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Dunifer v. the FCC: A case study of micro broadcasting
Journal of Radio Studies (2000)
  • Ted M. Coopman, San Jose State University

This case study examines Free Radio Berkeley (FRB), an unlicensed low power community FM radio station in Berkeley, California. Founded by Stephen Dunifer, FRB and its court battle with the FCC (United States v. Dunifer) has become a flash point in the development of the Micro Broadcasting Movement in the United States. Taking a historical perspective, I trace FRB's evolution from an isolated act of civil disobedience to a national campaign that has led to the FCC creating a Low Power Radio Service. Further, I analyze the legal arguments of both par- ties. The FRB/FCC battle ignited a movement that has catapulted the issues of community access and ownership of the airwaves into the national arena. I argue that the FCC, noncommercial, and commercial corporate broadcasters cannot stop the spread of this grassroots movement. I conclude that accommodation to low power FM is the only viable avenue to maintain any semblance of order on the FM dial.

Publication Date
Citation Information
Ted M. Coopman. "Dunifer v. the FCC: A case study of micro broadcasting" Journal of Radio Studies Vol. 7 Iss. 2 (2000)
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