How to Start a Pirate Radio Station NSFW
A parodic guide to Civil Disobedience on the FM Spectrum by Andy Moore Published 31st August 2020
RIP LOCAL RADIO
Bauer murdered local radio and OFCOM let it happen
It's time to GO PIRATE if you ask me
There's no better way to avenge the death of our friend!
OFCOM are not fit for purpose
OFCOM serve big brands more than they serve local communities. The industry deserves a dedicated Government approved agency to manage the spectrum, something like 'The Radio Authority' might be a good idea, rather than have the legislators for telecoms also being the legislators for broadcast.
Local audiences need to come first and small broadcasters should be given the freedom to grow revenues.
Till there's actually an authority looking after radio who are fit for purpose, maybe we should ignore the supposed authority.
OFCOM is up the arse of Big Brand Radio. it's on us to upset the apple cart; change the paradigm and reclaim the FM spectrum with Pirate stations.
A revised incarnation of The Radio Authority should let the Big Brands go fully National, at least then they can stop pretending they give a shit about local output.
The airwaves should be opened up to community interest groups, but without the restrictions on how much cash they can make. Owners and founders should be legally in a pact to never sell to anyone outside the station's area: local radio must remain local and it's only through the sale of those stations by their founders, usually for greed I add, that we're left with the spectrum as it is today. I repeat, Local Radio must remain local.
Maybe then all the presenters, journalists, Heads of Music, Traffic Managers, sales staff, techies engineers and others who have just been set on their arses can get some work, and get back to doing what they do best.
My thoughts are with all of those who are out of work thanks to this. You got screwed. Sorry.
Community Radio is shit and designed to fail
It's limited by legislation, it can't grow as the Big Brands are protected. Community stations can't make any money, therefore they can't hire the talent to fill a schedule with anything other than volunteer presenters who lack broadcast experience; can't drive a desk to save their lives, and can only present one hour every second Friday.
Listeners deserve better than that, and whilst there are exceptions out there, the norm is that community radio stations sound shit.
Good sounding automation is preferable to bad sounding live output.
As for getting funding for Community Radio, you need to be good at box ticking to pull that off: you can have all the Lottery / Charity / George Sorus funding in the world if you've got a BAME LBGT schedule pushing Socialistic ideals and Marxist agendas, if you just want to make some great local radio, nope, sorry, you're shit out of luck there pal.
The radio spectrum regulatory system doesn't deserve our respect, it deserves to be treated with disgust and contempt.
Petitions and Facebook Groups have no weight
You can start change.org petitions to 'Save *** FM' but you'd be wasting your time: they don't mean anything to the Government.
You can create Facebook Groups to 'Save Local Radio' but it's all too little, and too late.
The damage has been done. The horse has well and truly bolted and OFCOM are the ones who left the stable door open.
Government doesn't listen to petitions or Facebook: we should give them something to listen to on FM instead.
Pirate Radio is the Solution
I accept the fact I'm never going to work on legitimate FM or DAB radio stations again; that's cool, it means I've nothing to gain, and nothing to lose.
I've known since 1999 when I first streamed a radio station that online is the way to go.
Doing a Pirate station would be fun, but online is the future for audio delivery.
Stream your Radio Station on Alexa for free
FM is on it's death bed now, it's already switched off in some places, but if you want to poke a dying horse, who am I to stop you?
Step by step guide to creating a Pirate Radio Station:
- Setup an Icecast streaming server
- Setup Radio Automation in the Cloud
- Mask your stream address with a VPN
- Make it so you can go live whenever you want, from anywhere you want
- Only ever go live through a VPN so you can't be traced (privacy in / privacy out)
- Get a cheap Android Pay As You Go mobile / burner phone
- Get a cheap FM transmitter from the Dark Web / Alibaba: $75 should cover 10 miles
- Find somewhere high where a qualified (but somewhat dodgy) mate can hack the electric
- Make the phone play the stream and nothing but the stream
- Plug the phone output into the transmitter input
- Plug in the transmitter aerial
- Turn it on (make sure it's aerial, then power, or you will fry your TX box)
- Leave some cash and walk away
TIPS: wear rubber gloves, pay cash for the phone and credit, but most importantly: leave an envelope with some cash to pay for the electric.
The abstraction of electricity carries heftier penalties than Pirate broadcasting, leave an envelope with enough cash to cover your electric usage, also leave them a four pack of beer to be cool: be kind to the site owner, but know them like you should know your audience, don't be leaving beer if that's haram to them.
Think about it from the site owner's perspective: if you found a dodgy transmitter with fifty quid, you'd be more likely to turn a blind eye and play ignorant, if however you just found a transmitter strealing your electric, you'd rightly be pissed, probably unplug it and call the Fuzz.
Make sure any notes you leave are not freshly printed: they can link the ID number on a banknote to an ATM transaction. Leave notes that aren't linked to your card, leave ones you got from a chip shop, or off-licence to be safe.
Go back to the site sometime after and see if the cash is there, if it's gone you know the site owner most likely doesn't care, carry on, leave them some more cash but be paranoid as they could have grassed you up. Wear a black hoodie and look like a chav so you don't stand out on CCTC. Make your return visits at irregular intervals, think more like a spy or drug dealer than a broadcaster.
But OFCOM what? What are they going to do? They're only going to be aware of you if Bauer et al catch onto your games, or your signal is causing a problem, therefore don't allow your signal to cause a problem. Bollocks to both OFCOM and Bauer, one is a cancer on the airwaves, the other helps it spread. Listeners love Pirates, we all love an underdog, and this is the ideal time for the underdog of local radio to bite back.
For the sake of a burner phone, and transmitter that's so cheap it's virtually throw-away, you can have backup gear ready to go if your TX site gets raided.
Are OFCOM goons even likely to be tracking down and busting Pirate Radio Stations when the world is screwed up thanks to the Wuhan Kung Flu? They're most likely not going to be bothered, and what about DAB? Do they even have a way of tracing DAB Pirates? I don't believe they do.
Make the most of it: carpe diem!
Pirate or online only, it's time for local radio to reinvent itself!
Disclaimer: if you do this and get your ass busted, or electrocuted, I am in no way to blame. I never forced you. Coffee is hot, parody not advice, might contain nuts, master online broadcasting instead, may contain valid points, yada yada...
Image Credit: Lady Liberty