Center for Citizen Media Rotating Header Image

Low Power Radio, No License

AP: Pirate radio stations challenge feds. The rapidly proliferating scofflaws — and there are now hundreds of them broadcasting at any given moment in this country — are usually only audible within a few miles of their “home-brewed” transmitters. They find unused sections of the FM dial, fire up their mini-transmitters, raise their antennas and set up their station.

Congress and the Federal Communications Commission have been slow on the uptake with low-power radio, and people are just going ahead to do it themselves. The evidence of any widespread interference is minimal, and this movement makes us wonder if it’ll turn into a virtually unstoppable force.

Except: All the FCC has to do is make a few stern examples of violators. That’ll bring a lot of the activity to a halt, or virtually so.

The answer would be for the government folks to get off a dime and help people create stations, not put more barriers in front of them. Too much to hope for?

1 Comment on “Low Power Radio, No License”

  1. #1 Tom Evslin
    on Sep 25th, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Going a step further, we should be moving toward removing licensing requirements for almost all of the radio spectrum, the original very good reasons for licensing what was then a rare resource have disappeared. Technology now provides much better ways for sharing the spectrum than fixed allocation and limited use.

    Open spectrum is a needed adjunct to an open Internet. It is also an assurance against censorship and blocking.

    By coincidence, I blogged about this today at