Upham's Corner Online

Touch 106.1 FM Taken off the Air - FCC Raid - Equipment Confiscated

Touch 106.1 FM has been silenced by the FCC for operating without a license and all equipment related to transmitting confiscated.  The station began operating in 2006 and was warned in 2007, fined $17,000 in 2008 and shut down on April 17, 2014.  Charles Clemons, co-founder, has made several public statements.

Touch 106.1 FMCharles Clemons' eight-year sojourn with Touch 106.1 FM has come to an end, at least temporarily. 

The low-frequency and unlicensed radio station, which he co-founded in 2006, was raided by US marshals on the morning of April 17, 2014.  According to an article in Universal hub, Judy Wilburn was listening to Touch 106.1 shortly after 11 AM when it suddenly went off the air. The announcer had just enough time to say authorities were shutting the station down and taking the equipment.

Touch 106.1 FM is regarded by many as the voice of Boston's African-American community.  Clemons, who ran for mayor of Boston in 2013, is proud of the station's commitment to community service. 

He freely admits that the station is unlicensed.  That has not been without penalty as Clemons was fined $17,000 by the FCC for operating without a license in 2008.

According to Clemons, the official reason for shutdown was operating without a license. The feds took anything related to transmitting from the Touch 106.1 FM studios.  By law that equipment is subject to forfeiture.

Promoting Community Radio

In 2000 Congress widened the buffer zones between frequencies, in effect allowing the more powerful broadcasters to out muscle the dozens of Boston area low-power radio stations operating at or below 100 MHz.

The FCC explicitly warns against operating an unlicensed low-power station, saying that even a weak signal could interfere with other stations. The FCC also pointed out that "the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly ruled on this subject and concluded that no right to broadcast exists."

Pete Tridish, founder of The Prometheus Radio Project, a national campaign based in Philadelphia to promote community radio, said that when Congress widened the buffer between stations in 2000, it caved in to lobbying efforts by the National Association of Broadcasters to eliminate competition from smaller stations in urban areas.

On June 12, 2008, Prometheusradio.org published an article, originally in the Boston Globe (but no longer available online).  In it they reported that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) had managed to find their way to Touch 106.1's Grove Hall basement in 2007 by tracking the station's signal. They had been tracking the signal since the station went on the air in 2006. The 2007 visit was a warning but in May of 2008, the FCC fined Clemons $17,000.

At that time, Clemons said he could not afford to pay the fine but listeners said they were willing to pitch in.  That didn't help the station's plight. No licenses were being issued because Boston's radio dial is already too crowded.  So remain operating illegally they did.

The FCC also shut down another radio station, Datz Hits Radio 99.7 FM, in 2011 under similar circumstances.  Invested in the Jamaican community, 99.70 carried out a great deal of community service, fund drives and more.  The station's founders were devastated by the shutdown. 

Read the press release from the US Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts.

A Plea to the Community

The following is taken from the Touch 106.1 FM Facebook page

Peace and Blessings. As you know by now, TOUCH 106.1 FM, The Fabric of the Black Community has been temporarily silenced by the Federal Communication Commission the FCC. Our offices were raided and all equipment has been seized.

Earlier today, I made a public statement. The Black Community will have a voice. I walked from Boston to Washington, DC to advocate for the Low Power FM Radio Act in order to provide a platform for the Black community's issues to be addressed.

How can you help?
Contact your elected officials City, State and Federal.

- Gov. Deval Patrick - 617.725.4005
- Pres. Barack Obama - 202-456-1111
- Sen. Markeys - 617-565-8519
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren - 617 565-3170
- Mayor Marty Walsh - 617 635-4500
- Cong. Mike Capuano - 202 225-5111

Will you stand with me? Will you stand for this? Will you stand for us?

TOUCH 106.1 FM Public Statement on YouTube

Click image to open YouTube

Touch 106.1 FM

Posted: April 17, 2014     Nancy J Conrad

Your comments will be posted here and in the Letters to the Editor after processing.


| Copyright © 2010-2018 Uphams Corner News - All Rights Reserved |