This coming Friday, April 30, San Francisco Liberation Radio will meet the FCC in court to challenge the Commission’s raid on the station last October.
The foundation for SFLR’s challenge is that the station was denied due process, based upon the fact that the FCC never contacted the station or its legal counsel when it obtained a court ordered injunction against the station to halt broadcasts.
Unlike many unlicensed broadcasters, SFLR has applied for a license but they never received direct communication from the FCC, instead reading about the denial of their application two years later on the Commission’s website. So, the station also intends to challenge the constitutionality of two licensing rules that are apparently being used against the station: the rule barring the eligibility of former pirate broadcasters, and the Congressionally-mandated rule requiring low-power stations to be spaced on the dial just like full-power stations.
It’s hard to know how successful SFLR will be, since no unlicensed broadcaster has yet to win a case against the FCC, although several, like Free Radio Berkeley and Radio Free Brattleboro, have won temporary stays against being shut down. But I do think it’s a good thing that they’re keeping up the fight, keeping at least some of the FCC’s resources tied up in court while hundreds of other broadcasters continue their path of civil disobedience.