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Pirate Radio Station Visited by FCC

FCC Scrutiny May Signal End To Long-Standing Pirate Signal
After 3 years of broadcasting, the Portland Radio Authority was paid a visit by a person identifying themselves as an agent of the Federal Communications Commission at 2pm, Wednesday the 1st of March. A call was placed to the stations facilitators and an e-mail was then sent to all station dj's ordering and immediate halt to all station activities. It is unclear at this point if charges or penalties will be made, but the FCC scrutiny could have dire consequences for the long-standing pirate station.
PRA programming has consisted of music from a broad variety of genres, and featured local artists' recorded material or even live performances. The station sponsored and broadcast the Portland Pop Now Festival in 2004 and 2005 with a subsequent compilation released. In addition to broadcasting illegally on 95.1fm and later 96.7fm, the Portland Radio Authority has, and may continue to broadcast on praradio.com.

Long live PRA 01.Mar.2006 14:58

radio fan

Please let us know what is the best thing we can do to support PRA, 'cuz they are great!!! WE NEED PIRATE RADIO!!! PRA announced some political actions & events that I was involved in, when hardly anyone one else would.
The FCC has no right to do this. I'ts censorship, pure and simple.

Only just heard of it 01.Mar.2006 15:30


I've only just heard of PRA second or third hand. Where does it broadcast?

Have there been cease and desist letters? Was the property entered? Was equipment taken? etc.

Thanks a lot Willamette Weekly 01.Mar.2006 15:34


Figures, knew this was coming after seeing the story in WW...

no one in particular 01.Mar.2006 19:23


What story in WWeek? They've been in the Mercury and WWeek many times over the years (including mentions of benefits, etc.) so if there was some recent story, I doubt that was a specific cause.

salaud: It broadcast from a "secret" (that everyone knows about) location downtown.

I tried calling the station for confirmation, but no one answered... the internet stream is down, too. Sad.

More Censorship 02.Mar.2006 10:18

Joe Anybody

Im suprised the Homeland Security didn't get involved
Where there is a will there is a way

Say nothing...be stealthy 02.Mar.2006 10:39


I truly regret the (temporary?) loss of this media outlet.

I can only hope that if (when) the station is resurrected they'll
keep things stealthy. Loose lips sink ships. Talking to the corporate
media can be a death sentence. The feds read newspapers too.
This bust was a turkey shoot. The investigating was done for them.

An analogy:
Remember the mafia Dons who absolutely had to be in the public limelight?
They're either in prison or were assasinated.
The QUIET godfathers thrived and died at a ripe old age.

pretty hard to be stealthy when you're a radio station 02.Mar.2006 10:54


Best wishes to the PRA folks, hope they come out of this without losing all their equipment.

Re: stealth, there's really no way to do it when you're broadcasting a signal. Seems like it all comes down to who the FCC wants to bust today.

Say nothing...be stealthy - a rebuttal (sort of) 02.Mar.2006 11:35


'nobody' wrote: stealth, there's really no way to do it when you're broadcasting a signal.

Actually there ARE many ways to put the survival odds more in the station's favor:

Change transmitter locations frequently.
Change antenna orientation/elevation frequently.
Transmit intermittently - change frequency regularly.
Don't broadcast on a tight schedule:
i.e. I'm Mr FCC - It's 10 PM on Tuesday - time to tune in to Local-Artists on 96.7
The signal level is always the same - and the signal is always from the same direction.
(My cushy fed job is sooooo ea$y, my promotion's in the bag).

Very important (and the whole point of my previous posting):
Station peepz and listeners - answer NO COMMENT to
the corporate news media's questions about the station.

Just wanted to clarify.

pull this now! 02.Mar.2006 12:27

Pirate DJ

I wrote this article without waiting for further instruction. If you want to help, pull this article and keep your mouths shut about this. It was an article in Portland magazine that brought this on. More media coverage can only hurt. Please pull this article NOW!

Solidarity 02.Mar.2006 12:40

dj megawatti fro@riseup.net

Greetings and solidarity from Free Radio Olympia 98.5. We hope PRA stays on the air!!!
PRA please contact us, we want to know more. Can I interview someone?
dj mega

P.O. Box 6024 Olympia, WA 98507

DONT FREAK OUT!!! 02.Mar.2006 12:54

dj mega

DJ Pirate, take a deep breath.

The article in the PDX weekly may not have helped, but now the cat is out of the bag. Know that when you broadcast you are basically a beacon, the FCC can find you at any time, there is no hiding. Now that you all have been contacted by the FCC, coverage on indymedia and gathering community support around your effort is a good move. The more community support you have, the stronger you will be. Look at FRSC in Santa Cruz, even though they have been raided and had everything confiscated, they are still on the air because their community supports and helps them.

You should continue to be stealthy about the locations you operate from and meet at, but don't close yourselves off to support now. Network with the larger microradio movement!! You are not alone. If you want to stay on the air, you should return to the air asap from a new location and start building your community and regional support base!!!

dj mega at Free Radio Olympia (on air since 2001!)

