Wednesday, January 26, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 81

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First Amendment Radio Meets, but lacks Organization 

By Craig Stewart
Daily Cougar Staff

Tuesday evening, supporters of First Amendment Radio gathered to discuss the implications of the Federal Communications Commission's decision to allow community radio stations to broadcast.

First Amendment Radio is the ancestor of Radio Free Montrose, a pirate radio station which operated until April 28, 1999, when its transmitter was siezed by the government. First Amendment Radio avoids running this risk by broadcasting over the Internet, although an unconnected party pulls the transmission from the Internet and broadcasts it at 94.9 FM, where Radio Free Montrose used to broadcast.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Kevin Jackson, former head of the Houston Radio Collective, is shown here speaking about the changes that First Amendment Radio must undergo.

Martin, who preferred not to give his last name, began the meeting by detailing what would be necessary to comply with the the conditions that the FCC has set for anyone desiring to obtain a legal community radio station.

The next two speakers went over the fact that to become a legal radio station, the station must be an established community presence and broadcasting must occur at least 12 hours per day and 36 hours per week. There must have been no illegal broadcasts since Feb. 26, 1999. If more than one group applies for the same spot on the dial, then the FCC has the authority to decide which station should receive the spot.

Many members feared that other organizations would be more capable of meeting the FCC's requirements, and that First Amendment Radio would be left without a legal spot on the dial to broadcast.

Kevin Jackson made the point that First Amendment Radio was dead, to resounding applause from the audience. He went on to say that the efforts should focus on getting a legal community radio station, and leave behind their current ways of operating.

Larry G., the program director, made a plea for more community oriented radio shows, and asked everyone to sign up to do a show which would apply to the area where First Amendment Radio is based.

Everything seemed to be going pretty well until Martin brought up the issue of money. He explained the fact that he was forced to pay much of First Amendment Radio's expenses out of his own pocket, because the dues which were collected were not nearly enough.

Martin attacked the members for not contributing enough, and mentioned that the benefits, such as dances and concerts were not sufficient to provide for First Ammendment Radio's expenses.

Several people attempted to speak, including some who desired more organization within First Amendment Radio, but they were mocked and cussed at by Martin.

The meeting degenerated into a few semi-drunk people cussing each other out, but the rest of the group sought to actively pursue solutions to the given problems.

Martin resigned as head of the Houston Radio Collective, but retained his position as general manager of First Amendment Radio., although rumors were floating of his demise as head of First Amendment Radio. Most of the group members agreed to meet again in a week, when specific plans and ideas are to be discussed.

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