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.
We met with brave upstarts of diverse interests and generations, including forest activists, cable access stations, art galleries, labor organizers, black liberationists, a youth rights group, housing activists, college students, riot grrrls, catholic workers and techno enthusiasts. Some amongst these were already masters of their own frequency. At every stop, we set up and demonstrated a small transmitter in a cafe, a bookstore, a classroom, a community center or any venue that would have such rogues as us. Upon demonstrating this weapon of war against the powerful, we told the gathered locals the epic story of radio – it’s invention, it’s early promise as a communications medium for the people of this fair land, and it’s subsequent hijacking by the forces of commercialism and corporate power. We then related the tale of betrayal of the public good at the hands of those meant to insure it, National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, who colluded in sweeping away the vibrant community radio movement of the sixties and seventies.
Presently, we enjoined these good people to level their spyglasses and survey the scene of radio today – an abomination of morality and taste. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed a bevy of elite media corporations to ravage the airwaves with impunity, sweeping aside the remnants of local radio culture and replacing it with an endless stream of scientifically manufactured drivel to befuddle and distract the American people from their duties as citizens. We then proceeded to unmask public radio for the lily-livered scoundrels that they be, in their pathetic attempts to represent the public interest as they stoop to using the public airwaves to shill for the corporate villains.
At this point, we incited the good townspeople to join us in our perhaps foolhardy yet necessary acts of mass resistance to the media monopoly. We detailed the essentials of pirate radio operation and passed out many thousands of handbills explaining where to obtain supplies and assistance. If the locals already had an operation, we examined it and assisted with it’s improvement, if necessary. We marveled at the knowledge and ingenuity of other pirates whose paths we crossed, and brought tidings of new technique and innovation from station to station. During our tour, we witnessed the hoisting of several new antennas flying the jolly roger.
Finally, we brought tidings of a gathering of radio pirates of every stripe in our home port of Philadelphia, April third, fourth and fifth. The purpose of said gathering is twofold – for the novice deck hand, it will be a chance to fraternize with folks who’ve been doing this for a while and get the benefits of these old sea dogs knowledge to avoid the many false paths and sea disasters that can beset intrepid new adventurers. For seasoned microbroadcasters, it will be a forum for the formulation of a battle plan to kick the ass of the media moguls and build a free communications system for everyone, to chart a course for our movement through the next months of petitions, enforcement actions and technical challenges. Much to our chagrin, we have not had time to make it to the much of the midwest before the conference, but plans are being considered to continue the tour this summer.
In short, our radio tour was a rousing success and we’ve certainly made good progress on our promise to the FCC: For every community radio station that you attempt to harass and bully out of their constitutional rights, we have helped to set in motion ten more to fill their place. In the face of the successful efforts of this movement, the FCC has begun to take great pains to appear to the media that they are willing to negotiate the possibility of a licensed low power FM service. If they’re serious, then we call upon them to announce a moratorium on spurious harassment and court action until a dialogue has occurred on the possibilities for a compromise. There can be no true meeting of the minds when one party holds a club behind it’s back.
Your Dial Was Made for Revolution!
The Radio Mutiny Collective