Sunday, October 13, 2013

Brandon's Digest: Seizing The Airwaves

Hey guys, I'm away in Austin today so Brandon will be taking it away with a little book report! It also ties into a project he's been putting a lot of effort into lately and that he's really passionate about. I'm sure you all have heard me talk about Local Live Houston, a local radio show that Brandon has been helping produce. I'm extremely proud of him and can't wait to see where he goes with it. But in the mean time, here's some info on his latest read: 
Local Live Houston is finally back on the internet and as my first assignment as radio producer, Jordan Panell (the station's amazing founder), told me to read this book. He found it at a monthly swap meet that Sam and I participate in (The Houston Re-Market) and is now demanding everyone at the station to read it. As part of any good Anarchist Arsenal, Seizing the Airwaves is a Free Radio Handbook and so much more. Far from a list of directions, Stephen Dunifer (Free Berkley Radio) and Ron Sakolsky have compiled interviews and speeches from the most influential and dedicated members of the free radio movement. 

First we are introduced to a nation known as “Merica”, a land where for decades the odds have been slowly stacked against those who wish to have a voice in their community. From outrageous start up costs to severe punishment, the FCC has effectively deterred most citizens from conducting “legitimate” radio operations and has forced them to go rogue. It is popular to refer to these operations as “Pirate” but when you understand what exactly has been taken from whom, it is clear who the true scalawags are. Since the Communications Act of 1934 which established the FCC, community radio has been nudged into the nooks and cranny’s of our FM/AM system by its rapidly growing potential for profitability. Now, I understand profit and choose not demonize the acquisition of money, however this pursuit has infringed upon the average citizen's ability to organize and uplift some of our nations most desperate communities!


This is the aim of courageous leaders of free radio like Napoleon Williams of Black Liberation Radio and Mbanna Kantako of Human Rights Radio. These men have sacrificed their homes, personal lives, and families in order to give the most disenfranchised communities of Illinois a voice and a medium to grow together. They understand that these goals do not have to be purchased or licensed but are inherent to humanity, “ Our most important concern is Human Rights. So we are on the air to stress the idea that people are born with rights, and they come before any government, any judge, anybody on earth. Nobody has a right to write a rule that comes before the rights you are born with.”(MK) A concept that is simple but without dedication or representation it is impossible for people realize what exactly they are missing out on. 

We are not talking about the top 40 charts or wacky morning commuter shows we are talking about programming that can enhance the lives of anyone listening. Mbanna has his entire family reading eye opening material like Jonathan Kozal’s Savage Inequality, and other books and information geared toward a heavily illiterate audience. An audience who has the right to express every injustice they face from police brutality to educational imbalance. And even though these causes are vital to the freedom of every citizen, every free radio does not have to tackle giant social movements. 

Stephen Dunifer makes the point that as long as the FCC demands 100 watts of power to operate, every community will have creative citizens begging to be heard. And he leaves those individuals with no excuse not to start their own station. If brave Chiapas of Central America can haul studio equipment on their backs up a mountain all while evading murderous drug lords, a couple of college students should have no trouble finding a space to let there brothers and sisters jam out or slam a few poems. And space is about the only thing that Mr. Dunifer is not able to provide because his organization, Free Radio Berkely, has taken every step of start up and made it less expensive, less technical, and less illegal. Since the FCC brought FRB to court in 1995 the National Lawyers Guild’s Committee on Democratic Communications has fostered giant strides towards a more free radio system. Strides that have affected my life on a personal level. As of now Local Live Houston streams only from its website to completely bypass any sort of regulation on content, but we have recently completed an application for a low-power FM station that was not available only a decade ago. This is an exciting step toward “legitimacy”, but in no way does this mean we will ever abandon our mission to provide every artist, activist, anarchist, child, woman, or man with waves to share their voice. 

Yes that includes you! We are constantly looking for programming since LLH runs 24/7 and would love to give you a chance to enhance your community. 

Contact us thru FB: at or start up a chat on Sam’s comments and we can get something started... 

Need a taste of LLH programming? Here are a few shows that I have had the opportunity to produce and are classic Local Live...
Counter Radio
Fathometer Radio
Free Thinkers Radio
Montrose Rock Revel Radio
The Ridiculous Hour
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