rfb v. FCC In Stasis

When the FCC was denied an injunction against radio free brattleboro in March of 2004, Federal District Judge J. Garvan Murtha suggested the agency and station enter into talks to try to figure out a compromise whereby rfb might broadcast legally. Instead the FCC went to a Federal Magistrate and got a warrant to execute a station raid in June of 2005. Instead of playing ball with rfb, the FCC went and found a friendlier court. Justice in action?
This week radio free brattleboro’s attorney formally announced the collapse of all dialogue, as civil actions still wend their way through two courts in Vermont. Continue reading “rfb v. FCC In Stasis”

New Jersey Second State to Criminalize Pirate Radio

The New Jersey state Senate voted 38-0 Monday to make unlicensed broadcasting a fourth-degree felony. Conviction can result in 18 months prison time and $10,000 in fines. The state Assembly passed an identical bill last March; acting governor Richard Codey is expected to sign without comment.
Shortly after Florida criminalized pirate radio in 2004, the state broadcasters’ association held special training for law enforcement officials on how to track and bust unlicensed stations. I guess we can expect a repeat performance in the Garden State. Continue reading “New Jersey Second State to Criminalize Pirate Radio”

Notes on the Enforcement Action Database

I’ve written a long-overdue overview of the Enforcement Action Database. It’s a pretty simple explanation of what the numbers mean (which isn’t much, really) and how they are collected and compiled. 2006 marks the tenth year of data collection, and yet the information remains so sketchy that the big picture is still pretty much inconclusive.
2005 was a record-setting year in terms of the raw number of enforcement actions, but that’s partially because the FCC’s become somewhat more transparent about its activity and now routinely makes the issuance of warning letters public (in hopes of having a deterrent effect). Additionally, field agents tend to be making multiple visits to stations before escalating the enforcement protocol. Continue reading “Notes on the Enforcement Action Database”

The Enforcement Action Database: An Overview

Enforcement Action Database Index
What is the Enforcement Action Database?
The Database collects instances of FCC enforcement activity against unlicensed (pirate) radio stations in the United States. It was initially started with the idea of developing a better understanding of how the FCC conducts enforcement activity against pirate stations. This primarily involves tracking the use of the enforcement tools the FCC has at its disposal, and the patterns of their usage.
While unlicensed broadcasting does occur on other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, the Enforcement Action Database focuses only on activity in the broadcast (AM, FM, and shortwave) bands. Continue reading “The Enforcement Action Database: An Overview”

The Internet's Relative Impermanence

If there is one thing that still sucks about the online world is that it can be so transitory – data here today may disappear tomorrow. At least other info-storage formats degrade on scales measured in years. Whether it be due to site closure, redesign, or (blech) registration compulsion, it’s always sad when I link-check this site and discover what’s no longer there.
This particular run-through made me weep because some significant “primary source” material, especially relevant to the history of microradio, has given up the ghost: Radio4all.org and its news archive; microradio.net; all of the microradio briefs written by the National Lawyer’s Guild Committee on Democratic Communications; and the UK info-trove Y2Kpirates. Continue reading “The Internet's Relative Impermanence”

KBFR Airchecks Online

I am remiss in mentioning this, but the audio archives of KBFR, Boulder Free Radio, are going online via ClickCaster. The aim is to share much of the live, in-studio performances brought by the station over its four-year run. It’s great the station can leave behind such a memorable record of the musical community it served and helped to sustain.
Relatedly, the old KBFR blog has morphed somewhat since the station’s demise and still shows signs of life. This includes the posting of some KBFR documentary history, which is cool to read through.

Public Radio Hacks On Florida Pirate

Paul the Mediageek notes National Public Radio’s Morning Edition ran a piece on pirate radio in Florida last week that screams “lame.” The reporter, WGCU news director Amy Tardif, only talked to a representative from Clear Channel (who whines about losing advertisers to a pirate), someone from the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and a cop on the hunt of a station. This makes her come off as a well-played, ignorant cracker. And the news hook is only a year and a half old. Possibly one of the worst pieces on the subject ever run on public broadcasting. Continue reading “Public Radio Hacks On Florida Pirate”