Free Radio

Oddly enough, the FCC actually grants limited ownership rights to companies for certain radio frequencies. Even though technology allows anyone and everyone with the right equipment to be able to use a radio frequency, the FCC has been very vigilant in limiting who can use certain frequencies. As a result, the free radio movement has become very popular as a movement and as a way to get a message across to the FCC.

Free radio refers to a form of radio which is also called pirate radio and has become a very popular movement recently, as the FCC has done the opposite of what it promised in regards to de-regulating the radio industry. As a result, more of the radio bandwidth is in the hands of fewer owners than ever before. This has caused a lot of controversy, which has been highlighted in the "free radio" movement as of late. There is a lot of talk that the FCC is in the pockets of the major radio broadcasting companies and as a result is cracking down more than ever before on amateur radio.

Although free radio/pirate radio is illegal, the movement justifies its existence by claiming that low power radio should be open to anyone that wants to broadcasts. This strategy would in effect, thwart the FCC's ability to regulate the radio spectrum and opponents say that if the radio waves were made free again that there would be too much interference for any station to actually be heard. This makes sense in theory, but the truth is that most free radio stations do not have access to powerful equipment and would probably not be a huge threat to other, more powerful companies.

For the most part, the FCC has been able to snuff out most pirate radio stations, although there are still many that operate in privacy that the FCC has not been able to catch. This process is very similar to the Recording Industry of America's (RIA) attempts to catch and prosecute digital music pirates. Although it has created enough of a threat to scare the less knowledgeable people, those that feel it is their right to use these practices will continue to fight against the FCC and RIA.

The free radio movement is not limited to the United States either, as there are free radio movements all across the world. Some radio pirates use offshore boats to broadcast from international waters, while others choose to use jamming technology rather than radio broadcasts as a method to thwart their opponents.

There seems to be an ethical issue at the heart of this matter and it is an interesting discussion on its own right. Although the regulation of radio waves is necessary to prevent interference, it is hard to justify actual "ownership" of a radio frequency that is available to anyone with the proper equipment. This could turn into a heated issue, even more than it has, as new technologies are invented or as the FCC continues to fail at doing its job.