San Francisco Liberation Radio Gets FCC Visit, $17,000 Threat

From SF Indymedia:
“In what may portend a US Marshal-backed raid and seizure, San Francisco Liberation Radio received a courtesy call by FCC agents, who requested permission to inspect the premises and see a broadcast permit, on 7/2. Unlike its East Bay microradio cousins, San Francisco Liberation Radio (93.7 FM) has filed several FCC license applications, which may provide the legal clout to mount a vigorous First Amendment defense. More importantly, SFLR will be relying on the support of its community, including local politicos, as it wages a campaign to safeguard our right to community microradio. SFLR was given a letter warning against unauthorized broadcasting and threatened with jail time and $17,000 in fines…”
The station reportedly has 10 days to respond; it has attempted to apply for a license more than once (for both a regular FM station license and an LPFM one, although there are none available in San Francisco). SFLR has been (mostly) broadcasting for 10 years now, and this is not the first visit the FCC has paid to the station, but it sounds like the enforcement ball is finally rolling on its case. The Enforcement Action Database will be updated later tonight.
One catch in SFLR’s case is that the station must respond and attempt to exhaust all of its administrative remedies (within the FCC’s own “internal judicial system”) before the courts will look favorably on its challenge to licensing regulations.
Engaging in this drawn-out (and usually futile) process of correspondence is a step overlooked by most microbroadcasters, and it’s the reason why all previous challenges to the law have failed. SFLR’s attempts to apply for a license will surely be helpful in such a challenge but they are only a few steps in the total dance.