Skip to comments.Pols back Dot radio station (Feds shut down Touch 106.1) (pirate radio)
Posted on 04/19/2014 5:37:58 AM PDT by raccoonradio
Bay State politicians are defending an unlicensed radio station that was shut down this week by the Federal Communications Commission, but prosecutors say the crackdown was necessary to prevent a public safety hazard.
U.S. Marshals and the FCCs Enforcement Bureau shut down Touch 106.1 FM, an unlicensed Dorchester station, Thursday and seized radio equipment, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday said he was incredibly disappointed by the raid and plans to ask the U.S. Attorneys office to back down.
Youd like to think of them bringing more of a problem-solving approach, he said. Touch is a pretty important voice in the community.
Other politicians were equally vexed with the decision to shut down the unlicensed station founded by former mayoral candidate Charles Clemons.
That station is an institution, said Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Myself and other elected officials of color are working collaboratively to apply pressure to lobby the FCC and find out what recourse exists.
Ortiz defended the crackdown in a statement.
It is a public safety hazard for illegal radio stations to broadcast, potentially interfering with critical radio communications, Ortiz said.
Clemons, who founded the station in 2007, said he has not yet retained counsel, but has received an outpouring of support from local attorneys and elected officials.
He said he was able to get an Internet feed of the station running Thursday night.
Were the Rosa Parks of radio right now, he said. Its not right what happened, and were going to fight.
When asked why Touch 106.1 FM did not get a license, Clemons said, We couldnt. The FCC has shut it down so no one could apply for a license for 15 years. Its not fair.
Ortiz said stations like Clemons could have applied for low power radio licenses and operated their stations in compliance with the law.
"Technically it's not illegal to be illegal in Massachusetts"--poss. Mass Gov Martha Coakley
Boston used to have black-oriented WILD AM 1090 and WILD-FM 97.7. Radio One sold the FM to Entercom so they could relay Worcester's rock station WAAF 107.3 closer to Boston (now WKAF). The AM station is brokered to China Radio International now, running programming that broadcasts about 20 % of normal volume. (Power the same, volume of the broadcast very faint.)
The verdict is in. Howie has officially declared Deval to be a worse governor than Dukakis. It’s hard to disagree.
I recall Hillary back in the 1990’s wanted to end low power FM station licenses apparently (though not ostensibly) because most of the licenses were granted to church affiliated stations in the South.
I guess this means that Obama hates black people.
Another example of misplaced and wasted government resources. Anybody with a shred of radio knowledge would know that an FM broadcast at 106.1 would be highly unlikely to interfere with any "critical radio communications" relevant to public safety unless the hip hop on WWKX from Woonsocket Rhode Island is somehow essential to public safety in Boston. And even then it is unlikely the 106.1 signal would spill over to WWKX's 106.3 band.
Of all the things the US Attorney in Boston could be looking in to and prosecuting, like whether there were more participants in the terror attacks last year, or illegal immigrants with criminal records who should be deported, or even drug gangs smuggling cocaine into Dorchester, somehow they have decided that a tiny community radio station listened to in a poor African American neighborhood is a "public safety threat".
Apparently they have never been in that neighborhood. The residents and visitors are worried about drugs, gangs, and shootings, not a local radio station.
If the US Attorney's office in Boston has nothing better to do than chase after a community radio station, then it would seem that they have too many attorneys and too large a budget for their needed work. The federal budget needs cutting, their office looks like a good place to start.
Different title, but same subject.
Well there are LPFM (Low Power FM) stations and there are translators. The latter cannot originate programming, but can relay another station. There are a bunch of translators that relay religious programming, for example. Some FM translators can relay things like AM talk stations—like
W235AV in “Tatnuck MA” which relays WTAG 580 (200 watts or so, antenna 700 ft up)
An LPFM example:
WLLO-LP 102.9 Londonderry NH (Londonderry public schools) which has about 100 watts. I believe LPFMs cannot run commercials. A translator can.
In Burlington VT “The Radiator” is an LPFM: WOMM-LP 105.9, owned by the Peace and Justice Ctr (how Burlington is that...) while W207AX 89.3 in Burlington VT is a translator, relaying KEAR out in CA, and owned by Family Radio.
The latter is probably a good example of a “church station”.
I don’t know if Clemons would be able to get his station back on as an LPFM but if so he couldn’t run commercials!
