Despite having been fined in the past for operating with no license, Clemons says he's adhering to LPFM requirements in hopes that he'll be recognized when airwaves eventually get parceled out. As for stations like Choice, Big City, and the towering HOT 87.7FM — all of which broadcast at way above the 100-watt low-power limit — the new legislation will not likely have much impact. LPFM bill or not, many pirates, at least in Greater Boston, will continue evading the FCC.

"The airwaves belong to the people," says Gavin Dahl, a community broadcast coordinator for the group Common Frequency, and an NCMR presenter. "The FCC has failed in protecting the public interest. Nobody owns the radio airwaves — they're licensed to groups so that they can serve the public, and if the FCC can't determine a fair way for broadcasters to represent the public interest, then of course the public is going to find a way to return that power to the people."

"You always have to stand up for what's right," says Clemons. "We're trying to do this the right way, but we know that no matter how hard we try to do what's right, the forces of evil will come at us even harder. . . . I don't have a patch over my eye, and I don't have a parrot. However I do swing the sword of truth. We may be 100 watts — but our message is much more powerful than that. A pirate wouldn't do the things we do." ^

Chris Faraone can be reached at

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