Radio Free Speech
Radio Free Speech came on the Pirate scene in 1993. Previously it had been Radio Free America but only made 2 or 3
broadcasts a year in 1989, 90, 91& 92. The Inaugural broadcast of Radio Free Speech was in 1993 on 6240khz, and the voice of Radio Free Speech was Bill O. Rights, an extremely pro sounding announcer with what Author, Andy Yoder called, "The perfect voice". The format of Radio Free Speech revolved entirely around the subject of Free Speech. The focus of the programming was on editorials and mailbag programs with Bill. Bill O. Rights would take on an almost professorial role, and lecture on the meaning of the 1st Amendment and why it was so important. But he didn't just limit his focus on "free speech", he'd lecture on all the Amendments in the Bill of Rights and why they were still important to people today. Often he would encourage listeners with "calls to action" to let elected officials know how unhappy they were with the job they were doing. During his "Mailbag" segments, Rights would read letters from listeners and give prizes and special QSLs' for the best letters.
Typically novelty songs were played during the broadcasts, such as, "Black Magic Marker" to the tune of "Black Magic Woman". Its been confirmed that Bill had done all the instruments (drums-guitar-keyboard & vocal backup) and over dubbed himself using a Teac-3340-S, state of the art equipment for the time.
Radio Free Speech had plenty of fake and funny ads, such as; "Lee's Press-On teeth", Iraqi Chiropractic Centers, Park & Learn Community College, Looney Tunes, Frozen Dinners, Died-of-Natural-causes Beef, Sugar Frosted Dead Weasel Puffs, John Mcenroe Tennis Camp and much more. Much of the novelty songs and ads were written and produced by Bill and the commentary were jabs at elected officials and the FCC in particular.
The signal from Radio Free Speech was peculiar. The stations transmitter had a beautiful AM audio, but it was usually only 10-watts. Bill used one of the original "Grenade" transmitters, made by Radio Animal, and counted Radio Animal as a trusted friend. Rights said he had a dipole, cut to frequency and was using Belden 9913 coax, also cut to frequency. Bill seldom used his linear, a Heathkit SB-221, but when he did, he covered the globe, but only did this on very rare occasions.
Bill documented QSL'ing DX'ers in England, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Canada, South America and the United States.
Radio Free Speech was a quick reply to QSL requests an had a number of different QSL's, a regular newsletter, full-sized vinyl bumper stickers and even fluorescent station rulers, (all pictured on this page) and would send out pocket sized copies of the U.S. Constitution with his QSL packages.
In the A*C*E Magazine polls (done yearly) Radio Free Speech was recognized several times by the membership.
1995 Poll: ranked #2 for programming, #1 for technical - overall #2
1996 Poll: ranked #1 for programming, #1 for technical - overall #1
Radio Free Speech used professional microphones, mixers and audio processing and actually had an Opti-Mod hooked up to a Grenade Transmitter for many of its broadcasts. One might say that is overkill but the results were better coverage for the Grenade transmitter.
Bill was a prolific producer of shows, and did over 40 different programs of Radio Free Speech, many of which were relayed by other Pirate Operators for years after Bill hung up his microphone. Bill is still around, and can be found to post on the FRN-Vines, even did a new show in 2009, but for the most part is behind the scenes and is rumored to be helping Commander Bunny with the WBNY station and the Commander Bunny for President Campaign, where he is a trusted adviser.
Radio Free Speech used two maildrops and was very quick in responding to QSL requests from listeners. Bill sent out over 500 QSL's during the mid-90's when he was most active. He used P.O. Box 452 - Wellsville, NY and P.O. Box 109 - Blue Ridge Summit, PA.
The pocket sized rulers of Radio Free Speech, in neon colors, sent to DX'ers