Monkey's Last Stand

There seems to be some controversy over the FCC’s move to fine Pirate Cat Radio founder Daniel “Monkey Man” Roberts. The forfeiture notice, issued last month, details the FCC’s investigation of the station since 2009 and cites the significant amount of leg-work done in the case.
Roberts has engaged the services of an attorney, who is arguing that since the FCC has no evidence of him actually operating the transmitter, there’s no credible grounds for a forfeiture. The agency disagrees, noting Roberts’ extensive work as Pirate Cat station manager, fundraiser, DJ, and all-around public face, as well as his prior (and dubious) claim that unlicensed broadcasting is exempt from licensure under certain extenuating circumstances. Continue reading “Monkey's Last Stand”

Scene Report: California

Skidmark Bob e-mailed recently to let me know that Freak Radio Santa Cruz is hunting for a new broadcast-home (yet again). The FCC dropped a warning-letter on the owner of the property hosting the station’s transmitter (a common tactic that’s gained popularity in recent years), who was duly unnerved and prompted the box to travel.
In spite of last year’s schism, the station appears to be on strong footing and Bob’s confident they’ll have a spot post-haste. Given that Freak Radio long separated its studio from transmitter, the comfy digs remain intact, and the station’s still streaming online. Continue reading “Scene Report: California”

FCC Watch: Enforcement Action Continues Apace

In the first three months of the year the FCC’s executed about half the total enforcement actions conducted last year, which broke all previous records.
Among the latest batch to be contacted is Pirate Cat Radio, the dual radio/TV station simulcast in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The FCC issued separate warning letters to two people – usually a single person gets the heat first. Not sure which one of them is the infamous Monkey Man, though you can now see him unmasked in a mini-documentary on Pirate Cat recently found on Current TV. He and a couple other DJs explain why they so love microradio.

Stern Pirates Go Coast-to-Coast

Last month FM microbroadcasters in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Minnesota began rebroadcasting the subscription-only Howard Stern show from Sirius satellite radio. Sirius got so pissed that they fired off complaints to the FCC about the NY/NJ stations and threatened to sue any online-streamers into oblivion.
They couldn’t have been happy with the report this month that Pirate Cat Radio, a station well-known for wearing its defiance on its sleeve, began carrying Stern over San Francisco. Pirate Cat’s founder, Monkey Man, told a local tee-vee station that the show would go on unless Howard himself intervenes. As for the FCC: “They can come and talk, and if they’d like to I’ll fix a pot of coffee and have my wife make ’em some cookies.” Continue reading “Stern Pirates Go Coast-to-Coast”

Scene Reports: California, Illinois

California: Skidmark Bob just interviewed Monkey of the infamous Pirate Cat Radio. Monkey scored an early copy of Stephen Dunifer’s TV transmitter kit and put Pirate Cat TV on the air six months ago; its 80-watt signal can be seen on Channel 13 in the San Francisco area. Programming consists of a growing catalog of DIVX .avi files on a homebrew server with a terabyte of storage, and the station is actively soliciting more content.
As for Pirate Cat Radio, Monkey says there’s about 30 DJs presently, and the dues-paying fundraising model takes care of their needs. At the end of the interview he says the station will soon “upgrade” from 220 to 1,000 (!) watts, mostly by moving to a directional antenna system. Continue reading “Scene Reports: California, Illinois”

LPFM Day at FCC Confirmed; A Cocky Monkey

LPFM Day is February 8 at FCC headquarters. The event is akin to a “mini trade show,” a chance for advocates of low power radio to show off the technology and talk up its benefits to FCC staffers. The Prometheus Radio Project is organizing a mini-conference on LPFM for the day before. It is even rumored that Mikey Powell may grace the event with his presence – the least he can do for failing to accomplish anything substantive as far as advancing the rollout of LPFM stations.
SF Weekly has a new feature on Pirate Cat Radio. Since 1997 this “punk as fuck” station has, according to its founder, “Monkey,” received more than 120 warning notices from the FCC while operating unmolested in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles. So far it’s been on in the Bay area for some two years and nary a peep from the FCC. Telling tall tales? Consider this: he blames the October 2003 raid of San Francisco Liberation Radio on interference SFLR caused to Oakland International Airport – yet he chuckles about complaints from neighbors when Pirate Cat messes up TV reception, and it hindered reception of at least one Los Angeles station during its run there. Continue reading “LPFM Day at FCC Confirmed; A Cocky Monkey”