Pirating FM Radio

When government acts to protect the special interests of large corporations, who operate to suppress the voice of the people, pirate radio breaks through

Free the Media

Prior to President Reagan's deregulation of the FCC, there were strict rules in place that governed the number of media outlets a single entity could own.  This regulation kept media diverse and free from large corporate or special interests from gobbling up the smaller, independently owned AM/FM/TV stations.  It also prevented the same from happening to news papers and magazines.  However, since President Reagan did away with all of that, corporate America have moved in and today nearly all radio, TV, and new papers (magazines included) are no longer independent and diverse. Rather, the entire industry has been monopolized and as a result our media outlets have become centrally controlled by moguls such as:

  • Comcast
  • Walt Disney
  • AT&T
  • Paramount Global
  • Sony
  • Fox

This includes billionaires:

  • Michael Bloomberg - Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Media
  • Rupert Murdoch - News Corp
  • Donald and Samuel "Si" Newhouse - Advance Publications
  • Cox Family - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Jeff Bezos - The Washington Post
  • Sheldon Adelson - The Las Vegas Review-Journal
  • Joe Mansueto - Inc. and Fast Company magazines
  • Mortimer Zuckerman - US News & World Report, New York Daily News
  • Barbey family - Village Voice
  • Stanley Hubbard - Hubbard Broadcasting
  • Patrick Soon-Shiong - Tribune Publishing Co.
  • Carlos Slim Helu - The New York Times
  • Warren Buffett - Regional daily papers
  • Viktor Vekselberg - Gawker

Working together, these moguls have monopolized media.  In so doing, they now control all play lists and the largest majority of all of radio and television outlets.  They also control the FCC through money and power who act as their protectors by erecting rules and regulations that effectively kill the independent media market.

Pirating airwaves, in protest, is one way to start making the noise that is needed to demand that "We The People" require regulations that put an end to centralized media control and that broadcasters do more to serve the local interests of their communities.

Pirating airwaves is not illegal; there are no state or federal laws criminalizing the practice. However, it does violate FCC Rules & Regulations who have the authority to levy fines.

Starting a pirate radio station is not rocket science

To make pirating airwaves a little more digestible, I will break radio broadcasting down into three components: Transmission hardware, studio hardware, and content source. But before getting into these, let's learn about pirate broadcasting.

It is important to note, though it is not a crime, broadcasting on AM/FM/UHF/VHF public airwaves without a license or permit is a violation of the FCC Rules and Regulations. The maximum penalty for operating an unlicensed or "pirate" broadcast station is set at $10,000 for a single violation or a single day of operation, and up to a total maximum amount of $75,000.

If you pirate public airwaves, before you can be fined, the FCC must have possession of your transmitter and must prove it was broadcasting at a power and range that exceeds that which they allow under Part 15 of their rules. The mere possession of a transmitter does not violate any FCC rule or regulation. Neither does producing a content feed such as online streaming radio. Though KLOKi radio touts itself as being Pirate Radio Denver, it is a content feed accessed through an internet stream for anyone who wants to listen to, or broadcast, the content.

DISCLAIMER: KLOKi's programming is intended as a public service and offered free of charge, without any advertising, for public education and comment. The primary focus of the education offered is to provide comparisons between commercial and independent sound productions in audio entertainment. Comments are collected using this website, email and text messaging. The public is not required to seek permission to reproduce or distribute its programming or audio productions.

1. Transmission Hardware

There is a wide range of transmitters, antennas and associated equipment available on the domestic and international market, ranging in cost from $250 to $1000, that can be used to construct a low power FM radio station.  However, to get you up and started right away here is what you'll need. (Products mentioned here are offered for educational purposes only.)

25w FM TransmitterCZE-T251 25W FM transmitter stereo Professional broadcast adjustable 0-25W+Power - The CZE-T251 25Watt FM transmitter is a professional FM transmitter newly released by CZHFM Co. It features a one button control for all functions. It has VSWR protection, temperature protection, electronic volume adjusting, equipped with low pass filters. It can be used in many places, such as a stadium, community radio station, motel, public square, church, theater and so on. It can get out as far as 5 miles and in some cases up to 20 miles, depending on the contruction and height of the antenna.

