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Armed Federal Agents Shut Down Free Radio Santa Cruz

Forwarded from Liberation News: lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news
Armed Federal Agents Shut Down Free Radio Santa Cruz

By STEVEN ARGUE

SANTA CRUZ, CA

On Wednesday September 29th, a morning raid carried out by armed Federal Marshals and agents of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stormed Free Radio Santa Cruz, toppled their broadcasting antenna, and stole $5,000 worth of radio equipment.

Free Radio Santa Cruz is a low-power non-commercial radio station that has been broadcasting non-corporate news, poetry, and music for the past ten years. Through Free Radio local anarchists, liberals, and socialists (including this author) have been defiantly claiming airwaves that the U.S. government claims belong only to the big, and mainly corporate, radio stations.

Free Radio Santa Cruz does not interfere with the broadcasts of other stations, and in fact recently had to change from 96.3 to 101.1 because the FCC sold their frequency to a religious station that began interfering with Free Radio’s broadcasts. The only real interference from Free Radio for corporate stations like Clear Channel is that Free Radio cuts through their propaganda and tells the truth. And while Clear Channel organizes pro-war Bush rallies Free Radio gets people out to protest war, racism, union busting, homophobia etc.

Claims by the FCC that Free Radio broadcasts are illegal because the station is unlicensed are laughable. FCC harassment of Free Radio began long before there was even a licensing process for micro-radio stations. Under the current licensing process a license to broadcast would cost the financially strapped collective tens of thousands of dollars. According to Free Radio programmer Phil Free the filing fee alone for gaining a license would cost the collective $10,000. Yet even if the Free Radio collective had money that they do not have, the FCC would not allow Free Radio a license because they refused to shut down their broadcasts when the FCC ordered them to do so (at a time before there was even a licensing process).

The current licensing process is set up to make it impossible for micro-broadcasters to gain a license, so that the FCC can claim there were legal avenues for those they have silenced. A headline article in the corporate Santa Cruz Sentinel on September 30th dutifully repeated this FCC allegation without explaining that it would be impossible for Free Radio to gain a license under the FCC’s current rules.

This Santa Cruz raid comes right on the heals of a federal raid on KFAR (Knoxville First Amendment Radio) on September 15th. Federal raids on micro-broadcast stations across the U.S. are a regular form of repression in this country.

150 people came out immediately on the morning of the raid to protest this government attempt to silence dissent. Placards told passing motorists of the raid while free soup was served and the tires of federal vehicles were slashed.

It has been defiance that has kept Free Radio on the Air as long as it has been, and that defiance will continue. Plans are already under way to put the station back on the air. Since the Feds stole Free Radio’s equipment it will take money to get up and running again. Donations can be sent to: PO Box 7507 Santa Cruz, CA 95061. Send checks payable to Free Radio Santa Cruz, or visit www.freakradio.org to donate through a safe and secure credit card transaction.
 
 


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Comments

Re: Armed Federal Agents Shut Down Free Radio Santa Cruz

Steve, thanks for this well written aarticle.

The Federal agents seemed overwhelmed by the large amount of community support for Free Radio Santa Cruz.

I heard that people were collecting donations for FRSC on Pacific Ave. on Wednesday and Thursday nights. THANKS!

It was also nice to know that KZSC, KKUP, KUSP and KPIG (perhaps other radio stations as well....) put out information on Wednesday morning that FRSC was being raided.

This event will bring us together as a community, making us stronger and more effective.
 

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