San Francisco Liberation Radio Gets FCC Visit, $17,000 Threat

From SF Indymedia:

“In what may portend a US Marshal-backed raid and seizure, San Francisco Liberation Radio received a courtesy call by FCC agents, who requested permission to inspect the premises and see a broadcast permit, on 7/2. Unlike its East Bay microradio cousins, San Francisco Liberation Radio (93.7 FM) has filed several FCC license applications, which may provide the legal clout to mount a vigorous First Amendment defense. More importantly, SFLR will be relying on the support of its community, including local politicos, as it wages a campaign to safeguard our right to community microradio. SFLR was given a letter warning against unauthorized broadcasting and threatened with jail time and $17,000 in fines…”

The station reportedly has 10 days to respond; it has attempted to apply for a license more than once (for both a regular FM station license and an LPFM one, although there are none available in San Francisco). SFLR has been (mostly) broadcasting for 10 years now, and this is not the first visit the FCC has paid to the station, but it sounds like the enforcement ball is finally rolling on its case. The Enforcement Action Database will be updated later tonight. Read More

Radio Free Brattleboro: A True Community Resource

Brattleboro, Vermont had its annual Fourth of July parade today, and although it is off the air, Radio Free Brattleboro had a float in the festivities. The station’s always been strongly focused on the community it served – it got its start as a project of the local teen center – and in many ways it transcended that goal. Some examples:

The Brattleboro Public Library, in need of space, was forced to get rid of its entire record collection. This included the LP library of the Chelsea House Folklore Center – an incredible collection of folk music, bluegrass and 1930s/40s-era blues/R&B. The library wanted to keep the entire collection together and wanted it to remain publicly available. There’s no better way to do that than to air it, so the music was donated to Radio Free Brattleboro. When the town of Newfane, VT’s public library had to give up its LP collection it also found a new home at RFB. This doesn’t count the individual record collections donated by several listeners over the years. Read More

Like Pump Up the Volume in Reverse

Weirdness in the name of “homeland security” – In April, a Florida company called Safety Cast applied for an experimental FCC license to test its Interceptor™ technology, which is designed to quickly inform communities about terrorist alerts, lost children messages, and other emergency situations.

Although radio stations are required to have equipment installed that can decode (and, in most cases, automatically relay) such bulletins via the Emergency Alert System, Safety Cast ups the ante. Using remote transmitters installed on emergency response vehicles, the Interceptor™ will broadcast these bulletins on all AM and FM frequencies – simultaneously – with a maximum coverage area of about a quarter-mile for each vehicle. Read More

More Corporate Piracy: FCC Takes 9, Leaves 6

As June slips away I want to highlight a few other interesting FCC happenings that got crowded off the radar by the hoopla and its reverberations this month. The rest of the loose ends will follow later in the week.

First up is FCC administrative law judge Richard L. Sippel’s June 19 decision to revoke two licenses for FM stations owned by Peninsula Communications in Alaska. This case has been wending its way through the agency for several years and involves the company’s creation of a seven-station translator network, which it had been operating in violation of the FCC’s translator rules since 1994. A $140,000 fine (collection pending) and one federal court injunction later, Peninsula finally silenced the stations last August. The seven translators were fed by two full-power stations; in addition to those Peninsula also owns one AM station, one FM station, and an additional four FM translators. Read More