|This radio station is just
for fun and has no intention of interfering with any lawful broadcast station.
What we do is called free
radio. This is a neighborhood radio station for our friends and neighbors
to enjoy. Sort of like a cable access channel, only on the radio. We will
not promote any anti-government programming or allow any anti-government
programming to be promoted. We are 100 percent flag waving Americans and
very proud of it. Jack and Jill Radio supports the local, state and federal
government. Beyond that statements of political or religious connotation
are that of the person speaking and not that of Jack and Jill Radio or
staff. Jack and Jill Radio has no political or religious affiliations.
|This station intends to
be very close to a community radio format. We are hoping our non-conventional
format will allow us to provide some interesting music and programming.
There will be no commercials of any kind. We are not competing with local
radio stations. We will do public service announcements. We will on occasion
do some news and weather. We will play all types of music and have variety
and talk shows. We will feature local musicians and have them in our studio
for interviews and performances.
It is important to note that
not all programming will be suitable for all age groups. Parents, it is
your responsibility to monitor your children's listening habits. Programming
aimed at a more mature audience will usually be aired after 9 PM. See our
programming and news and information pages at our web site for formats
and times of events and shows.
|The FCC has been back and
forth on the Low Power FM Radio Service issue for many years. Commercial
broadcasters and their bank accounts have played a large role in this issue.
We believe it is our right to have a portion of the air waves not controlled
by commercial interests, were we can have fun and do our own thing without
being blasted with commercials. For more information on LPFM please see
our we site.
Thank you for listening to
Jack and Jill Radio and may God continue to bless America.
THE LPFM FIASCO:
AFTER FIRST ANNOUNCING tentative
plans on January 28, 1999 for legalizing low power radio and allowing for
a lengthy year long period of public comment, study and deliberation, FCC
Chairman William Kennard floated a proposal on January 19, 2000 which provided
new rules that envisioned the licensing of an estimated 1,000 new Low Power
FM (LPFM) stations in the range of 10-100 watts. Yet, by the end of last
year, after 1200 applications had already been filed in the 20 states initially
eligible to participate in the LPFM sweepstakes, Congress caved in to lobbying
pressure from both the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and National
Public Radio (NPR), and gutted this already modest FCC proposal for a new
LPFM radio service.
Amidst an NAB and NPR scare
campaign about potential interference problems, the language of what had
once been the industry-promoted Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act was
attached as a rider to the Omnibus Budget Act of 2000. Using the threat
of supposed interference as a pretext, the Act limits the number of possible
licenses by holding newly created LPFM stations to an extremely conservative
standard of having to be three bandwidths, rather than two as the FCC had
originally mandated, away from any other station already existing on the
dial (89.1-92.1 instead of 90.1-92.1, for instance).
Even with this enhanced spacing
restriction, there was a flood of applications. By late December 2000 estimates
by the pro-LPFM Prometheus Radio Project, the number of licensed LPFM stations
which met the three bandwidth requirement ranged from 250-500. However,
these stations will be mostly in rural areas because the new spacing rules
are very difficult to meet in urban localities. Of course, full implementation
optimistically assumes there are no future backroom legislative deals to
squelch the service or efforts by executive branch power brokers to let
it die on the vine from neglect.
Stalling the Process
Revealingly, Congress has
called on the FCC to study the economic impact of these new stations on
corporate radio outlets as well as the aforementioned possibility of interference
problems even with a three bandwidth separation safeguard in place. As
to the latter study, the new service must choose nine "test market" stations
from among those already approved or else set up their own field testing
that requires assembling temporary stations, which will simply broadcast
tape loops or test tones for experimental purposes only. These newly required
tests, of course, serve to stall full implementation of the LPFM service
with no date yet specified as to the length of the experiment. Then Congress,
which in an unprecedented move has usurped authority for implementation
from the FCC, must decide the future of the new radio service.
