Can a radio station owner submit an obscene set of call letters for his station and have it approved by the Federal Communications Commission? Brent Bozell's culture column passes along that two prospective stations in Hawaii were granted the call letters KUNT (and KWTF), which the station owner quickly apologized for submitting. But the FCC, for its many millions in expenditures, has no living, breathing human checking to make sure that embarrassing call letters aren't included in their usual online submission process. Brent elaborates:
It wasn’t that long ago that the bureaucracy at the Federal Communications Commission fell on its collective rump when with Solomonic wisdom it announced that use of the “f-bomb” over the broadcast airwaves didn’t constitute an indecency so long as that word was used as an “intensifier” adjective, and not a verb. The real world shook its head in disbelief, the appropriate cobwebs were cleared, and ultimately the FCC reversed itself.
Never underestimate a federal bureaucracy. The FCC has struck again.
One responsibility of this agency is to assign call letters to new TV and radio stations. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has reported that deep in a 15-pages list of new call letters issued by the FCC last month, the call letters KUNT were granted to a yet-unbuilt low-power digital television station in Wailuku, Maui.
The Honolulu paper discovered that the FCC doesn’t exactly hire a human to look over the call letter list. Apparently the agency’s $300 million annual budget goes only so far. Assignment of the station letters actually is an automated process, according to Mary Diamond of the FCC's Office of Media Relations. Broadcasters use the FCC Web site to request and receive call letters with no oversight from any FCC human.
The station owners have now stepped in to reverse this outrage and Kevin Bae, vice president of KM Communications Inc. in Skokie, Illinois, has now apologized. It is "extremely embarrassing for me and my company and we will file to change those call letters immediately."
But this is not the first time the FCC has been asleep at the assignment desk, nor have other station owners reflected KM’s responsibility. KCUF-FM near Aspen, Colo. got its F-word-in-reverse call letters in August of 2005 and has been on the air since December.
IMUS SUIT IS DROPPED
By DAN MANGAN | September 12, 2007
A Rutgers basketball player who sued radio host Don Imus for calling her team "nappy-headed hos" has dropped the defamation case less than a month after filing it, The Post has learned.
Kia Vaughn gave no explanation in her "voluntary discontinuance" of the suit against Imus, his sidekick, Bernard McGuirk, and corporate radio and television partners, which she submitted Thursday in Bronx Supreme Court. Her lawyer could not be reached for comment, and Imus' lawyer declined to comment.
McGuirk's high-powered lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said the suit had no chance of succeeding had Vaughn pursued it.
"The suit was absolutely ridiculous," he said. "We were gearing up to file a motion to dismiss."
Vaughn's complaint sprang from an April broadcast of Imus' show on WFAN-AM Radio and MSNBC television, when McGuirk called the Rutgers University women's hoops team "some hardcore hos," and Imus replied, "That's some nappy-headed hos there."
The racist banter created a firestorm that led to Imus' firing. Vaughn filed suit on Aug. 14.
Tacopina, pointing out that Vaughn was never mentioned by name by Imus or McGuirk, noted that, "They said 'some nappy-headed hos.'
" 'Some' does not include 'all,' " said Tacopina. "It was clearly parody. There was not malicious intent, there was no intent to defame. No one listening that day that was sober said, 'Oh, my God, they may be prostitutes!' "
Ham radio operators help thwart burglary in FarmsBy Kit BradshawMonday, September 24, 2007Three juveniles thought they were pretty smart using amateur radios tocommunicate with each other as they allegedly talked their way through atleast one burglary and possibly more in Jupiter Farms.Their last transmission, however, was “Code Red, Code Red, Code Red. Thereare cops everywhere, dude!”The three were outwitted by local ham radio operators listening to thecommunications that were enhanced through the Citizens Emergency ResponseTeam Repeater that allows the signal to extend from Boynton Beach to PortSt. Lucie from Jupiter Farms.On Friday night, as a victim of a burglary huddled in her bedroom closet,calling for sheriff’s deputies, Albert Moreschi of Jupiter Farms and JohnLevey of Palm Beach Gardens, among others, were monitoring the radiotransmissions from the suspects and feeding information to the deputies.But they weren’t just listening to the burglary as it went down. They wererecording the transmissions.“On Sept. 8 we heard what sounded like men talking about committing aburglary and we were monitoring them on one of the local ham repeaters,”said Levey. “As a retired police officer, when I heard it the first time, Iknew what it was. We notified law enforcement, but they didn’t describe thehouse well enough to get the exact address.“On Sept. 21, we hear them doing the same thing, and recognize their voices.So I get out my tape recorder and start taping them. Bert is on the radiowhen he hears it, and we get on our cell phones, and we’re monitoring this.If we heard anything specific, we’d tell the authorities.”According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report, one of thesuspects was arrested in the house, one walking down a nearby road and athird, who fled in a car, was arrested near the Publix in Jupiter Farms.“We have them on two different burglaries,” said PBSO Lt. David Kronsperger,“and suspect they were in other houses as well.”Levey’s work didn’t end when the suspects were arrested.“After I didn’t hear any more on the radio, I then went to the Sheriff’sOffice substation in Jupiter Farms, and there was a deputy there, with oneof the suspects,” Levey said. “I identified myself as a former policeofficer and a ham radio operator and said to the deputy ‘by the way, if youjust caught three guys, we’ve been recording their transmissions.’”The Sheriff’s Office is now in possession of the ham radio transmissiontapes.The three suspects also could face other charges by the FederalCommunications Commission for operating an amateur radio without a license,according to Moreschi.“What is interesting is that we don’t know where these kids got the hamradios,” said Moreschi. “ They came right over the CERT repeater and thathas a special tone, and you have to have a special tone to key it up. So it’sa little more sophisticated than walkie talkies.”Both ham radio operators, plus another in Port St. Lucie who declined to beidentified, were modest about their role in the events.“Hey, it just another community service by a ham radio operator,” saidLevey.
