The only legal Pirate Radio
may be legal, but we're still pirates at heart.
is a story of easy radio, fast waves and loose laws, or so we thought.
Thrill to the innerworkings of the FCC and become enlightened.
City Radio, "an experimental project of the Girdwood Community Club,"
began operation February 26, 1997 on 88.5 FM. We broadcast as "pirates"
without a license 24/7. We grew rapidly and by December 20th, 1997
over seventy people had operated as DJs. Our small community of
1500 was stoked. We were all caught up in the grand high wave.
Then came the shark attack--the FCC did a drive-by and said "cease and
Yoda in the clouds by DJ Ultraviolet
Tuthill's description of our roots
City Radio, "an experimental project of the Girdwood Community club," is
a small radio station located in Girdwood, Alaska. Broadcasting
news, music, and live local events, the station has been in operation
since February 26, 1997 on 88.5 FM. The station's studio is a
small 11 x 8 foot room on the fifth floor of Lewis Leonard's home. The
view is spectacular, providing a 360 degree panorama of the Girdwood
City Radio broadcasts with a small transmitter purchased for $130 that
hangs in an orange bag from the ceiling, and sports a 16 channel Peavey
mixer, 200 disc CD changer, a tape player, and two mocrophones. The
station also has its own phone line for on-air calls, and is capable
of broadcasting live, on location.
70 foot tower boosts the antenna to the tips of the trees, preventing
the spruces from blocking the signal. Like Anchorage's KSKA (which
Lewis co-founded), Glacier City Radio is a member supported station.
Without the many hours offered by volunteers, it wouldn't exist. Much
of the equipment was purchased by Lewis, but much of it was donated
or loaned to the station by various companies and individuals. All
of the funding is from personal donations, but the station is looking
into the posslibility of a grant of some sort. The goal is to
purchase the loaned materials, and create enough revenue to maintain
Glacier City Radio is a pirate station but that is not at all the reality
of the situation. Glacier City Radio would like
nothing more than to have legal rein over the airwaves.
man in charge of the whole thing is Lewis Leonard, president of the
Girdwood Community Club. Just as important is Peter Zug, who looks
the station while Lewis is away. Steve Audett and Jay Bell are the two
technicians and maintain the equipment, some of which belongs to them. The
shows vary greatly, from Gabe Gibbs, a nine year old who plays Zappa, to Jill
McCormick who plays her own Classical Piano Creations.
rallied the community. We searched for and built a network of
engineers and techies. We applied to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). We moved a building onto a loaned site in the
heart of town and hooked up the utilities. Within 4 months, we
had our permit from the FCC. Ten months after the demise of our
piracy, we were back on the air legally.
computers ran our own wireless intranet. Using the Real Audio digitization
developed for the World Wide Web, our intranet carried audio and video
two ways between our studio at sea-level and the transmitter at the
upper tram terminal at elevation 2300 feet!
"Alyeska Sky Pink and Blue" by DJ UltraViolet
COMMUNITY. The Turnagain Arm area of Alaska is 45 miles
long, and one to four miles wide, with six communities, the state's
largest ski resort, major summertime tourist attractions, and
major wintertime recreation area, bringing thousands of visitiors
to the area. It is bordered on both sides with mountains
rising 3,000 to over 6,000 feet high. Although only 30
air miles from Anchorage, this terrain isolates Girdwood from
metropolitan broadcast signals and other amenities, creating
the need for a local broadcast station.
AIRWAVES. Free-form, eclectic,free-speech and open
mic, present a greater understanding of human relationships through
open mindedness. These ideals represent the true spirit of Community
Radio. Public access and dozens of local on-air personalities
strengthen the sense of community, communication and interaction.
PHILOSOPHY We use radio as an instrument of expanding
peoples' awareness. Long-time residents are better able to understand
the ever-accelerating rate of change, as well as newcomers understanding
the heritage and culture of this area they have chosen to explore.
We accomplish this by telling and letting others tell about the ongoing
way of living in this area and elsewhere. We are a bridge and a channel
to bring people together by giving them a sense of community. We
provide information to help equip listeners for personal and community
decision-making. Already, the more than two hundred people who have
been DJs have demonstrated their respect for the equipment, the
facility and the community, and have the respect of the community!