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News :: Alternative Media

Local pirate radio station searches for new home

Pirate Power Radio

Local pirate radio station searches for new home

By Matt Koumaras

FREE RADIO SANTA CRUZ (96.3FM), the county's lone pirate radio station, says it needs a little help from its friends in the community. The 20-DJ collective, which has been broadcasting for five years, thought it had found a happy hiding place at its current Eastside Santa Cruz location. Unfortunately, the lease expires at the end of this month.

Free Radio Santa Cruz can afford to pay up to $300 month rent, but it is against the wall, facing high rental costs in the city. Says Merlin, the first station DJ to reveal his face to the public, "This station started out from bare bones. I wish we could keep the station we have now. It's so beautiful." Merlin changed his name two years ago after becoming enthralled by reading a few stories about the Arthurian sorcerer.

A lanky spark plug of 45 years, Merlin could use some real magic to keep the station's vision real. "Freedom of speech and saving our planet is what we're all about," he says, explaining the station's raison d'être. "We really try to serve the community and attempt to speak up for everyone that doesn't have a voice." The station broadcasts around the clock without any advertising dollars and can be picked up with a cheap antenna all the way from Bonny Doon to Watsonville. Free Radio Santa Cruz refuses to pay the FCC's yearly $2,500 licensing fee for one-watt stations because it believes you shouldn't have to pay for your beliefs. The station also does not condone the FCC's invasion-of-privacy routines. According to Merlin, "They're still beating down pirate radio stations left and right but not us."

Merlin hosts The Idle Hands Show, Tuesdays from 4 to 7pm. "Tape these," he orders, handing me a couple copies of his show. "They could be worth a million dollars someday." The show is packed with head-banging and prog-rock tunes from the '60s through the '90s. Merlin describes his show as "the best old-school, rock & roll, satanic metal on the planet." Merlin's raspy yet resonant delivery dominates the airwaves--imagine someone as shamefully funny as Howard Stern but far less egocentric.

Over the past two years, Merlin's show has featured up-and-coming local bands such as Slow Gherkin, Vincent's Ear and Herbert. He enthusiastically describes the Santa Cruz music scene as "the new Seattle." Merlin encourages all local bands, regardless of musical style, to contact the station for an interview and an opportunity to showcase new material.

Shows such as the Essence of Venus (Friday, 9-11pm) and Matthew Embry's Technical Difficulties (Sunday, 7-11pm) also spin the cogs of the local scene. Assuming a new location can be found soon, there are plans to boost the transmitter from 40 watts to 100 watts and to broadcast in stereo.

But the current system works fine for Merlin, who declares, "It's better to have a radio station with few listeners than no radio station at all." He knows community leaders view the station as a bastion of free speech. He even shows me a copy of a resolution from the Santa Cruz City Council supporting the station. Strong backing unfortunately won't count for much if the station can't find a new place to broadcast by the first of August. They are seeking a small office space, a warehouse--anything to keep the station breathing.

Free Radio Santa Cruz: 427-4523 or P.O. Box 7507, Santa Cruz 95061.

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/07.14.99/pirate-radio-9928.html

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News :: Alternative Media

Bad Reception: Free radio movement sullied by immature antics

Notes From the Underground

Bad Reception: Free radio movement sullied by immature antics

Regarding the recent high-profile eviction at that house on Campbell Street, which has since been reduced to splinters: Even if the landlord neglected the place as badly as the tenants did, the behavior of the residents was juvenile and pathetic and it annoys me that the public associates them with Free Radio Santa Cruz.

I support the free radio movement because I believe people of all types should be able to broadcast their views--uncensored--to anybody in their own communities who cares to listen. Locally, I think Free Radio SC has done at least some interesting political stuff that can't be found elsewhere, plus a lot of really good music. It's the only station here--apart from a few shows on KZSC, KAZU and KUSP--where you could hear genuine punk rock, hardcore hip-hop, experimental noise and other non-mainstream music. And there are no commercials, which is the main reason commercial radio sucks (other than the fact they play crappy, generic music and the DJs are annoying).

Regrettably, however, FRSC is often publicly associated with (and is at the moment virtually controlled by) a small group of people who pretend to be anarchists or something similar. But rather than focusing their energies on improving any community, these characters mainly preach to the converted and loudly assail those who disagree with them in a fashion that completely eludes credibility. They refuse to pay rent on their ramshackle Campbell Street house and refuse to leave when the landlord has it condemned.

