The Sound of Rebel Radio

Radio Free Detroit


Fifth Estate # 338, Winter, 1992

Just as the underground press movement of the sixties sprang up against corporate domination of information, so now is the rebel radio movement. For the first time, residents of Detroit’s Cass Corridor and surrounding areas will be able to tune in to the City’s first and only anti-commercial, non-government regulated radio station: Radio Free Detroit.

It’s a daunting fact that, globally, most people get all of their day to day information from the corporate news media. The days of local alternative publications unfortunately disappeared during the seventies and until recently, nothing had appeared to fill the void. Consequently, when crisis situations arise, like the war against Iraq, most people turn only to the establishment press to inform them of and to define for them such insanities.

With the continuing consolidation and centralization of the press and airwaves by corporations in Detroit, as it is all over the world, the dissemination of ideas and information is being monopolized by an ever decreasing number of people. Of the approximately 25,000 media outlets in the U.S. (including newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, book publishers and movie studios), a mere twenty-nine corporations control a vast majority of them.

To enforce and maintain corporate control of the media, the Federal Government, through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), makes it illegal to operate outside of its rules. By not allowing community stations to operate under 100 watts, the FCC effectively limits access to the airwaves to corporations and institutions.

It takes tens of thousands of dollars to build, license and operate even a small 100 watt station. Thus the government’s much touted “freedom of speech,” is only for those who can buy it. If this wasn’t realized before, it was made quite evident during the recent war against Iraq.

Radio Free Detroit, in its own small way, will attempt to turn this corporate/government world on its head, by opening the radio spectrum to neighborhood broadcasters. Radio Free Detroit is rebel radio. We believe that the freedom to express and exchange ideas should not be ruled by governments nor sold by corporations. Radio Free Detroit will offer the Detroit area an anti-authoritarian forum in which to express ideas and share information.

Radio Free Detroit’s objective is to broadcast alternative programming within a three mile radius of the station a few nights each week (for right now it will only be Sundays). Radio Free Detroit will be a voice within the community, operated by a diverse group of volunteers and will include music, news and information, poetry, plays, documentaries and anything else that pops up. In short, Radio Free Detroit will attempt to present and analyze the politics and culture of everyday life—to present ideas in a way that is expressive, direct and immediate.

—Friends of Radio Free Detroit

This article originally appeared in the news letter Rebel Radio, published by the Friends of Radio Free Detroit. Donations are needed to help keep Radio Free Detroit on the air and can be sent to: Friends of Radio Free Detroit, P.O. Box 11410, Detroit, Michigan 48211, U.S.A.

Radio Free Detroit can be heard at 106.3-FM every Sunday from 3:00 pm to 1:00 am. Starting in January 1992, Radio Free Detroit will expand to include Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 1:00 am.