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Kevin Alfred Strom Archive

   

The FCC's Selective
Persecution of Dissident Radio

by Kevin Alfred Strom
Free Speech,
September 1995
Volume I, Number 9

Reproduced here (in the paper version of Free Speech only -- see "National Vanguard Books Catalog" on the first page of this web site to order) is a letter from the Federal Communications Commission to WRNO Worldwide, the one international shortwave station carrying American Dissident Voices. The letter makes reference to an obscure FCC rule requiring that U.S. shortwave stations direct their transmissions to the general public of foreign countries.

This has been interpreted to mean that the station may not direct its transmissions solely to the United States, though directing them to all of North America, for example, would still be permissible. (This rule was inserted into the FCC regulations 50 years or so ago at the insistence of the National Association of Broadcasters, who rightly feared that shortwave stations with nationwide coverage would take away listeners, and therefore revenue, from local broadcasters. It is strictly designed to protect economic interests, and there is no rational reason why it is in the public interest to disallow a private nationwide shortwave service.)

Be that as it may, in the case of American Dissident Voices, the claim that our program is not directed at an international audience is utterly baseless. We have always desired an international audience, and, thanks in large part to WRNO, we do in fact have one. We regularly receive responses from every continent of the Earth except Antarctica. Our desired audience is every person of European descent on this planet, plus any other person who is interested in the issues we discuss. We make this obvious on every American Dissident Voices broadcast, and it seems unlikely that the FCC or the two mysterious complainants are unaware of that fact.

What makes these complaints doubly ridiculous is the fact that numerous shortwave programs, including hundreds of religious programs, are simply domestic U.S. programs played over U.S.-based shortwave transmitters. Such programs are carried by WYFR, WHRI, WWCR, KTBN, KVOH, KNLS, WCSN, and other U.S. shortwave stations. Most of these programs make not the slightest attempt to address international listeners, yet no complaints about them, if there are any, have been acted upon by the FCC.

I do not believe that even these programs are in violation of the rule: since they buy time on stations which have a large part of their coverage outside the U.S., it seems obvious that they want every listener they can get within that coverage area. It is also interesting to note that when WRNO first went on the air in February, 1982, and for many years thereafter, its programming included large segments simulcast from local New Orleans rock station WRNO-FM, and no complaints or problems arose because of that. The simulcasts only ended when Mr. Costello sold WRNO-FM.

Isn't it strange that out of hundreds of programs about which such questions might be raised, that all four programs complained about are ones which criticize the role of organized Jewry in contemporary society?

Must be a coincidence, don't you think?

WRNO has engaged a prominent, and no doubt expensive, attorney, a former counsel to the FCC, to defend us against this outrageous attempt to silence dissident voices in America. The costs of the legal defense will have to be borne by the three programs cited in the complaint and still carried on WRNO. That means that one third of the legal bill will have to be paid by us. (WRNO no longer carries Ernst Zundel's Voice of Freedom program.) If you would like to make a contribution toward the defense of our freedom of speech, please make out your check to National Vanguard Books with an appropriate memo.




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