knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

Went too (K)FAR?

By now, everyone has heard about KFAR (Knoxville pirate radio) being shut down and having their equipment seized. It was a full-on raid. A lot of people I respect have shown their support for the station, but I don't know if I can agree with them. Joe Tarr (scroll down) gives us a rundown of how it happened. According to them, KFAR was shut down because they were the political gadflies that the current administration just couldn't stand.
The programs are what some members think got them in trouble. A lot of the shows—Democracy Now!, CounterSpin, Making Contact, Between the Lines—were produced by national groups and were critical of the Bush Administration and the corporate media, among others.
While I may agree with a lot of what they broadcast, I have a hard time following the conspiracy theory thread. They weren't persecuted, they weren't abused, and they weren't framed. They were in clear violation of established laws. Tarr offers their explanation.
Although it broadcast illegally, KFAR members believe they had a right to broadcast because the airwaves belong to the public. They believe the FCC has mismanaged those airwaves to benefit large corporations at the expense of the public interest. KFAR is soliciting the support of local legislators in hopes of getting the FCC to back off.
A lot of things belong to the public. That does not mean the public can utilize them at their whim. Resources, services, utilities, lands and airwaves held in public trust require protection against abuse. Pirate radio is abuse. KFAR might be great radio, but they were always living on borrowed time.

Dan has spoken more about the KFAR situation.
There appear to be ways for KFAR to broadcast legally, and at at least one local radio station has done this, WDVX . So if there is a legal way for KFAR to broadcast, why haven't they explored this option?
It is certainly not an issue with a simple answer. To civilly disobey or not, I suppose.
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9/24/2004 12:29 AM Blogger Barry

I heard the head of that station...I think it was on Hallerin Hill's show the other day...and he just couldn't articulate or understand that, while it was nice and noble for Thoreau and the colonists to practice civil disobedience, today and this venue weren't the time or place for it.

He couldn't get past the "free speech" talking point. and that the major radio media conglomerates had squeezed out the independant operators. It was all a big conspiracy to him - and you know what? Maybe it was. It doesn't make what they did any less illegal.

I'm glad it's shut down.    

9/29/2004 11:17 AM Blogger Dan

Thanks for the link Ashby. BTW I've changed my opinion of KFAR some since that post. Sept. 29

"There appear to be ways for KFAR to broadcast legally, and at at least one local radio station has done this, WDVX . So if there is a legal way for KFAR to broadcast, why haven't they explored this option?"    

9/30/2004 1:23 PM Blogger Dan

Thanks to my post yesterday, I got some comments from KFAR that are worth a read, I also posted a follow up today.    

10/02/2004 10:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous

Yo this is filled with stuff that is plain wrong and inaccurate. First

The guy you heard was not "the head of KFAR" at all. He wasn't even a DJ--he was just a supporter of the station.

KFAR could not (not would not) could not get a liscense. The rules got changed and there are no spaces in Knoxville for a low watt station under the current rules. You can verify this at the FCC website.

KFAR was APPLYING for a license when congress changed the rules. Under the old rules you could get a space if the to adjoining spaces on the dial were free. New rule--you had to have three. This killed low watt stations in every major city in America. Additionally the FCC is not accepting bids or applications for ANY station right now. Goto their website and free.

So they changed the rules and made it impossible for KFAR to get on the air.

And its not the right time to stand up and fight for the first amendment? When is it the best time to fight for your rights? The FM airwaves belong to we the people--thats law. The corporations are just renting them. Rosa parks wasnt allowed to sit in front of the bus. In this case the bus belongs to us (the people) and we not only are we not being allowed to sit up front (in our bus)--but we arent even being allowed on the bus! And its our bus! But we are told clearchannel, viacom, and megacorporations get all of the seats.

There is never a convienent time in history for americans to fight for what is theres. But its seldom ever the "wrong time" to do it.    

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