FRSC Operations Briefly Interrupted by FCC A completely biased article by Clamydia Liam Oohay |
Ahh, the airwaves. This precious commodity has recently been gutted, stripped clean, and served up steaming on a platter to Clear Channel thanks to Fuckface Powell, current king of the Fuckface Communications Commission, otherwise known as the FCC. For years, the FCC has been terrorizing small-time radio stations in what has amounted to an all-out war on independent media. Freak Radio Santa Cruz, located in Santa Cruz, CA has been fortunate enough to avoid this drama show, having been served with cease and desist letters several times by this swashbuckling federal entity, but never having been raided. Unfortunately, that all ended today.
At 9:00 AM PST, Fuckface marshals bullied their way into the station on Laurel streets, six months after their last in-person delivery of a demand to stop broadcasting (A demand which, like the others, was refused out of hand by the dedicated souls that make up the hard core of FRSC.). The marshals, armed with assault-type rifles, handguns, tear gas and/or concussion grenades, bolt cutters, a battering ram and bullet-proof vests, made their way through the house where the station currently resides, ejecting its residents onto the sidewalk as they secured the site with no regard for the fact that some were still in their bathrobes, still wiping the sleep from their eyes.
The agents proceeded to read a prewritten statement explaining what they were doing, the words of which have been forgotten due to the traumatic events of the day. Next, they confiscated all of the electronic equipment in the studio, a short list of which would include the station's computer (which really sucks because a lot of their audio was archived on the computer, with backups to cd and other machines being scattered and difficult to track down), the mixer board, multiple CD players, cassette players, mp3 players, the transmitter, their video equipment, and two turntables. These items may seem to be incapable of providing a way to continue to transmit an FM signal, but if ET can make an ansible transmitter out of a Skill saw blade, a See & Spell, and a fucking umbrella, then I suppose that the FRSC kids could figure out how to make a transmitter out of a record player and a tape deck.
150-200 Santa Cruz residents showed up in short order to protest the actions of the FCC, most of them listeners, and many of whom had taken the time to scrawl a brief message of their own on a sign that they brandished in the face of this atrocity. Among them was city Mayor Christopher Krohn, who made a statement that reaffirmed the City Council's 2002 resolution that recognized and supported FRSC's existence and status as an asset to the community, and that also chastised the FCC for yet again stifling freedom of speech in such trying times as these. Also on hand to witness the unfolding tragedy were several representatives of local television, radio, and printed media outlets. The marshals tried in vain at one point to remove people from the sidewalk. Realizing they were outnumbered, they quickly stood down and continued their "work". At one point, marshals attempted to steal a camera or possibly the memory stick out of the camera from a reporter for Santa Cruz Independent Media Center (santacruz.indemedia.org), but when he began yelling and drawing attention from the large crowd of people around, they backed off. Also, a station programmer was shoved four feet by a marshal.
The lowest point of the day probably came when they climbed the roof and took down the antenna, cutting cables, and unscrewing bolts in order to bring down the towering voice of the people. Many onlookers broke into tears. The marshals, callous, carried on.
One of the arguments that the FCC has used in the past for stomping all over the people's right to broadcast is that of interference; if people are allowed to individually broadcast radio willy nilly, then everyone's signal will get drowned out by everyone else. However, today's events come only five months after a local christian rock station showed up and began broadcasting on the same frequency as Freak Radio. In order to avoid interference, FRSC changed its frequency from 96.3 FM to 101.1 FM, effectively rendering the interference argument moot by making it clear that unlicensed stations are perfectly capable of avoiding each other and can coexist without interference. Of course, the interference argument is a pretense anyway; everyone who knows what's going on knows that the real reason the FCC raids unlicensed stations is to maintain credibility the same way that Mafia bosses maintain credibility by breaking the legs of business owners who refuse to pay them "protection" money. In a sense, the FCC was once the mafia boss of the airwaves, and has now relinquished the business of regulating their assets to Clear Channel, who now has the right to own and maintain as many stations as they want, a right which they are rapidly exercising to its fullest.
Independent radio stations across the country are rapidly disappearing thanks to the Fuckface hordes. One only has to look at the fate of recently-raided KFAR of Knoxville, TN, or Free Radio Berkely in Berkely, CA to see that today's raid on FRSC is part of a systematic process by the FCC to cut off the voice of the people, of communities across the country. We can't stand idly by while this happens. We need to activate, and activate now! Support your local independent media: Start up your own! Buy a transmitter and broadcast! Show the FCC that for every station they temporarily put off the air, fifty will spring up in its place. The time to fight is NOW.
Officials from FRSC say that they expect to be back on the air by the end of the day.
Fuck the FCC,
PS: For more information, stay tuned to Portland Indymedia or visit www.freakradio.org or santacruz.indymedia.org.