Low power FM radio stations in San Luis Obispo have entered a quieter state of limbo these days, in the wake of visits by Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to two local stations.
Officials raided Moon 91.7 FM - which was featured in a New Times cover story on July 22 -on Aug. 17 and told the station"s anonymous operator to cease broadcasting or face fines.
Another local radio pirate, known simply as The Station, at 92.1 FM, has now joined Moon in radio silence. The Station had been broadcasting just slightly to the left of Moon up until two weeks ago, but in August The Station took heed of the FCC"s warning to Moon and switched off their signal indefinitely.
Max Powers, outspoken host of the subversive "Smoke "em if you got "em" show on Tuesday nights, explained The Station"s reaction following the Moon incident.
"They went off the air voluntarily, just to be on the safe side," he said. "It was only supposed to be for a few days, but that was two weeks ago now."
Officials at The Station were not available for comment, and their web site reveals a bigger story.
The Station"s homepage - www.radio.thisisnu.com - announced that they too received a visit from the FCC. According to their web site, "The Station was infiltrated, documented and equipment was confiscated by the FCC on August 19, 2004."
The Station was newer to the airwaves than Moon and had always kept a lower profile. They did, however, have a stronger signal - 300 watts compared to Moon"s mere 15. By comparison, Cal Poly"s radio station KCPR 91.3 FM uses 200 watts.
Miranda Leonard, who currently hosts the blues show on KCBX 90.1 FM on Saturday nights, got her start in radio on Moon back in 1997. She sees a genuine need in the community for this form of independent expression.
"They can try to hush these pirate radio stations," Leonard said, "but they will just crop up again and again, until [the FCC] comes up with a better way to resolve the issue."