Scene Reports: California, Colorado, Oregon

California: Freak Radio Santa Cruz will lose its current station location at the end of April. The hunt is on for new space. The landlord is apparently clearing out the entire building for some sort of redevelopment project, which is a shame because he’s otherwise been cool about the station (to the point of facing down the FCC twice). Freak Radio’s no stranger to moving – at one stage the station was “homeless” and operated out of a bicycle cart – but it is never a fun experience and this space had been the station’s single longest home.
Berkeley Liberation Radio continues to hum along and recently overhauled its schedule. The station’s adopted a dues format for fundraising and made out okay at their benefit show last month. BLR’s Cap’n Fred lays down the bassline on one of our recent additions to the pirate music MP3 collection (Countdown and the Blastoffs’ “We Want the Airwaves“).
Free Radio San Diego’s Bob Ugly interviewed Noam Chomsky earlier this month about a variety of subjects, working off a list of listener-submitted questions. FRSD moved locations in January and is working on an antenna upgrade to improve its signal from the new digs.
San Diego also experienced a transitory mystery station last month: it broadcast from Qualcomm Stadium during the last weekend in February. The station squatted Free Radio San Diego’s frequency and was reportedly running 20 watts (compared to FRSD’s 30).
The only thing that happened at Qualcomm Stadium that weekend was the Big 3 Auto Parts Exchange, a huge swap meet for car collectors. The mystery station invited folks to “stop by their booth.”
There’s something about Qualcomm Stadium and pirate radio. This is not the first time a pirate’s broadcast from the stadium premises. During last year’s Super Bowl a company licensed to conduct temporary game-time broadcasts on two FM frequencies went hog wild on six and was fined $12,000 for it.
Colorado: KBFR’s big benefit concert was so successful that the venue has asked them to do another one. As a result the station may branch out to include a homegrown record label/live promotions component. It’s also selling T-shirts through some convoluted process which I think involves cash and the mails.
The citizen push for an LPFM station in the Vail Valley town of Minturn is moving forward: Minturn Public Radio got the preliminary nod from the FCC last week. There used to be a microradio station in Minturn – it sowed the seeds of interest from which the town’s LPFM effort grew.
This is doubly good news because Minturn Public Radio’s license application was threatened by a competing application from the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT is building a network of LPFM stations devoted to road advisories and traffic safety messages. Minturn Public Radio tried to work out the the conflict with the state, who basically told them to suck it. It is good to see the state sucking instead.
Oregon: Radio Free Cascadia International just distributed QSL cards for its shortwave broadcasts conducted in solidarity with protests against the World Trade Organization in CancĂșn, Mexico last September. RFCI was unique in that it undertook “clandestine” (politically-focused) operations from within the United States. U.S.-based clandestine stations are a very rare breed – even the U.S. government conducts its own clandestine broadcasts from sites outside the country.