Free Radio Santa Cruz lives

While Free Radio Berkeley and San Francisco Liberation Radio may have been forced off the air by last summer’s FCC (Federal Communications Commission) injunction, other micro-powered stations around the country, including Freak Radio Santa Cruz, have pumped up the programming!

FRSC has been liberating 96.3 FM 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in total defiance of FCC bullshit for almost 4 years, providing the only real alternative news and views available in its broadcast area. The station features local news and street level interviews on programs such as Bathrobes Broadsides, V Man & Rockin the Boat, Resist Locally, queercore with Sista Snatch and even Sunday morning services with “the Hour of Slack” Church of the Subgenius. (“Praise Bob!”)

National syndicated programs such as CounterSpin, Making Contact, Alternative Radio, Bruderhoff Radio are also aired daily. The last time the FCC (Siskel & Ebert team of Van Stavern and Zears) came by was back in May while they were investigating a complaint by KZSC 88.1, which is the college radio station in the area. A prankster jammer claiming to be FRSC broke onto a simulcast frequency during a concert. After angry 88.1 listeners called making threats to FRSC, KZSC realized that the micro-powered, 40 watt station could not have been the culprit. Nonetheless, the FCC stuck their nose into the situation.

When the FCC arrived, a courageous 12 year old girl asserted her rights and refused entry to the FCC. The FCC was in the middle of trying to convince her that “we don’t need a warrant” when her mom came home and told the FCC to wait on the sidewalk while she called a lawyer. Instead, she proceeded to grab a video camera and record the entire event as she and a friend again refused entry to the FCC, who eventually left. All during this, DJ Venus was funking it up on the airwaves, sending shout outs to the FCC agents, etc. The same day the FCC successfully shut down Phantom 104.1 FM in San Jose after they failed to defy the FCC.

FRSC has more to worry about than the FCC: the real work is running a radio station 24/7. Between paying rent, worrying about equipment breakdown, dues, fundraising, making looptapes, talking to Indie record companies and even fighting the local police in court for the right to table downtown, FRSC activists are busy. The biggest problem is organizing 30 to 50 expressive programmers into a consensus, tacking issues like hate speech, free speech and different views on sexism, racism, etc. in a diverse group. FRSC is a lesson in anarchy learning personal responsibility as an independent cooperative, keeping each other in check and deal with hard issues no other radio station really deals with.

The station has built and is building community support in Santa Cruz, and has been recognized as a media institution. One programmer’s political program: “We need more micro stations on the air now! Free Radio Berkeley and San Francisco Liberation Radio need to get back on the air! When they bust us, weÕll just go back on the air. Fuck ’em!”

The station needs money and tapes to play on the air. To contact FRSC, write PO Box 7507, Santa Cruz, CA 95061. Email: Or call voicemail: 408-427-4523 or the studio line 408-423-5361.