Pirate Cat Radio

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Pirate Cat Radio
Broadcast area San Francisco Bay area[1][2]
First air date April 1996 (1996-04)
Format Eclectic
Class Pirate radio
Former frequencies 87.9 MHz
Owner Daniel "Monkey Man" Roberts
Webcast www.piratecatradio.com/pcr.m3u
Website www.piratecatradio.com
Pirate Cat Radio, 2010

Pirate Cat Radio (87.9 FM) was a low power community radio station that had been broadcasting since April 1996, in the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] The station was one of several unlicensed radio stations operating in the San Francisco Bay Area.[2]

The station founder, Daniel "Monkey Man" Roberts (who later legally changed his name to his on air persona, Monkey), started broadcasting Pirate Cat Radio out of his bedroom in Los Gatos, California (a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area) at the age of 15.[1]

Despite receiving hundreds of "Notices of Unlicensed Radio Operation" from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the station has been able to stay on the air operating based on a clause in FCC regulations that allows a licensing exemption in times of war, according to its founder.[1]

Pirate Cat Radio spawned a pirate television station from experiments with broadcasting television using the same transmitters used to broadcast radio. Unlicensed radio operators like Monkey also assist others interested in starting their own low power television or radio broadcasts in locating and setting up equipment.[3]

Pirate Cat radio rebroadcast The Howard Stern Show in 2006 in its uncensored form from Sirius Satellite Radio in the Los Angeles area.[4]

In March 2009, Anthony Bourdain brought his show No Reservations to San Francisco and visited Pirate Cat Radio to try a drink invented by station founder Daniel "Monkey Man" Roberts: the Bacon Maple Latte. An account of his visit aired on the Travel Channel in early August 2009. That same month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recognized Pirate Cat Radio for the station's "...trailblazing efforts towards freeing the airwaves from corporate control, providing the community with training in radio broadcast skills, empowering voices ignored by traditional media outlets; and contributing to the advancement of the City's coffee culture through the unique creations of baristas of the Pirate Cat Radio Cafe...".[5]

After years of only warnings from the FCC, in 2009 the FCC gave Pirate Cat Radio a $10,000 fine forcing the station off the air, thus causing it to become internet radio only. The fine was issued for broadcasting without a formal license from the FCC. There have consequently been a number of fundraisers hosted by the volunteer-based and commercial-free radio station. Although the fine had taken Pirate Cat Radio off the air Monkey continued to voice the importance of a free public radio.[6][7]

By May 2010, some of Pirate Cat Radio's programming was being simulcast on licensed station KPDO 89.3.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kava, Brad (January 7, 2007). "Daniel Roberts won't stop making pirate radio broadcasts. The FCC won't stop telling him to stop". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  2. ^ a b Sullivan, James (October 21, 2003). "The Bay Area is the capital of pirate radio stations". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  3. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (February 11, 2005). "Berkeley: Pirate of the airwaves takes on TV Radio pirate takes crusade to the world of television". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  4. ^ Editors (December 22, 2006). "Opinion: Howard Stern's End: What is the state of Pirate Cat Radio in L.A.?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  5. ^ Dushane, Tony (August 31, 2009). "Pirate Cat Radio Receives Props from Board of Supervisors". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  6. ^ Hirsch, Daniel (November 20, 2009). Pirate Cat Radio fights the feds SFGate.com
  7. ^ Kumeh, Titania (January 18, 2010). "Music Monday: Pirate Cat Radio vs. the FCC". MotherJones.com
  8. ^ Harrell, Ashley (May 26, 2010). "The Radio Pirate Goes Legit". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 

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