FCC shuts down Brattleboro radio station

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(Host) On Wednesday the Federal Communications Commission shut down Brattleboro’s unlicensed 10-watt radio station.

VPR’s Susan Keese reports:

(Keese) Federal marshals entered the studios of Radio Free Brattleboro and seized the station’s equipment.

The station’s attorney, Jim Maxwell, says the officers had a warrant from a federal magistrate in Burlington. The station has been waiting fourteen months for a federal judge in Brattleboro to decide whether to issue an injunction to shut it down.

But U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher says the law allows the FCC to enforce the communications Act through different avenues simultaneously. One of those avenues is to pursue forfeiture of equipment used for illegal acts.

Maxwell says the FCC was technically within its rights.

(Maxwell) “It just strikes me as very odd and even despicable that they would go to a different judge and get a warrant and have people show up and take the equipment away, while we of course, are assuming that we’re pending here before a judge in Brattleboro.”

(Keese) Maxwell says he hasn’t yet decided how to respond. The station was intending to step aside soon, when another, newly licensed low-watt community station gets up and running.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese.

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