Touch FM suddenly goes off the air; raided by feds

TOUCH 106.1 FM Boston's FM Radio Station "SILENCED"

Touch FM

Video of Touch FM owner Charles Clemons by Doug Bennett.

Judy Wilburn reports she was listening to the unlicensed Dorchester radio station shortly after 11 a.m. when:

Touch 106.1 just went off the air. Announcer said authorities shutting down, equipment taken.

The FCC and owner Charles Clemons have feuded for years over the station. In 2008, the commission ordered Clemons to pay $17,000 for operating without a license.

Especially since the demise of WILD-AM as a locally oriented talk station in 2011, Touch 106 has become a key broadcaster for Boston's black community. Its talk shows frequently host elected officials.

Last year, the FCC shut an unlicensed station in Roslindale that had served Haitians in the Boston area.



Free tagging: 


Why didn't the FCC solve the

By on

Why didn't the FCC solve the problem by giving them a license?

Licenses are supposed to be for stations that serve local community interests, which this station clearly does.

The signal is too close to

The signal is too close to another licensed station in the city - 105.7 WROR. Depending on where you were in the city, this station would interfere with their signal.

One of the purposes of FCC licensing is to make sure stations aren't transmitting on top of each other, thus effectively silencing each other.


By on

And where does the FCC get the RIGHT... to demand that such an entity pay a single cent for the RIGHT to broadcast across the airways. What do they provide in return for that hefty fee?

And why now? It seems like the establishment is cracking down now on the mid-level of 'black' society. Apparently the bank is foreclosing on the Prince Hall lodge and Al Sharptons being exposed in the media for something that seems inconsequential and theres other tings a gwan.

**And where does the FCC get

By on

**And where does the FCC get the RIGHT... to demand that such an entity pay a single cent for the RIGHT to broadcast across the airways.**

The same RIGHT the Registry has to charge you for a drivers liscence and registration.

What right does the RM to demand a single cent for the RIGHT to drive on public roads?

BTW...they don't demand you pay for the right...simply apply for it with a small fee like the RMV.

(Doesn't make much sense when you look at it in that light does it?)

the rules are the rules

By on

Why shouldn't everyone follow the rules regardless of what community they serve?

**Why didn't the FCC solve

By on

**Why didn't the FCC solve the problem by giving them a license? Licenses are supposed to be for stations that serve local community interests, which this station clearly does.**

Because Mr. Clemons and Touch 106.1 never bothered to apply for one.

There was just an open window for applications for LPFM's. Many community groups applied for them. Touch 106.1 didn't bother. Why apply for a license when they proved for eight years they don't need one!

The FCC doesn't *give*

By on

The FCC doesn't *give* licenses. The party wishing to operate a station has to *apply* for one. They didn't.

A group could have filed for a low power FM construction permit back in October for FREE. They didn't.

A commercial license filing fee is under $1,000 - the cost of two broadcast quality turntables or CD players. They never filed for one.

The claim made - that it's cost-prohibitive to apply for a license - is ridiculous. The fellow operating this station, regardless of his intention, flouted the law and got what's coming to him.

Without knowing much about it

By on

Without knowing much about it, I assumed that in a city like Boston, all the FM slots would be taken already. Can you really get one just by paying $1000?

Low-power licenses

By on

Clemons campaigned for them. The FCC agreed to them. And then the regulations were written in such a way to exclude anybody trying to make money from them, which left him out.

**there should be some

By on

**there should be some provision in the law for low watt stations.**

There IS! Except Clemons didn't apply for one.

Like I said...why apply for a license when they proved for eight years you don't need one!)


By on

Where I live in Chelsea there is a radio station on 87.7.. its in another language that is not Spanish. I almost want to say its Haitian-Creole (or french) from the sounds. But its obviously illegal as 87.9 is NEVER used for an assigned station as 87.7 is often used for in-car add-ins (i.e. the iPod iTrip) and other low power devices. And only exists because of digital tuning and bleed over from 88.1.

