U.S. Military Resorts to Radio Piracy to Win Hearts and Minds

Well, isn’t this something. While the Wired reporter is all agog about an iPod being used in a battle zone, I like the spectral appropriation motif better:
Radio geeks would be familiar with the tools: a 100 Watt Harris AM/FM “radio in a box” transmitter coupled with a Marantz rack-mountable portable CD/cassette player. The PsyOps team loaded up a laptop with contemporary Iraqi and Arabic pop music and started broadcasting on a local frequency, 93.9 FM.
The transmitter is designed for use by emergency responders. It has a small range — [Maj. Byron] Sarchet estimated it had a reach of only a few kilometers — but in a densely populated area like Sadr City, it can reach a large audience.
According to Sarchet, the whole thing was a “quick fix.” He wanted to broadcast a pro-coalition message during heavy fighting in the city. So he liberated the radio transmitter from a State Department embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (e-PRT), put the radio on the roof of a building, and started broadcasting.
“I stole that radio from e-PRT,” he said. “It was in their office and they weren’t using it, and I said, ‘I gotta have it – I’m taking it.’ We’re going to broadcast into Sadr City on it.”
Over here, the government will ding you $10K and possibly haul you into court if you try that sort of thing. It’s another one of those moments when you can’t help but think to yourself, “why aren’t we doing here what we’re doing there?” Without the military’s assistance, of course. At least, in this case, they’re “liberating” transmitters, instead of destroying them and imposing psychological operations by force.