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Heard on the Beat

Radio Pirates

October 05, 1998|JUBE SHIVER Jr.

Supporters of the free radio movement gathered in Washington during the weekend to share their radio engineering skills and protest the Federal Communications Commission's crackdown on unlicensed radio operators.

Relations between the federal agency and radio pirates have become increasingly strained since the U.S. District Court in San Francisco issued a permanent injunction in June barring the operator of broadcast station Radio Free Berkeley from making any further transmissions without obtaining a license from the FCC.

Operators of unlicensed stations contend they have no alternative but to violate federal law as long as the FCC refuses to carve out a class of radio station licenses for small community broadcasters without deep pockets.

The FCC says such stations can interfere with licensed radio station operators. The unlicensed operators dispute that claim.

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