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Showing posts from December, 2003
When Another Pirate Steps On Your Signal

We've got a weird one here. Someone with a BIG fucking transmitter (bigger than ours) is going on air periodically, 2-3 hours at a time, and playing the same 5-6 lame songs over and over, or just broadcasting dead air on top of our frequency.

We have no idea why.

We've tracked it, and found it moves. Whoever it is has mobile capabilities. Clever, really. Similar to our own approach. Makes them very difficult to locate

Why someone would go to this trouble I have no idea, but it's clear we can't do anything about it. Call the FCC on them? Yea.. right. First: that's against what we believe and second, it brings them down on US more than the 'evil' pirate.

We've offered, on air, to work it out. No response. Just the periodic stomping behavior.

So, we've come to the conclusion we do nothing. We don't turn ours off, we don't acknowledge them and we just soldier on. Eventually they get tired of i…
Dealing With The Press

One thing I've found is, if you've been around awhile on air, the local newspaper guys are going to decide you're worth writing a story about.

This is both good and bad.

The more press you get, the better known your operation becomes and the more heat you (potentially) bring down on yourself. AND the more listeners you get. Two edged sword.

And it can turn on you. Most newspapers (even smaller cities, like ours here in Boulder) are owned by a big media conglomerate. Most of those have radio interests somewhere in the corporate structure so, most of them have, at some level, really good reason to kill you off. They don't always do it, but you really should research the roots of who owns the newspaper that wants to do a story on you.

I think you'll find those that are owned by companies that also own radio station, usually, find you evil. Those that aren't, find you advocates of free speech and generally support you. Not always (some…
People Reading- I'll be damned.

It's always amazing me that people actually READ this thing. My last entry was read by at least one of our DJ's and, for some reason, he decided it was directed at him (It wasn't). This required I explain myself and intent.

Sigh.

I should know this by now. People love to read things into what other people say. They particularly like to do it if you're someone who set's policy or makes decisions for a group. Human nature, I know, but man- can't life just be a little simpler?

One of the thing you'll find when you're running a pirate station, especially if you subscribe to my benevolent dictator model is the need to be aware of whatever you say as something that will be repeated, interpreted and subject to the 'round robin' effect. You know the party game where everyone get's in a circle and one person whispers something to the person next to them, and so on and when it gets to the last person they re…
Trials and tribulations of pirate radio parenthood.

THIS is being a parent. Running a pirate radio operation is alot like being the parent of a couple of dozen kids. Maybe Jr. High teacher is an even better comparison. I just had another discussion with one of our youngest and most vocal DJ's. She's been with the station for some time and hasn't learned the finer arts of human communication yet. If she's unhappy, she sends an email out to everyone screaming about an imagined injustice (usually something I've done) and get's everyone stirred up and upset.

To date this has happened about a dozen times. Usually what you have to do is calming explain why you did what you did and why it's good. Hold their hand and let them calm down. Let everyone discuss it for awhile and eventually it dies away. Often some good comes from it. A policy get's changed, a why of doing things is improved, a voice is heard. All goodness.

All MAJORLY stressful for the t…
On regular meetings and communications.

One thing I've found to be important with pirate radio is the need to have regular group meetings that are required. You've got to have a time when a highly diverse group of people can just hang. And a time to go over the regular operations of the studio.

KBFR is self supporting, so we use these meetings to collect dues as well. We add up all the expense from the previous month, divide by the number of DJ's, and that's the dues for the month. Seems to work well.

We also go over the expenses so everyone is clear on what we're spending money on (studio rent, cell phones, equipment repairs, internet access, utilties, etc.). Currently we run a cost of about $500-600 a month which works out to about $25 per DJ per month.

The average meeting has several components:
- Dues and budget review
- Systems update (computers, networks, STL operations)
- CD production (we do a thing called Studio Free.. a regular in studio local music …