Whatever or wherever it is coming from, its on the Chelsea side of the river because you cannot hear it in town.

I know i know, not relevant.. but still odd.

Are you sure it's not picking

Are you sure it's not picking up audio from a TV station? I used to get audio very low on my FM radio dial from (IIRC) the ABC station in Providence.


By on

It's def in French or Haitian-Creole... I speak a little french so I can understand a little bit.

But that's WLNE-TV ABC 6. And yes TV Channel Six is the same as 87.7. But after the analog TV shutdown, most "channel 6's" (WLNE and WCSH) lost the ability to have the audio broadcast also on 87.7 FM since that frequency went away with the analg shutdown.

In short, No, It's not a TV station..

real station

By on

So this is a real station? I can't determine the call sign by the twitter feed.

Surprised it is below 88.1 on the radio dial..

No, pirate

By on

No it's a pirate. It's unlicensed, just like the station that Adam's story was on.

There Are Almost NO TV Stations On Channel 6 Any More

By on

When broadcast TV switched from analog to digital a few years ago, almost ALL TV stations switched to UHF which offered the possibility of more power. (In Boston, "channel 2" actually broadcasts on channel 19; "channel 4" actually broadcasts on channel 30; "channel 5" actually broadcasts on channel 20; and "channel 7" actually broadcasts on channel 42. In New Bedford, MA, "channel 6" actually broadcasts on channel 49) As a result, there are VERY FEW TV broadcast stations on channel 6 anywhere in the US. I believe the closest one to Boston is WRGB, channel 6 in Schenectady, NY.

87.9 is legal

By on

87.9 is Channel 200. It's perfectly legal to use, but only under pretty severe conditions; there's only two stations in the USA that use it, both lower-powered facilities (10 and 28 watts, respectively): KSFH in San Francisco, and K200AA in Sun Valley NV (north of Reno).

The reason for the restrictions are, as you guessed, because under the old analog TV schema, the aural carrier (which was just FM) for TV Channel 6 was on 87.75MHz. That's close enough to 87.9MHz that the two could interfere with each other. The distance you had to be away from both existing TV6 stations AND the Canada/Mexico borders (the latter due to international treaties) was so great that only a handful of areas in the US would work in the first place, and the FCC didn't want to encourage use of 87.9 in general.

Post-2009, there are still some analog TV stations left, they're all LPTV stations and they'll be migrated to ATSC digital by 2015.

The possibility of 87.9 radio intefering with TV stations that actually transmit on Ch.6 is still there, although it's less so under the ATSC digital method of broadcasting. Also, since ATSC just doesn't work as well in low-VHF as it does in UHF, a lot of stations moved to UHF and abandoned VHF. Not all, but a lot. There's fewer than a dozen left on Ch.6 nationwide, I think. (and remember, the FCC allows "channel mapping" so a station transmitting on a given frequency can "fool" TV tuners (using PSIP) into saying it's on a different freq; it's so TV stations wouldn't have to abandon their established branding. Which is why WLNE Providence still calls itself ABC6 even though they've transmitted on Ch.49 in the UHF band since 2009.

87.7 was never allowed for licensed FM stations. Some radios will tune to it, because the radio manufacturers knew that people used to listen to TV6 station's audio on their radios.

There's been several pirates using 87.7 since 2009 when a surplus of now-useless analog TV transmitters flooded the used electronics markets and eBay. Lots of them just bought an old TV6 transmitter and fired it up. Sometimes they didn't even bother turning off the video carrier! 87.75MHz is close enough to 87.7 and 87.9 that most FM radios, even digital ones, will pick it up. Although it'll sound weird because the stereo method isn't the same, the pre-emphasis is different, and being slightly off-tuned often makes for weird intermediate frequency artifacts. 87.75MHz also has the advantage of being just far enough away on the dial from 88.1 that most people trying to hear 88.1 won't receive interference from 87.75 in the "real world", even if on paper they most definitely will.