When the cops come, the residents make a big media event out of it. They play Waco, barricade the joint and throw jars of urine at the officers. I have little love for the man in blue, but these cats practically begged the cops to beat the shit out of them.

Do they really want anarchy? I doubt it. Real anarchy, as a friend of mine notes, results in oppression of the weak, sick and elderly by whoever has the biggest guns. Everyone deserves a voice, but the importance of the free radio movement goes far beyond FRSC's core of wannabe activists, whose childish antics are a knife in the back of the thoughtful people who care about seeing the movement succeed.

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/09.05.96/notes-under-9636.html

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News :: Alternative Media

Beer Today, Ganja Tomorrow

NuZ
May 23, 1996

It was a routine worthy of Keystone Kops. Seems that some of the more raucous DJs at Free Radio Santa Cruz were getting on the nerves of the gang at Santa Cruz Citizens for Medical Marijuana, co-tenants at the station's semi-secret studio (everyone but the cops knew the location). On Cinco de Mayo, irate "Citizen" Neil Hokenstad, who allegedly had eschewed green buds that night for Budweiser, kicked down the station's door prepared to kick DJ Skidmark Bob's butt.

Within minutes after Hokenstad broke down the door, a phalanx of free-radio supporters arrived to the rescue and attempted to calm the reportedly drunk and angry Medi-Pot advocate while packing up their gear for a quick getaway.

According to DJs Phil Free, they got away just in time, too. Police responding to the altercation passed the merry pranksters as they sped away to a new semi-secret location. But in the end, no charges were filed, and apparently the Medi-Pot folks are blissing out in their newfound quiet.

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/05.23.96/nuz-9621.html

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News :: Alternative Media

Anarchy in the VH: Tedious hors d'oeuvres almost spoils the main course at FRSC benefit

Notes From the Underground

Anarchy in the VH: Tedious hors d'oeuvres almost spoils the main course at FRSC benefit

Musical disaster was narrowly avoided at the Free Radio Santa Cruz benefit last Sunday. Showgoers entered the Vet's Hall with plenty of co-conspirator spirit and a few donation bucks at the door, but supernaturally bad planning brought out one tedious acoustic band after another and left very little time for the acts on the bill. The last and worst of the long parade of folkies--sporting a flute and a Casio--got their 15 minutes in a rain of name-calling by the less patient crowd members.

Bread and Thunder, filling in for an under-the-weather Head Case-O-Matic, finally took the stage more than three hours after the show began. Bassist Sara Weiner was near the breaking point at the start of the set, but after a few songs the quivers of rage dissipated as the band revived an audience paralyzed with boredom.Jamie "Kid" Peterson looked docile enough until she got behind the drums, where she powered into the band's signature brand of cacophonic timing that leaves you begging for a catchy tune until you realize that's not the point. Classic punk riffs mutated quickly into slow, displaced chords as singer/guitarist Mindy Ingalls crammed pages of lyrics into the space of seconds. Overall, it was their best show yet despite a rushed sound check and bass-heavy amplification.

Headliners Soda Pop Fuck You suffered from technical problems, which muffled already fairly unoriginal ska lines and turned the vocals into a painful corruption of the Avengers. At that point, however, the kids had sat through one too many freedom-fighting ballad and were just grateful for the opportunity to jump around.

Arwen Curry

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/04.04.96/notes-under-9614.html

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News :: Alternative Media

A Radio Revolution

Denied legal access to the airwaves, low-power radio stations defy the FCC for a voice amid the corporate media monopoly

By Michael Mechanic

It's 5:30 in the morning--too early to be engaging in civil disobedience, but the show must go on. It's still dark and the coffee shops aren't even open yet. I bring some records to the car and drive to local "pirate" station Free Radio Santa Cruz.

In recent months I've participated in a number of illegal broadcasts at FRSC, an unlicensed, low-power FM station operating at 96.3FM. The station itself is small and cluttered, with concrete floors and low ceilings. Near a small mixing board, a couple of microphones and some basic stereo equipment hang various fliers: a poster demanding justice for death row inmate Mumia Abdul Jamal, and notices to programmers, including one reminding them to refuse entrance to investigators from the Federal Communications Commission unless they can produce a warrant.

Apart from the hellish hours, an early-morning programmer might encounter a rat or two when people forget to take out the trash. If the feds happen to show up, there are some hefty civil fines to ponder. But every revolution has it drawbacks.

My show--music by obscure local bands rarely heard on legitimate stations--is hardly revolutionary. Nor, particularly, are the local activists who get on the microphone to rail about local, national and international politics, affirmative action, cops, demonstrations, and community issues.

