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New SF Pirate Radio Station could bring FCC to SF

by David Kaye (sfdavidkaye [at]
A new San Francisco pirate radio station could make unlicensed micro-broadcasting difficult ilt for other pirates.
There is an attempt to start a pirate radio station in SF on 91.3. This will interfere with KALW 91.7, the last independent broadcaster in San Francisco, and a station that has bent over backwards to do community service since 1941. KALW is owned by the SF Unified School District, but it is run by a group of community people who provide some of the most unusual folk music, public affairs programming, and other live and local programming in the Bay Area.

Kumpo Beat -- African music Thursday nights hosted by Jean-Pierre Kubaka
Your Legal Rights -- The first lawyer talkshow to give legal advice for free
Philosophy Talk -- the only show about philosophy on the air anywhere
Mark Naftalin's Blues Power Hour -- need I say more?
AIDS Update -- the only regular AIDS information program
BBC Overnight -- the only Bay Area place to get 4 hours of live BBC programming
Folk Music & Beyond -- showcasing local folk artists each week for 20 years
Music From the Hearts of Space -- the only trance music on the radio!
Bluegrass signal -- weekly bluegrass music show!
Tangents -- Dore Stein's innovative world music program
Work With Marty Nemko -- the only program specifically for workers
Harry Shearer's Le Show
This American Life with Ira Glass -- award winning audio magazine
As It Happens -- the only Canadian news show airing in the Bay Area
Writer's Voice, Selected Shorts, Book Talk -- all about writing!
Your Call -- live and local daily call-in show
Thistle & Shamrock -- the only Irish music show in the Bay Area
Out in the Bay -- longest-running local GLBT radio show
This Way Out -- longest running national GLBT radio show
Up Front -- news about the Bay Area's ethnic communities


Radio X will be broadcasting at 100 watts at 91.3. KALW is only running 1900 watts. It is the only FM allocation available to them and they can't increase power. If Radio X is allowed or encouraged to go on the air, it will kill off 90% of KALW's potential listeners. 91.3 is simply too close on the dial to 91.7. KALW is already getting hammered by a Jesuscaster on 91.9 in Santa Rosa which has effectively cut out its listenership in Marin.

I am a radio engineer by training. I know about these things. Radio X must be stopped. If you want a radio show, go approach KALW and make a proposal. That's how Kumpo Beat and all the other shows got on the air!


More information about KALW, visit:

--David Kaye, sfdavidkaye [at]

If you'd like to help out, please write to Radio X and tell them that you support KALW and are proud of its community service to San Francisco, and remind them that if Radio X comes on the air at 91.3 (or anywhere within 3 channels of 91.7 -- that's between 90.9 and 92.5) it will KILL KALW's signal coverage.

Email: wsup [at]
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Fri, Jun 9, 2006 7:13AM
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