Pretty sure his ILLEGAL operation ran commercials too
(they claimed to have the call letters WTCH-LP...but were not an LPFM!)
Because it always comes down to that with demonRATS, doesn't it? Would they be defending lawbreaking done by Caucasians....of course not. Just try to imagine any other group of politicians making such a statement.....
Trey Gowdy: ...... 'Today, myself and all other Caucasian members of the committee were dismayed to find out that Elijah Cumming's staff conversed with Lois Lerner regarding 501c4 applicants who identified as Tea Party groups.'
The networks would have to cancel all other programming in order to run that clip 24/7 and parade countless democrats across the screen to excoriate Gowdy for his racist callousness.
Sorry, though this was kind of an updated version of the story...I had posted that too.
I use to love ‘AAF when I was a kid in the 80s
it’s now WKAF? w-calf? loses quite a bit of the edge. then again, I heard them playing rap - RAP!! - when I checked them out on the Internet a couple of years ago. might as well start playing country...
“Datz Hitz” 99.7 in Boston was shut down and it was said to be interfering with pilot radio at Logan Airport. Maybe not much of a hindrance but poorly tuned transmitters of a pirate station may cause problems, as was said in other thread. Good point(s) though.
That was the thing—they were WBOT for awhile playing rap, then “WILD-FM”, same thing—only the black-owned company decided to sell to Entercom so they could relay rocker WAAF.
It can be very hard to get a LPFM license but with some political backing from favored lackeys like Patrick, it should be possible for the station to go legit.
I remember doing a lot of work in VA and NC in the 1990’s. Driving along the Jeff Davis Highway, just about every local Baptist church had an LPFM station frequency on its roadside billboard. Good for them, I say.
Same posting freep (raccoonradio) different author of the article, slightly different material.
If EVERYONE were allowed to broadcast from anywhere, on any frequency, at any power, the air waves would be a total mess. If a few selected groups (read ‘minorities’) are allowed to broadcast illegally there would be no way to stop others from broadcasting illegally. The “pols” that support an illegal black radio station are simply racist.
I get it
seems like so long ago. a whole different life ... and a country that was shaking off the dregs of carter and learning to stand again thanks to Reagan. when it was ok to strive for success... and not be vilified for daring to dream for anything other then a fedgov supported welfare existence
WAAF might have been a favorite for stoners... but it was also a station loved by people pushing to succeed.
I haven’t run into any driven dreamers in a *very* long time
I'm all in favor of pirate radio but unless I'm missing something here the government always tries to shut it down, so I don't see the racial angle.
Exactly—what should have happened was a group of these minorities band together to buy a station and run what they want (AM or FM). As it is there are some stations who will sell time or even give it away free (I’m on a college station north of Boston that has Hispanic shows on weekends—I would much rather have them do that on a legit station than start their own pirate that could interfere with a station, etc)
The AM and FM spectrum is limited...and things have to be considered like other stations, aircraft radio, etc. But there’s lots of room on the Web to streamcast. As much as I hate “big government” the FCC is there to protect the airwaves. People can pay big bucks to put stations on. What if some pirate then decided to go on right next to them?
One would have hoped public radio could accomodate them but they’re too busy running news-talk (WGBH and WBUR Boston). Public radio is a business too—WGBH has very expensive studios and running lefty talk and news is what gets them donations, corporate tax writeoffs, etc. They don’t have time for R&B, reggae, jazz etc. Thus weaker, college stations pick up the slack...or pirates.
Friend of mine in Methuen MA loved listening to 60s music on WMBR, MIT/Cambridge. One day he found he couldn’t pick them up because of some pirate station. Complained to FCC and the pirate was shut down. This is why we need the FCC!
If you owned or listened to a station that gets interference due to pirate radio you wouldn’t be so thrilled with it. Yeah in places where there’s lots of space on the dial, maybe people can get away with it. But there are select few spots on the dial “open” in places like Boston—and the pirates go on. People with such things as XM Satellite Radio even need a spot on the dial to use so they can hear it in their car...and what if pirates take up all these spots?
I would suggest that the then Corporate Cr@p network didn't like the additional competition.
Back when Art Bell was entertaining, one of his AF hitch stories was being stationed in TX. He and another guy were running some sort of broadcast as a hobby/passion, and when their "station" started appearing in the local Arbitron logs, they were ordered to close it down on the complaints of the local radio stations.