From the Horse's Mouth 02.Mar.2006 14:11

PRA Manager

Thank you all for your concerns and comments. An official statement from the PRA will be released soon.

I think I should first set some facts straight. We believe that our recent visit by the FCC was a direct result of an interview that I did with a contributing writer to the Oregonian's A&E section. It had nothing to do with any previous PDX Mag, WW, or Mercury stories, publications we've come to trust over the years. This interview was agreed upon with the understanding that the PRA could not mention in a publication as wide read (on both sides of the political spectrum) as the Oregonian the facts that we were pirates and did broadcast on the FM dial. The writer agreed to these terms and I met with him for an interview. I was open with him about how and why we did what we did in order to give him enough information to dance around the taboo subjects. It was my understanding that the article would focus on our Interent Radio streaming capabilities. Why this writer choose publish that we were Pirates and broadcasting FM I do not know. I'm sure his intentions were to help and not hinder but we do feel stabbed in the back.

The PRA is well aware of the risks involved, preventative methods, and the history of the FCC's responses when it come to Pirate radio. Although we appriciate your suggestions. As to our immediate perdicament and future, I cannot comment on now. Thank you for understanding and stay tuned, we may need help.

Dj Hairdo

those who have been through it 02.Mar.2006 14:55


i'd suggest getting in contact with freak radio santa cruz folks. they were raided a year or 2 ago and were back up within a month and havent had any trouble since. theyve been through it and could probably offer some pretty good advice. their website is  http://freakradio.org/

more resources for you 02.Mar.2006 15:59

just in case

Maybe you already know about these?
But, in case others visiting this post don't:

The National Coalition Against Censorship in NYC might help
and the Philadelphia-based Prometheus Radio Project helps out with fleas
(I forget the URL).

and may bad karma get the Oregonian for their part in shutting down PRA.

Don't Quit-we've been harassed 3 times by FCC and are still on the air in DC 02.Mar.2006 17:32

WSQT Guerilla Radio

These "visits" are bullshit. If you have multiple sites to broadcast from available(and only one transmitter), now is a good time to move it. On the other hand, if space from which to broadcast is at a premium and but you have multiple rigs, IGNORE the visit! If you have neither an alternate space nor a second transmitter, stay on the air, as it could be a damned long time before teh FCC gets around to stealing one. Remmeber that in Santa Cruz they lost hundreds of dollars in slashed tires while on-site to steal equipment.

If you ever get a "Notice of Apparent Liability" from the FCC, use it for toilet paper. They have no legal ability to collect any fine by force, and only a court of law can issue any kind of warrant. Even if they took you to court to "collect" a fine, as a CIVIL fine it could not be collected by any means beyond those used for unpaid credit card bills. If you have no assets and little visible income you are IMMUNE to all civil judgements.

At WSQT we've been visited three times in a number of locations, and had a mobile broadcaster threatened by cops(who backed off when he called them on their shit!). We've even had arsonists strike at our station but miss the equipment!

One visit was when we were promoting Counterinaugural coverage, another when FEMA didn't like our Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Katrina coverage. A third was random. The fire was hairy but didn't stop us. Yet we are still here, and NOBODY has ever been arrested.

If the FCC had the legal ability to arrest ANY pirate, they would arrest someone from WSQT. We are on-air in DC, calling Bush the "Dark Lord" and the mayor "Tony the Rat" every day! The MOST the FCC can do if you ignore them is steal your equipment! If you don't keep broadcasting the gear's useless anyway, so nothing to lose. We use homemade transmiters containing dumpstered and Radio Shack parts, and have made sure the FCC knows we can easily replace anything they steal, so they've yet to bother.

The FCC steal gear by getting a warrant under an obscure law aimed at pirate(!) SHIPS, allowing a warrnat to "arrest" a piece of equipment but NOT people to be issued. They have NO powert to arrest anyone in this process, so don't worry about them!

DO, however, remove unnecessary and/or expensive shit from your transmitter house, just in case. This is a good precaustion at all times for all pirates, as is having your studio at a remote location from the transmitter.

At WSQT, we are Guerilla Radio! We say its all one ocupation from Occupied Iraq, to Occupied New Orleans, to Occupied Washington. All one war from Occupied Fallujah to Occupied Anacostia(C's poorest neighborhood.)

Sorry, but... 02.Mar.2006 19:48


never trust the corporate media!!!

Piro-mania 03.Mar.2006 21:34

Ga donken

I was wondering what would happen with more smaller power transmitters and/or receiver/transmitters(=repeaters)?

Would location radomizing the transmitter outputs within this matrix would be groovy.

If its not the media its the warrants.

Best of luck.
Best Wishes America
Best Wishes America

Don't mess with PRA 09.Mar.2006 23:05

Drusilla von Boozington - Bad Advice Show

Will be back on the air St. Patty's Day - March 17 at midnight to 2am Saturday. Check me out on the Bad Advice Show. Would love to help you out with your issues. Call me for advice or free phone love at (503) 22-BLAST.  theBadAdviceShow@hotmail.com