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Feds raid Santa Cruz pirate radio station

Feds raid Santa Cruz pirate radio station

Sep. 29, 2004
Mercury News

U.S. Marshal Service served a warrant on a tiny Santa Cruz pirate radio station early Wednesday, rousting and frisking the pajama-clad residents of the co-op house from which the station has been broadcasting.

No one was arrested. ``This is not a criminal action against people,'' said Supervising Deputy Cheryl Koel.

The object of the federal action was Free Radio Santa Cruz, an FM micro-station boasting from 35 to 40 watts of power and offering round-the-clock music, activism and other local programming, in addition to such national programming as Radio Pacifica's ``Democracy Now.''

The blue-jacketed marshals and agents of the Federal Communications Commission dismantled the station's equipment and carried it to a waiting pickup with a camper shell as the crowd yelled ``Shame! Shame!'' and ``Go home!''

But despite Koel's assurances, the people who lived in the house on Laurel Street did feel acted-against.

``They got me out of bed,'' said Erin Calentine, 21. ``They were yelling, `Federal marshals! We have a warrant! Come down! We're here for the radio,' '' she said.

After being frisked, the residents were kept outside for about half an hour while the marshals ``secured the location,'' said Calentine, quoting the marshals' cop-speak.

Hours later residents, programmers, friends of alternative radio and enemies of corporate media, joined by two city council members, one council candidate and two congressional candidates, milled around on the sidewalk and in the street, being careful to avoid traffic.

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