Sad news from the mile-high city: KCTS Radio, after a short but spirited game of cat-and-mouse with the FCC, has decided to retire the operation. From a communiqué first e-mailed (now available on the station’s web site), station spoke Carl Nimbus answers, in detail, the question, “So what happened to ‘we’re just going to keep coming back’?”
The FCC was all over us. More than they have the time and budget for. More than nearly any other pirate station in the country….[Denver FCC agent Jon] Sprague and friends were coming faster and more frequently than their counterparts do in markets like LA, SF, NYC, Dallas, Chicago and other large cities. Why would that be? The FCC responds to complaints from licensed broadcasters. They very rarely go out at random to shut down a pirate. Continue reading “Denver Free Radio Packs It In”
Looks like 2004 will be a fruitful year, if you’re a fan of the micro-niche that is documentaries about microradio. I’ve heard from the producers of the tentatively-titled “Pirate Radio USA,” a feature-length doc made by microbroadcasters about the movement. No release date yet, just that something’s almost done.
There’s also new developments in Colorado: “Denver Free Radio” spent a grand total of five hours on the air before its latest airchain host got a visit from the FCC. “A white Chevy Tahoe,” with New Mexico plates, “with hidden antennas built into the roof” containing a squad of three rolled up. Denied an inspection, they phoned the property three times before tacking a note to the door. Mouse’s move…
First the enforcement tidbits. Global Radio, the company which operated several unlicensed FM transmitters at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium during the 2003 Super Bowl, has had its $12,000 fine reduced to $10,800. Global was caught broadcasting on six frequencies during the game when it only had authorization to use two (although the FCC initially prosecuted it for running three of the four pirate stations).
The company angled for a cancellation of its fine based on a couple of interesting arguments. The first was that Global went pirate on extra channels “to experiment with the boundaries of Part 15” broadcasting. This makes little sense as FCC staff on hand for the game collected ample evidence that the unlicensed transmitters were indeed way over Part 15 power levels (which couldn’t have covered the entire stadium). The second argument was more traditional: a $12,000 fine would put the company in serious financial straits. Unfortunately, Global neglected to provide the requisite three years of tax returns to back up a claim of inability to pay the penalty. Continue reading “FCC Developments on Multiple Fronts”
Colorado: Denver Free Radio was busted this morning after a scant three days on the air. That’s a pretty quick turnaround for the FCC, although it certainly helps that there’s a field office right in town so they didn’t have to go very far to pay the station a visit.
The agents reportedly arrived in “a green SUV with a big white dome on it” and observers also noticed other trucks in the area bristling with antennas; it’s not clear whether this was legitimate backup or local broadcast engineers/amateur radio ops out for a joyride.
Apparently Denver Free Radio operates on a model similar to Boulder Free Radio (KBFR) in that it is “locationally-flexible” – this means there’s a decent chance of the station making a return. The FCC folks did ask those hosting DFR’s gear to willingly give it up; that request was (fortunately) denied. As a result FCC agents have reportedly staked out the transmitter location, ostensibly in an an attempt to pin a person down to the operation who can be punished. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Colorado, California, Tennessee”