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Vancouver pirate radio shut down

The pirate radio signal, 91.5 FM, that began streaming from VIVO Media Arts on the eve of the Chinese New Year, has been shut down by Industry Canada after less than 24 hours of broadcast time.

"They gave us the standard line," says Alex Muir of Soundscapes Co-Op radio. "Proximity of the FM band to air traffic . . . [they must] verify that the signal is consistent and not impinging on another signal."

Muir explains that Industry Canada officers dressed in Olympics clothing arrived to inspect the technology and serve a written warning, as it is their mandate to handle technical areas of broadcasting, while the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission handles content.

Muir complied with requests to show the low-range transmitter, and offered photocopies of the technical specifications, as he didn't intend to jeopardize VIVO's reputation for a few days of radio. "They suggested that if we did continue, we would face a fine, around $25,000 per day."

The range of the radio signal was about six kilometers, but the pirate station did not have the necessary permits to broadcast.

Currently, Pivot legal society is assisting the station in their efforts to get back on the air, but Muir mentions that they have an incredible workload right now and the station will likely remain a low priority.

The show will continue, nevertheless, online, at

"It's quite disappointing," says Muir. "There are fundamental differences in the form . . . [online broadcasting] doesn't have the same civic presence [as radio]." He regrets soliciting some of the content, as many of the speakers have prepared extensive materials for the show.

Still, listeners are increasing regardless of the medium, says Muir, and the schedule of shows and speakers will continue.

Details about the anchor broadcast, The Evening News, can be found at

Kevin Murray is covering the Olympics as part of his practicum at The Tyee.

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