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.
“Ransacked” was an overly heavy term to use in describing the raid: just about everything broadcast-related got confiscated, save for a nice set of speakers in the studio. Those in the studio at the time got to keep their personal belongings (like music). The station had two computers (one dedicated to streaming); both were seized. It doesn’t sound like the battering ram was actually used, just brought for show.
Interesting Trivia: Karoline Hatch’s parents (Charlotte, 57 and Jim, 73) hosted the station in the basement of the building where they live, which they own. The building’s broken up into apartments and the station was segregated from those and accessible through an outside door. Instead the agents entered through the first floor (rented to a tenant not connected to the station) and headed down an interior stairwell.
Karoline’s mom Charlotte was in-studio at the time, as was the guitarist for the 60’s psychadelia supergroup Big Brother & the Holding Co. Charlotte handled the situation quite smoothly while everyone else was a bit “shaken” by the invasion of cops, who didn’t say much during the entire snatch-and-grab.
Stunning Irony: While the FCC and Federal Marshals think San Francisco Liberation Radio is bad, the U.S. Department of State thinks it’s pretty cool. Some program there (possibly “Community Connections” within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs) refers people from “developing countries” looking for advice on how to set up community radio stations to SFLR. Karoline Hatch says they’ve taught a dozen delegates from West African countries the techniques of microradio on recommendation from the State Department, and another government-directed inquiry recently arrived from a former Soviet republic.
“It’s kind of an example of how fucked up our federal government is,” said Karoline (1:19, 628K MP3).
SFLR’s web site is currently in a state of suspension and cannot be updated, so the station plans to use the San Francisco IMC as its primary news conduit. It held an all-hands meeting last night to plot the course of action from here.
Elsewhere in California: Freak Radio Santa Cruz is now broadcasting on two frequencies. Its original home, 96.3 MHz, was recently stomped on by a godcast node set up on a nearby mountain, cutting coverage to a fraction of what it once was. Freak Radio simulcasts on 101.1 now to supplement.
Free Radio San Diego just celebrated its first birthday (in style, it would seem) and is also closely following the FCC activity. It will broadcast a program on microradio and LPFM featuring in-studio guests from SFLR on Thursday, October 23. Free Radio San Diego offers streaming audio feeds in two bit rates for global listening pleasure.