Berkeley Liberation Radio Signs Off in Monday Show - June 28th, 2005
by Richard Brenneman
The collective that brought Berkeley Liberation Radio to the airwaves signed off the air at one minute after 4 Monday afternoon, the casualty of a terminated lease and impending federal action.
“We are gone, but nevah forevah,” said the program’s host just before the plug was pulled.
The micro-powered station that broadcast out of a warehouse loft off 55th Street between Telegraph and Shattuck avenues just inside the Oakland border had lost its lease because other tenants said the station’s 99.5 watt signal was interfering with their reception of other stations.
The intentionally unlicensed station had also been served with a cease and desist order two weeks giving the station ten days to get off the air.
The atmosphere on the last day was more celebrational than mournful.
“This is absolutely the best time I’ve ever had here,” said Libertarian radio host Zippie the Yippy. “We should’ve done this more often.”
“I always felt like I was doing ballet all these years,” said Soul. “I never wrote anything down.” Skunk, who acts as Zippie the Yippy’s co-host, said he showed up at the station one day as a guest and “he just expected me to show up ever after.”
The show’s regular broadcasts “made me always look forward to Mondays,” he said. “But this media star stuff is getting to be too much. I can’t walk down the street without someone recognizing my voice,” he quipped. “The message is, we’ll be back,” said Emperor Nothing. “We’ll come back on the Web and on the air.”
By offering a wide range of voices across the political spectrum, he said, the station was offering something other that the “voices of the corporations, the compliant and the very wealthy” available on mainstream stations.
“Cheers to the new radio station rising like a phoenix out of the ashes,” said Native American broadcaster Thunder. “The airwaves belong to the people!”
Magdalena, who broadcast Frank Zappa recordings on her regular Monday show, hosted the last program, which ended with comments from the eclectic cast and Captain Fred, the station’s tech manager.
The small broadcasting studio grew ever more crowded as the last hour wound down, voices raised in pitch and speed as the clock counted down the final few minutes.
Vinyl LPs and CDs were boxed up, ready to be hauled off, and empty plastic boxes were scattered around to supplement the limited numbers of folding chairs.
There was dark ale and Mexican beer for those who imbibed alcohol, and a distinctive 60’s fragrance that hinted at the presence of another favored Berkeley celebratory substance. The was a tense moment or two that quickly passed, with one deejay whispering in a reporter’s ear, “Hey, it’s a collective.”
Before the signoff, Soul read from the station’s Statement of Purpose.
“Berkeley Liberation radio exists to provide a voice for the diverse community within the Berkeley/Oakland area and beyond. Further, it is a vehicle that we establish to bring about social change. Consistent with a vision of creating an alternative diverse hybrid society free of sexism, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of oppression, programming on Berkeley Liberation Radio will be reflective of these goals and ideals.”
A camera from KTVU television taped the final seven or so minutes as each of the broadcasters and Captain Fred said their final, brief words of farewell.
Once the plug was pulled, Magdalena pulled her last CD from the turntable, and the deejays began unhooking the equipment, to be stored until the station is reincarnated.