California woman held due to threats on emergency radios
Woman suspected of making threatening remarks to responders
By John Ashbury | May 4th, 2010
SAN JACINTO, Calif. — A San Jacinto woman suspected of interrupting emergency radio broadcasts with threatening remarks over the weekend was arrested early Monday, Hemet police said.
Irene Marie Levy, 29, of San Jacinto, was taken into custody at her mobile home in the 900 block of South Grand Avenue on suspicion of criminal threats.
Police said Levy, who is a ham radio operator, made a bomb threat and talked about the deaths of police and firefighters during 30 hours of radio transmissions ending just before officers arrived at her home.
Many of the broadcasts contained rambling threats directed at Hemet police, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and particular police units.
"A lot of it was, 'Piggy, piggy, piggy, die, die, die,' " Hemet police Sgt. Mark Richards said. "There was no threat to kill any specific person."
Police believe Levy used her home computer to reprogram a handheld radio to broadcast on the emergency frequencies. The messages overrode Hemet police and Cal Fire dispatcher transmissions, causing emergency personnel to have to repeat broadcasts, Richards said.
The threats, which started Saturday night, interfered with emergency broadcasts in a fatal traffic collision in Hemet, a search-and-rescue call Sunday and a brush fire that afternoon near Beaumont. One of the broadcasts was a bomb threat early Sunday, police said.
The radio transmissions were not connected to five previous threats and attacks on Hemet police and the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force, Richards said. Since December, officers have received death threats and been targeted in assassination attempts.
Levy, described as a stay-at-home mom with one child, is suspected of disguising her voice as a man broadcasting on Cal Fire and Hemet police frequencies from Saturday night until she was arrested early today, Richards said.
"She doesn't like the Police Department or Cal Fire. I don't know any other motivations than that," he said.
On Sunday evening, "Levy boasted that the police would never find her," Richards said.
Minutes after her last transmission Monday, police found her still holding a radio, he said. She admitted to broadcasting the messages and had been listening to herself on several other radios, Richards said.
At the home, police found 11 radios, seven frequency scanners, frequency lists, computer equipment and Levy's ham radio technician's license issued by the FCC in September 2009, Richards said.
Levy was booked at the Larry Smith Detention Center in lieu of $25,000 bond on suspicion of making terrorist threats, falsely reporting a bomb threat and maliciously interrupting, disrupting, impeding or interfering with a transmission of a public radio frequency.
Levy's mother, Wanda, was tearful when contacted at Levy's home Monday. The arrest is "totally out of context for her. She has no reason to hate the police," she said.
Her daughter had mental problems about eight years ago when she threatened suicide and acted out in other ways, she said. Levy's mother declined to give her last name.
Riverside County fire communications officials used tracking equipment to triangulate the transmissions, but were unsuccessful because the threats were transmitted sporadically. Riverside police were asked to step in Sunday, using advanced equipment.
Levy and her husband, Mike Levy, both are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to operate ham radios. Police said they confiscated her license.
Ronald Baker, of Hemet, is president of the Lee DeForest Amateur Radio Club of Hemet. He said he has known Irene Levy for only a short time but has known Mike Levy for 10 years.
If the charges are true, "this from his wife is most unusual," Baker said. "She seemed like a normal, down-to-earth person."
Mike Levy, he said, "is a stickler for the law. He's been involved with police, fire and ambulance assistance. He's been a decent person."
Such instances of ham radio abuse are rare, Baker said. He's been an operator since 1952 and has seen such instances once every two or three years — and never so close to home, he said.
In times of disaster, ham operators often are relied upon to provide a backup emergency radio system. Other times, operators just spend time talking with one another. Baker said he expects a lot of chatter regarding Levy's arrest.
Facebook photo shows man wearing stolen firefighter helmet
Credit: Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Daniel Schmidt, by Jennifer Thomas
Posted on August 6, 2011
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Pinal County authorities arrested a Casa Grande man for burglary after they say he stole equipment from two fire engines then posted pictures of himself wearing a firefighter helmet.
Pinal County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Daniel Schmidt, 23, after someone called Regional Fire Chief Steve Kerber and reported they knew the person responsible for the July 31 theft.
Schmidt told the detectives that he was drunk when he stole four Kenwood radios, two pick-head axes, a helmet and an LED flashlight from Regional Fire Rescue at McCartney and Overfield roads. The total value of the items was estimated at $1,600.
According to the sheriff's office, Schmidt took pictures of himself wearing the stolen fire helmet then texted the images to numerous people and posted the pictures on his Facebook account, acknowledging the theft.
Schmidt said he would cooperate with investigators to return the stolen items. So far, he has returned all but two radios valued at $500 each.
Schmidt is charged with third-degree burglary for stealing from a government agency.
"This was not exactly the crime of the century, but certainly a major issue to us with the loss of equipment and the potential for radio channel disruption if emergency radios fall into the wrong hands," Kerber said.