Back In Action: Scene Report Summary (August)

A lot has happened during this latest hiatus.
Site-wise, the Enforcement Action Database is up to date. The Database includes FCC activity reported in August as well as some significant backfilling. If you check the yearly graph, 2003 now almost matches 1998 in the amount of FCC activity: significant because that was the year the NAB declared war on microradio, forcing the FCC to ramp up its pirate-busting. Draw your own conclusions (mine are still mostly unformed). Updates to Truthful Translations and the Schnazz to follow soon.
As for news, here’s the highlight breakdown:
New York: Several microradio stations are on the air in NYC in support of the demonstrations against the Republican Party’s national convention, which wraps up today. A few are mobile and were tasked to provide real-time targeted broadcasts in support of the action. The rest are relaying coverage from the A-Noise Sound Collective, the NYC Independent Media Center‘s live web feed from the streets.
This programming is being relayed by many other microradio stations around the nation; there’s even been simulcasts on multiple frequencies in at least four cities (including NYC). It may be the most extensive nationwide mosquito fleet-style IMC relay network ever assembled for a protest action.
California: Free Radio San Diego has a new comrade on the dial. 1069FM exists as a tool of “information warfare” and relays internet station radioActive San Diego full-time.
In San Luis Obispo, Moon Radio got its first visit last month after running sporadically for more than 10 years. FCC “Compliance Specialist” Steven Pierce and Electronics Engineer Anderson Bennett told its operator to back off or face real pain. The cover story published in the local alt-weekly in July certainly gave them a clue.
Colorado: KBFR – Boulder Free Radio has been off the air for more than a month now as “benevolent dictator” Monk re-tools the station. Apparently folks were getting sloppy and the station was quickly veering from news and infotainment to partytown, away from the station’s core mission. Monk’s appointed a “Captain’s Council” to spread responsibility and the sense of commitment around – qualities a true community radio station absolutely requires to survive.
Michigan: Free Press has organized another unofficial FCC localism hearing in Dearborn, to take place on September 14. Members of WNFC-Radio Free Ferndale will share the stage there with Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps. I really, really hope somebody tapes this.
The latest batch of guest hosts committed to join the WNFC lineup is former congressman David Bonior – an original supporter of LPFM, it is a beautiful thing to see him take part in the “measured act of civil disobedience.”
The actual launch is still in flux as the political groundwork continues to be laid – lots of city and state elected officials are lined up to take part and the list continues to grow. Master organizer Stacie Trescott says it’s okay to take it slow:
[S]ometimes i wonder if we will ever build the transmitter and actually go on the air! But it doesn’t matter. The station is just a prop. It’s a tool for getting people motivated. If we can change the rules without breaking the law, that will be great.
But all common sense dictates that WNFC Radio Free Ferndale will go on the air before the rules are changed enough for us to be satisfied. A five-year battle will be a remarkably hast[y] victory. Remember: The McCain/Leahy Act is the best thing going for community radio right now — and it only has a handful of sponsors and it won’t help us in Detroit at all! We’re about the only ones in the country even talking about a future beyond McCain/Leahy right now.
So long as that spirit remains alive there ain’t no stopping this train.