As you mention, some of those little FCC Part-15-governed "mini transmitters" for listening to your iPod on your car radio can transmit on 87.7. Part 15 allows that, but it doesn't restrict 87.7 solely to that purpose.

"Rosa Parks"?

Is this idiot serious? "Laying his life on the line"? Get a fucking license!! Clemons had money for jackets, but no money for a license?


By on

Clemons had money for jackets, but no money for a license?

Have you ever applied for a broadcast license, hotshot? It costs quite a bit more than the cost of some jackets. And that's just for the license, not including the other mandated stuff that also costs money.

**Have you ever applied for a

By on

**Have you ever applied for a broadcast license, hotshot? It costs quite a bit more than the cost of some jackets. **

An application for a LPFM station is not very expensive. Many people have filed an application on their own.

**So, do you have a figure?

By on

**So, do you have a figure? Is it truly outside the realm of what this guy could raise?**

You can apply for a license for free.

(If you want to hire a consuiltant for some help applying, it could cost $1,000 to 3,000.)

But he didn't bother....even when other community organizations DID make the effort.

Actually, if I'm reading the FCC website correctly

it doesn't cost anything for a LPFM broadcast license. And this fucking guy knew the man was coming for years, yet he thought he was smarter. Obviously he wasn't so he's pulling that being put down by the man bullshit. Obviously he's fulfilling a need in the community, but what good is it if he can't follow the law?


By on

You are obviously a white man or don't believe there is still and will always be a system of racism geared towards black people in order to subjugate them. You have your opinion,its negative, so why don't you go elsewhere. He is a great resource to our communities of color and its a monumental loss.

Yes, I'm a white man

who has spent much time in the communities of color here in Boston, probably more than most posters here. That being said, I think I have an eye for who is sincere in their commitment to the community and a guy who starts playing the persecution card when the law catches up with him. So,please, save the generalizations.

So what if dvdoff is white?

By on

You think dvdoff should "go away" because his opinion is different from yours? How very mature.
You think Clemons is a "great resource" and a "monumental loss". Nah. His station is ok, but not that great. It's still on the internet so if you really want to listen, you can.
And while I agree there is systemic subjugation of black people in this country, this case is clearly not an example of that .
Clemons is a sleazeball. We all know that.
By the way Grovehaller, is your name Doug? Sure sounds like Dougie.

The law is the law!

By on

oh geez, the system of racism's comments like these, that undermine true cases of racism! this guy was operating an illegal station for years...what is it about that, you don't get? and, it's actually reverse racism situation, what with patrick getting in the mix and advocating for an illegal operation, bc it serves the black community! what kind of message does it send, that this great community service is knowingly and totally flouting the laws that we all have to follow?

**a system of racism geared

By on

**a system of racism geared towards black people in order to subjugate them.**

The only "system" is one that peddles a belief in the above.

That belief is what is keeping (some) black people from progressing forward.

The "system" is one you create.


By on

it doesn't cost anything for a LPFM broadcast license

While it's true that "the license is free", understand that the majority of the cost of obtaining a broadcast license, LPFM or commercial, is paying lawyers and consultants on aspects related to the application. You must also keep in mind that someone has to do interference studies (how your transmission could interfere with other transmitters) beforehand and they aren't going to do it for free.

I have to go back and listen to the video. His references to LPFM have me confused. I can not comment on whether he did or did not try to apply.

I'm simply suggesting that the barriers to LPFM operation is higher than many realize.

Yes, except the man

already had the station in place. And you weren't just suggesting the barriers were higher than many realize, you said the license cost more than some jackets, which apparently it doesn't.

