The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) held their annual conference this year in Las Vegas, and high on their agenda was what to do with those pesky microbroadcasters, or “pirates” as they like to call these crusaders of the airwaves. FCC officials turned out to this event en masse, for it is the NAB who really controls the FCC, not Congress. The FCC spent much time telling the NAB what they wanted to hear: that the FCC is on a single-minded mission to obliterate microbroadcasters from the airwaves and save the precious NAB corporate monopoly. FCC Chairman William Kennard, however, in an interesting comment, indicated that he was not averse to licensing small, micropower stations. “Let me be clear about one thing,” he admonished an old NAB broadcaster at the FCC Chairman’s Breakfast. “Let’s not confuse pirate radio with microbroadcasting.” Is this a sign of the FCC finally cracking, or simply another example of straddling the fence? Will the NAB’s monopoly over the airwaves finally be toppled?
Recently the National Association of Broadcasters sent out a communication to its members urging them to be listening closely to their FM dials for “pirates” and, if any are found, to report them immediately to the FCC. Microradio activists have taken this as tantamount to an act of war.
What follows is a response from Stephen Dunifer, founder of Free Radio Berkeley. Now that the NAB has stepped in and is trying to throw their weight around on free radio, it’s about time someone stepped forward in defense of microcasting.
In response to the direct attack on micropower broadcasting by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) we, as a coalition of Micropower Broadcasters, supporters and interested parties, make the following statement.