The revolution is in the medium. Improved technology has brought the cost of broadcasting within the means of the average person. For less than $1,000, any person or group can establish a low-power radio station, albeit illegally. Throughout the San Francisco and Monterey bay areas, collectives that believe their views are not well-represented elsewhere have seized the chance to broadcast to their communities.

Read about the history of pirate radio.
http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/02.01.96/radio2-9605.html

For people traditionally shunned by commercial- and even public-radio hierarchies, access to the local airwaves is a powerful thing, a fact that has contributed to micro-radio's rapid proliferation since its inception in an Illinois public housing project a decade ago. In addition to 24-hour rebel stations run by collectives in Santa Cruz and Berkeley, there are unlicensed stations operating part-time or gearing up in Pacific Grove, Salinas, Watsonville, San Jose, San Francisco, Marin County, Arcata and Petaluma, to name a few.

"It was obvious to me there's so much censorship in the news media that there needs to be more alternative media out there," says Richard Edmondson, part of a small collective that took advantage of an unused frequency at 93.7FM to start San Francisco Liberation Radio in May of 1993. "When the corporate media cover both sides, the 'both sides' is Bill Clinton versus Bob Dole, and that leaves out a wide range of opinion. We just want to tell the truth that we don't feel is being told."

Wild West Chaos?

Free Radio Berkeley founder Stephen Dunifer, who has helped accelerate the micro-radio movement by offering low-cost transmitters and kits for sale, estimates that several hundred low-power stations, each operating at less than 100 watts, are broadcasting around the country.

Some stations, like one in Willow Glen, are "vanity stations"--consisting of sporadic broadcasts by private individuals. Others are dedicated to social and political causes, and broadcast regularly.

Stations that consider themselves part of the "free radio movement" include Radio Zapatista, a bilingual Salinas station that has broadcast at 106.7FM for about a year. Another bilingual station, Watsonville's Radio Watsón, goes out at 96.1FM on certain days. Free Radio Santa Cruz (96.3FM) and Free Radio Berkeley (104.1FM) operate 24-7. San Francisco has four illegal stations, including Liberation Radio and Radio Libre, which serves the city's Hispanic Mission District.

Prominent media critic Ben Bagdikian is the author of The Media Monopoly, a book documenting the degree to which ownership of broadcast facilities has fallen into relatively few hands. He attributes the popularity of free radio to a failure of licensed broadcasters to serve the public interest. "The appearance of these unlicensed stations is a sign that one of the basic premises of licensed broadcasting has been lost and the only real access to a broad range of social and political issues are the pirate stations, plus a few public stations," Bagdikian says. "But the major powers are the commercial stations, and they are giving no significant time to local issues."

The former Washington Post ombudsman adds that the FCC caters to big broadcasting interests, which wield heavy lobbying clout. During the 1980s, he points out, corporate broadcasters and major newspapers--most of which own or are owned by broadcast outfits--were instrumental in quashing the FCC's "Fairness Doctrine," which set forth guidelines on broadcast content.

In effect, corporate broadcasters want the government to protect their frequencies, yet they refuse to allow any public mandate. "The public has not been reminded [by the FCC] that they own the airwaves and the license-holders are supposed to be providing a public service," Bagdikian says.

The FCC, purporting to act in the public interest, is cracking down on unlicensed broadcasters whenever possible. Backed heartily by large broadcasting interests, FCC officials claim the "pirate" radio phenomenon will lead to interference between stations that could ultimately bring a Wild West-style chaos back to the electromagnetic spectrum.

Indeed, the Communications Act of 1934--which established the FCC and gave it power to allocate the spectrum in the public interest--followed a period of radio anarchy in the 1920s. It was commonplace back then for broadcasters to prey on their competitors, operating on the same frequency in order to spirit away listeners. Finally, the broadcasters themselves demanded that the government set forth some regulations.

A Return to Principles

But concerns that these low-power stations will again reduce the spectrum to chaos are spurious. By most accounts, the goal of the modern free-radio movement is not anarchy but a return to true democratic principles. Aside, perhaps, from a few fringe operators, those who set up unlicensed stations do everything possible to avoid interfering with FCC-approved stations. Broadcasters at FRSC, for instance, are instructed to shut down the station temporarily if they can confirm reports of interference. The station, in fact, upgraded its equipment and changed to a new frequency largely to avoid interference with neighboring KUSP.

