Scene Reports: Washington, Texas, Vermont

Two reports from Free Radio Olympia confirm a male/female team of agents from the FCC’s Seattle office were first caught snooping on the property around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Confronted by someone, the agents finally identified themselves and were repeatedly denied entry to inspect the station.
After more than 20 minutes of getting nowhere the agents retreated to their “mini-van/suv type” vehicle, where reportedly “the female fcc agent called into the studio with a cell phone.” Don’t know if the call was broadcast, or if anything was taped, but the FCC went away after that.
In San Antonio, Texas, the pirates had all the fun. A preemptive protest took place there Tuesday in preparation for today’s FCC Localism Task Force meeting. Target: Clear Channel Worldwide headquarters, conveniently located in San Antonio. Free Speech Radio News had a blurb on “KRRR,” which broadcast at 102.3 FM to people driving by CCHQ; they heard messages about Clear Channel’s pox on our media environment and how to sound off to the FCC about it.
Clear Channel’s own news coverage of the protest, via its San Antonio TV station, WOAI, sucks the large one: “Veterans of anti globalization demonstrations in Seattle, Miami, and elsewhere, are descending on San Antonio” to protest.
Reality: a handful of people stood on a curb with a small FM radio transmitter, heard for a range measured in hundreds of feet (dressed as pirates, for f*ck’s sake!), and had themselves a good time. Clear Channel (I mean, WOAI) reports KRRR was “shut down by authorities late Tuesday afternoon,” but that sounds like wishful thinking.
There are more organized demonstrations planned outside the Localism Task Force’s meeting today, but WOAI’s Jim Forsyth, who wrote that sh*t quoted above, will probably watch the live feed from the comfort of the newsroom. Those retired union members can be dangerous when agitated over something, like media consolidation.
Clear Channel actually got stung twice yesterday: the FCC fined it $755,000 for the antics of Florida schlock-jock Bubba the Love Sponge. The amount may sound impressive, but some quick math belies the penalty. Based on the company’s general revenue figures for 2003, Clear Channel makes that kind of money every 34 minutes.
Finally, a short report notes the ballot initiative asking the citizenry of Brattleboro, Vermont for their literal (non-binding) endorsement of radio free brattleboro has enough qualified petition signatures to be decided at the annual Town Meeting on March 20.