Free Radio Santa Cruz Raided by Federal Government

At 8:20 AM on Wednesday, September 29, armed US Marshals and FCC Agents (the US radio police) raided the house from which Free Radio Santa Cruz broadcasts. Agents entered with guns drawn, showing the warrant to a couple of residents but not serving the warrant to anyone at that time. All residents, some wearing only their bathrobes and PJ's, were herded to the sidewalk in front of their house.

Freak Radio has been raided after almost 10 years of broadcasting for the Santa Cruz community and listeners around the world via online streaming, and has received strong support from community members, including the Santa Cruz Mayor and City Council: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in defiance of federal regulation.

[ SC-IMC: Feature and 120 photos | Free Radio Santa Cruz | Wikipedia on the FCC ]

[ Democracy Now!: FRSC Shut Down by FCC | Donate to FRSC | FRSC Press Release | audio coverage]

Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC) was airing Democracy Now! when at least 16 US Marshals worked to get into the studio. FRSC was airing a pre-programmed interview, when the signal was taken off the air. FCC agents and US marshals confiscated the broadcasting antenna and all broadcast related equipment, packing it into their unmarked trucks while FRSC supporters shouted metaphorically "we’ll be back on the air by the time you reach the highway".

Agents videoed community members who lined the street and crowded onto the sidewalk in front of the house in support of the station. Residents were not allowed to bring cameras into their home, nor were they allowed entrance without first having their bags searched.

Departure was delayed when the agents discovered that five of their cars and trucks had flat tires. Tow trucks were called to pull the vehicles away.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with regulating the airwaves in the "public interest", they are the Communications Police. FCC tracks down illegal use of radio frenquencies.

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What happened to my America???

Joan Kay Pollack Long 01.Oct.2004 11:01

I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1968, moved to Fremont, CA, that August and began my 30 year career of teaching (1968-1998) In the late 60's and early 70's there were many alternative radio stations in the SF Bay Area. I remember that my favorite one bradcast from downtown Los Gatos, CA.

As an American citizen and a Boomer (11-20-46) I am shocked and dismayed by the actions of my government in Santa Cruz, CA, on the morning of Wednesday, September 29, 2004. US Marshals think they need to draw their guns to serve a warrant on people in their pajamas?????

Who's instructions are these? John Ashcroft's?????

From what I can gather, the US Marshals and the FCC are using the equivalent of a nuke to take out a fly! Doesn't the federal government have better ways to spend my tax dollar$. Did they expect the house residents to pull assault weapons on them?

Where does this paranoid atmosphere of fear originate??? I know it is not coming from the peaceful and progressive town of Santa Cruz, CA!

Free Radio Santa Cruz Responds to our Supporters

FRSC Collective 02.Oct.2004 02:50

Its been two days since the federal government silenced Free Radio Santa Cruz. While many of us were initially stunned by the raid, I can report that our collective sadness and sense of loss is turning to outrage and resolve to resume our normal operations. We are making progress toward that end, and thanks to the dedication and hard work of our tech gurus, I am happy to report that a scaled-down version of our studio has been put together, and our live stream has been going strong for over 24 hours. We should be back to our program schedule shortly. We hope to restore the fm broadcast at 101.1 FM in the near future.

The outpouring of support, donations, equipment and kind words has been overwhelming, but each e-mail, each letter, and each phone message from you, our listeners, is what keeps us going through these dark times. Please, keep it up! I wish there was time to respond individually to each of you. Many of you have asked what can be done to help. Here are a few ideas we've come up with, and hope you'll think up some others, too.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is spread the word about this repression of dissent, and loss of free speech. Tell everyone you know; family, friends, lovers, teachers, doctors, politicians, etc... Write letters to the editor of your daily or weekly paper, call radio and cable access talk shows, spread the news on internet chat rooms, and listserves.

If you are a radio, tv, or print reporter, interview someone from FRSC to talk about the importance of microradio.

Many of you have offered to donate equipment, or technical skills. We will review these offers and someone will be in touch soon with a more detailed response.

If you know of, or can recommend a good communications lawyer, please contact one of us directly.

For those of you in the Santa Cruz area, FRSC is searching for new transmitter locations. Please contact one of us directly if you can assist.

We also need people to help distribute and post flyers in the Santa Cruz area. Call our voicemail at 831 427 4523 for details.

Come to Barrios Unidos, 1817 Soquel Avenue, on Tuesday October 12, when The Gadabout Film Festival makes it way into town. Gadabout is a nationally touring film festival that seeks to open new avenues of distribution for truly independent filmmakers that get pushed aside by Hollywood and the commercial film festival circuit. Focusing on short, mostly "low to no budget" films, the Gadabout offers an alternative to the cliche world of commercial film. The show runs from 5:30 - 9:30 PM and will be a benefit for FRSC.