Suffice it to say that as
2001 arrived the future of LPFM looked bleak with George W. Bush in the
White House, a Republican-controlled Congress and new presidentially-appointed
FCC chair calling the shots.
While the FCC's original LPFM rules were ultimately superseded by Congressional edict, it is worth noting that even they were controversial not only within NAB/NPR circles, but also inside the free radio movement itself. The FCC—intentionally or in effect—promoted a divide and conquer strategy that split the movement into two camps. The first camp consisted of those who supported licensed LPFM, like the Prometheus Radio Project, largely organized by the disenfranchised buccaneers of Philadelphia's Radio Mutiny station, which had been shut down by the FCC. After tirelessly lobbying the FCC and Congress on behalf of LPFM, the Prometheus Radio Project led workshops throughout the country in relation to the final FCC plan under the banner of, "So You Want To Apply For A Low Power FM License."
Though not opposing radio
piracy per se, these touring workshops emphasized the licensed LPFM model
in a way that was in marked contrast to an earlier Radio Mutiny era tour,
which had incited free radio stations to go on the air without a license
in defiance of the FCC. Prometheus has continued to organize on behalf
of LPFM, even when faced with the Omnibus Budget Act's efforts at "radio
preservation," which reduced the number of potential licensees to about
half of the FCC's originally promised number.
In the opposing camp were
those, like microradio pioneers Mbanna Kantako (Human Rights Radio in Springfield,
Illinois) and Stephen Dunifer (Free Radio Berkeley), who refused to endorse
the lobbying of Congress in support of even the FCC's initial LPFM proposal,
seeing it as an attempt at government cooptation. Moreover, as they predicted,
that original proposal would ultimately fall victim to the more entrenched
power of the broadcasting industry, if not in its earlier FCC stage then
later on at the Congressional level, where the NAB could be relied upon
to flex its lobbying muscles in an election year.
As Dunifer put it in a widely
circulated email message to the free radio movement on January 12, 2000,
"Writing to your Congressman is not going to do any good unless there is
a check for at least $10,000 attached with a promise of more to come...
Congress does not give a rat's ass about what any of us think or want.
And neither does the FCC, it's all about damage control on Kennard's part.
He knows that the government does not have the resources to deal with thousands
of folks taking back their airwaves. So he had to come up with a strategy
that would fool folks who somehow still believe the system has a degree
of legitimacy and credibility and would participate in the process—just
a charade really in the final analysis... Our real strength has always
been the threat of an ungovernable situation on the airwaves—let's make
that threat a damn credible reality by putting hundreds and thousands of
free radio stations on the air."
In fact the FCC's proposal
for LPFM refused to acknowledge the free radio movement's role in forcing
the issue of low power broadcasting onto the public policy-making agenda
in the first place. It also failed to recognize the action of seizing the
airwaves as being within the framework of civil disobedience. Even the
original FCC rules allowed no amnesty for the micropower broadcasters who
had previously been busted or who, by remaining on the air, had challenged
the FCC's old prohibition of stations under 100 watts and raised the larger
issues of free speech and the "right to communicate."
When the preliminary announcement
of pending LPFM rules was made, Kennard ordered illegal broadcasters to
halt operations within 24 hours of being instructed to do so by the FCC
or by February 26, 1999 if they expected to be eligible for possible licensing
in the future. By the end of 2000 this promise had ultimately proved fleeting.
However, it had by then created
a rift in the micropower movement as many unlicensed broadcasters rushed
to "clean up" their acts in anticipation of LPFM licenses down the road.
Those hopes were eventually dashed by the Congress. Such a sequence of
events is not unusual in the context of a corporate state in which FCC
liberals offered the carrot of licenses rather than simply relying on the
stick of shutdowns in order to regain control of the airwaves.
The carrot was in essence the stick by other means, but the stick never fully disappeared. Instead, shutdowns actually increased, and the limited amnesty promised was removed by more conservative legislators once the damage to micropower movement solidarity had already been done.
