This is an article that appeared in the Worcester Telegram on Thursday October 30, 1997
FCC kills Pirate Station WDOA
By Scott McLennan
Telegram & Gazette Staff
Worcester-Using tunes by Elvis Costello and The Replacements as swan songs, WDOA-FM(89.3) ended nearly two years of covert radio broadcasting last night after agents of the Federal Communications Commission visited the operation and ordered it shut down.
Mike Malone, who ran WDOA from his living room using a piece-mealed transmitter and 15-foot broadcast antenna, affixed to his apartment's roof, last night said that two men from the FCC's office in Quincy arrived at his place shortly before 6 p.m., and put a halt to the programming.
"They were actually pretty nice about it. It's not like they came goose-stepping up to the door. They said they had orders from their boss to go after all the stations and that it was part of a nationwide thing," Malone said. "After they told us to stop they said we could go on the air and explain what happened."
Malone played Costello's "Radio, Radio" and The Replacements "Left of the Dial" before saying good night. He suspects the FCC learned of the station through its site on the World Wide Web then pinpointed the location with signal tracking devices.
FCC offices in Quincy and Washington D.C. were called for comment last night but neither was staffed.
Their are hundreds of unlicensed radio stations in the country. Those who run them call it microbroadcasting. The FCC refers to it as pirate radio. Radio Free Allston, a large unlicensed radio operation centered near Boston, also was shut down, according to Malone.
Malone, 36, was the rock music director at WICN-FM(90.5) from 1984 to 1994 and later an on air personality at WCUW-FM, before launching WDOA in January of 1996. At that time the signal barely got around the city. With a new antenna installed earlier this year, WDOA found itself reaching most of the city as well as surrounding communities.
WDOA offered a variety of programs aired daily from 6p.m. to midnight. Well-known and respected Worcester air personalities such as L.B. Worm, Captain P.J. and Joe Longone (who used an alias) were part of the staff playing everything from acid jazz, to old time rock to bygone pop.
WDOA also had an off-the-wall public affairs program on Tuesdays hosted by an irresistible crank calling himself John Q. Public. Malone ran a program on Thursday nights under the name Jim Stenson. The entire operation ran at under 100 watts of power. In an earlier interview, Malone explained the paradox of radio being that the FCC will not license stations running under 100 watts but requires all broadcasters to be licensed. Malone descibed licensing as long, complicated and expensive, which he said fuels the existence of microbroadcasting.
To compare WDOA's strength with other radio stations in the are, WAAF-FM (107.3) pumps out about 18,000 watts, WICN-FM (90.5) runs at about 8000 watts and WCUW-FM (91.3) cuts through the air with 600 watts.
Malone said that a letter of reprimand will come from the FCC, but beyond that he expects no further legal action or punishment. The agency did not confiscate his equipment.
"I'm not ready to end it right here, but I don't intend to thumb my nost at the FCC right now," Malone said. The station will go ahead with a November 16th fund-raiser at Tammany Club, 43 Pleasant St. The concert begins at 4PM with the $5 admission going in the WDOA coffers, which Malone said now may be used to explore licensing procedures.