S. 2505 dead in the water), the FCC may be planning a publicity stunt of sorts. It seems that an “LPFM Day” is in the works, where LPFM advocates and people with stations will come to the FCC and show off some of their gear as well as tell stories of what LPFM stations have done for their communities. All well and good, but no substitute for actual service growth. Continue reading “LPFM Miscellany”
More than a year ago I vented about how a radio news service I helped found began getting pressure from one of radio’s biggest bullies. The Workers Independent News Service (WINS) found itself potentially facing a lawsuit from Viacom due to the fact that Viacom’s radio subsidiary, Infinity Broadcasting, owns 1010 WINS-AM in New York City. Viacom alleged that “our” WINS was a trademark infringement on “their” WINS…as if listeners might get confused between a full-time full-power AM radio station in a single market that reminds listeners of its call letters at least every 20 minutes and a nationally-syndicated headline news show fed to its affiliates once a day.
We appealed directly to the AFL-CIO for help, since our news was union-friendly. It was completely lukewarm to the idea and initially very hesitant to get involved in our defense (which says a lot about the backbone of the American labor movement, but that’s another rant). After successfully stymieing Viacom’s lawyer-folk for several months the company pressed the issue and threatened to begin the sueage for-real. Continue reading “Viacom v. WIN(S): Goliath Just Won't Quit”
Colorado: Denver Free Radio was busted this morning after a scant three days on the air. That’s a pretty quick turnaround for the FCC, although it certainly helps that there’s a field office right in town so they didn’t have to go very far to pay the station a visit.
The agents reportedly arrived in “a green SUV with a big white dome on it” and observers also noticed other trucks in the area bristling with antennas; it’s not clear whether this was legitimate backup or local broadcast engineers/amateur radio ops out for a joyride.
Apparently Denver Free Radio operates on a model similar to Boulder Free Radio (KBFR) in that it is “locationally-flexible” – this means there’s a decent chance of the station making a return. The FCC folks did ask those hosting DFR’s gear to willingly give it up; that request was (fortunately) denied. As a result FCC agents have reportedly staked out the transmitter location, ostensibly in an an attempt to pin a person down to the operation who can be punished. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Colorado, California, Tennessee”
The extended version of LPFM: The People’s Voice has been scheduled to run on Sunday, September 26. Unfortunately, the program is optional to NBC affiliates, so you’ll have to check your local listings to find out when it will air – or even if it will air – in your area.
Here in Champaign, entreaties to the local NBC station were met with various and conflicting excuses for why it won’t play, even though we handed them a local story hook they could tie it into (“where your local news comes first,” my ass). Perhaps you will fare better. Continue reading “NBC To Air LPFM Documentary Next Sunday”
KFAR got hit by a team of FCC agents and three Federal Marshals at around 10 AM local time Wednesday. A news release from the station says the raid force “broke into” the trailer housing the station (with the help of a locksmith) and confiscated everything; this implies that the station was unmanned and automated at the time.
FCC paperwork left behind does not name any particular individual, so for the moment it would seem that KFAR’s most valuable asset – its volunteers – survive to fight another day. The local media also responded to the scene and several articles are already online, with coverage ranging from neutral to positive. Free Radio Santa Cruz’s Skidmark Bob got reaction from a couple of KFAR DJs. At least one station volunteer also videotaped the action. Continue reading “FCC Raid on Knoxville First Amendment Radio”