- August 24, 2018 at 3:59 pm #106083
If one read the comments from this pirate station after being reported to the FCC, you might think that they were somewhat remorseful. They claimed that they were unaware of the rules, and had been advised by a former member of the FCC.
Well, I think that that is now questionable. In some of their comments to the Williamson newspaper article reporting their demise, they were very confrontational, particularly with several individuals who obviously had experience in the broadcasting industry and were just trying to help.
Now, if you go to their web page (a little bit down from the top), you’ll see some graphics, along with several messages, saying, basically, screw you, to the ‘snitches’ that reported them and to the ‘Hobby Lobby Broadcasters’ who will not control them (not sure if they’re referring to the Facebook page ones, or Hobbybroadcaster). I don’t see any remorse.
Ultimately, they were just an everyday, ordinary, pirate radio station that got caught. Nothing special, to their community or to the broadcasting world as a whole.
There are plenty of stations ‘out there’ that do attempt to be legal and serve their community, either by using Part 15, or getting a license somehow. They’re the ones that deserve to be supported.
- August 25, 2018 at 3:12 am #106087
Well, I for one am glad to know that they are not controlled by a nationwide chain of arts and crafts stores, ’cause that’s what Hobby Lobby is.
The attitude presented on their website may simply fit into their marketing scheme. From all the comments I read by their listeners they all seem to have the “screw the rules we’re gonna rock and roll” attitude about them. So this does seem to target their audience.
FWIW I did finally receive the T-Shirt I ordered when I first read the first newspaper article. It took a “I didn’t get my order” complaint to Paypal, but I did get an email from them and my shirt arrived a couple days after, and it is a quality t-shirt. So, there’s that.
- August 25, 2018 at 2:58 pm #106090
There are a few things that I would like to say about this. The first thing is that there are no rock stations in that area that you can receive I’ve traveled through there a few times.
There are lots of places in Kentucky you can forget about listening to rock and roll of any kind on the FM dial. Especially around Somerset Kentucky and Corbin Kentucky I remember going through there on the way to Florida several times and unless you’re listening to a dx AM station listening to some real good rock on the radio that is is no joy.
Album rockers have that sort of attitude. I am one and I am part of several different Rock clubs and that’s the type of attitude we have. Especially the anti-marijuana folks. Not that all of us smoke pot all day long and do nothing else but that’s a subject of another thread.
Just because these guys were involved in radio there’s a difference between an on-air personality and someone who works with the transmitter. The pictures that I’ve seen of the radio station with the transmitter so close to the computer shows that these guys know little to nothing about the technical side and the harm that RF can do to electronics if it’s too close nuff said about that.
I have posted some advice for them to try and go part 15 C – Quam AM stereo so that at least they could continue with their efforts to rock the little town of Williamson West Virginia. I even tried to reach out to email to both Tim and Pamela Lee and I got nothing in response. I did try to help but maybe they think I’m a snitch too.
When they’re talking about Hobby Lobby if you have read the other articles and other comments on Facebook where they have left plenty of comments it is quite clear what website they are talking about. If you don’t know that I don’t know how to help you but it’s quite clear as to what website it is. That particular website master as pretty much all but blatantly cheered on his own website as being the part of the snitch campaign.
Also I have done a lot of Googling and I found out websites like radio world are quite clear as to who the snitch was or group of snitches.
Two major mistakes I see and like I said I kind of understand they’re thinking because if these transmitter are allowed to be sold on Amazon which again is a website that most people do not associate with illegal activity they are feeling like what is the problem with using it. And when we were kids there were plenty of am transmitters out there that had some decent range I’m talking about 1 to 2 mi. If a person is not all geeky and techie I can understand where they could say well if am can do it why not FM? Heck I was even one of those folks because I still had that thought right up until the very end that if AM could do it why not FM. Again there are so many things out there on the internet but yet so many false positives as well.
A simple solution to this problem is to bring back C-Quam AM stereo and on top of that give hobby broadcasters some reasonable power for a 2 mile range whereas one and three quarter miles when stepping outside of a vehicle your station will come in at 8:30 dbuv on a Tecsun PL380 or similar radio. That way everyone is happy.
And for the record I can see why they’re all of the sudden really hammering on FM Mrs who are above the rules. The band is extremely crowded now with those am translators and there is no more room for anything else. Soon FM will be so crowded it won’t even be listenable in a lot of areas.
The agents that spoke to me really did explain very well why these Chinese transmitter are a problem. I even have noticed it with mine. When I first got the transmitter everything ran perfectly no interference on any other portion of the band or anywhere where it shouldn’t have been however I did notice as time went on and the parts got war in I did start to see issues with that and I would use to Simply buy a new transmitter and throw the other one away. The agents did explain to me why this was the case and that was faulty parts that were very underrated and cheaply made. The woman agent said she had seen this a lot. The gentleman who was an electronics engineer for the who stood right across from me at my table told me that the transmitter was very wide on the Spectrum analyzer in his truck and that is why he got a complaint that I was bleeding the whole FM dial to the complaint that called and I did not think that was funny one bit. So what I think didn’t help them was the fact that they did use the very same transmitter in the picture that I ran and of course they ran those for a few months and that’s where the problems start coming in. They probably started interference all over the band.
