TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Pirate Radio Stations Challenge Feds

Re: Pirate Radio Stations Challenge Feds

mc (
Mon, 25 Sep 2006 02:45:25 -0400

Martha Mendoza <> wrote in message

> By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer

> To Stephen Dunifer, it was yet another revolutionary moment. But to the
> untrained eye, it looked more like a geek fest. Over four days, a dozen
> men and women shyly bumped shoulders as they studied schematics and
> tinkered with romex connectors, resistors, microphone cords, meters,
> sockets and capacitors -- the stuff of illegal radio stations.

I'd be inclined to favor an easy licensing system for very-low-power
stations, subject only to the condition that each one originates its
own programming and does not simply relay something else. But I
strongly suspect the "pirates" wouldn't get licenses even if licenses
were available.

From the rest of the story, it sounds like being illegal, and
deliberately antagonizing the FCC, is part of the game.

There's also the issue of technical standards -- staying on frequency
and not having harmonics that take out something else, such as fire
departments or air traffic signals.

And also the issue of paying for the music that they broadcast, if
they broadcast commercially produced music. I'll bet they don't want
to do that.

> Some opt to broadcast on the Internet as well, opening up their
> audience to the entire globe.

That, of course, requires no license at all and should be encouraged.
It still requires the permission of music copyright holders.

> _When federal agents raided Free Radio Santa Cruz in 2004, a crowd of
> several hundred protesters soon gathered at the 10-year-old broadcast
> center -- including the mayor, who was shouting through a bullhorn. The
> tires on the FCC agents' cars were slashed before they could leave, and
> then they received parking tickets before they could repair them.

Is Santa Cruz trying to secede from the United States, then? And even
from the International Telecommunications Union?

I don't think any of these "rebels" realize is that the only reason
they *have* clear channels to transmit on is that the FCC regulates
radio. If there were no regulation, competitors would be free to jam
each other and would do so.

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