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Inside Politics

Pirate radio calls for inauguration protests

George W. Bush
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An unauthorized radio station in the nation's capital called for "massive protests" in the week leading up to the January 20 presidential inauguration.

The station broadcast Wednesday at 1680 AM and identified itself as "Guerrilla Radio, WSQT."

During the identification message, an announcer said, "WSQT is a project of urban activists in the D.C. area working on housing issues, homeless issues, issues of war, issues of occupation both at home and abroad, and issues of the environment that we all have to live in."

After being tipped by a reporter, an official with the Federal Communications Commission said enforcement investigators will try to pinpoint the transmitter using direction-finding equipment.

A man responding to a request for an interview sent to an e-mail address that had been mentioned on the radio told CNN the station uses a homemade transmitter and a concealed antenna.

"It's about $40 in parts from Radio Shack and the Dumpster," he said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. The caller's voice sounded similar to the voice heard on the broadcasts throughout the day.

Other programming featured rap music with urgent, unsettled lyrics that were generally shouted instead of sung. The station's poor audio quality made the vocalizations nearly unintelligible.

An unidentified announcer said, "It's time to say no to Bush and no to a ban on abortions."

The announcer also called on the Supreme Court justices to "get off your butts" and free people unfairly imprisoned on drug convictions, and further stated that "we know you can hear our signal up there, and all you people in Congress."

There is no authorized radio outlet in the Washington area on the frequency used by the protesters, federal records show.

CNN monitored the signal on a conventional car radio as far away as the Maryland suburbs, about 10 miles from downtown Washington.

An FCC monitoring station is within reception range of the signal, the agency official said.

Day of demonstrations planned

A number of anti-Bush groups have planned protests around Inauguration Day.

Organized events range from demonstrators turning their backs on President Bush to war protests.

The anti-war, anti-racism group known as ANSWER has announced a demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue as the president travels from the U.S. Capitol to the White House.

A statement at calls for participants to claim spots by 9 a.m.

Another group has urged demonstrators to come to the official public ceremonies and then, at a set time, to turn their backs collectively on the president. The group is organizing on the Web at

A third group,, seeks to focus attention on perceived voting irregularities in the November election.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report.

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