November 9, 1999

The Twin Cities Radio Report

By Bob Berglund

NO, NOT THAT ALAN FREED. One of the champions of micro-broadcasting, Minneapolis' Alan Freed, is getting his case against the Federal Communications Commission heard in the Twin Cities. Freed began Beat Radio in his downtown apartment more than three years ago and for exactly 103 days programmed an eclectic dance music mix on 97.7 FM at 20 watts until a few big stations ratted on him and the Feds barged in and took all of his toys away.

At one time, Beat Radio out of Minneapolis was airing on 10 stations from New York to Los Angeles, Chicago to Phoenix. He's managed to get it on the air regionally now and then and from Minneapolis' important music venue, First Avenue nightclub. Most recently, Beat Radio has found a home on the St. Cloud State University station, KVSC (88.1 FM). It airs the second Saturday of each month from 4-7p.m.

Freed and others, however, have toned down their on-air ambitions while going through this fight with the FCC over low-power radio operators. They want the agency to offer 100-watt-or-less broadcast licenses to people who don't like being called "pirates." And he'd like his equipment back. The outlook is pretty good.

If the idea flies, Freed says there will no longer be any need for radio piracy. You can follow Beat Radio's progress online (

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