Stimulus/Response Goes Coast to Coast: FCC Visits Vermont

Stung twice in California by the cities of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, who like their microradio stations unlicensed, thank you very much, the FCC shifts focus and moves on two stations in Vermont.

Radio Free Brattleboro, who just returned to the air two weeks ago after a visit from field agents, got an FCC follow-up yesterday. None of the station DJs actually spoke face-to-face with them; two strained yet cordial conversations were conducted through a locked door.

The first time the agents asked to enter and inspect the station they were prompted to show a warrant. The FCC duo responded by asking to see RFB’s authority to broadcast. Someone inside shot back: “the people of Brattleboro had authorized us to do so.” Read More

RFB Returns; FRSD Gets Grant; RFPI Gets Reprieve

When the FCC came and intimidated Radio Free Brattleboro off the air in June, the Vermont community responded with zeal. A parade float, petition drive, and countless benefits and station meetings later, the station returned to the airwaves today on 107.9 FM. That frequency is currently vacant, but there is a pending LPFM application for it. RFB has promised to vacate the frequency if and when the license is awarded and the station is ready to broadcast.

A local petition drive has drawn “way more than 2,000 signatures” in support of the station, reports RFB’s Steven Twiss: “The petition’s signatories include several area heavy-hitters including politicians, business owners and artists. One, a wonderful older woman, is on the town council. She bought a ‘Free rfb’ T-shirt and wore it to a few council meetings, which are broadcast on the local cable access channel.” There is also an online petition drive for anyone else interested in symbolically standing with them. 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