NYC Steal This Radio "pirates" Defy FCC/Ap 15 - go ON AIR, sue

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 07:55:45 -0700 (PDT)


(en) NY Radio Pirates Defy FCC

Greg Ruggiero (gregruggiero@earthlink.net)
Thu, 09 Apr 1998 19:50:13 -0400

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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Info Call: 358-5774

COMMUNITY RADIO DEFIES FCC
"Steal This Radio" Returns to the Airwaves and Announces Lawsuit after
Threatened with Raid

NEW YORK CITY. Members of "Steal This Radio," an unlicensed radio station
in Lower Manhattan, will switch their transmitter ON at a public press
conference at noon on Wednesday, April 15 at the George Washington statue
at 26 Wall Street and Nassau. On the same day, FREE SPEECH will file a
lawsuit against the FCC for violations of its constitutional rights.

In defense of First Amendment rights, an organization called FREE SPEECH,
composed of members and listeners of STEAL THIS RADIO, is filing a suit
against the FCC for violations of the First Amendment. "We want the world
to know that the first amendment is not rhetorical, but real. We want the
world to know that free speech and the FCC are at odds with one another,
and if this country is still about democracy, that FREE SPEECH will win,"
says Robert Perry, the group's attorney.

On Thursday, March 5th, an agent of the FCC visited the neighborhood of
STEAL THIS RADIO and threatened to raid the station with Federal Marshals
if the station was not "brought into code," which means broadcasting no
more than 200 feet. The agent claimed that he was responding to a signal
interference complaint made by Hofstra University's radio station, WRHU.
When WRHU was contacted to verify the FCC's claim, station manager Bruce
Avery stated that no formal complaint had been made on behalf of the
station, nor was he aware of any signal interference. Moreover, he said,
the Lower East Side is not part of WRHU's "primary or secondary signal
contour".

The FCC's move to shut down Steal this Radio is part of a nationwide
crackdown on micropower radio in an attempt to silence community groups
accessing the airwaves for non-commercial cultural, social, and civic
purposes. Despite recent statements by FCC Chairman that express interest
in diversifying the airwaves via micropower radio, and concern for radio's
shrinking number of corporate owners, in practice the FCC has stepped up
its attack on unlicensed stations.

The number of unlicensed radio stations has steadily increased since the
FCC abolished the low-watt license category in 1978. More than 1,000
micro-broadcasting stations are currently on the air nationwide, and are
active in a movement to enable community groups to access the
publicly-owned airwaves without fear of harrassment, fines or imprisonment.
In solidarity with the movment, three stations which the FCC has recently
harrassed are going back on the air on April 15: Steal This Radio, Radio
Free Allston in Allston, Massachusetts, and 87x in Tampa, Florida.

"Corporate consolidation trends in media have greatly narrowed the scope of
what kind of news and music is available on the FM dial," said DJ Chrome.
"As ever more New Yorkers become frustrated with this corporate
homogenization, the need for community radio stations which reflect the
diversity and culture of our neighborhoods increases. This is about civil
rights, about a growing movement to challenge the injustice of the Federal
government. The case is clear. This is about Free Speech versus the FCC."

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