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  1. #1

    Default FCC's O'Rielly Tangles With Colorado News Website Over Pirate Radio Article

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    After a COLORADO news website posted an article about a pirate radio station, FCC Commissioner MICHAEL O'RIELLY responded with a "letter to the editor" challenging what he called the site's "tacit support" of the station.

    O'RIELLY's article at the LONGMONT OBSERVER responded to the DECEMBER 6th article on a pirate on 106.5 FM in LONGMONT, CO called "GREEN LIGHT RADIO" or "KGLR," part of the COLORADO COMMUNITY RADIO NETWORK. The original article did not take a position on the station other than to note the operation's illegal status and that "it is operating at substantially over the FCC's unlicensed limit," and the comment, "enjoy LONGMONT’s pirate station while it lasts."

    That last line drew O'RIELLY's reaction, which argued, "Pirate radio should never be romanticized or its negative impact minimized. In learning of a pirate station, the proper action should have been to alert the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION’s (FCC) Field Office in DENVER to initiate an investigation and potentially enforcement proceedings, not suggest people listen while they can." O'RIELLY continued with a recitation of the ills caused by pirates, including interference, lack of Emergency Alert System capability, and not paying fees or keeping paperwork. And he concluded, "It would be helpful if LONGMONT citizens and the OBSERVER assisted this effort by, at a minimum, refusing to listen to or support such 'stations.'"

    The website responded, "The LONGMONT OBSERVER generally doesn’t comment on letters to the editor, however, we do find it odd, and by what we can tell, unprecedented, that an FCC Commissioner would write a tiny digital-only locally focused news outlet in LONGMONT COLORADO and tell us what story we should write, and how to write it." The site added a quote from the FCC website noting that the Commission is barred from censoring broadcast material and interfering with freedom of speech.

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