[sixties-l] Re: Raid on Human Rights Radio]
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The newsletter of San Francisco Liberation Radio
Wednesday, July 26, 2000
San Francisco Liberation Radio, 93.7 FM
Broadcasting 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. nightly, 12 midnight on Saturdays,
In Western San Francisco---
or interzone.org/radio on the Web
Cranking Up State Repression-Raid on Human Rights Radio
Human Rights Radio in Springfield, Illinois has been shut down by the
feds. An email sent out yesterday by long-time station supporter Mike
Townsend indicates that the station was raided at 5:15 p.m. yesterday by
a multi jurisdictional task force consisting of federal marshals,
sheriff's deputies, city police and Federal Communications Commission
The task force ransacked the station, taking, broadcast equipment and a
"They took the transmitter, a mixer board, microphones, CD players, tape
players, some speakers-they had a two page list," Townsend told San
Francisco Liberation Radio in a phone interview this morning. "They even
took his computer."
This action comes just as news reaches us that half of the U.S. Senate
has now signed on to a bill introduced by Sen. Rod Grams (R-Minnesota)
to overturn the FCC's decision legalizing micro radio, or low-power FM.
Grams' bill is a replica of the notorious "Oxley Bill," which passed the
House on April 13. Both bills will reduce by 80 percent the number of
low-power FM stations which can be licensed and will require a new round
of technical tests that many view as a ruse designed to keep low-power
stations off the air permanently.
Human Rights Radio in Springfield was founded by Mbanna Kantako,
considered the father of the micro radio movement. Kantako, a blind
African-American, put the station on the air in 1987 and used the public
airwaves to discuss police brutality in the community.
This new level of state repression comes in the wake of four days of
successful in-your-face protests against the National Association of
Broadcasters (NAB) last week in San Francisco.
The NAB, in the past week, has mounted what has been described as a
"full court press" lobbying effort in support of the Grams bill, which,
it is expected, will be attached as a rider to a budget appropriations
bill so as to reduce the chances of a presidential veto.
The raid in Springfield came after a court hearing earlier in the day in
which a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the
station, Townsend said. A second hearing, in which Kantako is expected
to represent himself, is scheduled for next Wednesday.
"He (Kantako) went down to the court room on Friday morning," said
Townsend. "They already had all the orders typed up and everything for
the judge to sign."
Townsend said FCC Agent Will Gray, who has paid visits and sent
threatening letters to the station for years, was present in the
courtroom. Gray works out of the Chicago FCC field office.
"The whole thing was this trumped up deal-I mean, it was no big
surprise-was that the station was supposedly interfering with air
traffic. And they had a log of pilots who supposedly said they had heard
this, that or the other thing. One of them said he thought he heard
kazoo music," Townsend said.
The FCC and the NAB have long raised the specter of air traffic
interference as a reason for outlawing low-power FM.
"It doesn't carry much weight around here because Mbanna has been on the
air 4,448 days and nights," Townsend said.
"The other thing is that it just so happens that this weekend is when
they have the big Springfield Air Show. The U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds
are going to be here and everything. I think they thought if anybody
gets concerned about this we'll just tell them he was endangering
thousands of lives and we just had to do something and so forth. It was
a good plan on their part. If I was them I'd do the same thing."
Townsend said Human Rights Radio plans to return to the airwaves if
equipment can be obtained. Persons wishing to make donations should call
Our full interview with Townsend, conducted by SFLR co-founder Richard
Edmondson, will air tonight on the Babylon Beach Show. Babylon Beach,
hosted by Bert the Turtle, airs Saturdays 9 p.m. till midnight on SFLR.
Ironically, an "air show" is scheduled soon for San Francisco-the annual
abomination known as "Fleet Week," in which the Navy's Blue Angels spend
a week terrorizing the entire city with low overflights.
Also scheduled for the Babylon Beach show tonight is Jess Mason of
Bayview Advocates, who will discuss an upcoming protest against Fleet
Week, as well as toxic waste pollution in the Bayview-Hunters Point
That's tonight, starting at 9 p.m., hosted by SFLR DJ Bert the Turtle.
San Francisco Liberation Radio, 93.7 FM, 750 LaPlaya, box 852, San
Francisco, CA 94121, 415-386-3135, studio line: 415-750-1714,
To subscribe to the SFLR News send an email to email@example.com
SFLR broadcasts 7 afternoons and evenings per week, 4 p.m. - 11 p.m.,
without government license-bringing you programs and information you
can't get on government-licensed radio stations.
Visit the San Francisco Liberation Radio Website at
Listen on the Web at http://interzone.org/radio
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