Free Radio Berkeley
community needs a voice!
Welcome to Free Radio Berkeley. Founded on April
11, 1993 as a Free Speech voice challenging the regulatory structure
and power of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Free Radio Berkeley has been
engaged in an ongoing legal battle with the FCC. Until it was silenced
by a court injunction in June 1998, Free Radio Berkeley was broadcasting
24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 104.1 FM with 50 watts of power
as the alternative voice for the greater Berkeley/Oakland area.
The original Free Speech mission to provide community news, discussions
and interviews, information, a wide range of music, and more has
now been taken up by Berkeley Liberation Radio.
Free Radio Berkeley was instrumental in helping
to to create an ever growing micropower broadcasting movement to liberate the airwaves and break the corporate
broadcast media's stranglehold on the free flow of news, information,
ideas, cultural and artistic creativity. This movement,
by creating an ungovernable situation for the FCC, forced this
regulatory body to establish a very limited low power FM broadcast
service (LPFM). Viewed by many within the micropower community as a
form of damage control and a divide and conquer strategy, this LPFM
service only allows the establishment of low power stations in
rural communities due to overly stringent channel spacing requirements.
Even given the limited nature of LPFM it was immediately opposed
by both the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio. As a result of intense lobbying efforts by both
these organizations Congress passed a bill that severely curtailed
an already limited service. The National Lawyers Guild Committee
on Democratic Communications responded
to the initial LPFM rule making proceedings and is currently assisting
with the LPFM application process.
Following the example of Free Radio Berkeley,
hundreds of micropower broadcast stations have taken to the air
across the United States and in other countries as well. Current
FCC regulations mandate a minimum broadcast power of 100 watts
for non-LPFM stations and require such a high cost of entry so
that only the rich and well endowed can have a voice. Micropower
broadcasting is helping to restore grassroots democracy, bringing back
the concept of open and free civic discourse among all citizens.
Further, it is a direct challenge to a broadcast system based
entirely on wealth. A micropower FM
broadcast station (pdf) with a coverage radius of 12-15 miles can
be put on the air for a cost ranging from $1000-$2000. An affordable
amount for any community desiring to have a voice. Most of our
transmitters can operate directly from car batteries, thereby
allowing the setting up of portable stations operating at strike
lines, rallies, demonstrations, community events and fairs, and
festivals. Drive-by radio!
Free Radio Berkeley has two somewhat distinct
entities - Free Radio Berkeley 104.1 FM, a silenced broadcast
station that was operating with 100 volunteer programmers, and
- Free Radio Berkeley IRATE (International Radio Action Training, Education),
which provides transmitter kits, technical support and training
and is involved in national and international
outreach and organizing efforts. Our transmitters and other
related equipment are being used by popular liberation struggle
movements in a number of countries.
On this site you will find information on Free
Radio Berkeley. Our web storefront is also available offering
the latest in micropower broadcasting kits, accessories, complete
station packages, audio equipment and antennas. Also, check out
the Micropower Broadcasting section containing information and
links to help you start your own community micropower radio station.
Most of our online documentation is being converted
to PDF format. Go to this link
for the pdf reader.
"To be governed is to be at every
operation, at every transaction, noted,
registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed,
admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished."
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
"The state can't give you free speech,
and the state can't take it away. You're born with it, like your eyes, like
your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try
to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you
- Utah Phillips
"The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is
the mind of the oppressed."
- Stephen Biko
You cannot put a rope around
the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against the barrack-square
wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison
cell your slaves could ever build. - Sean O'Casey
"If large numbers of people
believe in Free Speech, there will be freedom of speech"
"Protest beyond the law is not a departure
from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it"
- Howard Zinn
"The FCC can kiss my Bill of
"..it does not require a majority to prevail,
but rather an irate, tireless minority to set brush fires in people's
- Samuel Adams
``When in the course of human
development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs
of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob and oppress mankind,
the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow,
- Emma goldman
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation
must begin by subduing the
freeness of speech."
"[T]he right of freely examining public characters and
measures, and of free communication among the people thereon ...
has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every
The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will
be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed
"A practical scheme, says Oscar Wilde,
is either one already in existence, or a scheme that could be carried
out under the existing conditions; but it is exactly the existing
conditions that one objects to. And any scheme that could
accept these conditions is wrong and foolish. The true criterion
of the practical, therefore, is not whether the latter can keep
intact the wrong and foolish; rather is it whether the scheme
has the vitality enough to leave the stagnant waters of the old,
and build, as well, sustain life."