Interesting story in the Dorchester Reporter on “TOUCH 106.1 FM,” a pirate radio station serving the black community that’s been targeted for elimination by the FCC. Managing editor Bill Forry writes:
Touch FM (officially LP-WTCH Boston) — which sprang from the bosom of the Grove Hall Neighborhood Development Corporation offices in the fall of 2005 — is unlicensed. They admit it. They’re pirates.
And they are unrepentant, even in the face of the most recent broadside from the government: A May 7 forfeiture order from the FCC that levies a $17,000 fine on station founder Charles Clemons. The ruling stems from a pair of site visits made to the suspected TOUCH offices at the corner of Cheney Street and Blue Hill Avenue in 2007. The order accuses Clemons of “willfully and repeatedly” using the frequency without a license and for “failing to permit a station inspection.”
This is the Catch-22 of radio. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 destroyed local commercial radio and gave rise to corporate-owned, lowest-common-denominator pap.
Touch FM’s 100-watt signal — broadcast from an undisclosed location — puts it between WMJX (106.7 FM) and WROR (105.7 FM), two stations owned by Greater Media, which also employs the likes of right-wingers like Jay Severin and Michael Graham on another of its stations, WTKK (96.9 FM). Who’s doing more to serve the local community, TOUCH or Greater Media? Does the question even need to be asked?
Last June I covered a hearing by the FCC on localism in broadcast media. The agency claims to be very concerned about local content. Well, if officials would like to travel to Dorchester, they will find some.