Since am is not like this and there are well-made transmitters that are legal for AM we all need to try and help people like this to understand that you’re not against them in the first place. But I know album rockers and when they feel like they’re attacked they have that sort of attitude. I thought me being an album rocker myself they would listen to my advice and do as I said in the Williamson newspaper about part 15 am transmitting in stereo. I wish them the best of luck and I will do anything I can to legally help them.
- August 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm #106092
There’s absolutely no excuse for the graphics and insults on their website. It certainly doesn’t make them seem very professional, at least from my point of view. Maybe, as Tim pointed out, they feel this is the new ‘professional’ in this age of political turmoil, and its part of who they’re marketing to. But if I were a business, I wouldn’t want to be associated with any organization that displayed that kind of message.
I wish that every thread Thelegacy responds to wouldn’t morph into a discussion of CQUAM, Chinese transmitters and album rock. Enough already. You’ve made your points, rightly or wrongly. Let’s keep threads on topic.
- August 25, 2018 at 6:03 pm #106093
well just like the Boston Tea Party in the early days when people thought their rights are being violated on that too might be their reasoning for the graphics on the site which I saw by the way.
As far as a businessman if you’re making products for a certain organization you might well Embrace what they have done. Especially if they’re trying to help a particular organization group or cult.
- August 26, 2018 at 4:33 am #106095
First off, obviously I’m fully aware that their reference to “Hobby Lobby” means “Hobby Broadcaster”. I was being a smart a**. That they chose to pick on them by referencing a craft store. Call them what they are, for Pete’s sake.
It takes about 30 seconds to use Google and get all the actual rules for unlicensed FM broadcasting in the USA. If you were interested in starting a business based on this type of operation I would think one would look to the FCC for the actual rules. Although I was well aware of Part 15 when I started my station, I sought out the actual rules before I even considered starting. Which is why I didn’t even consider FM. Anyone doing their due diligence before starting such an operation would know the rules.
C-Quam will never come back. That’s a fact. There may be stations, tiny and huge that think it’s the bees knees, but it will never return, will never be accepted by consumers, and there will never be product support to even see 10% of AM stations ever using it. Actually, it can’t return as it was never here to begin with. I’m 60 years old. I’ve been involved in broadcasting since I was 15. That’s 1973. 45 years ago. I remember when C-Quam came in. I never knew anyone who had a receiver for it, and never really had any inclination that anyone cared. And I lived in Minneapolis/St. Paul then. Not up here in the sticks like I have for the past 30 years. It just didn’t matter.
All album rockers are not a*ssholes. It’s not part of the demographic. Clearly on their website they’re trying to appease listeners. That’s not going to work when and if the time comes to try to sell advertising to the business community.
I’m sure we can make a list of formats that are not available in any of tens of thousands of small communities across the land. Where the hell are the polka stations? Williamson clearly needs one, since its “Happy Music”, and according to reports they’re all laying in the streets dying of drug overdoses. I can’t imagine that there’s even one functioning business there based on the reports from the rock 104 people. They paint a rather different picture than any other source of information about that town. Hard to pitch “Hi, our town is a sh*thole. Please spend your advertising dollars here”. What kind of marketing is that?
Nonetheless, no business will want to be associated with people who break federal law and act like jerks. It might be cool to their redneck listeners but not to the city movers and shakers who they will rely on for revenue. BTW they did have advertising rates published on their site when I first visited it. They were counting on selling some rather expensive ad packages.
Clearly the widely available illegal transmitters on Amazon and other places are a problem. There are a lot of legal issues and loopholes here that I won’t go into now. But just because something is available does’t make it legal. I can buy a car that will go 180 MPH. There’s no public road in the country where I can legally drive it 180 MPH, but it’s legal to sell it to me. Although in the case of FM Part 15 transmitters it’s not even legal to sell one with a 25 watt output, or anything over the age limit, unless sit’s for a licensed station. To sell it, it’s got to be certified. Anyway, we know the wormhole that discussion will go down. But I believe that, just like the car, if you buy a transmitter than can be operated illegally but you find a way to operate it legally (if that’s even possible with one of these) then YOU are not in violation of the law. The manufacturer, distributor, and retailer who illegally SOLD the transmitter would be in violation for selling something they can’t legally sell. But if you are operating it legally you didn’t violate the law. It’s not illegal to buy one, but it’s illegal to SELL one, and it’s illegal to operate outside the rules.
Anyway, they clearly didn’t investigate the easily available actual rules for Part 15 or unlicensed broadcasting. And even though they allegedly got advice from a “retired FCC employee” even He told them (and it’s quoted in the article) that the FCC only goes after the big guys and they’re be OK. Making it pretty clear that they’d be getting away with something.
