Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I just opened this month's edition of Port of Call, and there is an article about finding "alternatives to the media." Specifically the author rants about how the media is controlled by profit-hungry corporations (true), and thus feed the public pablum and propaganda (dubious).

He also recommends that one should seek out "alternative truth" from sources like WWCR (a Christian Fundamentalist shortwave station) and Radio Habana Cuba (for anti-American news and muckraking).

Radio Habana Cuba? They have about all the credibility of WWCR, like its sister stations Radio Berlin International (the East German broadcaster) and Radio Moscow (the Soviet Union's broadcaster). Radio Habana has not gone the way of the others (that is, gone off the air).

I have long been an avid shortwave listener and amateur radio operator. WWCR's claim to fame was a famous libel case brought by Art Bell, the host of the syndicated UFO/strange stuff program on AM Coast-to-Coast. WWCR made an on-air claim that he was a child molester, and Art Bell sued. WWCR lost. The radio host from that station still claims it is so, even today.

WWCR carries programming about the "New World Order" conspiracy, Fundamentalist Christian broadcasting, and Glen Houser's shortwave hobbyist program (one hour of decent programming in an otherwise insanity-driven schedule).

The Port of Call article goes on to point out shortwave allows one to hear what other nations are saying (true) and that what they have to say is always true (false).

Ever since WW2, the FCC has worked to end longwave and shortwave commercial broadcasting in the USA. The last commercial station, WRNO, an album-oriented rock station, went off the air some years ago. Hurricane Katrina destroyed its broadcast antenna and the FCC will not permit the station to return to the air.

Today, the only shortwave output that other nations receive from the USA is Voice of America (the official government radio organ), Armed Forces Radio (sanitized news for the troops), and scores of Christian Fundamentalist stations (such as Harold Camping's Family Radio from Okeechobee Fla). You cannot obtain a shortwave broadcast license in the USA unless you are a Christian broadcaster, it seems.

The writer also points out that FM transmitter kits are available under $500 for "broadcasting your own versions of the truth" (I thought there was only truth - like facts, you don't get your own). He suggests one should be moved to do this "in your neighborhood," and fails to mention that putting such a station on the air without a license would be radio piracy, something the FCC takes a dim view of.

Licensing requirements for a Low-Power FM station (<100 W): http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/low-power-fm-broadcast-radio-stations-lpfm

Note that no filing windows have been allowed since the license class was created in 2000, and thus such stations are illegal.

While I realize that Port Of Call's articles do not represent the position of Region VII or Intertel, promoting illegal activity seems a bit of a stretch. And if anyone can find anything in WWCR or other stations of its ilk that even has a nugget of truth, please fill me in.

Broadcast schedule, frequency chart, and program list for WWCR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWCR

James A Kulacz

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