Scene Report: California

Skidmark Bob e-mailed recently to let me know that Freak Radio Santa Cruz is hunting for a new broadcast-home (yet again). The FCC dropped a warning-letter on the owner of the property hosting the station’s transmitter (a common tactic that’s gained popularity in recent years), who was duly unnerved and prompted the box to travel.
In spite of last year’s schism, the station appears to be on strong footing and Bob’s confident they’ll have a spot post-haste. Given that Freak Radio long separated its studio from transmitter, the comfy digs remain intact, and the station’s still streaming online.
Elsewhere, the news is more about pirates going legit, or pirates only taking to the air in step two of their plans to create a free-culture space. Radio Survivor broke both these stories: the first involves Pirate Cat Radio taking over the operations of a licensed FM station in Pescadero. This is a mixed bag: good on for Daniel Roberts (aka “Monkey”) and his compatriots for fighting the good fight for so long (and so transparently).
However, KPDO is not exactly providing coverage to San Francisco; Pescadero is located halfway between SF and Santa Cruz, and as anyone who’s been on both sides of the coin knows, it’s much easier (and more fun) to run a pirate station than a licensed one. Best of luck to ’em, though.
Secondly, it’s not like San Francisco is bereft of pirate stations; including the ubiquitous Berkeley Liberation Radio, there’s plenty of others who keep much lower profiles. Stations come alive all the time. The next to do so, apparently, will be Radio Valencia, whose proprietor spun off from an existing pirate station to begin the re-construction of one of San Francisco’s cultural spaces, the Valencia Restaurant.
Radio Valencia has deep connections throughout SF’s vibrant arts scene, so the programming can be expected to be eclectic and creative. According to Radio Survivor, Radio Valencia already has 30 airshifters lined up to do 24 shows on the station. It, like Freak Radio, will stream from its studio to a transmitter at an undisclosed location, on an as-yet undisclosed frequency.