Acting in what they must've mistaken for true pirating fashion, the DJ's proclaimed that they were illegally broadcasting from an undisclosed location in the Smokies. They even called themselves Budman and Booger, ironically the names of two Irish DJ's whose micro-radio station was shut down in 2000.
After a satisfactory mass of public attention had been garnered, it became known that the "hijacking" was only an inside publicity stunt - an outdated tactic called bombing is used to reel in listeners during a station format change (although the broadcast continues to pretend it is under the control of pirates).
Way to go, Citadel Communications. Hope you enjoyed your moment in the spotlight. But in the process, you made a mockery of serious issues, as well as the parties who are working to address them. You exploited the freedom of speech that others are trying to protect, capitalized on their painstaking efforts to free the airwaves and hid your corporate motives behind the guise of actual pirate radio objectives.
It's probably easy for you, corporate owner of six FCC licensed local radio stations and over 200 stations nationwide, to make light of those who aren't as rich, powerful and Federal Communication Commission-approved as you.
And they, for one, are not laughing about it.
Take, for instance, local First Amendment Radio. Without a license from the FCC, First Amendment is technically a "pirate station." Yet, it exceeds all FCC technical regulations, and its signal does not bleed into any surrounding broadcasts.
The station was organized by a coalition of community volunteers unwilling to settle for what the media was doling out to our community. In response, they created an alternative whose bottom line was not profitability, but the dissemination of information and music not offered by mainstream sources. The station operates on the premise that airwaves belong to the public, and that if anyone is pirating the radio it is corporations themselves.
So why must it deal with threats from the FCC and play second fiddle to corporate-owned radio stations?
Money, of course. Those with the money own most of our media outlets, including FM-bands on the radio dial. But this is not an option for the non-profit First Amendment, which operates solely from community donations and volunteer DJs.
This trend is not limited to radio broadcasting; it manifests itself in all aspects of the media, from newspapers to TV to the Internet. Corporate control and consolidation in the media keeps a low profile, but it is your responsibility as an audience to question not only where you're getting your information, but who you are getting it from. Think about what motivates the corporations pushing these messages to you. Never mistake sheer verbosity for veracity.
As for Budman and Booger, here's some information I'll give you free of charge - stop calling yourselves pirates. You're flattering yourselves.
Radio pirates trivialize issues
Published: Mon Apr 08, 2002 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 04:13 p.m.