When Congress initially eviscerated the FCC’s LPFM service four years ago, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin. There, with the stroke of President Clinton’s pen, the number of open frequencies available for new LPFM stations went from something like 16 to three.
Of the applicants to tender requests for an LPFM license in Madison: one individual applied for one open frequency; a church applied for another; and seven groups applied for the third channel.
The FCC has finally granted construction permits to those entities eligible to go on the air. However, as the seven groups essentially came to a draw in the FCC’s “points system” for determining the winner in competitive situations like theirs, the license will be divided up between each group. Continue reading “LPFM: The Mess in Madison; Further Footnotes to FRSC Raid”
This excerpt from FRSC’s “response to our supporters“:
The outpouring of support, donations, equipment and kind words has been overwhelming, but each e-mail, each letter, and each phone message from you, our listeners, is what keeps us going through these dark times. Please, keep it up!….
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is spread the word about this repression of dissent, and loss of free speech. Tell everyone you know; family, friends, lovers, teachers, doctors, politicians, etc… Write letters to the editor of your daily or weekly paper, call radio and cable access talk shows, spread the news on internet chat rooms, and listserves. Continue reading “Freak Radio Update: Mobilization for Microradio?”
Free Radio Santa Cruz may be down but they are definitely not out. The station’s webcast is back online and it is being relayed on-air by other microradio stations around the country in solidarity. Reaction to the raid is pouring in from around the globe (hopefully material support is, too). A local benefit for the station is already in the works early next month.
The Santa Cruz IMC continues to collect raid coverage, including more than 100 photos, audio/video coverage, and reaction from Freak Radio volunteers. Links to corporate media coverage (neutral-to-positive in tone) will be posted in this weekend’s Schnazz update.
A team of Federal Marshals – some in riot gear – arrived at the station’s home during the 9 o’clock hour this morning. Residents there were rousted with the barrels of guns (including automatic weapons); nobody was in the studio at the time, however. Five FCC agents arrived after the show of force and confiscated everything.
When word got out between 100-150 people showed up on the spot to protest the raid. This included slashing the tires of the FCC and Federal Marshals’ vehicles, which stranded them at the scene for a time. Nobody was arrested and no fine has been issued against anyone. Continue reading “Update #2 – Free Radio Santa Cruz Raided”
First the news from Washington: John McCain’s bill to expand the FCC’s LPFM service cleared the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday, but not without some last-minute chicanery – an amendment has been added that exempts the state of New Jersey from any expansion (if it occurs).
Now it must clear the full Senate and House of Representatives, where the odds are not as good. However, Prometheus reports that some of the religious LPFMers are leaning on GOP congresscritters pretty hard, so there’s still some hope. Continue reading “FCC Gets Earful in Monterey; LPFM Bill Advances from Senate Committee”
California: Free Radio Santa Cruz issued a news release about the recent visit by FCC field agents David Doon and David Hartshorn, accompanied by a couple of bad photos of the duo in action. This supplements the audio clip captured by Skidmark Bob. Freak Radio is now operating at 101.1 FM and according to the Davids only merited a visit for their long-running unlicensed status, not because of any complaints of interference or spurious emissions.
Montana: The same morning as Freak Radio’s visit, FCC agents with armed backup executed a raid against Burton James’ mobile home microstation in Butte. His operation had been on the air for three years there and James claims to have been an active microbroadcaster for more than a decade in multiple states. He shrugged off the raid, according to the Montana Standard: “‘It really doesn’t matter,’ he said. ‘The transmitter was eight years old. It’s on its way out. I was intending to get another one.'” Continue reading “Scene Reports: California, Montana, Michigan”
Multiple tidbits of interest…
Santa Cruz: Freak Radio successfully moved to its new location recently, completing the entire transition in about five hours. It sounds like it was well-rehearsed, although Skidmark Bob reports their online stream needs “a little work.”
Victorville: On March 31 the FCC issued a $20,000 Notice of Apparent Liability to Stanley Mayo for operating unlicensed transmitters on both the AM and FM bands. Mayo’s “KSRX” first began broadcasting in the summer of 2002 on 660 KHz but was also later heard on 91.3 MHz. Mayo received at least four visits from field agents out of Los Angeles, as well as two warning notices, over an 18-month span before the FCC moved for the dough. Continue reading “Scene Report: California”
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“). Continue reading “Scene Reports: California, Colorado, Oregon”
rfb got a letter and phone call from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Burlington, Vermont January 8 threatening “action if the station does not stop broadcasting,” according to rfb’s local attorney. This likely a precursor to (at least) a raid, or (at most) the filing of an injunction against the station and its volunteers. rfb continues to collect signatures for its referendum drive – which would put the issue of official community support for the station to a vote of the people or Brattleboro – and its attorney has written a letter to the FCC and U.S. Attorney informing them of the station’s intentions in detail.
In Boulder, Colorado, KBFR rebounded from its FCC visit Tuesday with the quickness, returning to the air from a virgin location less than 48 hours after contact. Continue reading “Free Radio Brattleboro Threatened by U.S. Attorney; KBFR Back on Air After FCC Visit”
A statement released by the station coupled with an excellent phone interview of Liberation Radio volunteer Karoline Hatch by Skidmark Bob clarifies things quite a bit.
Factual corrections: While the swarm of law enforcement involved in the raid numbered more than two dozen, only ~15 were federal officers. They were assisted by 10 San Francisco police officers (in contravention of the wishes of the city’s Board of Supervisors), although an IMC report cites Supervisor (and mayoral candidate) Tom Ammiano and SFPD chief Alex Fagan denying any city involvement. Continue reading “Liberation Radio Raid Update”