Pirate radio stations are nothing new, but Stephen Dunifer is now trying to train more people in how to set up their own pirate radio station using the more politically safe sounding name of microbroadcasting, with the idea of creating a (radio) wave of civil disobedience about how the FCC allocates radio licenses.

Please don’t call Stephen Dunifer a pirate. He’s a microbroadcaster, or, at least, a former one.



As Dunifer tells it, the term “pirate radio,” though once a badge of honor, is misleading. Pirates are criminals, he might tell you, while microbroadcasters are Tom Paine-like patriots.



Dunifer dreams of reclaiming the airwaves, neighborhood by neighborhood, from the corporate powers that be. To that end, he’s spent the past several years training would-be do-it-yourself broadcasters. His four-day Radio Summer Camps, sponsored by Free Radio Berkeley, offer how-tos for building transmitters and antennas, along with advice on handling any FCC agents that might come knocking. The camps begin in June.



With a few hundred bucks and a bit of know-how, potential pirates, er, microbroadcasters, could hop the airwaves right away.



Katie Jacoby, a junior at Bard College in New York, spent her winter break in one of Dunifer’s training sessions, and earlier this month launched Free Radio Annandale, an unlicensed station at 92.5 FM. After overcoming some logistical problems — Jacoby had to put her antenna up a tree — she began broadcasting hip-hop and punk music and politically oriented programming including Democracy Now.



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