KBFR Airchecks Online

I am remiss in mentioning this, but the audio archives of KBFR, Boulder Free Radio, are going online via ClickCaster. The aim is to share much of the live, in-studio performances brought by the station over its four-year run. It’s great the station can leave behind such a memorable record of the musical community it served and helped to sustain.
Relatedly, the old KBFR blog has morphed somewhat since the station’s demise and still shows signs of life. This includes the posting of some KBFR documentary history, which is cool to read through.

KBFR Gone For Good: "FCC is trying some very scary new tactics."

Straight from the mouth of Monk:
Please report that we are, after almost 5 years on the air, indeed, shut down for good and out of business. Obituary coming out soon. Our yearly benefit [happening this Thursday] will become a wake/legal defense fund.
This implies that there’s a legal struggle brewing in the courts, details unknown – although a team of lawyers is on the case (including some from the Dunifer defense crew). I’m working on the details, stay tuned.

Boulder Free Radio Off the Air

The transmitter location got a visit on Tuesday afternoon – coincidentally the one-year anniversary of “first contact.” Station founder Monk says, “this feels somehow different [from] other FCC visits.” That inkling is not completely new: the FCC began numbering the warning letters left in Boulder recently – perhaps an indicator that the agency is attempting to build a case against the station in preparation for stronger enforcement action. KBFR’s web site reads “RIP” but something tells me this isn’t the end just yet…

Scene Reports: Colorado, California, Tennessee

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”

Free Radio Brattleboro Threatened by U.S. Attorney; KBFR Back on Air After FCC Visit

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”

KBFR Receives Fourth FCC Visit; Skidmark Bob Produces "Pirates of the Air"

Agent Jon Sprague from the FCC’s office in Denver showed up Tuesday evening and simply dropped off yet another warning letter, reports Monk. The station is temporarily off the air as it moves to a virgin location (this is a drill they have down well by this point). The FCC visit comes just as KBFR prepares to hold a benefit concert featuring some of the musicians who’ve cycled through the station’s van/studio. A compilation CD of those performances, Studio Free Boulder, is now for sale, along with T-shirts (only locally, unfortunately).
Monk also recently blogged that they’ve got new company on the dial: Continue reading “KBFR Receives Fourth FCC Visit; Skidmark Bob Produces "Pirates of the Air"”

Tactical Microradio Blogging; Radio Free Cascadia Makes Jump from FM to Shortwave

Monk, the prime founder of Boulder microradio outlet KBFR, is now blogging about the trials and tribulations of advanced microradio station operation. KBFR has been somewhat of a laboratory for tactical broadcasting shortly after its first visit from the FCC more than two years ago. It’s experimented with (and implemented) some clever ways of separating the transmitter from the studio, including the use of webcasting as STL and mobile operation. These tactics have kept the FCC chasing down blind alleys in its quest to bust the operation.
In somewhat older news, a group of microbroadcasters in the northwest are now focusing their efforts on the shortwave band. Radio Free Cascadia (a former Eugene, OR microradio project, also responsible for station Y2WTKO during the Seattle WTO protests of ’99) recently conducted regular broadcasts as Radio Free Cascadia International in support of the WTO protests in Cancun, Mexico earlier this month. It received reception reports from all over North and South America and Asia.

"We See You, Mr. FCC Man"; Powell to Leave?

More skirmishes between the FCC and free radio – this time the good guys are on the offense. FCC agents were discovered snooping around a suspected broadcast location of KBFR last week. Nobody was home at the time, but the agents spoke with others on the premises and swore them to secrecy: “We were never here, okay?”
This particular game of hide-and-seek in Boulder has been going on for more than a year now and it sounds like the FCC’s angling for a raid over fines and/or criminal prosecution. Continue reading “"We See You, Mr. FCC Man"; Powell to Leave?”

Miscellaneous Piracy Afoot

Some scene reports to share:
Steamboat Springs, CO – “We went on the air about 9 PM Friday (1/30) and took things down at 11 AM Sunday (2/2). The X-mitter was a North Country MPX-96 feeding 2 modified and filtered Radio Shack HTX-10 amplifiers in series. Power out was ~30 watts into a wire 1/2 wave dipole on the balcony of a 2nd story ski-in/ski-out condo about 500 vertical feet above town and 200 feet above the base of the resort. Coverage was excellent as you could imagine. Covered downtown and the whole resort area, didn’t drive far enough to lose the signal. Oh, and the snow was OK, skiing great, and weather WARM.”
Boulder, CO – There has been some sort of split within the Boulder Free Radio organization. Most of the station’s founders are now working on an internet-only radio station presumably called “Real Public Radio.” New folks now have the transmitter; their intentions are unknown. Continue reading “Miscellaneous Piracy Afoot”

FCC Begins Manufacturing Consent for Ownership Rule Changes

There has been a lot of news since the last update; the Schnazz will get you up to speed on post-NAB conference coverage and the FCC’s latest moves to let the media industry get even more incestuous with itself. The Mosquito Fleet feature has also been properly fleshed out.
Lucky for us, the FCC now has a special section on its website devoted to the media ownership rule review now underway. There’s a lot of info there, but one area to examine further is a slew of “studies” the agency commissioned to examine the current media landscape. The studies look at everything from viewpoint diversity between media formats, to advertising rates, to radio formats, and loads more.
It should come as no surprise that the studies are heavily skewed toward economic analyses of the state of the media, with a few token perspectives thrown in from journalistic, cultural, and sociological perspectives. So much for the objective assessment of reality. Continue reading “FCC Begins Manufacturing Consent for Ownership Rule Changes”