Although many members of the outlaw collectives enjoy the spirit of defiance, most stations would prefer to broadcast legally. "The idea is to do this in a way where people act as good citizens," Dunifer says. "What we want from the FCC is a simple registration process, where you can find a spot on the dial and send in your technical specifications with a $25 to $50 check for processing. There can be a problem in urban areas because of crowding, but most of that is mismanagement of the airwaves."

The problem is that the FCC doesn't grant FM broadcasting licenses for less than 100 watts. The exceptions are "translator" stations, which rebroadcast the signals of larger stations into more remote areas. But translators are not permitted to do original programming. The FCC stopped licensing other low-power stations in 1978, under the premise that giving licenses only to higher-power broadcasters is a more technically efficient way to allocate the spectrum.

Under current FCC rules, unlicensed radio operators risk civil fines of up to $10,000 a day and possible criminal sanctions of up to $100,000 for broadcasting without a license. After locating a station and issuing a warning, FCC investigators can obtain a warrant and seize any equipment related to the broadcasts. Agents monitor the airwaves regularly, but are more likely to seek out unlicensed stations following complaints of interference.

Northern California FCC investigator David Doon paid a visit to Free Radio Santa Cruz last May after nearby public station KUSP complained about interference problems--which have since been mitigated. Doon says he issued a verbal warning to the "operator," an active member of the collective who goes by the name "Skidmark Bob." But Doon says the FCC has not visited the station since. Shutting down unlicensed stations is a small part of his job, but a "high priority," Doon says.

While the FCC argues that "pirate" radio broadcasts do "irreparable harm" to the public, station operators claim the public is on their side. SF Liberation Radio founder Edmondson says the reaction to his station has been overwhelmingly positive. The only opposition, he says, has come from the FCC and licensed broadcasters.

"There isn't really any opposition," agrees Tom Schreiner, a local resident and UC-Berkeley doctoral student who played a key role in organizing Free Radio Santa Cruz, Radio Zapatista and Radio Watsón, and is helping establish new unlicensed stations in San Jose and other cities around the Bay Area. "People believe deeply in their right to free speech."

Here Come the Cops

Schreiner and Dunifer have given the term "rebel radio" a ring of veracity, training and equipping others to set up several stations in Chiapas, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Philippines. Dunifer helped set up radio stations in Haiti while the military regime was still in power. And when the government of El Salvador raided 11 community radio stations in December and seized their equipment, Dunifer was called upon to help them build new transmitters.

Dunifer began broadcasting at 88.1FM from his Berkeley apartment on April 11, 1993. FCC agents tuned in on his broadcasts and, in early May, followed the signal to his Berkeley apartment. They approached Dunifer, seeking to inspect his transmitter, but were refused. "They didn't have a warrant and they were told to hit the highway," Dunifer recalls.

The commission fined Dunifer $20,000 ($10,000 for each broadcast monitored by the FCC) and took him to federal court on Jan. 20, 1995, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent him from broadcasting further. The defense, led by Dunifer's attorney, Luke Hiken, argued that the FCC's rule banning low-power broadcasting raises serious constitutional issues. Federal District Court Judge Claudia Wilken agreed. She denied the injunction and suggested that the FCC review its own regulatory scheme.

In August, the FCC issued an order defending its ban on low-power stations, stating in one section that "Permitting low-power facilities, as Mr. Dunifer recommends, would lead to a larger number of stations but less overall service. Simply put, full-power broadcast facilities are more spectrally efficient."

Lawyer David Silberman, who argued on behalf of the FCC, believes Wilken's decision encourages other lawbreakers. "The law prohibits broadcasting without a license. By giving carte blanche to Mr. Dunifer, [the ruling] gives carte blanche for others to break the law, and that's dangerous, it seems to me," he says.

Silberman says people can apply for a license along with a request that the FCC waive its rules banning low-power operations. "Nobody has ever applied to the commission for a license to broadcast for under 100 watts," he says. "If you did that, and the applicant was denied, then any arguments about the current scheme for licensing could be made to the Court of Appeals, and from there it can go to the Supreme Court. You cannot anoint yourself a licensee, because the law prohibits that, and for good reason."

If nobody has applied for the license and rule waiver, it's no surprise. The application process is daunting. In answer to a request to the FCC for a license application, potential applicants receive a 30-page Application Fee Filing Guide and a 45-page bulletin, which states that the minimum power for a non-commercial station is 100 watts and offers no suggestions about how a person wanting to operate at low power might proceed. Applicants for non-commercial stations in general must hire consultants to conduct engineering studies, pay large application fees and jump through all sorts of bureaucratic hoops. "It could take anywhere from several months to years, if it's litigated," Silberman admits.

