Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Pirates of Girdwood

In certain parts of the old American west there were no laws. As manifest destiny rolled over frontiersmen, indians, and the like law (for whatever it was worth) rolled right over top of them. Today there are no truly lawless lands in the U.S. [except New Jersey] But in Alaska, some laws are taken a little less seriously.

Ordinarily a pirate broadcaster is shut down, his hardware seized and then fined. In Girdwood Alaska it went a little differently. KEUL began as Glacier City Radio a project of the Girdwood Community Club. They fired up their illegal tansmitter on February 26, 1997 on 88.5 FM.

In every sense of the word, they were a pirate radio station. But unlike a large 96.9 in San Diego, this small community of 1500 was thrilled, as were its own 70+ DJs. . There were no other local stations to interfere with and as they say... what's a crime if nobody ges hurt? The FCC decided their "feelings" were hurt and delivered unto them a cease and desist order. No fine. No seizure of hardware. just the waggling finger.

As I was told, KEUL was able to convince the agency that their services were needed in their community. At the urging of the FCC agents themselves, KEUL pulled themselves together and in mere months, had themselves a CP. Within a year they were back on air; this time legally. Today they continue to serve Girdwood Alaska with news, talk, bluegrass, triple A and a variety of other fare.

To me its ironic that only a few years later in the discussion of licensing Low Power stations it is suggested that convicted pirates be prohibited from holding licences...