As for the church aspect, there was some legal hole that would allow challenges to NPR frequency assignments which a number of "religious" organizations glommed onto during a re-licensing period. That may have been when she was a NY senator, though.
As for this unlicensed FM station, perhaps they should follow the example of another former operator of an unlicensed FM station (a la "Radio Caroline", as well as a number of other earlier youthful pirate endeavors), Allan Weiner, and go legit?
I didn't realize that ...thanks.
Silly, EVERYTHING is about race when you're black and the gubbmint is shutting you down.
As a licensed Amateur Radio Operator studying for his GROL, gotta say I'm not in favor of pirate radio - especially in the AM and FM bands as consumers know them. These two bands are ordered the way they are for a reason: clarity of signal and ability for consumers to receive clear signals without having to deal with a "mess" of overlapping signals.
Yes, there's the hefty license fee's also however absent order AM and FM would literally be useless.
In the Amateur Radio Bands, we already have to deal with the idiots who come up from CB illegally using amateur radio transceivers that they purchased from unscrupulous dealers, other Hams or estate sales. They make a big mess of the bands with their rude behavior and acting like children disrupting other people's conversations. These ignorant childish CB'ers are "pirates" themselves so no, I'm not in favor of "pirate radio." I worked and studied hard to achieve my licenses and did things "the right way." Idiot CB'ers in the Ham radio bands just piss me off.
But I have a hard time seeing how an FM transmitter at 106.1 could be causing problems outside of the FM broadcast band. I'd like to see the spectrum data the US Attorney should have to support her prosecution.
Thanks for linking the threads, some of us missed the earlier posting.
At the time Hillary was making a fuss about LPFM, she was first lady, and the animus towards LPFM was clearly aimed at church affiliated stations. She *HATED* Rush Limbaugh with a purple passion, and given time and power enough, would have had him taken off the air, arrested, and disemboweled.
A dirty transmitter on 106.1 can generate secondary harmonics which can be heard well above the frequency it's transmitting on and interfere well into the 220mhz band. That would mean the station in question could be interfering with everything from Ground to Air communications (airplanes) VLFR systems and more.
It's not hard to prove that interference is happening at all. Seize the equipment, put it on a bandscope and start looking for the secondary harmonics. Easy enough to do.
I've had to clean up a few radio's myself that were generating secondary harmonics (thankfully they didn't belong to me.)
Hopefully most pirate radio stations would have more than one record, A Walk Through The Black Forest
Secondary harmonics are also easy to record on the air. Don't have to have physical access to the transmitter doing it either.
>>Firefighters driving to work at the Pleasant Street station on the edge of downtown started reporting interference on their car radios this week.
Then on Wednesday, music started playing over the speakers in the station used for dispatching fire engines and garbling emergency communications.
In the station, those speakers are used to alert firefighter to an incident, and thats how we get the type of call and location, said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Galligan. Any interference is a serious issue.
...They discovered a satellite dish and an FM antenna on a radio mast directly across the street from Fire Station 1 at 69 Pleasant St..
The antenna extended nearly 60 feet in the air and an unlicensed station was broadcasting on 88.9 MHz, right next to WERS in Boston, DeNapoli said.
Not sure why WERS in Boston was mentioned -- irrelevant to the story.
The unlicensed station in that case was causing secondary harmonics likely between 152 and 162 Mhz, right where the Fire Department's frequency no doubt is.
Great example of secondary harmonics.
Yes..have seen harmonics like: near antenna
for WRKO 680 Boston (site in Burlington), put on
WLYN 1360 Lynn MA and WRKO blends with it. 680 x 2.
In the absence of either measurable transmission of signals in spectrum space which are likely to cause problems, or real complaints, then spending taxpayer resources on the radio station is a waste of time and money.
Remember, this "investigation" has probably been going on for some time. It would have been nice if the federal government spent whatever money they have and are going to spend on this investigation looking into the reports from the Russian FSB regarding Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev before the two of them killed 4 people and horribly injured scores more. It has been reported that the Boston FBI office lacked the resources to do so. Apparently for the Justice Department spending our money on shutting down a minor FM unlicensed FM transmitter was and is more important than preventing a bombing.
If they have the resources to chase down and prosecute a minor violator of FM radio regulations, but they don't have the resources to check out reports of terrorists something is very wrong in their management process.
That's my point.
