Body Blows

It hasn’t been a good few weeks for microradio.

During the first days of June, the head of the FCC’s Compliance and Information Bureau, Richard Lee, made numerous postings to various free radio discussion areas on the Internet claiming that his department had a done a state-by-state audit of all free radio stations in operation. According to Mr. Lee, the number of stations operating nationwide is less than 200. Lee also said that the stations identified will be dealt with. His messages were met with curious silence.

In mid-month, apparently out of the blue, the California federal judge that granted Free Radio Berkeley a temporary injunction keeping the FCC at bay reversed her decision. Judge Claudia Wilken said that Free Radio Berkeley’s argument – that the FCC’s issuance and allocation of station licenses restricted free speech rights – didn’t hold water because FRB never attempted to get its own license. The FRB folks have promised to appeal. Read More

NABing the Airwaves

By Jennifer Barrios

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? Read More

Stop the Insanity!

RM-9208 PETITIONERS ASK FCC FOR SUSPENSION OF PROSECUTIONS

by Don Schellhardt

The RM-9208 Petitioners (Nick Leggett, Judith Leggett and Don Schellhardt) ask the Federal Communications Commission for a suspension of microbroadcasting prosecutions.

EXCERPTS FROM THE LEGGETT/SCHELLHARDT SPECIAL COMMENTS

We ask the Commission to take the following steps:

1. Suspend all ongoing microbroadcasting prosecutions until such time as the Commission has: (a) adopted a final rule which legalizes some or all microbroadcasting stations; OR (b) decided and announced that it will not legalize any such stations.

In other words, all ongoing prosecutions would be suspended while the Commission’s current reconsideration of its microbroadcasting policy is in progress. Read More

The Art Bell Reaction

Art Bell, the most popular overnight radio talk show host in America, devoted a segment of his Wednesday night/Thursday Morning show (3/25 – 3/26) to the issue of free radio. Art garners a cumulative total of 26 million listeners a day.

It was a great opportunity to advance the publicity (and the idea) of free radio to the masses. But did it really do the job? Unfortunately, things started out well, but thanks to the spontaneity that is both Art’s blessing and curse, the big opportunity may have been blown.

The first hour of the “pirate radio” segment began wonderfully. Art Introduced ACE President Pat Murphy, and they talked up the “good feeling/bad boy” side of free radio. Pat and Art discussed how they, as kids, did the same thing others are doing today and getting SWAT teams up the wazoo for it. Read More

Radio Mutiny on Tour

Radio Mutiny, an east coast microbroadcaster, recently took its message DIRECTLY to the people. Instead of confining themselves and their acts of enlightenment and empowerment to west Philadelphia, Radio Mutiny took to the open road. Here’s their take on all the fun. This is the kind of proactive outreach that showcases all things good about free radio.

From January the Twentieth to March the Tenth, Radio Mutiny’s rag-tag band of buccaneers gallivanted from city to city up and down the Eastern Seaboard, leaving a trail of Free Radio in the twenty-five cities in our wake. We sailed the highways in our decrepit vessel, which broke down and needed repairs in more than a few ports of call, we braved the tempestuous weather, the scurrilous incursions of the highway patrol, and damned near contracted scurvy at sea on our diet of gas station junk food. In every town that we put in, however, the townspeople welcomed us with open arms, gave us their beds and properly victualed us, and made every effort to assist us on our journey. Over the course of our voyage, we had opportunity to meet with many hundreds of the ordinary citizens who have been banned from the seas of media by the policies of the wealthy. Read More