While I may still be on partial hiatus, as the fall semester ends in its typical whirlwind of student-meetings, evaluations, and grading, life moves on. And I am pleased to report that the microradio movement is alive and well. I will be most interested to see just how the FCC wraps up this year’s “war on pirates” – when I finally find the time to digest the data.
Some heartening news comes from the old guard in California. Berkeley Liberation Radio, after suffering a government raid on its studio premises (not related to the station itself), has safely relocated and is kicking as usual. Across the Bay, San Francisco Liberation Radio has also been revived – the correspondence I received does not explicitly state that this return will include a frequency-modulated signal, but it leaves room for speculation: “Since our court case was resolutely rejected by the Ninth Circuit, SFLR dropped the legal proceedings but continued to stream internet radio. Now [a new crew] will continue in the long and storied tradition of SFLR in the South of Market area.” You can’t keep a good idea down. Continue reading “Scene Report: California”
It only took two weeks for the Ninth Circuit to issue its decision regarding San Francisco Liberation Radio‘s challenge to its 2003 raid. The station basically argued that since it was in regular, cordial contact with the FCC throughout a near-decade on air, it should been extended the courtesy of a chance to convince the judge who signed the warrant why such a move was not justified. Additionally, because radio is essentially an “instrumentality of expression,” the gravity of station raids should be weighed in any court’s mind with respect to its potential to hinder that expression.
Two-thirds of the oral argument (30:27, 5.3 MB) was dominated by SFLR’s attorney, Mark Vermeulen. He started by emphasizing the station’s public recognition and willingness to engage the FCC. He was interrupted quite early by a judge (either William Fletcher or Richard Clifton, I don’t know which) who wanted to know why a station that was openly breaking the law deserved gentler treatment just because they were being open about it. Continue reading “SFLR Loses Ninth Circuit Appeal”
Right at about the same time the FCC granted special temporary authority to a pirate station in Nevada to operate without a license, the agency told a group of irate listeners in Texas that they, too, could have a station if they wanted to.
How? Some 263 of them wrote letters to the FCC requesting it deny the transfer of KTPB-FM’s license from a community college to the Educational Media Foundation. The well-known godcaster will flip the station’s format from classical to one of its “alternative” offerings.
Seemingly impressed by the outpouring of support for classical music, thought the FCC denied the listeners’ objections to the license transfer it entertained the option of them applying for an LPFM station license in order to “fill any programming void left by the sale of the station to EMF and change in format that EMF may make.” Continue reading “FCC Creates Another LPFM Loophole, Courts to Consider a Third”
A unique chance to see the two newest documentaries on U.S. microradio and LPFM, both will be shown this weekend at the 2006 Anti-Corporate Film Festival in San Francisco.
Pirate Radio USA is the last film on opening night, while Making Waves will be shown on Saturday afternoon. Waves producer Michael Lahey will be on hand for a Q-and-A afterward, tag-teaming with San Francisco Liberation Radio‘s Karoline Hatch.
Both films cover microradio from very different perspectives, so if you can catch both I’d highly recommend doing so.
A somewhat skimpy story notes the ruling against SFLR‘s challenge came down on March 14. Alan Korn has graciously provided a copy. It’s grim reading: first and fourth amendment arguments are bounced, and District Court Judge Susan Ilston avoids the station’s direct challenge to FCC rules with the jurisdictional wiggle (“that issue belongs in D.C., not with me”).
The station’s attorney, Mark Vermeulen, hopes for better things at the Ninth Circuit: “Courts of Appeals have more leverage in establishing new precedents.” Yet the two most successful microbroadcast cases ever litigated, involving Free Radio Berkeley and Radio Free Brattleboro, scored their victories at the district court level. Continue reading “Liberation Radio Loses Seizure Challenge, Plans Appeal”
Another strange day in court for the folks at San Francisco Liberation Radio. This morning they got another chance to argue their case in front of federal district judge Susan Illston: this time the station’s legal team emphasized that it has eight years’ worth of correspondence with the FCC, which should (at some level) make their case somehow different, and their argument against the station raid and seizure process somehow more compelling.
Karoline Hatch wrote in an update: Continue reading “Liberation Radio Plans Appeal”
Skidmark Bob reports a special guest dropped into the Free Radio Santa Cruz studios recently: Tracy James of Slave Revolt Radio fame. They talked about their microradio experiences and Tracy gave an update on the (SF) Bay area microradio scene. Berkeley Liberation Radio is alive and well and plans are afoot to launch a station in West Oakland. Recently Tracy, Bob, and fellow FRSCista George Cadman were guests on a show hosted by KPFT’s Norton Scooter, which is available via Radio4All. Continue reading “Scene Report: California”
The initial (AP) report of San Francisco Liberation Radio’s court hearing yesterday – on its motion to reclaim equipment seized in a raid last October – are somewhat vague. Liberation Radio’s using this motion as a plank on which to mount a challenge to the FCC’s enforcement protocols: it claims it was denied due process (i.e. it was not given a proper avenue for redress of its grievances before the cops moved in and took its stuff).
AP reporter Ron Harris describes the arguments of SFLR’s attorney as “meandering,” and the meat’s in the last line of the story: “[U.S. District Judge Susan] Illston took the station’s request to dismiss the seizure under submission, but gave no indication when she would rule.” Continue reading “SF Liberation Radio's Day in Court”
The FCC filed a civil suit Tuesday seeking an injunction against radio free brattleboro; today the station filed a counterclaim, challenging FCC licensing authority on several constitutional grounds.
The (hopefully) good news of this move is that the FCC forego the route of the station raid, preferring instead to exert a more diplomatic form of muscle. It could still try to fine someone, but it sounds like the heavy community support may be paying off in keeping the goons away. You never quite know with them wily FCC types…rfb’s referendum for local support goes down March 2. Continue reading “Dueling Filings and Journalistic Kudos”
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”