Smothering Free Radio in Bureaucracy
Many free radio broadcasters,
however, refused to abandon their stations since they had no desire to
be officially licensed. Others held firm out of distrust of the FCC and/or
a legislative process that was dominated by the corporate broadcasting
industry. By not allowing the original micropower broadcasters to be licensed
if they had refused to leave the airwaves during the approximately two
years that transpired from the time of Kennard's original rule-making announcement
until the passage of the Omnibus Budget Act of 2000, the FCC had acted
to re-establish its authority over the airwaves and punish those radio
rebels who had dared to challenge it.
Yet the free radio pioneers'
suspicions that even the limited amnesty promised to those of them who
had never been caught and voluntarily went off the air in compliance with
the new LPFM-related FCC edict were proven valid in the end. Ironically,
as the first African-American chair of the FCC, Kennard's proposal was
the bureaucratic equivalent of telling civil rights activist Rosa Parks
that though everyone else could now sit wherever they wanted in the bus
she must remain seated in the back because the Montgomery bus boycott which
she helped organize had been illegal under the laws of the Jim Crow South.
Like all government regulatory
agencies, in spite of its populist rhetoric, the FCC has been captured
by the very interest groups that it supposedly exists to regulate. Accordingly,
the license approval process is subject to industry-dictated constraints
rather than the democratic priorities of redistributing the airwaves along
more diverse and egalitarian lines. The FCC rules actually act to enclose
free radio within bureaucratic guidelines. Though the LPFM stations were
originally designated noncommercial, initial reports indicate that political
dissidents, grassroots activists and groups marginalized on the basis of
a progressive to radical stance on class, race, gender or sexual orientation
are still to be overwhelmingly excluded from the airwaves in favor of more
moderate non-profit organizations, middle class minority entrepreneurs
and "respectable" church groups. In fact, almost half of the licenses approved
in the first round were church-related, with many of these being awarded
to right-wing Christian fundamentalists.
Moreover, a very real potential
problem for new recruits to the free radio movement is that the FCC can
once again claim that it has legalized low watt radio, even though Congress
has drastically reduced the number of eligible stations formerly proposed.
Using this pretext, it can now give its agents the green light to aggressively
go after those radio stations operating without a license. Previously,
public opinion was often on the side of the free radio stations, which
many saw as being unjustly restricted from entry to the radio dial, but
the FCC can now claim that any aspiring station should simply follow LPFM
guidelines and apply for a license if it wants to broadcast.
Regardless of the dilution of the original FCC plan, the traditional regulatory idea that micropower radio stations are legitimately subject to government crackdown efforts if they decide to go on the air without first formally being licensed has been given new currency. Formerly unlicensed stations have faced ever increasing harassment since the FCC put LPFM into motion.
Predictably, one of the first
stations hit by this renewed wave of government repression was Human Rights
Radio in Springfield, Illinois, which suffered two FCC raids at the end
of 2000. In both cases the spurious charge was that the station was causing
interference with air traffic control signals. Astoundingly, the air traffic
controller who testified to the interference in court claimed the Human
Rights Radio signal was coming from the John Hay Homes public housing project,
which had once been its home, but which had been torn down years before
Moreover, as Stephen Dunifer
explained in an open letter originally sent to Springfield's State Journal
Register but never published, the threat of such interference was being
used as a red herring (the letter was later printed in a special Fall 2000
issue of the Springfield zine, War Bulletin.) As Dunifer put it in his
letter, "Air traffic control signals are narrow band AM, an amplitude modulated
carrier with a frequency spread of 25 kilohertz or less, while micropower
transmitters are FM, a frequency modulated carrier with a frequency spread
of plus or minus 75 kilohertz taking up a channel 200 kilohertz wide. It
would be very difficult for an air traffic radio receiver to receive an
intelligible errant signal from an FM broadcast transmitter due to the
fact that the receiver is designed only to pick up an AM signal that is
much more narrow in spectrum width than an FM broadcast signal."
