The Internet serves as a wonderful tool of individual expression; however, it still lacks the appeal to the ear that the medium of radio can provide. So how does one compensate for this void? They partake in the twenty one year-old illegal practice known as Pirate Radio.

Pirate Radio refers to a radio station that operates without a license, without government regulations, without censorship, and without a syndicated audience. These stations are generally homemade using amplifiers, romex connectors, meters, resistors, sockets, capacitors and microphones. Due to their makeshift design, they’re only audible within a few miles of their origination. But at any given time, hundreds of stations may be heard across the nation.

Larger, licensed, public and private radio stations are coupled with the Federal Communications Commission to serve as Pirate Radio’s biggest enemies. There were as many as 185 unlicensed broadcasters punished by the FCC by early September. This is an astounding number more than years past, for in 2005 only 151 violators were caught, and a mere 92 in 2004. People that engage in the activity don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong, after all, air waves are in fact free. But, most people lack the technological know-how on how to grab and use them.

Stephen Dunifer, an Oakland resident, aims to change that. The often referred “patron saint of pirate radio” heads a four day class entitled “Dunifer’s Radio Camp.” The mini-camp teaches enthusiasts how to create their very own radio station. His belief is, “if enough people go on the air with their stations, the FCC will be overwhelmed and unable to respond.” The FCC employs 333 people, whom are responsible for policing these activities as well as cable television and telephone services. This appears to be a futile battle, for 333 people isn’t nearly enough to police an entire nation of people seeking to establish a recognized voice of their own.

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