KFAR got hit by a team of FCC agents and three Federal Marshals at around 10 AM local time Wednesday. A news release from the station says the raid force “broke into” the trailer housing the station (with the help of a locksmith) and confiscated everything; this implies that the station was unmanned and automated at the time.
FCC paperwork left behind does not name any particular individual, so for the moment it would seem that KFAR’s most valuable asset – its volunteers – survive to fight another day. The local media also responded to the scene and several articles are already online, with coverage ranging from neutral to positive. Free Radio Santa Cruz’s Skidmark Bob got reaction from a couple of KFAR DJs. At least one station volunteer also videotaped the action.
Blame – for the moment – is falling on one David Icove, an adjunct assistant engineering professor at the University of Tennessee. He is also an “inspector” for the Tennessee Valley Authority Police. A poster to a local message board operating under the name “Radio Rangers,” who several KFAR volunteers believe is Icove, is quoted as saying an “extended cadre of legal scholars, local engineers, media scholars, and amature [sic] radio enthusiasts” worked in tandem to pressure the FCC to bust KFAR. Icove himself is also a ham.
KFAR has promised a quick return to the airwaves; it’s been previously noted that it has backup gear stashed away (although it’s not clear whether they have everything to completely rebuild). Presently the station’s webcast continues with a skeleton crew. A drive to solicit support from the Knoxville City Council may also be in the works.