It hasn’t been a good few weeks for microradio.
During the first days of June, the head of the FCC’s Compliance and Information Bureau, Richard Lee, made numerous postings to various free radio discussion areas on the Internet claiming that his department had a done a state-by-state audit of all free radio stations in operation. According to Mr. Lee, the number of stations operating nationwide is less than 200. Lee also said that the stations identified will be dealt with. His messages were met with curious silence.
In mid-month, apparently out of the blue, the California federal judge that granted Free Radio Berkeley a temporary injunction keeping the FCC at bay reversed her decision. Judge Claudia Wilken said that Free Radio Berkeley’s argument – that the FCC’s issuance and allocation of station licenses restricted free speech rights – didn’t hold water because FRB never attempted to get its own license. The FRB folks have promised to appeal. Continue reading “Body Blows”
By Jennifer Barrios
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) held their annual conference this year in Las Vegas, and high on their agenda was what to do with those pesky microbroadcasters, or “pirates” as they like to call these crusaders of the airwaves. FCC officials turned out to this event en masse, for it is the NAB who really controls the FCC, not Congress. The FCC spent much time telling the NAB what they wanted to hear: that the FCC is on a single-minded mission to obliterate microbroadcasters from the airwaves and save the precious NAB corporate monopoly. FCC Chairman William Kennard, however, in an interesting comment, indicated that he was not averse to licensing small, micropower stations. “Let me be clear about one thing,” he admonished an old NAB broadcaster at the FCC Chairman’s Breakfast. “Let’s not confuse pirate radio with microbroadcasting.” Is this a sign of the FCC finally cracking, or simply another example of straddling the fence? Will the NAB’s monopoly over the airwaves finally be toppled? Continue reading “NABing the Airwaves”
By Stephen Dunifer
In every FCC action brought against micropower broadcasters Part 15 has always been cited. Given the FCC’s own definitions this is a blatant misapplication of their own regulatory structure.
First let us examine the definition of a FM broadcast station under Part 73:
FM broadcast station. A station employing frequency modulation in the FM broadcast band and licensed primarily for the transmission of radio-telephone emissions intended to be received by the general public. (§ 73.310 FM technical definitions.)
Note the operative phrase “to be received by the general public”. Even though micropower stations are non-licensed their emissions are intended to be received by the general public. Further, they operate in the FM broadcast band and employ frequency modulation. Therefore, they are an FM broadcast station as defined by 73.310. Continue reading “Stephen Dunifer's Briefing Paper”
RM-9208 PETITIONERS ASK FCC FOR SUSPENSION OF PROSECUTIONS
by Don Schellhardt
The RM-9208 Petitioners (Nick Leggett, Judith Leggett and Don Schellhardt) ask the Federal Communications Commission for a suspension of microbroadcasting prosecutions.
EXCERPTS FROM THE LEGGETT/SCHELLHARDT SPECIAL COMMENTS
We ask the Commission to take the following steps:
1. Suspend all ongoing microbroadcasting prosecutions until such time as the Commission has: (a) adopted a final rule which legalizes some or all microbroadcasting stations; OR (b) decided and announced that it will not legalize any such stations.
In other words, all ongoing prosecutions would be suspended while the Commission’s current reconsideration of its microbroadcasting policy is in progress. Continue reading “Stop the Insanity!”
Radio Mutiny, an east coast microbroadcaster, recently took its message DIRECTLY to the people. Instead of confining themselves and their acts of enlightenment and empowerment to west Philadelphia, Radio Mutiny took to the open road. Here’s their take on all the fun. This is the kind of proactive outreach that showcases all things good about free radio.
From January the Twentieth to March the Tenth, Radio Mutiny’s rag-tag band of buccaneers gallivanted from city to city up and down the Eastern Seaboard, leaving a trail of Free Radio in the twenty-five cities in our wake. We sailed the highways in our decrepit vessel, which broke down and needed repairs in more than a few ports of call, we braved the tempestuous weather, the scurrilous incursions of the highway patrol, and damned near contracted scurvy at sea on our diet of gas station junk food. In every town that we put in, however, the townspeople welcomed us with open arms, gave us their beds and properly victualed us, and made every effort to assist us on our journey. Over the course of our voyage, we had opportunity to meet with many hundreds of the ordinary citizens who have been banned from the seas of media by the policies of the wealthy. Continue reading “Radio Mutiny on Tour”
We’ve all heard that old adage, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” While it’s an overused cliché, it’s very applicable to the free radio community right now.
The buzz in the movement is all about the two proposals for an LPFM service filed with the FCC over the past couple of weeks. It’s important to remain realistic. While the FCC has received both Petitions for Rulemaking and is currently accepting comments on them, we shouldn’t lose sight of some simple facts:
Free Radio remains illegal. Check this scenario: the FCC receives a complaint about a “pirate” in the area. Through their voluminous investigative means, they’re able to track down the “pirate.” After taking field measurements, the goons get permission to move in. As they drive up to the station, they can hear the signal strong and clear. The lead goon knocks on the door, and the station op opens it. As they muscle in, the op can be heard crying, “Wait! The rules are changing! What I’m doing won’t be illegal for long!” Continue reading “Counting Your Chickens”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Lawyers Guild Committee on Democratic Communications
Court Rejects FCC’s Constitutional Catch 22
United States District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has rejected another attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to silence Berkeley Micro Radio Broadcaster Stephen Dunifer, founder of Free Radio Berkeley.
In a 13 page opinion released on November 12, 1997, Judge Wilken once again rejected the government’s motion for an injunction to silence micro radio broadcasts by local radio pioneer Stephen Dunifer. Continue reading “Free Radio Berkeley Wins Round in Court”
Recently the National Association of Broadcasters sent out a communication to its members urging them to be listening closely to their FM dials for “pirates” and, if any are found, to report them immediately to the FCC. Microradio activists have taken this as tantamount to an act of war.
What follows is a response from Stephen Dunifer, founder of Free Radio Berkeley. Now that the NAB has stepped in and is trying to throw their weight around on free radio, it’s about time someone stepped forward in defense of microcasting.
In response to the direct attack on micropower broadcasting by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) we, as a coalition of Micropower Broadcasters, supporters and interested parties, make the following statement. Continue reading “NAB Declares War; Dunifer's Response”