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Pirate radio

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Pirate radio is the unlicensed use of radio spectrum reserved for commercial, governmental, or public use (although shortwave radio pirates are also common in the radio world).

Pirate radio is illegal in countries that require licenses to broadcast. However, the necessary equipment is easy to hide, and the regulatory bodies (in the United States, by the FCC) have not been effective in finding and prosecuting offendors.

Pirate radio is frequently associated with the anarchism movement. Members of the movement see pirate radio as a challenge to large corporations and governmental spectrum regulatory schemes seen as serving the interest of large corporations.

Table of contents
1 Pirate Radio Ships
2 History of pirate radio in France
3 External links

Pirate Radio Ships

In USA, UK and Northern Europe, pirate radio has a long tradition broadcasting from international waters.

The first pirate radio ship was probably the Rex, a gambling ship that operated off the coast of California in the early 1930s. From 1958, several ship-based pirate stations have broadcasted into Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. On March 28, 1964, Radio Caroline was established as the first and most famous British pirate radio station.

History of pirate radio in France

In France, a strong pirate radio movement emerged in the late seventies and early eighties, in two waves.

The first wave was a political movement based mainly within French territory. Most of these stations were short lived. The first wave included

  • Radio Verte
  • Radio Ivre
  • Radio Active in Lyon 1976,
  • Radio Lorraine Coeur d'Acier in Nancy 1978,

This led to the creation of Radio Riposte by the PS in 1979 and the arrest of François Mitterrand and Laurent Fabius. Some of these stations persisted until 1981 when they became legal "Radios Libres."

The second wave was a more commercial movement largely coming out of the French Riviera following the legalization by a Supreme Court decision of private radio stations in Italy. Several stations began emitting in French from Italy. While these stations were legal in Italy, the French considered them illegal. These stations include:

  • Azur 102 (1977-1984),
  • Radio Continental (1977-1979) broadcasting from Bordighiera,
  • Radio Vintimille Internationale (1977-1981) broadcasting from Ventimiglia,
And the late and more political Radio K (1981-1982) broadcasting from Bussana di San Remo,. All these stations went bankrupt after the election of François Mitterrand and the legalization of private radio stations in France.

The movie Pump Up the Volume has as its hero a high-schooler who does pirate radio broadcasts.

a full article on the history of offshore pirate radio would be useful.

External links


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