Letter To the Editor, And Clipping from the Tribune
Recently I suffered the loss of a valued friend. A tiny broadcast station, AKA Lutz Community Radio, FM 96.7. Being legally blind, this loss was doubly hurtful. I, everyday, looked forward to hearing my favorite personalities and programs. They're gone now. Forever, forever, this audio companion. Thanks Uncle Sam. I am, however, given to understand that the degree of selflessness and heroism displayed during the destruction of this "FM Public Enemy Number One" was The stuff of which Movies of the Week are made. One wag suggested the working title be, "Dressed To Overkill III."
(Opening scene, Lutz, Florida) 6:30 am. November 19. Law enforcement choppers drone noisily towards their target. On board, radios spit static tangled with confidently snapped orders. At ground zero, more than a dozen flack jacketed troops stand ready. Anxiously they check again their fully automatic assault weapons. One youngish marshall, for luck, kisses his fully loaded ammo clip, then slams it home. 6:45 am. Raid begins. Scores of booted and oxford shoed feet cautiously approach the perpetrators lair. Suddenly, screamed commands rip a wound in the morning's stillness. A dog barks. Neighbors, peer from behind un-drawn blinds. Fearful. 6:49 am. Raid ceases. Victory. Subdued and silenced, another low power radio station.
Three in one day. Still in sleep wear, terrorized, stands our villain. The notorious "frequency felon." Say hello to Arthur Kobres, the alleged illegal broadcaster. Around 55. A soft spoken man. Christian. Viet Nam veteran. A life-long patriot and an always an honorable man. Next to him, his gentle school teacher wife. A woman whose husband now faces 28 years in prison and a fine of 7 million dollars. Extreme? Not for raping and murdering a child. But for allegedly operating an illegal radio station without a FCC license? Even though for three years, he had pleaded for a FCC license, even enlisting the aid of Michael Bilirakis, his Congressman, all to no avail. Low power licenses they explained, are no longer available in the U.S. Except Alaska? Perhaps the Mega-Broadcasters do their best groveling at the shrine of the FCC? Hey, competition can be hazardous to the health of ones bottom line. Keep out of reach of newcomers. 'Nough said.
My station, for years, delivered to our community a truly alternate source of educational information, religious programming, and unique political thought generally scooping the mainstream networks. Included were investigative reports on the UN, Waco, Oklahoma City bombing, Flight 800, the strange deaths of Ron Brown and Vincent foster, and more. Conservative? Patriotic? Guilty! Justification for its demise?. No way!
Our airwaves belong to US. Always have. Now, we see a person illegally deprived of his freedom of speech. And worse, by the very people we've entrusted to protect that freedom the government. We, as citizens, were mugged as well. Ripped off was our inalienable right to enjoy a smorgasbord of political thinking.
We are finally awakening. Discovering exactly what our government is, doing and has done to our basic freedoms. We want it stopped. Now! Please call Congressman Michael Bilirakis TODAY, at 996-7441. Demand he find out why the FCC withdrew licenses for low power broadcasters.