Hear from the man behind KBFR, Boulder's pirate radio station

Categories: Media

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Yesterday's blog "Pirate Radio Station KBFR Back in Boulder" provided info about an unlicensed radio signal using call letters that date back for the better part of a decade. In that piece, the main commentator was Rob Smoke, a former Boulder City Council candidate who's producing a regular talk show for the outlet, even though he's never met nor spoken to the person in charge of the venture. Today, meet the anonymous operator himself, who provided information via e-mail in the following mini-Q&A.

Westword (Michael Roberts): How long have you been on the air overall and most recently?

KBFR: It's a little complicated. To keep it simple, we've been active on the FM band here in Boulder since April. Some changes in the lineup, frequency and location, but for the most part, that covers it. I decided to "pirate" the KBFR logo and resurrect it in late September.

WW: How would you describe your programming?

KBFR: Hrm... a viral and experimental audio anomaly, designed to inspire, reproduce and subsequently destroy all that is corporate radio.

WW: How do you maintain security?

KBFR: Lies, disinformation, secret handshakes and retina scanners. Okay, not really, We're not that cool at all. LOL.

In reality, we just try and be careful. We take a proactive approach, which has worked pretty good so far. We did get a few doors and walls kicked in at our studio a few months ago, but that was by an angry DJ, not the FCC! There are a lot of things that can be done to remain anonymous. Knowing and understanding the regulations that we are acting in direct opposition to is also very important. It's the same way as when you get pulled over. Most of the time, they assume you don't know your rights and they try and take advantage of that. Intimidation: That seems to be a pretty common tactic from what I've read, too. In addition to that, we try and provide programming that is in sync with what our community of listeners wants to hear. It's a strange approach to security, but if our government has laws that are in direct opposition to what the people want, then they should be changed, right?

WW: How has your outreach with MySpace and Facebook gone?

KBFR: The social networking sites have worked great for us. [Check out the station's MySpace page here -- and its Facebook page here.] It's such an easy way to connect and share information that it's kind of a no-brainer. The amount of connections we've made through them is astounding. On the other hand, some might say it puts us out in the open and thus puts us at risk. We want people to tune in and listen. It's hard to do that if they don't know we're out there. To the best of my knowledge, for the first four years that KBFR was on the air, they didn't have a MySpace or Facebook page (I don't think they were even around yet) and people definitely knew they were on the air. To me, the risk-reward ratio makes it a pretty easy choice. Time will tell, though. I'm not much into speculation. In the meantime, we'll be busy using as many of the Interweb's new technologies as possible to connect, communicate and converse.

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