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>> Thread: [FNB-L] pirate radio stations silenced in south florida
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Subject:[FNB-L] pirate radio stations silenced in south florida
Author: david grace <>

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Hi Loie,
The following article is indicative of where we are in social policy. As you read it transpose the terms to pre-war nazzi Germany and see if  it translates.
Subject: Miami Herald: 100 unlicensed stations silenced in South Florida, the `pirate radio capital'
Published Sunday, July 23, 2000, in the Miami Herald
100 unlicensed stations silenced in South Florida, the `pirate radio capital'
    Some disrupted aircraft communication, officials say
    A few weeks ago, agents closed in on a pirate radio station airing     gangster rap from a Fort Lauderdale warehouse.
    The warehouse turned out to be empty. The disc jockeys had tossed     their portable transmitter into a van and were now spinning tunes as     they cruised the streets.
    ``We'd see them,'' Broward sheriff's Lt. Ric Moss recalls. ``We would     try to set up so we could move in, and they'd disappear.''
    Such cat-and-mouse games are growing increasingly common as the     federal government cracks down on unlicensed stations -- particularly     in South Florida, which one federal agent called the ``pirate radio     capital of the world.''
    Indeed, the Federal Communications Commission has pulled the plug on     more than 100 stations between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties     during the past two years. In recent weeks, its agents have pinched     pirate equipment in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
    The growing battle over rogue broadcasters has dragged in combatants     from across the spectrum: police, the federal government, the powerful     broadcasters lobby -- even airports, which claim that pirate     transmissions disrupt conversations between planes and control towers.
    In the eye of the storm is a ragtag collection of renegades. From     ethnic broadcasters shut out of commercial radio to anarchists     fighting for unregulated airwaves to opportunists running amateur ads     for nightclubs and earning a mother lode of tax-free loot, they're     united by a common attitude.
    ``The radio sucks,'' says Paul Griffin, director of the Association of     Micropower Broadcasters, a Berkeley, Calif.-based clearinghouse for     underground radio issues that publishes a newsletter for 300     subscribers.
    ``Most of the dial is filled up with preprogrammed commercial stations     that don't address the needs or interests of the local listening     public.''
    It was the crowds that police noticed first.
    As many as 600 people would suddenly gather at a public park or gas     station in Broward County. Complaints would flood the Broward     Sheriff's Office.
    Deputies would arrive and find people drinking, smoking marijuana,     fighting, peeling out, according to Lt. Moss. They'd break up the     throng with tickets and arrests -- and the crowd would reassemble     several miles away.
    Officials couldn't figure out how they all knew they should go to a     particular spot. Informants told them where to turn for an answer:     90.9 FM.
    The unlicensed gangster rap station aired the latest uncensored     hip-hop hits. It also broadcast the locations of spontaneous nighttime     parties.
    ``We finally caught on,'' Moss recalled. ``We'd listen to the station,     and they'd say, `OK, BSO's coming, we're going to try Troy's Lounge,'     or `Everybody go to the Marathon station.' ''
    Sheriff's officials began eavesdropping on the station's broadcasts.     In addition to having their ears blistered by explicit lyrics, they     heard the DJs -- young men with names like Haitian Boy and Marti --     announce sightings of police, or locations of possible police raids.
    Sheriff's officials called the FCC. Together, the agencies used a     sophisticated radarlike device that pinpointed the transmitter's     location at a warehouse near Northwest Sixth Street and 22nd Road in     Fort Lauderdale, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.
    Before agents could raid the station, however, the pirates tossed     their transmitter into a van and began broadcasting from the streets.     A few weeks later, agents tracked the signal to a house in the 2200     block of Northwest 19th Street.
    When police walked into the dilapidated shack on July 13, they found     equipment -- a transmitter, CD players, headphones, microphones, a     30-foot antenna. The DJs were gone.
    ``We may have put them down temporarily,'' Moss said. ``But we     anticipate them getting back into service.''
    Several factors may have set the stage for the explosion of pirate     broadcasters in South Florida -- and across the country, where by some     estimates nearly 1,000 now jam the airwaves.
