[sixties-l] Re: Raid on Human Rights Radio]

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: 09/30/00

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    SFLR News 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 (FCC) agents. The task force ransacked the station, taking, broadcast equipment and a computer. "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. He added: "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 217-789-0038. 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 area. 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, sflr@slip.net To subscribe to the SFLR News send an email to sflr@slip.net 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 http://www.slip.net/~dove Listen on the Web at http://interzone.org/radio

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