I don't understand why there aren't some band widths left open for local "pirate" radio with limited range. It's another case of an out-of-control government taking away one of the few freedoms that remained.
You're comparing apples to oranges here, and you're trying to say that by spending money on the FCC we're not able to "stop terrorism?" That's laughable. Do you know how miniscule the FCC's budget is compared to the FBI, CIA, etc.. ??? Obviously you don't. I'm heavily involved in Amateur Radio and see the effects of the lack of budget the FCC has on a first hand basis. There is no "band enforcement" in Amateur Radio anymore. If you're looking to complain about the FCC, a better complaint would be "why are they spending so much time trying to manage the Free Obamaphone Program and not enforcing the airwaves?"
No need to seize the equipment, just look at the radiated signal near the transmitter. As I noted before, the real issue should be "is there actually interference to other spectrum users?". That question is easy to answer, and the FCC guys should know the answer to that question. I suspect the answer is "none we could find".
I stated no need to seize the equipment further down this thread, and that the only thing the FCC needed to do was listen for secondary harmonics. You assume there weren't any. I don't assume there were, I simply stated that it was entirely possible that given the broadcast frequency of the offending station, that 106.1 could have a secondary harmonic that easily interfered with ground to air communications, VLFR and other systems related to public safety including local police or fire. That is reason enough to shut the illegal broadcast station down in addition to the fact it was an unlicensed station.
Broadcast stations require licenses FOR A REASON and there are strict operating procedures so that they do not have spurious emissions/secondary harmonics that can affect public safety. But hey, leave that unlicensed station alone until one day a fire department doesn't get the call over the air because of that unlicensed stations spurious emissions or secondary harmonics that an ambulance is needed somewhere and someone dies until we shut it down, right?
Your point is completely invalid and frankly you really don't know what you're talking about.
One last point: You do realize the FCC has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism, right? Faulting the FCC for not having the "resources to check out reports of terrorists" is a ridiculous charge. That's FBI territory.
Same subject, different article, therefore not a dupe.
Whatever money was allocated for the US Attorney's office for this kind of case could have been allocated to the FBI for terrorism prevention.
I never made any "charge" regarding the FCC, and by the way they didn't need to do anything. Touch 106.1 doesn't make any effort to hide its operations, owners, etc.
Try reading my posts again.
I presume you can provide examples of that happening, right?
All kinds of things "could happen", but in the real world they don't.
No, you're absolutely incorrect. FCC Enforcement Actions come from the FCC's budget. Again, you have no clue what you're talking about. I'm a licensed amateur radio operator studying for his GROL. I know what the FCC's rules and regulations are and how enforcement actions are handled. FCC Enforcement of FCC rules and regulations come from the FCC's budget, period.
Another poster cited an example earlier in this thread.
You can also go to the FCC's Enforcement Actions page (google that) and find examples should you so desire.
You're absurd. So you don't like the FCC enforcing the laws it's charged with enforcing. That's well established. Tell me, what other laws do you disagree with that you think shouldn't be enforced?
I didn't say anything about the FCC not enforcing the law. I actually posted earlier that they should enforce it in every case where they had either complaints or evidence of interference.
My statement about them not needing to do anything referred to the limited need to do any technical work or investigation to determine the source of the signals they are concerned about. Unlike the example you gave, or some antenna with a transmitter found near a fire station, Touch 106.1 has a website, everybody in the area knew about it, etc. So the investigative budget would be minimal.
The station pretty much admits to operation without a license, so the only significant costs will be those of the prosecution of the owners and operators. And sorry, but I doubt the FCC pays the salaries of the people working on this case at the US Attorneys office. No more than they'll pay the salary of the Judge, or the Clerks, etc. who hear and process the paperwork in the case.
You have obviously done a good job of reading the material presented by the FCC as a part of learning about your hobby. That's fine. But in the larger scheme of things how our government spends our money, and the money it borrows in the name of our children from other people, matters. Chasing down some unlicensed radio transmitter unless there are complaints or actual cases of interference is a waste of time and money that could and should be used elsewhere.
If anyone on this thread doesn't get it, it's YOU. You've failed at least THREE times now to understand how interference jeopardizes public safety, and you advocate for literal chaos across the airwaves.
I'm done trying to explain this to you, you simply do not know what you're talking about on any level, and I'm done trying to educate you.
Have a nice day.