Show notes for Feb. 16 radioshow: FCC makes LPFM exceptions; SFLR has its day in court

John Anderson from was my guest for the Feb. 16 edition of the mediageek radioshow [listen now]. We talked about a couple of exceptions the FCC has made with regard to issuing low-power FM licenses. First, the FCC has given “special temporary authority” to a former FM pirate in Goldfield, Nevada — read articles at DIYmedia and Radio Currents Online. Second, the Commission has offered a LPFM license to a group complaining about the loss of noncommercial classical music programming resulting from the sale of a station — read DIYmedia’s article.

We also discussed San Francisco Liberation Radio’s appearance in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Valentine’s Day. There wasn’t much to report from except for a short announcement on SFLR’s website:

Every dog has his day. We had ours. Victory doesn’t look too hopeful, but who knows? One judge was definitely agin us and kept interrupting our counsel.:-(
The other 2 were more polite. And they asked better questions like (to the counsel for the government): “Do you really think they would have moved the station?” (had we had foreknowledge of the seizure by going before a judge first). Would we have? You can answer that question for yourselves.
And now let’s have a surge of low-power, community radio!!!

This morning I found a report filed in the Oroville Mercury-Register (quick plug: the radioshow is heard Wed. at 3 PM on KRBS 107.1 FM in Oroville). Here’s a bit more of the judges’ questioning:

Unlike print or online communications, broadcasting over public airwaves is still “inherently limited” and needs “a traffic cop to keep straight who’s on what frequency,” (Circuit Judge Richard) Clifton said. “It’s the FCC, not the court, that’s the traffic cop. … I’m not sure this is anything but an empty exercise.”

Senior Circuit Judge Betty Fletcher suggested the station’s operators “ought to be lobbying Congress to change the statute.” Vermeulen replied that they are, but still deserved a day in court to make their constitutional arguments before their equipment was seized.

Justice Department appellate attorney Eric Feigin argued that another judicial circuit has found there’s no due process right under this statute before equipment is seized, and no First Amendment right to broadcast without a license.

Doesn’t look too promising. But, then, and John and I discussed on the show, I think even the station volunteers know they’re hanging by a thin strand. This isn’t a case or an argument that would set major precedent for free radio, even if SFLR were victorious. Nevertheless, I give the whole SFLR crew credit for holding the line and steadfastly asserting their rights for so long.

Also according to the Mercury Register article, SFLR apparently has replaced their equipment but is waiting for their case to be over before returning to the air.




One response to “Show notes for Feb. 16 radioshow: FCC makes LPFM exceptions; SFLR has its day in court”

  1. […] Want more info on the stuff we talked about? Check out the show notes: […]

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