Rebels Here to Stay

From the FCC'S statements in court, it seems clear that the commission does not want the courts to scrutinize the constitutionality of its regulatory process. Dunifer and FCC lawyers will face off again on March 8 in an Oakland Federal District Court. This time, the FCC is asking Judge Wilken to grant a permanent injunction barring Dunifer from the airwaves.

The National Association of Broadcasters--representing the major TV networks along with 1,000 TV stations and nearly 5,000 radio stations--has filed a brief on behalf of the FCC. Dunifer is backed by a brief filed by the National Lawyers Guild's Committee for Democratic Communications, the San Francisco-based Media Alliance, and the Women's International News Gathering Service.

Guild lawyer Peter Franck, who helped write the amicus brief in support of Dunifer, believes the case will eventually go to trial on its constitutional merits. "The micro-radio movement isn't a lawless thing. It's just a way to get on the air cheaply and without a lot of bureaucratic red tape," Franck says.

If Wilkens denies the FCC's injunction and orders a trial, in which constitutional issues could be addressed, Silberman says the FCC will probably appeal the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which could either send the case back to District Court for trial or put it on their own lengthy docket--giving free radio another year to proliferate. If Judge Wilkens issues a permanent injunction, Hiken says, Dunifer, too, will appeal. Historically, the high courts have been extremely reluctant to ban individuals from publishing or broadcasting, a situation known as "prior restraint."

Regardless of the legal outcome, Dunifer believes rebel radio is here to stay. "Whether I would defy an injunction remains to be seen, but this movement is too strong and popular and I don't think an injunction is going to stop it," he says. "Once you give people a voice they've never had, they're not going to give it up."

"[The FCC] really can't win," Schreiner concurs. "This is a technology-driven movement. If the FCC declares these stations to be illegal, I'm sure these stations won't shut down. They'll stand up and fight. They won't allow themselves to be silenced."

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/02.01.96/radio-9605.html

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News :: Alternative Media

Pirate radio station marks 7 years on the air

April 1, 2002

Two volunteers work in the office of Free Radio Santa Cruz, 96.3 on the FM dial.

Sentinel Photo by Dan Coyro

Pirate radio station marks 7 years on the air

By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ — The odds are against most pirate radio stations. Equipment problems, frequency clashes and government oversight tend to do them in.

Many flame out in one or two years. Yet Free Radio Santa Cruz, at 96.3 FM, has been flapping the skull and crossbones since 1995 with little interruption. The tiny 40-watt station celebrated its seventh birthday Saturday.The Federal Communications Commission regards even the smallest unlicensed stations as radio Spam, potentially jamming licensed stations’ signals.

But Santa Cruz’s "anarchist-based" station says it is harming no one while giving voice to the voiceless, especially the poor.

The all-volunteer collective works for one of the country’s longest-lived "pirates."

Its downtown station occupies a room in a house. It’s a riot of bumper stickers, CDs, tapes and posters, with enough room for a few people. A mock Gap ad says "Hitler Wore Khakis." There’s a photo of Bill Clinton with the words "Flesh Eating Zombie," along with juxtaposed headshots of George W. Bush and a chimp.

It’s impossible to know how many people listen in. The programmers — who give a wild assortment of made-up monikers instead of divulging their actual names — have a rule of thumb: about 10 listeners for every caller.

One reason for their longevity: "We don’t talk to the FCC,’" said collective member Aeon Blues, 29. "We don’t give them any information, any paperwork to use against us.’

"What we suggest to programmers: Don’t acknowledge the FCC unless they have a search warrant," said radio personality V-Man, 29, who charges the government with trying to squash free-thinking radio.

The FCC argues censorship is not the issue, although the agency is charged with enforcing some obscenity and content-related regulations.

"I’ll put it this way," said an East Coast-based FCC investigator who would not divulge his name. "Let’s go into Times Square and see what happens if we had no regulations, no traffic signals, let cars drive helter skelter. You’d have total chaos. You need regulation of the airwaves. That’s why the spectrum is licensed by the federal government."

The pirate station says the FCC made warning calls to its landlords, even stopped the mail at a previous location. The FCC spokesman would not comment on Free Radio Santa Cruz.

The government may be suspicious, yet Santa Cruz’s licensed stations are generally supportive.

