Transcriber’s Note: The following is a short article taken from Self-Liberation Notes, August 1985, written by Jim Stumm. This was an interesting piece, as pirate radio effectively was the alternative media before the Internet, according to a quote in the article. This full publication will be available on The Vonu Podcast website soon. Please enjoy.

In the US & countries around the world, 100s of people are operating unlicensed radio stations. Although this phenomena has been occurring for 30 years, it has recently become an enforcement nightmare for the Federal Communications Commission. Faced with severe budget cuts, the FCC would rather pretend these stations do not exist than deal with them. Their strategy lately has been to focus on widely heard “pirate” radio stations & then publicize their actions against them.

The increase in such broadcasting might be attributed to activities of the Association of Clandestine Radio Enthusiasts, or ACE. This 3 year old organization reports on the activities of underground broadcasters & shortwave spy transmissions. ACE takes no position for or against illegal broadcasting, & thus encourages discussion on the subject. But their policy of providing information on these stations & letting people decide for themselves if pirates are a good or bad thing, may have contributed to the increase in underground broadcasting activity.

According to Darren Leno, president of ACE:

“Most underground radio stations feel they are providing an alternative to the corporate-controlled airwaves. People need to be aware that these stations exist. If someone agrees with the pirates that commercial radio in this country stinks, they’ve just found an alternative media & a lot of new friends.” [Emphasis added]

Most pirate stations operate weekend evenings. In larger cities, especially on the East Coast, pirates can be heard by tuning your AM radio receiver past the very top of the dial, from 1600 to 1630 kHz. FM pirates can also be found operating in the NYC area. Perhaps the easiest stations to hear are the shortwave pirates. They operate anywhere from 7:00pm to 12:00pm Eastern Time between 7400 kHz and 7500 kHz, with a preferred frequency of 7425 kHz. A shortwave receiver is needed to hear these pirates. Shortwave frequencies allow these stations to be heard around the country & often around the world.

ACE published information on when, where, & why these pirates broadcast each month. For more information about this organization & the pirates, send a long self-addressed & stamped envelope to ACE, P.O. Box 452, Moorhead, MN 56560.

ACE also operates a computer message system that can be accessed by anyone with a personal computer & a telephone modem. It is available 24 hours a day at 913-677-1288. Messages can be exchanged with other members & pirate information obtained immediately.

(Adapted from a press release dated Aug. 1985 from ACE)

No Fields Found.