In our nearly ten years of existence, FRSC has only been able to remain on the air because of the financial commitments of our collective members and with the help of our listening community. If you are a fan of FRSC, and have not yet done so, we are actively asking for donations.

To donate through a safe and secure credit card transaction visit or make checks payable to "Free Radio Santa Cruz", or simply "FRSC." Our address is PO Box 7507 Santa Cruz, CA 95061. We thank you for your past, present and continued support, and look forward to our on-air return.

FRSC Contacts: Skidmark Bob or George Cadman, (831) 469-3685; Phil Free, (831) 278-1216; Sandino Gomez, (831) 480-5197; FRSC Voicemail, (831) 427-4523

flat tires

anonymous or made up 02.Oct.2004 06:20

good work


kiahra 02.Oct.2004 11:58

editing required: there are a couple of "<" missing...please add!


GADFLY R. 03.Oct.2004 23:55

due to this being an year of "Stalin-Style 'Show'Elections"for Pentagon Mouthpieces...
Note that,several congressional reports exist that point out,Amerikka has been under an neo-"Martial"-law siege document signed by Harry Truman in 1949/50,claiming an U.N. "Police"Action in a state of external belligerance against Korea and China.
Several specialists I've informally spoken to say,the "National Security Act"signed about the same time creatyes an Military state that controlls all "govornment"federalised functions,includeing domestic censorship through the N.S.A. and Etc.
If true,then FCC can call on special forces commandos dressed as "generic privatised goons"as at Waco,Drop City,etc,to carry out heavily over-armed "Force Majure"Warrant service on any U.S. territory or soil.
If this raid involved Armoured Cars and Tanks,Helicopters like "Apache Long-Bow"laying down bombs,napalm,and gas weapons,would you "Citizen-Sheeple"be afraid to complain?
Think about just how much fire-power the Finkin'Feddies can muster.
If this station was a row house in a Barrio,would this "Kid-Glove"treatment occur as above???


Free Press 04.Oct.2004 00:43

I wanted to quote a few things out of Norm Chomsky's book "Chomsky: On Democracy and Education." "The media have a particular institutional role. We have a free press, meaning it's not state-controlled; that's what we call freedom. What we call freedom is corporate control." The website I mentioned earlier makes a point of private and corporate owned. Basically, corporate press is free press. That is why I think the FCC justifies it's actions. He continues, "we have a free political system because there's one party run by business; there's a business party with two factions, so that's a free political system. The terms freedom and democreacy, as used in our Orwellian policitical discourse, are based on the assumption that a particular form of domination-namely, by owners, by business elements-is freedom." In other words, the action of just running things is justification for being free. This idea that a individual press cannot exist because of funding is reflective of such an ideal, but the running of a larger media entity is the result of collective ideals or a contributive that "reflect the interests and needs of the sellers and buyers."

radio free santa cruz

Bill C 05.Oct.2004 16:09

It's nice to know that the peaceful liberty loving fans of radio free santa cruz degenerate into tire slashing vandals in the face of legal authority. This is not free speech, but hooliganism of the lowest form, wrthy of nothing but contempt for the doers, and those they support. This has set back the "free radio" cause and made the whole idea, just an obvious example of, "I can't get what I want legally so I'll just break the law and ignore the free society we live in to become an anarchist.
Bill C.
A professional broadcaster of 40 + years

Free Speech For All

Michael Tamayo 06.Oct.2004 20:00

I find it funny to think that in America, where free speech is valued and encouraged (supposedly), only those who can afford the licenses to broadcast are able to use the airwaves. Would it be so bad Bill C., that free Americans are able to express their true views and beliefs without restrictions as to what they can say? Free Radio Santa Cruz should not be unique, but it should be how everything is. How did we let the medium of radio, in this age of technology, be overtaken by large corporations?

work with what we've got?

Rod 18.Oct.2004 02:30

i've been reading this discussion with interest; i think bill c. and michael both have good points here. the law has its place, but we all should have access to the medium of radio. no one has seen fit to explain exactly how one gets approval from the fcc to use a radio frequency. if this is unreasonably expensive or limiting, then i'm behind pirate radio all the way, that's civil disobedience... but we do have laws for a reason, and bill c. is right: to oppose all laws is to be an anarchist. an anarchist without guns is a hopeless dreamer.

as for the tire slashing, bill c. i think you have a point about hooliganism being bad p.r., but it sounds like people really objected to the military feel of the operation. guns drawn in a residential neighborhood when presumably they had no reason to expect violence... that is extreme on their part. so people reacted.

hey we all have free speech on the web.

Just desserts

A veteran NOT For BUSH or the FCC. 23.Dec.2004 20:58

Just desserts I love the fact when the chickenshit Law enforcers come down on someone they get their tires flattened, this should serve as a warning to our oppressive government, that we are not going to stand for your outdated regulation, the airwaves belong to the people not Michael Powell, or the federal government.