|BY SANDY WELLS
Imagine starting a radio station in your apartment for an initial investment of $1,500 and keeping it running for about $200 per month. That's what Page Jarret did for three years until the FCC shut down her illegal Silver Lake station, KBLT 104.7 FM, Oct. 30.
"The FCC turned off the transmitter," Jarret said. "I went down [to thesite] and there they were. They gave me the option of giving them the equipment - and they'd give me a receipt for it - or they said, 'We can fine you for 11 grand.' "
After going off the air for two and a half months this summer, KBLT came back stronger than ever. The power was less than half of what it had been before, but with the eight-watt transmitter on top of a tall officebuilding on Sunset Boulevard, the FM signal reached out twice as far.
According to the 31-year-old pirate broadcaster, the station attracted a large following among local merchants and was often heard in bookstores and coffee shops. A staff of more than 90 volunteer DJs kept the varied diet of music, from Coltrane to Dylan to Mel Sharpe's comedy records and numerous obscure oddities flowing from the home-built studio.
"That's the great thing about it," said Jarret, who slept at her boyfriend's apartment while the all-night shows broadcast out of her living room. "People have these awesome record collections. People were able to share their knowledge with the community."
The higher power may have been the last straw for the FCC. Jarret isn't sure who filed the complaint about their broadcast. But she knew the end was near when the students who ran USC's pirate station, KSCR (also at 104.7 FM), called her in October to report that the FCC had pulled the plug on their operation.
"I'm sure we could have been supported by advertisers," she said, explaining that it was never a money-driven venture. "This was really about the music. It's satisfaction of the soul."Jarret, who makes a living as a freelance writer and a motorcycle driving instructor, said she has no immediate plans to continue her broadcasting career.