If you are not familiar with the FM band, you could find yourself limited to 300 ft.

25w FM TransmitterRetekess TR505 FM Transmitter Long Range Broadcast Radio Station - The Retekess TR505 FM Transmitter is an easy to set up and use FM transmitter that supports multiple frequencies with an adjustable output power from 0.01w to 25W. It has a range from 165 ft. to 3 miles. It features stereo sound, supports multiple input methods such as AUX cable, TF card, U disk, and Mic, etc. The FM broadcast transmitter is very suitable for broadcasting to any FM receiver within range on the FM frequency band. It can be used in outdoor car theaters, churches, parks, schools, factories, hotels, apartment buildings, etc.

1w FM TransmitterSource 1.2 Watt Low Power FM Transmitter (LPFM) - This is a professional grade 1.2 Watt FM Transmitter that is certified under FCC Part 73, Subpart G - Low Power FM Broadcast Stations for LP100 Stations with FCC ID: XOASRC-LPFM1 and Canada IC: 8728A-SRCLPFM1. It has a range between 600ft. to 2 miles. It features Simplified Controls that are easy to read, blue backlighting, line & mic audio can play together or use independent line & mic audio inputs.

50w FM Transmitter50W FM Transmitter RS RADIO FM Transmitter - This FM stereo transmitter uses an advance modulation system and Phase Lock Loop to control a steady frequency when transmitting.  It features a newly invented low noise system used to reduce the noise level during broadcasting time. A digital stereo system is used and control the stereo separation at great condition. With a high gain antenna, it can easy broadcast anywhere you want: home, apartment, church, school, club, camping, backyard, resident village, etc.

This broadcast transmitter has a plug and play design and is reported as being very easy to use. However, the manufacturing warns that you must connect the antenna first before connecting the power supply to avoid the transmitter from burning out.

Should you construct a LPFM, you'll also need a tall building/tower to transmit from. Otherwise, your signal will not get out very far. However, in some areas only a minimal elevation would be required, potentially meaning that a building on elevated ground will suffice.

There are various how-to guides available online that can help you with determining the best location for your transmission tower.

2. Studio Hardware

A basic studio, consisting of at least four program/sound sources, is about all you need to start broadcasting. These, combined with software discuss later, are all that is needed to get your audio source perfect for transmission.

Generally, a professional studio will include analogue/digital mixing decks, microphones to for announcers, headsets, portable audio capture devices, smart phones, laptops, soundproofing gear, relevant furniture, and maybe an on-air light to let others in the studio know your mic is on.

While PhunkyRide.com does not endorse any particular product or vendor on the market, Amazon.com is a vendor that provides all that you'll need at reduced or below market prices.

Studio Mixing BoardPodcast Equipment Bundle - The podcast equipment bundle, available on Amazon.com for as low as $160, is equipped with a podcast audio interface mixer, condenser microphone, headset, earphone, microphone adjustable scissor arm stand, XLR-Mini XLR cable, 3.5mm TSSR audio cable X 2, USB Type-C cable, foam mic cover, and instruction manual. This is a perfect example of the sound studio equipment you'll need.

If you are not familiar with the FM band, you could find yourself limited to 300 ft.

LaptopLaptop - A single laptop, together with software, is about all that is needed for the primary audio input. The laptop does not need to be state-of-the-art. An old laptop that can run modern software versions will work.

DJ SoftwareDJ Software - You will need DJ software that is compatible with your audio mixer. There are number of different DJ software applications available on the market that will do the job. Depending on the audio mixing deck you choose, most come together with the software needed to load your audio decks.

Disc JockeyDisc Jockeys/Announcers - Lastly, for your basic setup, you will need quality disc jockeys/announcers who can be clearly understood over the radio and have lots of personality. A good radio station will have DJ's who are imaginative, entertaining, and able to mix comfortably.

Content Provider

Last but not least, you will need content for your broadcasts. For that, PhunkyRide.com invites you to enroll your radio station today.