November 6, 1996
BEAT RADIO IS beat--for the time being, at least. For 103 days the low-power Minneapolis dance music station survived as an unlicensed "microbroadcaster" at 97.7FM despite industry complaints and a Federal Communications Commission order to cease transmission. U.S. Magistrate John Mason finally granted a moton October 29 for the FCC to seize station operator transmission equipment; around $1,000 of hardware (and broadcast accessories like Freed's mixing board and VCR) was taken from Beat headquarters the day after Halloween. Freed argues the forfeiture came with neither due process nor legal proof that the station has caused any harm through airwave interference or otherwise.
Prior to the shutdown, the Beat's unique format had garnered a strong grassroots following along with opposition from the local radio establishment. The Beat is going back to court and hopes to challenge the regulations that prevent low-power, independent broadcasters from taking the air. A Beat Radio Defense Fund has been established to help defray legal costs; more information is available at 391-BEAT, or at www.beatworld.com on the Internet.
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