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Micropirates get green light?


A 10-year battle by radio radicals may be about to bear fruit. On Jan. 7, Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard released his agency's agenda, and among the priorities is to "Open low-power radio frequencies for local use." This is righteous noise to the likes of Stephen Dunifer, a micro broadcasting pioneer and founder of pirate station "Radio Free Berkeley." Dunifer sued the FCC for the right to broadcast, arguing that the agency's public interest mission had been subverted to commercial interests. He also argued that the technical reasoning behind the rules forbidding low-power stations were no longer valid.

Dunifer also sold hundreds of low-power transmitter kits to community activists across the country. The FCC raided and fined the activists, but appears to have been overwhelmed by the volume.