When Free Radio Santa Cruz started out, its frequency was perilously close to KUSP FM.

KUSP contacted the FCC about the problem, and also confronted Free Radio Santa Cruz, which agreed to a frequency shift.

"I had to get heavy with them about it," said KUSP station manager Peter Troxell. "I brought them into the station and we talked about it. They willingly made the move, no problem."

Since those early days, the station hasn’t mellowed, but did sharpen its focus.

"Over the past seven years we’ve matured as an organization," said V-Man. "You can only say "(expletive) the FCC" so many times before it gets a little tired and boring."

They broadcast stories about homelessness, local and national politics and the death penalty, but mix it up with everything from punk bands to world music.

They also feature radical feminist Ann Simonton, who played a vital role in getting the Miss California pageant booted from town. One of many other contributors is activist Robert Norse, with his twice-weekly "BathRobespierre’s Broadsides."

The station also has Web streaming, which explains why programmer Mistress Violet once found herself taking requests "from a hung-over punk band in Tasmania. They wanted to hear an obscure song."

Not just anyone can get on the air. They must fill out a modest application and prepare a sample tape. Programmers say station guidelines include no hate speech.

But the guidelines were never meant to include money-making savvy. The station operates in the red, and is subsidized by collective members who pay $500 a month for rent, Pacific Gas & Electric and other expenses.

The radio station reflects on a few highlights: an interview with preservationist and tree-sitter Julia Butterfly Hill, and V-Man’s trip to Philadelphia where he reported on Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of murdering a police officer. Abu-Jamal’s detractors accuse him of manipulating public opinion, but supporters have long argued Abu-Jamal was framed because of his radical political views.

But the station has also gone through turbulence. In 1996, police broke into a condemned Campbell Street house that tenants barricaded with furniture. The station was operating from the house at the time and some members of the collective lived there. A few were arrested at the scene.

Police said they faced urine-filled booby traps and slippery dish soap on the ground. Officers said they were splashed with urine thrown down the stairway.

Free Radio collective members say that the protest was about tenants’ rights and getting relocation fees to move elsewhere. The city charged that tenants had trashed the property.

"It wasn’t a Free Radio protest no matter how you look at it," said Blues. "Free Radio just happened to be operating from the house. ... There were no actual booby traps, just stuff piled in the house to make it harder to get through."

The station moved elsewhere. Blues said the tenants sued the landlord and won $200 each in relocation assistance.

Now the station continues to survive without mandated programming lists, without top-down management or even paid advertisements.

V-Man did attempt a modest pledge drive once.

"I hijacked the news," he said. "I wouldn’t read the news until I raised $96."

Free Radio Santa Cruz is available on the Internet at www.microradio.net/frsc.

Contact Dan White at dwhite@santa-cruz.com.

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2002/April/01/local/stories/01local.htm

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Commentary :: Police State

Abide by the law

Letters to the Editor

October 10, 2004

Why does half of Santa Cruz County believe that rules don’t apply to them? The FCC has rules about licensing that everyone has to abide by. That includes Free Radio Santa Cruz. Just because you don’t agree with the rules doesn’t mean you get to ignore them. Mayor Scott Kennedy said the raid was inappropriate, but was slashing the agents’ tires appropriate? And why weren’t any arrests made? Would that have been inappropriate, too? I’m a full supporter of free speech and I also support following the rules and laws of the country, even if I don’t agree with them. Grow up, Free Radio Santa Cruz. Get a license like every other radio station and then broadcast your rhetoric.

MELISSA SPELZINI

WATSONVILLE

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2004/October/10/edit/let.htm

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Commentary :: Alternative Media

Free Free Radio S.C.

Letters to the Editor

October 10, 2004

The fascist thought police came to Santa Cruz on Wednesday morning and shut down Free Radio Santa Cruz. They stole $5,000 worth of citizen broadcasting equipment.

The federal marshals and the FCC agents were armed to the teeth. Did they expect armed resistance? They raided the radio station’s studio with guns drawn in a show of force intended to intimidate citizens. It was a sad day in Amerika.

American citizens are the most ignorant in the industrial world because the wealthy and their corporations control U.S. media and decide the parameters of acceptable topics for public discourse. The New York Times’ arrogant statement on its front page, "All the news that’s fit to print," begs the question — according to whom.

Unlicensed low-power radio stations inform citizens about subjects the wealthy don’t want exposed to the light of day.

More power to them because they embody the First Amendment.

ED OBERWEISER

SANTA CRUZ

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2004/October/10/edit/let.htm

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