Pirate Radio Manifesto


Fifth Estate # 275, August, 1976

In these lackluster months of 1976 in which “our revolutionary heritage” is paraded like a hairless, three-legged dog from the past down main street, the people of America are content to follow mere fads and hobbies in place of the nearly infinite possibilities of creative experiments, and revolutionary “outrages”. The most current and popular fad is the C.B. (Citizens Band) radio craze with its own particular jargon, catch phrases and all of the pseudo-sexual connotations that dominant fads command in this sociocarnival.

For all of its limitations, the C.B. craze helps demystify the communications media to some small extent and is a minimal step towards establishing communications beyond the troglodytic range of our commercial media. The fact that truck drivers use C.B.’s to help each other beat the police blockades is a small indication of the liberating possibilities of this medium.

But what is really necessary, and what is feared most by the faceless toads that dominate commercial media, is the establishment of pirate radio over the commercial airwaves with hoopla and rebellion blowing from ten-thousand directions through red-hot tubes. We need WLSD, WRED, WGAY, CRAZ, and a thousand other clandestine stations that cannot be contained by four letters, that will run cars off the road and make speakers sweat.

Let the disc jockeys moan in their ice-water. Let the record promoters and newspeople complain because speech is as natural as air and rots in our mouths if it is jammed there by the government and commercial regulators. Let the radio waves come in like exotic birds from everywhere with real news, desirable music and the poetry of the moment.

It’s easy to set-up a station, with instructions available in electronics magazines, Boy Scout manuals, and public libraries. The stations could be mobile, or intermittent with relay stations broadcast from different locales to confuse trackers; or better still, if thousands broadcast each day the FCC could never stop it. The FCC(Federal Communications Commission) has the aura of the Spanish Inquisition about it and would like us to think that they are omnipotent and that we should allow our minds to be prey to only those who can spend a million dollars on equipment.

We need to raise a voice that can rattle the walls and that voice must be jammed through the cacophony of the vultures in power. All of the important information that is blacked-out, censored or ignored by the media can be a hornet swarm for local politicians and businessmen.

And in the event of riots, rebellions or even a complete military take-over by the U.S. government under Martial Law, people will need a voice by which to prepare or mobilize. Such a communications system will be absolutely vital at that point, and much more difficult to begin by then.

We call upon all Ham operators, C.B. enthusiasts, alien spacecraft, and all others to pickup the mike and wail. We call upon people to demand to be heard, to abolish the parasitical FCC, and to infiltrate invisibly. We have been isolated for so long we may not quite know what to say yet, but we can with a little effort soon surpass what is now the mere croaking of toads.

—Electromagnetic Wave, Red Wire and Loose Tubes
For the Uninvited Guests Radio Cooperative