Less than a month off the air. Not bad after getting cleaned out in a show of force by the FCC.
Technically, Free Radio Santa Cruz is still just webcasting. It seems that an unaffiliated group called SCRAM (Santa Cruz Radio Access Movement) is relaying the stream, tech specs unknown, but good news nonetheless. Continue reading “Freak Radio Returns; Translations Top 300”
Looks like 2004 will be a fruitful year, if you’re a fan of the micro-niche that is documentaries about microradio. I’ve heard from the producers of the tentatively-titled “Pirate Radio USA,” a feature-length doc made by microbroadcasters about the movement. No release date yet, just that something’s almost done.
There’s also new developments in Colorado: “Denver Free Radio” spent a grand total of five hours on the air before its latest airchain host got a visit from the FCC. “A white Chevy Tahoe,” with New Mexico plates, “with hidden antennas built into the roof” containing a squad of three rolled up. Denied an inspection, they phoned the property three times before tacking a note to the door. Mouse’s move…
It’s four pages of glowing text action seeded with something like 10 clips from the film. Its producer, Michael Lahey, is generous like that: he’s even opened up some crash space for the Mediageek and I on our visit to Minneapolis this weekend for the RAD conference. Seriously, though, it’s the best documentary yet on the subject and it’s good to see it’ll be screened at the conference. If you’re into microradio you get a good full hour of quality storytelling from Tucson that’ll make you (somewhat) proud. Contact Michael directly if you’d like a DVD.
While rooting around in the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System today to examine recent submissions to a proceeding in the agency’s Localism Task Force effort, I made a typo. Instead of searching for filings under the FCC docket number 04-433 (the magic number to file/find comments filed on broadcast localism), I mistyped and got the results for FCC# 04-223, which deals with a pending change to the FCC’s regulation of junk faxes.
Many listeners to the Educational Media Foundation‘s two christian music radio networks, K-LOVE and AIR1, are butterfingers like me. In 04-223 there are ~30 new filings from this week alone. They’re all from K-LOVE/AIR-1 listeners moved to support the networks – networks who are apparently afraid of an expansion of true local LPFM and can’t get enough of translators.
They’re all only a paragraph or two and full of interesting talking points: Continue reading “Translator Networks Mobilize Listeners”
Note: Images are clickable and will open a context-related clip from the documentary (Quicktime required).
Making Waves (2004) is the second feature-length documentary from Jump Cut Films, the outlet of Michael Lahey. Central to the film are profiles of three microradio stations sharing the airwaves of Tucson, Arizona. Lahey manages to weave these separate stories into an overall narrative about the modern microradio movement, using the Reverend Rick Strawcutter as a tie-in to the national scene. Continue reading “Making Waves”
It sounds like a great idea in theory: turn the electrical grid into a network for broadband data delivery. No new wires to run or jacks to install; the power plug becomes your express-ramp to the InfoMation SupaHiway.
There’s just one problem: because most of the power grid doesn’t use insulated wires, the data sent through Broadband over Power Line (BPL) systems (as an RF signal that rides the wire) radiates into the surroundings – to the detriment of any user of HF radio frequencies within a half-mile to a mile of the power line cum data pipe. Continue reading “FCC Approves BPL Deployment”
Stephen Dunifer recently sent out an e-mail titled “The Revolution Will Be Televised,” which said, in part:
Free Radio Berkeley’s engineering staff has managed to design and develop low power VHF and UHF transmitters by the creative use of off-the-shelf technology. So far, design engineering efforts have yielded TV transmitters capable of reaching a distance of 4-5 miles. Estimated cost for a VHF transmitter and antenna system with an effective radiated power of 75 watts is about $500, $700 to $800 for a system with an effective radiated power of 400 watts. For a UHF system, add about $300 to the above amounts. Coverage pattern is 220 degrees, not fully omni-directional. Further work is continuing on the development of antenna systems…. Continue reading “Free Radio Berkeley Unveils Micro-TV Kits”
Here is the civil forfeiture complaint filed to seize Free Radio Santa Cruz’s gear on September 29. It makes for interesting reading. Some points of note:
The FCC unmasked one of Freak Radio’s volunteers (Vinny Lombardo, aka “V-Man”) in 2000 with the help of a helpful Santa Cruz Police officer (Detective Sepulveda), who sent the FCC a 1996 news article containing Vinny’s picture. FCC field agent William Zears then looked at voter registration records to tie the V-Man to the station. Robert Duran (aka “Skidmark Bob”) was unmasked in a later article; both identities were further cross-checked using California DMV records.
However, the affidavit ties Vinny and Robert to the station during its early years (1995) – before the two had even met, and the document itself only covers the FCC’s investigation over the last four years. Continue reading “FCC vs. Freak Radio: The Government's Evidence”
Hide-and-seek has its moments:
KCTS (Cactus Radio) in Denver made it through the weekend at least. Went up Thursday night and broadcast through [Tuesday evening].
Jon Sprague, our local FCC enforcement agent, again visited the newly installed STL site…delivered the usual speech and warning letter. The STL host told him that he thought it was ham radio rebroadcaster unit [a] friend of a friend asked him to let them set up at his house due to his location. Sprague asked to inspect the equipment, the host told him only with a warrant and the portly agent of the shadowy FCC enforcement branch wrote out the warning and left in a huff. Continue reading “FCC v. Denver Free Radio: Round 2”
First the enforcement tidbits. Global Radio, the company which operated several unlicensed FM transmitters at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium during the 2003 Super Bowl, has had its $12,000 fine reduced to $10,800. Global was caught broadcasting on six frequencies during the game when it only had authorization to use two (although the FCC initially prosecuted it for running three of the four pirate stations).
The company angled for a cancellation of its fine based on a couple of interesting arguments. The first was that Global went pirate on extra channels “to experiment with the boundaries of Part 15” broadcasting. This makes little sense as FCC staff on hand for the game collected ample evidence that the unlicensed transmitters were indeed way over Part 15 power levels (which couldn’t have covered the entire stadium). The second argument was more traditional: a $12,000 fine would put the company in serious financial straits. Unfortunately, Global neglected to provide the requisite three years of tax returns to back up a claim of inability to pay the penalty. Continue reading “FCC Developments on Multiple Fronts”