Date sent: Wed, 15 Apr 1998
21:39:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: MichaelP <email@example.com>
Subject: AP Story
April 15, 1998
Unlicensed Radio Station Sues FCC
Filed at 5:50 p.m. EDT
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP)
-- ``Pirate Jenny'' just wants to
broadcast her feminist radio show. ``Alice in Reality''
wants to keep doing freelance interviews and
storytelling. And all ``E.S.E.'' wants to do is talk
about poetry and hip-hop.
Alas, their 20-watt,
unlicensed station on Manhattan's
Lower East Side, called ``Steal This Radio,'' was
unplugged last month after the Federal Communications
Commission threatened to seize its equipment.
Now the station
is fighting back. It went back on the
air Wednesday, just minutes after suing the FCC,
Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Department
over free-speech rights.
today to make the FCC answer to the
Constitution because we have the right to communicate,''
STR co-founder Greg Ruggierio said at a news conference.
As station loyalists
espoused their cause, a boom box
blared an angelic-sounding New Age instrumental with
decidedly un-laidback -- and unprintable -- lyrics.
In its lawsuit,
STR claims a First Amendment right to
speak via the airwaves, arguing it provides an important
outlet for local news and opinion. The station wants the
FCC to let it broadcast without a license.
An FCC spokeswoman
did not immediately return a
telephone call for comment.
Getting a new
radio station license in Manhattan is
nearly impossible because the commission has given away
most available frequencies. And since 1978, the FCC has
refused to grant licenses to stations that broadcast
under 100 watts, and operating at that level would cost
at least $50,000, according to the lawsuit.
STR said it can't
afford to power at 100 watts because
it relies on donations to run the station.
The station began
broadcasting in November 1995 on 88.7
FM. Last month, the FCC received a complaint from
Hofstra University that STR's signal was interfering
with the school's public radio station, the lawsuit
Hofstra did not immediately return a call for comment.
An FCC official
visited STR's office and told staffers
that U.S. marshals would seize their equipment unless
they stopped broadcasting. The station decided to pull
the plug March 6.
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