BUSTED by the FCC- What happened on 2.13.04

At about 8:30pm (yes, they do work nights- so operating just nights and weekends is no protection: you might as well go 24/7 if you're going on at all), FCC Agents knocked on the door of a house where KBFR had put an STL (Studio Transmitter Link). This STL was fed by a DSL modem we'd hidden in the garage. None of us lived there. It was a renter who had no knowledge of the STL operations (although we hear they acted like us and told the agents to get off the property). They had been told by the owner of the house that it was a ham radio rebroadcaster. This is the same story we gave the owner as well. In exchange, we paid him for his monthly cable modem as 'rent' for the STL space (and we accessed is cable modem to provide the 'ham radio feed').

The FCC then posed as the renters and called the station. On one line (cellphone) they called as the FCC saying they were busting the STL. On the OTHER line (internal DSL line) they called and posed as the renters saying 'Monk' (using my old roommates name, which, of course no one at the studio's ever even heard of)should come quick cause the FCC was there!


The renters of that house have no idea we even exist, let alone having the private number. Nice move FCC- you gave yourself away instantly by trying to 'lure' us in using a number no one but a few of us have and a name no one's ever heard of. To you other pirates: This goes to show you that the FCC is capable of attempted subtrafuge, but not very good at it.

Interestingly, they appear to think one of the owners of this house the STL was at is me. Several years ago, I was the roommate of this fellow. When I was busted the first time by the FCC, it was at his house. Although pissed off (he forced me to unplug it and move out) we are (or rather: were, until this happened) still friends. I met the other owner of the house (his partner) at a party we all three were at. The location of this fellow's house (high on a hill in the middle of Boulder) was ideal for an STL so I asked the fellow (not my original room mate) if we could put a ham radio rebroadcaster in his back yard in exchange for paying for his cable modem as rent. He agreed. He then moved, but bought the house next door as an investment (along with my old roommate). He then SOLD his house, so we asked him if we could just move it next door and continue paying for his cable modem where he moved to. He said sure (I don't think he even much thought about it. Mostly it was a free cable modem to him).

The fellow they think is me (my old roommate) lives in another state now (somewhere in the midwest I think) and moved a month or two before we put the STL at the rental property. I'm sure he's going be good and pissed on this one, but that's the price of free speech. I do thank the FCC for thinking I'm so good that I could run a pirate radio station from 1000 miles away. THAT would be impressive.

We managed to get all the equipment pulled out the next day and are working on getting it set up at another site now.

We've also got several lawyers alerted (in Boulder and S.F.) in the event anything weird happens. Unfortunately, the FCC forces us to do this (use innocent folks as unknowing fronts) to keep our operations going year after year.

This would be SO much easier if the FCC just did the right thing and licensed LPFM, you know? What a waste of time and effort on everyone's part.

This is an interesting lesson as well. HAVE YOUR LEGAL SUPPORT READY. There is almost sure to be a lawyer in your town who has a belief in free speech and is willing to back you pro-bono - i.e. no cost) as our lawyers are. It's a little like having mace in your purse. You hope, if you're attacked by some big thug on the street you have it, but you pray you never have to use it. But make damn sure you can if you have to.



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