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expanded band AM; community pirates

I don't go into Boston often but when I do I've been
known to pick up some pirate stations on expanded band
AM. In just about every case they're either foreign
language or religion (or both). For example, when I
went through Somerville and Cambridge on Monday,
I heard one such foreign language pirate on 1700
(but it shifted to an "image"--is that the right
term?--of WEEI 850 once I crossed the river into

Other pirates have been heard on expanded band AM
or sometimes just under the expanded band (the other
week, while coming back from the Cape, I heard a
strong foreign-language pirate on 1580, strongest
around Braintree and Quincy). And lately there's been
one at 1690 around Peabody and Salem.

Of course the expanded band also has the occasional
Travelers Information Station like the 1650 out of
Logan Airport, or something like Allston-Brighton
Free Radio (which LEGALLY puts out a milli-watt or
so; it only reaches a few blocks but can also be
heard on the Net or via rebroadcasts on WJIB 740).

Well, this makes me wonder what is up with the
expanded band. Isn't it supposed to have new or
relocated legitimate stations (a 1700 in Rochester,
NH for example)? I have heard some of these; on
Monday night I heard what sounded like the Sporting
News Radio network on 1690-- and it wasn't an "image"
of WWZN, as 1690 had the network feed while WWZN
was local with Sean McDonough.

But it seems like exp. band AM is turning into a home
for community people who figure, why bother applying
for an FCC license or buy time on a licensed station
when you can just set up a pirate somewhere from
1600 to 1700? And I haven't heard of any shutdowns
of these lately, maybe because there haven't been
any complaints about them.

With most stations being run by big corporations
(stand-alones like WJIB are rare), community groups
(ethnic or religious organizations for example)
seem to be turning to pirates to get themselves
on the radio dial.

Would be interested to hear some comments: do you
agree with me that most of these groups are simply
turning to pirate stations because they know they
probably won't get a license and/or they can't
(or don't want to) but time on a licensed station?

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