F.C.C. pulls plug on H.F.R.A. Radio Free-radio pirates remain determined

Feb 20, 2008 7:54 am

From Santa Cruz IMC:
On Sunday, December 16, the Federal Communication Commission paid a surprise visit to the Humboldt Free Radio Alliance studio wielding a cease operations order. Two agents, reportedly from San Francisco’s FCC office, delivered the order in response to an unspecified complaint. The agents did not confiscate any studio equipment and left without verifying the exact location of the studio. The in-studio D.J shut down the transmitter and contacted other HFRA members. Because of the visit, the station is off the air until further notice.

This is not the first time the FCC has tried to curtail the 45-watt transmission from this small radio station. At least two other visits have been made over the last several years never resulting in a significant shutdown of HFRA. “We are usually able to get back on the air a couple days after the FCC visits, but this hiatus will be prolonged because we have to find a new studio.” says Downbeat, a long time HFRA member. In addition to the cease operations order, the FCC contacted the owner of the property and the property management company of the studio’s location. “That is the first time the FCC has gone after the property owners when trying to shut us down.” laments a DJ who broadcasts under the name Ann Archy.

The Humboldt Free Radio Alliance has broadcast without a license in the Humboldt Bay area since 1999. It is part of a long tradition of free-radio activists broadcasting in Humboldt County going back to the early nineties. In recent years, HFRA moved to 99.9 FM where it broadcasts Thursdays through Sundays. “We believe that local communities should dictate the content of their airwaves. Out of touch bureaucracies like the FCC base their actions and laws around the profit gains of big media, not free speech.” asserts DJ Thrash, who broadcasts several hours a week on HFRA. The FCC crackdown on HFRA came two days before FCC chairman Kevin Martin pushed through a ruling that loosened media ownership regulations allowing media companies to further consolidate control in local markets. Thrash indignantly adds, “Can you believe the nerve? Harassing our small community station with one hand while stroking the pockets of media giants with the other. This is exactly why HFRA and other low power stations are more important than ever.”

Despite the setback, HFRA is determined to continue broadcasting in Humboldt County, however they remain off the air until a new home for their studio is found. Downbeat claims with confidence, “We not only plan to remain on the air in defiance of the FCC order, but we intend to expand our radio transmission so we can reach more Humboldt Bay [WINDOWS-1252?]communities.” He adds, “We are an all-volunteer collective that needs financial and community support from individuals and businesses alike.” From: http://www.freakradio.org/
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