Free Radio Berkeley shut down: press release & contact info FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 23 Jun 1998 02:37:08 -0700 (PDT)


FWD  CC Replies to Free Radio Berkeley <frbspd@crl.com>

For more information, contact Free Radio Berkeley at 510-594-8082
or visit our website at http://www.freeradio.org
The following members of Free Radio Berkeley are available for interviews:
Paul Griffin 510-848-1455
Sue Supriano 510-540-8850
Tracy James 510-420-1204
Jennifer Barrios 510-845-0942


For Immediate Release

     Free Radio Berkeley, Berkeley's only low power community radio
station, has been shut down by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),
but the fight for free speech on the public airwaves continues.

     The FCC, ignoring its mission to regulate radio broadcasting "in the
public interest", has developed rules that effectively concentrate radio
ownership in the hands of large corporations while leaving the public
excluded.  The national free radio movement is challenging these FCC rules.
 As Robert McChesney, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
stated in his affidavit for Free Radio Berkeley's legal case, "by failing
to accommodate the creation and use of new micro radio technologies that
are simple and inexpensive to operate, the FCC has failed to meet its
obligation to establish a licensing scheme that meets the public interest."

     This injunction, which represents the latest attempt by the FCC to
dodge the core issue of free speech, is based on a legal technicality.  In
fact, Federal Judge Claudia Wilken in her June 16th order explicitly states
that "this ruling is not based on the merits of [Free Radio Berkeley's]
criticisms of the FCC's refusal to license micro broadcasters."

     "The government has failed to show",Judge Wilken previously
wrote,"whether the FCC's complete prohibition of micro radio is
constitutional..."

     Free Radio Berkeley was operating 24 hours a day with 100 volunteer
community members on an unused frequency.  The station's unlicensed
broadcasts were an act of civil disobedience to effect a change in the
FCC's rules so that Free Radio Berkeley and the hundreds of other micro
power stations across the country could be legally licensed to broadcast.

     Until 1978, the FCC licensed stations operating at under 100 watts, or
"Class D" stations.  In that year, corporations successfully lobbied the
FCC to eliminate Class D licenses, largely because they represented a
threat to the monopoly that media corporations have continually enjoyed.
Even today, the FCC licenses 10 watt "translator" stations; these
micropower stations are used to re-broadcast a signal over large mountains
or other obstructions to communities below.  There is no technical
difference between these "translator" stations and micropower stations; the
only difference is that the licensed translators cannot originate
programming.

     The FCC has never presented a good reason why micropower stations
should not be licensed.  There is, however, a good reason why they should:
It's called the First Amendment.  Free Radio Berkeley and micropower
stations across the nation continue in their fight for legal access to the
airwaves.

END FORWARD


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