Tree Radio Berkeley Action a Success

On November 23, 1998, in response to the federal injunction that removed Free Radio Berkeley from the air, and in light of the heavy-handed seizure tactics used by the FCC against other microbroadcasters, free radio activists decided to reclaim their airwaves by taking their station literally out of the FCCs reach – 50 feet up a redwood tree in a Berkeley city park. Three platforms set by Earth First!ers held the battery-powered equipment, food, people, and gear. The activists accomplished 11 days of nearly 24-hour-a-day broadcasts before ending the project voluntarily. Two FCC agents visited the site but took no action other than leaving behind a letter. The action received considerable local news coverage in print, TV and radio media, and droves of community supporters visited the park bringing gifts of food and money, including a 10-year-old boy who donated his allowance and a family from across the street who shared their Thanksgiving dinner. Solar Powered Urban Radio Transmission (SPURT) of Berkeley/Oakland returned to the air in solidarity for one afternoon, setting their antenna in a neighboring tree. The interest and goodwill shown to us by the community at large was overwhelming. It clearly demonstrated the need for non-commercial community-based radio, and inspired us to continue in the struggle.