SFLR holds press conference, returns to air

Here is the full text of their press statement, which began with the reading of a poem


Once we had a radio station.
It was a modest little affair.
Had a front door but no back,
Yet always over the air
Came things of much interest
To delight or enthrall--
A Chomsky speech or hip-hop
Blowin' down the walls.

Each day there came a-troopin'
'Cross our scarred wooden floor,
Where mike cords snaked chaotically,
One DJ, then some more.
The words of one were always
Voiced clear, sharp as a knife,
While another simply did her best
To save Mumia's life.

Monsanto plays with nature
Modifying every gene,
But to this we had an answer
>From a party colored green.
To tamper irreversibly--
It is a heinous crime.
Who makes such slim decisions
For the rest of humankind?

They prate of "mass destruction"
Pompously to no end,
As erstwhile sorrows linger
In the air yet again--
In Iraq--where so many
Lives have late been lost.
"It's worth it," Madam Albright says,
This hidden holocaust.

To everything there is a season,
All life does have its worth.
Wherefore this terrorism
Directed at the Earth?
"The forest's decimation
Must end!" our voices cry--
Or softly sing a simple ode
To Julia Butterfly.

The government wants to shut us down,
The courts against us ruled,
The lawyers for the FCC
In corruption so well-schooled.
Broadcast corporations
Blithely make the laws,
Doling out the airwaves,
Killing free speech without pause.

Yet our transmitter is as steady
As the beating of our hearts,
As strong as homeless people's
Steel-framed shopping carts.
To corporate domination
It's true we are no friend.
The NAB best stand aside,
We rise yet again!!!!!!!!!!

SFLR held a press conference today.  In addition to the above poem, also
distributed to the reporters present were copies of our mission statement,
a letter written by us to the FCC dated Nov. 30, 1998 and submitted along
with our Dec. 5 application, and reply comments regarding micro radio
legalization submitted last year by the CDC. Read aloud was the following

San Francisco Liberation Radio today announces it will return to the
airwaves, effective immediately.

We take this action not out of any intention to be deliberately
provocative toward the Federal Communications Commission.  Indeed, as the
year 1998 drew to a close, we completed work on a broadcast application
which was submitted to the FCC on Dec. 5.

We have made an effort to comply with every reasonable demand of the
Commission, as well as of the U.S. District Court in the Dunifer case. If
the U.S. government chooses at this time to continue to deny us the right
to broadcast over the public airwaves, then we feel we have no other
choice than to engage in a campaign of "electronic" civil disobedience.
Such a campaign, we feel, is sanctioned under international law.

On Dec. 10, 1998--just five days after we submitted our application to the
FCC--the peoples of the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The 30 articles of this
Declaration embody some of the noblest aspirations of humankind, however,
we particularly call attention to Article 19:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless
of frontiers."

The airwaves of the United States have become the exclusive domain of the
wealthiest one percent of the population.  To deny the vast majority of
the American people access to this most important medium not only violates
international law, but also runs contrary to the spirit of the 1934
Communications Act--the very Act which created the FCC, and which mandated
the Commission to regulate the airwaves in the public "interest,
convenience and necessity."

We are disappointed in the FCC's proposals regarding micro radio, which
were announced on Jan. 28.  In designating micro stations, and so-called
"LP-100" stations, with "secondary" status, the Commission appears to be
contemplating a regulatory framework in which the future of such
stations--particularly those in urban areas--will constantly be in doubt
and subject to the whims of their larger neighbors on the dial.

Instead of protecting the rights of micro broadcasters, the FCC's
position in this matter is due in no small part to the inordinate
influence of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), one of the
most powerful lobbies in Washington.  The NAB has been a vociferous
opponent of micro radio.

We also demand unequivocal amnesty for all micro broadcasters cited for
FCC violations.  In its Jan. 28 proposal, the Commission discusses
eliminating from contention license applicants who have violated FCC
regulations by broadcasting without a license.  We note the FCC's
long-demonstrated opposition to micro radio (as exhibited in the Dunifer
case), and we feel that the agency would never have moved away from this
inexorable opposition without the widespread acts of civil disobedience
which have occurred nationwide.

To punish license applicants for past violations is ludicrous given the
fact that the regulations were illegal and unjust to begin with.  We have
other concerns about the Jan. 28 proposal, particularly in the area of
commercialism.  If micro radio is to be a true "alternative" to commercial
radio, then the Commission must grant a preference to non-commercial micro
stations.  In addition, we call upon the FCC to reconsider its refusal to
expand the FM band.  Failing that, and given the spectrum scarcity in the
current FM band, we demand that all micro stations be licensed as

In 1998, Amnesty International released a report documenting serious
human rights violations in the United States in the following areas:
police brutality, torture and abuse of prisoners, the death penalty,
detention of assylum seekers and the international arms trade.

These perhaps are not areas of great concern for the wealthiest one
percent of the population which presently control the airwaves
(explaining why Amnesty's USA Campaign has received little coverage in the
U.S. media).

Yet for the vast majority of us who depend upon the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights to protect us from the depredations of the powerful, there
is cause for grave concern.  In order that democracy may be safeguarded
and preserved, it is imperative that all economic stratums of society, as
well as all races and genders, have equal access to the airwaves.

We thoroughly realize that our return to the airwaves--without an
FCC-approved broadcast license--places us at substantial risk.  From the
East Coast to the West, micro stations all across this country in the past
year and a half have been raided and forced off the air.  The FCC, often
accompanied by U.S. marshals, has ransacked homes, held people at gun
point, and seized broadcast equipment.  After one such violent raid, NAB
President William O. Fritts said, "We are delighted that federal
authorities have stepped up enforcement against pirate radio stations." To
see an agency of the federal government so obviously dancing to the tune
of the very industry it purports to regulate is abhorrent.

We call upon the government to implement meaningful micro radio
legalization NOW.  Should it fail to do so, we are prepared to have our
studio raided as many times as it takes to bring freedom of speech to the
airwaves of America.

We thus announce the commencement of our campaign of peaceful,
non-violent "electronic" civil disobedience.

San Francisco Liberation Radio