Working the System

There are many that say it’s no use to try to change something from the inside. Maybe it’s because they’re not sure how. Once again, legal experts in the microradio movement have a bright idea for tactics – use the FCC’s regulatory system as a tool! Written by Peter Franck, a member of the legal team defending Stephen Dunifer and Free Radio Berkeley.

This is a report, a proposal, and poses questions to the micro community. Please share this with groups that are not on line.

In the Dunifer case, Dunifer’s primary defense against the U. S. government’s request for a court injunction to stop him from broadcasting was that FCC Regulations barring low-power stations from getting a license were unconstitutional. The Court ruled that Dunifer did not have “standing” to raise this defense because he had not applied and asked for a waiver of the licensing provisions. In other words, the Court refused to consider the constitutionality of the regulations because Dunifer had not asked the FCC to waive those requirements which seem to make it impossible for a low-power broadcaster to get a license to broadcast lawfully. (The same Judge, early in the case, had expressed great doubt about the constitutionality of the FCC regulations. In this ruling she was refusing to consider the issue.) While we think the Judge’s reasoning is terribly wrong, the fact is that the FCC has been filing this Judge’s decision in other Courts around the country with some success. Read More

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

Free Radio Berkeley Wins Round in Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Lawyers Guild Committee on Democratic Communications

PRESS RELEASE

Court Rejects FCC’s Constitutional Catch 22

United States District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has rejected another attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to silence Berkeley Micro Radio Broadcaster Stephen Dunifer, founder of Free Radio Berkeley.

In a 13 page opinion released on November 12, 1997, Judge Wilken once again rejected the government’s motion for an injunction to silence micro radio broadcasts by local radio pioneer Stephen Dunifer. Read More

NAB Declares War; Dunifer’s Response

Recently the National Association of Broadcasters sent out a communication to its members urging them to be listening closely to their FM dials for “pirates” and, if any are found, to report them immediately to the FCC. Microradio activists have taken this as tantamount to an act of war.

What follows is a response from Stephen Dunifer, founder of Free Radio Berkeley. Now that the NAB has stepped in and is trying to throw their weight around on free radio, it’s about time someone stepped forward in defense of microcasting.

In response to the direct attack on micropower broadcasting by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) we, as a coalition of Micropower Broadcasters, supporters and interested parties, make the following statement. Read More