Quad Cities Pirate Takes FCC Head-On

Much in the spirit of Kantako, when the FCC paid a visit to Power 103.3 in Bettendorf, Iowa last week, the field agent was met at the door by a video camera. Two representatives of the station informed him that they were operating under the authority of 47 CFR 73.3542, which allows for emergency authorization of broadcasts in times of war or national emergency. The local paper’s article about the encounter does not note whether Power 103.3 has complied with the notification provision of the relevant Code.
As if that wasn’t enough, the station plans to preemptively strike in the courts, requesting its own injunction against the FCC to prevent a station raid. Not a lot of details on the grounds for this maneuver, but you have to admire the fight. Should things escalate, “we will probably move the station to buy more time. Then they have to start all over and come inspect that property and serve us another notice. We have back-up plans.”
A follow-up story notes that the two companies who own the Quad Cities commercial radio market, Clear Channel and Cumulus, both complained to the FCC about Power 103.3. A Cumulus stoolie says, “It’s annoying to us. It’s not the end of the world, it’s just kind of stupid.” The reader comments posted to the story run overwhelmingly in favor of the station.
Power 103.3 joins a growing list of microbroadcasters to experiment with the “emergency authorization” strategy of FCC engagement, which includes Free Radio San Diego, Pirate Cat Radio, and the 2002 Mosquito Fleet in Seattle.