Regardless of these technical
facts, in order to gain popular support, the FCC has increasingly relied
on stories about planes falling out of the sky due to errant micropower
transmissions as justification for their campaign to shut down unlicensed
broadcasters, and Springfield's media have taken these claims at face value.
The first bust of Human Rights Radio occurred in October, just one week after it was announced in local media outlets that 13 groups in the Springfield area had applied for a seat at the table for the then-promised cornucopia of legally-sanctioned LPFM licenses. As if the message sent was not clear enough, the prosecuting attorney in court who successfully obtained an injunction requiring that Human Rights Radio [HRR] remained shut down, used the argument that the station was a renegade entity which deserved no sympathy now that LPFM licenses were in the offing. She noted that if [HRR’s] Mbanna Kantako was a serious broadcaster he should have applied for an LPFM license. Of course, Kantako could not apply for a license even if he wanted to do so (which he does not) since no amnesty was granted by the FCC or Congress to former civil disobedients like himself.
Predictable Actions, Mainstream Media Coverage, & the Continuing Fight for Free Airwaves
Later on, this prohibition
of amnesty for Kantako was conveniently ignored in the December 28 State
Journal Register coverage of LPFM, which simplistically explained that
Kantako had merely not applied for a license. The article then went on
to celebrate the tentative licensing of two applicants in the nearby rural
towns of Pana (where a church group had applied) and Taylorville (where
ham radio hobbyists got approval).
In that same issue of the
newspaper, reporter Matt Dietrich added insult to injury. At first he failed
to cover the story of Kantako's October bust in spite of an email campaign
directed at the editor of the State Journal Register, mobilized by a call
to action on the national Independent Media Center website, Deitrich stayed
true to corporate media form and wrote a "feel good" story profiling a
legal low power radio station operator located in Springfield's predominantly
black eastside community [Dec. 28].
Of course, the station in
question is only 100 milliwatts strong (1/10 of a watt), and its programming
consists entirely of playing R&B oldies rather than challenging the
powers that be, but Dietrich repeatedly alluded to the operator as acting
like a model citizen for doing everything by the book and being extremely
careful about interference unlike, by implication, Kantako.
No mention was made of the
fact that none of the 13 applicants for LPFM licenses in Springfield were
deemed eligible under the new Omnibus Budget Act rules. Nor was any attempt
made to interview them now that their license hopes had been scuttled,
even though at the end of the filing period, they had originally been the
subject of a "feel good" story of their own which seemed to imply that
their licenses were in the bag.
The message to African-Americans in Springfield was clear: Be appropriately thankful for a minuscule legal station and you'll be the darling of the mainstream media, but fight for your right of access to the airwaves by civil disobedience and your station will get no coverage and you will be personally vilified as a threat to public safety. As for Kantako, he has ignored the injunction and was back on the air within about a week of the first bust. At the time of this writing he has vowed to resume broadcasting again in the wake of the second raid on his home-based station.
Meanwhile, as the information wars continue to heat up, other independent media activists are devising strategies for breaking the radio lockdown orchestrated by the corporate media and its FCC enforcers by offering the possibility of global linkages to be used by stations like Kantako's through a creative fusion of micropower radio technology and webcasting. One such approach involves creating a mosquito fleet of micropowered FM downloader/Repeaters for discrete tactical delivery of non-corporate audio reportage to radio listeners anywhere in the world. Unlike webcasting used by itself, all that is needed on the part of the listener is a standard radio receiver---no computer access is necessary. The icing on the cake is that web-casting microradio stations are FCC free.
In short, the humble micropower radio transmitter is still at the forefront of the present global struggle for independent media in ways that challenge both the FCC's attempt at enclosure of the free radio movement through the promotion of their liberalizing LPFM strategy and the National Association of Broadcaster's reactionary attempt to dismantle it. Stay tuned!