Microradio Autonomous Zone Array

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Ryan Gilbert
jonathan jay
Radio X

As we strive for democracy in our current local, national, and global society, our communications mediums are hindered by a wide range of corruption, inaccessibility, and domination of resources. One key communications medium, the air, has been licensed to an elite few. Corporate consolidation in radio ownership and intimidation by the FCC have helped disempower the public from utilizing this communications medium.


Local communities can establish Microradio Autonomous Zones, networks of micro FM transmitters that bind people through critical action and self-expression for democratic media.


Circumvention of the corporate-controlled media is necessary to create healthy and democratically capable communities. In circumventing corporate control of the airwaves, Microradio Autonomous Zone Arrays (MAZAs) can be established. A MAZ is created with an unlicensed radio transmitter and antenna delivering ten or less watts of power discreetely to a targeted neighborhood. Linking these nodes together creates an Array. This link can be provided by a CAMPFIRE or other internet broadcasting forum (see CAMPFIRE pattern #303).
The FM nodes broadcast this feed individually to targeted areas using ten or less watts. These low power levels make each node less likely to be discovered by the FCC, since they are each discreetely delivering service to specific neighborhoods rather than one high-powered transmitter. Multiple transmitters also provide safety in numbers to each individual broadcaster, as it is unlikely that everyone will get busted simultaneously. If one transmitter is shut down, the remaining transmitters can continue broadcasting.
To further reduce individual risk while increasing community involvement, each transmitter can be shifted to a new location on a monthly basis, establishing a network of dedicated listening houses. Listening houses unite community members through discussion of local issues and critical feedback of community-produced media.


Once two or more nodes are circulating within the community, a MAZ Array (MAZA) has been formed. The MAZA possesses the ability to form a significant alternative network to the mainstream media, bolstered by community expresssion and collaboration. The MAZA is a community information network that the undemocratic regulatory bodies are incapable of successfully regulating. Through direct access and collaboration, it provides an accountable media forum that will grow as it brings voices to the voiceless.

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