The Taiwan radio pirates certainly know how the value of banding together to fight against the selling off of the public airwaves. According to the Taipei Times, last week pirate broadcasters held protests in front of the National Communications Commission, their version of the FCC.
Held back by rows of police in riot gear, angry protesters spat at pictures of commission members and burnt copies of the Constitution over what they said was the NCC’s lack of legitimacy.
“The threshold that the NCC has set for licensed stations is NT$50 million [US$1.5 million] in assets and capital, which puts licensing totally out of reach of independent operators,” said Tsai Chi-feng (蔡吉豐), a pirate radio station owner.
The NCC has apparently been cracking down on pirates, reportedly shutting down 500 (!) stations this year. That’s an amazing number of busts, and only indicates to me that there must be many times that number of stations in operation in that nation of 22 million.
And the intensity of the Taiwan pirates’ protest is a clear indicator of the importance of radio as an inexpensive and powerful communications medium–made all the more apparent by the artificially high cost-of-entry imposed by the NCC.