I have no problem with the “snitches”. These cats were doing something blatantly illegal. It’s a bit concerning that they seem to believe that everyone should embrace their illegal activity and keep hush about it. If I broke into their station one night and stole all their equipment, and one guy saw me doing it, should he call the cops? What if I wanted to start a Jazz station there, because there’s no Jazz format available in their area? Should’t he just turn the other way and let me go about my business? After all, Jazz fans have rights too.
No too mention all the interference they could be generating. It’s well established that these higher powered Chinese transmitters generate tons of harmonics and spurs and are known to interfere with aviation and public service frequencies. “Well, a plane crashed because their navigation got screwed up, but damnit at least those people got to hear Ted Nugent” is not going to cover it. Just one of the reasons why this sort of thing needs to be reported.
Want to know WHY you can drive around there and not hear any classic rock? Because station owners have figured out that at least in that market, classic rock format can’t support itself. You can go on and on about how many classic rock fans there are, and there are, I won’t argue that. Hell, I’m one of them. However, you have to have enough advertising dollars to support a station. Very few people are going to say “I can bill a million dollars a year with a hot country format, or $450K with classic rock. Think I’ll go with classic rock”. A station needs both listeners and advertisers. There are a lot of markets around the country where all you hear is country music. NO ONE in that market is saying “Gee this classic album rock is HUGE. I’m gonna start an album rock station and make a big pile of money” unless they’re in a market where they know that to be true. NO one wants to start a station on the premise that they might be able to just barely keep it on the air. They want to make money.
This is where your hobby stations and even public radio comes in. Public radio is mostly niche programming, and they have members who pay to help support that. There’s nothing to say that a Part 15 station can’t do the same thing. For that matter, even a commercial station can do that legally. But unless you set things up as a 5013c non-profit they can’t take a tax deduction like public radio members can. Then again, if someone drops you $50 they’re probably not to concerned about the deduction unless they’re already filing a straight, long form 1040 return. Deductions for that sort of thing don’t even get on your tax form unless you itemize.
Maybe that’s a good business model for some Part 15 stations. Seek members like public radio does.
People who want to hear classic or album rock, jazz, classical, polkas, etc can hear it all they want. It’s all readily available online. There are thousands of album rock stations streaming right now. And listening to streaming broadcast stations does not require any sort of subscription to a streaming service. Heck, you can even listen to the classic rock station that’s in the group I work for. Free. We even have our own free app. If that’s not your bag, there’s all the other streaming services, and of course they can listen to their albums and CD’s and mp3’s. For the radio version of it to work it’s got to be unique, not only in format but offering something the others don’t, and that’s some local content. I see this station says they’re streaming now. I haven’t listened lately. But back when this all hit the fan I listened to their stream for several hours on several days and never hear one peep of local programming. Just songs, liners, promos, and one commercial every now and then. The SAME commercial. You can hear song after song after song with an occasion liner or promo on thousands of streaming services. They bragged up their local content but didn’t seem to have any.
And that’s another thing. They claimed to be only doing bartering for their ads, and were not actually selling ads for money. How does that pay the rent for that spiffy studio/office? Any why the hell did they have about three pages of ad rates on the web site, everything from $500 a day for a remote broadcast to ad packages at various prices all with similar rates to a commercial station?
Well, anyway, this turned into rambling as usual.
- August 26, 2018 at 6:05 am #106096
TIB writes on this topic based on good, common sense as well as on his experience with such matters.
I thank him for his efforts in doing so.
- August 26, 2018 at 10:42 pm #106103
It does sound correct Tim.
These guys wanted to sell ads and make money? That don’t sound like a simple Hobby Broadcasting station just wanting to play some Classic Rock for the people’s enjoyment but maybe more was to the scheme of their actions which means they were no different than a NYC Pirate causing all sorts of issues for the city broadcasters.
I did like your analogy about the plane’s navigation system getting messed up all in the name of Rock that really makes no sense to jeopardize lives with that sort of thinking.
I suppose someday there will be better technology than HD whereas it would be cost effective to have multi subchannels that support multiple formats and programming.
As far as taking donations for a part 15 operation its what I do now. I must admit I won’t get rich by it and it barely pays for the equipment but I do like some of your advice on that aspect.
If these guys don’t set up a part 15 station I do hope someone will do so and do it right. This way it will stay on air while staying safe to the Radio spectrum and the environment.
Its good to have someone like you Tim who at least understands what the motive was and you being a fan of what we play is a plus for at least it is not like preaching to the Amish about the glories of a cell phone and or electricity.
I’ll try and keep up to date on what these folks will do next.
- August 28, 2018 at 4:57 am #106114
I took a trip to the web site this morning. It looks like they have toned things down a bit. What I found or did not fine was Radio Free Daytona when I did a Google search. They referenced Pam Lee as being a news and weather person there for 15 years. Being a rogue has its advantages.
- August 28, 2018 at 5:28 am #106115
Let Me Take a Look
I want to get in on this.
AMradiolegend said: “Being a rogue has its advantages.”
Let me say that being a rouge is also good.
- August 28, 2018 at 5:38 am #106116
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