I see what you did there

By on

First of all, his station was illegal. It's not like they take that into consideration when you apply for a license and say "oh, he's got some experience, we'll give it to him." In fact, quite the opposite. He's less likely to get it because of his history of illegal operation. The cost to bring his station up to legally-mandated engineering standards is unclear but it's not trivial.

you said the license cost more than some jackets, which apparently it doesn't.

When I wrote that, I was not thinking of LPFM (simply because it didn't cross my mind at the time), I was thinking of commercial licensure, which I have some experience with. It also has encumbrances and the piece of paper does cost some money.

In any case, if you get a LPFM license but can't afford all the other mandated engineering work, can't afford the lawyer, can't afford all the other legally mandated up-front costs, the station still isn't going to happen and the effect is the same.The piece of paper (regardless of how much it costs) is only a small part of the whole encumbrance.


By on

Seizing radio stations in urban areas and rustling cattle out west by swat teams from the DLM , the alphabet police have had a busy week


By on

Do you have a website where I can post unrelated nonsense non-sequitors to conversations people are having? I'd like to do that.

Please post information relating to website where a person can post unrelated nonsense non-sequitors to conversations people are having.

Can you tell me where I can find information or resources regarding unrelated nonsense?

Join together and BUY WILD

By on

These urban pirates should all put their money together and buy 1090 WILD and restore it as a great service to the black community! right now with it's extremely low audio with leased programming from the Chinese government, there can't be many, if any listeners. I'm sure Radio One would love to sell it if someone made a serious offer.

Problem is, they can't. Once

By on

Problem is, they can't. Once you're fined by the FCC or identified as having been involved in the operation of an unlicensed station? You are thereafter permanently barred from licensure.

1090? Really!

By on

1090 is a AM station who wants AM??


By on

You don't need a license to stream over the internet. You do need a license to transmit over the air, beyond a certain power level.

Mr. Clemons...if you have had

By on

Mr. Clemons...if you have had "paperwork pending" for a license....could you please provide a copy of that to the public? Also, for EIGHT YEARS you have had this 'paperwork pending'? Also, Rosa Parks was not a commercial enterprise that sold advertisement. Please do not wrap yourself in some kind of glory by associating yourself with Rosa Parks...simply because you wanted to operate a radio station. (What would happen if we ALL wanted to ignore the rules and all wanted our own radio station?) There as just an open window for applying for a legal LPFM license...and we noticed you never even bothered to apply for one. Please don't wrap yourself in some kind of "cause". 

Clemons thinks laws dont apply to him because ...Rosa Parks?

By on

Come on Charlie, comparing yourself to Rosa Parks is a load of crap.

Check out this article from 2013.

Clemons is a shady unethical operator who just refuses to play by the rules. Not just operating without a license, but using his station for unethical campaigning, and posing as a "non-profit".

He thought he was untouchable because he got away with it for years and because the politicians have been kissing his behind for years.

Watch the video if you want a large dose of b.s.

By on

Clemons is full of himself. What a con man.
He says, among other things,
"I'm laying my life on the line"
"I'll go to jail for my community"
"I'll die for my community"
"You know what you are doing is right when the forces of evil come against yo

Paging Reverend Rivers....

By on

Clearly, what this station and it's owner needed was a "consultant" with the consummate skills of Eugene Rivers and his crew--I mean, consulting firm. For advocacy purposes, of course....

I just called the militia

By on

I just called the armed militia and told them it was too late to do anything. They were halfway here from Nevada after helping keep Mr. Bundy's cattle on federally-owned land, but there's no point in coming the rest of the way here now.

OR...they weren't actually coming because there was more to their involvement in Nevada than the seizure of illegal property and unpaid fines and standing up to the "unilateral actions of the federal government". Here, we have the black, urban version of Bundy...and Fox News isn't on the horn blowing for the cavalry to come running. Very telling.

Should have called Code Pink,

By on

Should have called Code Pink, they're not doing much since January 2009.

Besides, this has been going on for eight years, Bush should have taken care of it, Obama merely inherited the mess.