When the FCC raided TOUCH FM in Boston this spring, many lamented its demise. But its frequency didn’t stay silent for long: less than two months after the FCC’s sweep of the city, a pop-up station temporarily reoccupied 106.1 FM.
Noises Over Norwell broadcast from a two-story home in Dorchester currently under the receivership of Fannie Mae. Its former owners moved back in with the assistance of City Life/Vida Urbana, a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting economic injustice in Boston. The station was a cornucopia of information, discussion, and creativity about the state of the economy and the surrounding neighborhood; when "dormant," you simply heard the ambient sounds of a lived-in home. Continue reading “Pop-Up Station Pays Homage to TOUCH FM”
On those rare occasions when the FCC and Federal Marshals sweep a city for pirates, the media coverage follows a predictable narrative: law-and-order cleaning up the airwaves, in the protection of "public safety" and licensed-station profitability. The only outliers to this have been reactions to pirate-busts in San Francisco and Santa Cruz—two California communities with a long history of radical radio activism.
But Boston-area media outlets also broke the traditional mold in their coverage of an April sweep that netted three pirate stations. Continue reading “Boston Media Lament Loss of Pirates”
It’s been a busy month for FCC field agents and Federal Marshals in the Northeast. Last week they raided and seized the equipment of three unlicensed radio stations in the Boston area, while two weeks prior they took down four pirate stations in New York City.
The Boston raids netted a long-time pirate who operated way out in the open. TOUCH FM, founded by long-time and well-respected community activist Charles Clemons, had been on the air for eight years. Clemons was also quite engaged in the movement to expand low-power FM radio and even ran for mayor of Boston last year. He’s been on the FCC’s radar since 2007, when he was first visited and warned; the agency followed up with a $17,000 fine in 2008, which was never paid. Continue reading “Pirate Raids Offer Glimpse Into FCC Fieldwork”
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are hard at work trying to outlaw unlicensed broadcasting. H.1679 was introduced in the state House of Representatives in January and got a hearing in the legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary just last week. Floor votes are expected before the end of the year.
If approved, Massachusetts would become the fourth state in the country to pass an anti-pirate radio law. Continue reading “Massachusetts Mulls Anti-Pirate Law”
The city of Boston, Massachusetts is gearing up for a mayoral election later this year, and among the folks throwing their hat into the ring is Charles Clemons.
A former Boston police and corrections officer, Clemons may be better known as the founder of Touch 106 FM, a microradio outlet busted by the FCC in 2007-08. Clemons received a $17,000 forfeiture for unlicensed broadcasting and refusing to allow FCC agents to inspect the station. Continue reading “Boston Radio Pirate Runs for Mayor”
Somehow, it seemed just too good to be true. Touch FM‘s founder, Charles Clemons, has abandoned his cross-country trek to raise awareness of low-power FM and the plight of microradio stations engaged in electronic civil disobedience. A press release posted to the Walk For Power web site cites logistical reasons for having to abandon the journey; feats like these take planning and somewhat north of a pretty penny, as well as a network of helpful associates in-place before you begin.
Instead, says Clemons, “the road to L.A. is through Washington, D.C.,” and thus this past weekend he took again to the byways, to arrive in the nation’s capital on or around April 17. There, he will be greeted by the Prometheus Radio Project and Free Press, and will participate in a series of LPFM lobbying conferences and workshops later in the month. Continue reading “Walk For Power Short-Circuits”
Charles Clemons, Jr., proprietor of Touch 106.1 FM in Boston, has begun his six-month stroll. Taking a page from Granny D, he’s walking from Boston to Los Angeles to raise awareness about the serious racial imbalance in media ownership that exists in the United States, and to advocate for an expansion of low-power FM (LPFM) stations nationwide. The twist in this story is that Touch FM is unlicensed, and has already been fined some $17,000 by the FCC.
However, this is no run-of-the-mill “pirate” station; Clemons himself is deeply religious, and the station’s main mission is to serve as a positive outlet of expression for Boston’s African-American community. So much so, in fact, that Boston mayor Thomas Menino saw Clemons off on his walk when it began last week, and has instructed city staff to keep tabs on his progress. The Walk for Power web site has daily updates of the walking schedule; Clemons and his compatriots are taking photos along the journey; and you can even track the walk’s progress via GPS. Cities and towns Clemons will be walking through/past are listed as well; if he’s coming close to your area, I’m sure he’d love to see you. Continue reading “Walk For Power On The Road”