    In 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Reform Act. Among     other things, the legislation loosened limits on the number of radio     stations a single company could buy.
    The result: a corporate feeding frenzy.
    A handful of broadcast groups now own about 90 percent of U.S. radio     stations, according to Griffin of the Association of Micropower     Broadcasters. One pending merger will place more than 800 stations in     the hands of a single company if it's approved.
    The resulting corporate-designed formats often fail to speak the     language -- literally -- of America's growing ethnic enclaves. There     is an incentive for them to provide their own programming.
    ``Hispanics living in Detroit, Vietnamese in Arlington,'' says Mark     Berlin, an attorney with the FCC's office of political programming in     Washington. ``The only way they can get something [on the radio] is to     just start [a station] up themselves.''
    Another factor: technology. Advances have made it easier than ever to     start a station. As little as $700 can buy a pirate radio starter kit     over the Internet -- a five-watt transmitter, an amplifier, an     antenna.
    To stem the rising tide of pirates, the FCC launched a crackdown     several years ago. The ongoing sweep has covered the country, the FCC     said, taking down more than 500 stations since 1997.
    Those caught face up to $100,000 in fines, a year in prison and the     loss of their equipment.
    In South Florida, harried federal agents have struck in three waves.     The first two occurred in 1998 and took down 54 stations; the second,     last year, closed 23 others.
    Since then, the FCC said, 38 more stations have been hit.
    And federal agents have stepped up their activities in recent weeks.     Early in the month, agents seized a Miami man's equipment. The     following week, they snatched equipment from two stations in Fort     Lauderdale -- 90.9 FM and a Caribbean station.
    Last Monday, they honed in on an industrial bay in West Palm Beach     where they had detected unlicensed airing of Haitian music. They     tacked a note to the door: Pull the plug or go to jail.
    The station is now silent. And these days, so are most of South     Florida's pirate stations.
    ``A lot of them have hunkered down,'' one FCC agent said. ``As of     yesterday, we didn't hear a single one on the air.
    ``Word is getting out that we can pinpoint a signal right to your     stovepipe.''
    That's music to some ears.
    Before the federal crackdown, more than 30 pirate stations cluttered     the airwaves across South Florida, according to the FCC. They played     rap, reggae, Haitian compas, Greek laika, Israeli folk.
    And they often jammed the signals of licensed stations.
    Rob Robbins, who spent six years raising money to start the
    Miami-based Christian alternative rock and rap station The Call at     91.7 FM, says an Israeli pirate station in Broward hijacks his signal     every night.
    ``I really don't have any sympathy with these guys,'' Robbins says.     ``We took the hard route here, raising money for six years. Some of     these guys can go out for $1,000 or less and instantly go on the     air.''
    Airports, too, say they're plagued by pirates. Unauthorized tunes     sometimes bleed into communications between pilots and air traffic     controllers, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
    Indeed, pirate broadcasting from West Palm Beach's industrial bay was     accidentally jamming air traffic signals at Palm Beach International     Airport, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. Pilots found themselves     suddenly listening to Haitian pop music as they tried to land,     authorities said.
    A few months earlier, both a gangster rap station and a Haitian pirate     broadcaster were causing the same crisis at Miami International     Airport, the FAA said. Both were shut down.
    For those who oppose the pirates, this threat to public safety is     justification for redoubling the attack.
    ``I don't know about you, but when I'm landing at the Miami airport,     I'd rather not have communications interrupted between the pilot and     air traffic controller,'' says Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the     National Association of Broadcasters, a Washington-based television     and radio lobby.
    But unlicensed broadcasters prefer to see themselves as Robin Hoods of     radio. If they're muzzled, they argue, their communities will be     robbed of their voices.
    ``I'm not doing bad things -- I'm not killing people on the air,''     insists 36-year-old native Israeli Shlomi Malka, who operates the     pirate Hebrew-language station at 91.7 FM from a rented Fort     Lauderdale house -- and interferes with the Miami Christian music     station.
    ``If you are from Israel, and you are here in this country by     yourself, and your mother and father are back in Israel, you miss     them. When you hear my music, you think of them, and it brings you a     good feeling.''
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Msg 1 *  david grace  7/24/2000 

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