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Radio Free America - Key Dates

5th July 1973

The FCC, frustrated by Carl McIntire's continued flouting of the fairness rule decided to close both his WXUR radio stations, ostensibly for failing to keep regular station logs.

28th August 1973

The Columbus took up position in international waters off Cape May, New Jersey.

12th September 1973

Shortly before midnight a test carrier signal was transmitted from the Columbus.

13th September 1973

Just after 1.30am the first music was broadcast from Radio Free America. However, this test transmission only lasted half an hour due to technical problems with equipment which caused a fire on the ship.

14th September 1973

The Columbus  broke from her anchor and was forced to enter port for repairs and to have a new anchor installed.

15th September 1973

Although the new anchor could not be fitted immediately the Columbus left port  and sailed into international waters along the New Jersey coast.

16th September 1973

Radio Free America made a further four hour test broadcast while the ship was sailing up and down the coastline  during the early morning. Later that same day the Columbus  entered port to have her new anchor fitted .

19th September 1973

With a new anchor installed the Columbus was back at sea again transmitting programmes for Radio Free America - official programmes started at 12.23pm.

A few hours after official programmes had started the FCC announced that they had received a complaint of interference from station WHLW in Lakewood, New Jersey. There were also technical problems which were threatening to cause a fire on the deck of the wooden hulled Columbus.  As he wanted to avoid any  suggestion that his offshore station was  causing interference to any other broadcaster Carl McIntire closed Radio Free America at 10.15pm.

20th September 1973

Following an application by the FCC, a Federal Court in Camden, New Jersey issued a temporary Restriction Order prohibiting Radio Free America from transmitting again.

22nd February 1974

The temporary Restriction Order on Radio Free America was made permanent.

1974

1973

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