Pirate Cat Radio Sinks Following 'Ownership Dispute'

Categories: Media

alfred-pearse-making-their-captives-walk-the-plank-is-a-favourite-pastime-of-pirates.jpg
Arrrrgh. These be difficult times for pirate radio.
​At Pirate Cat Radio, every day is Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Sadly, however, since Feb. 13, every day at Pirate Cat Radio has essentially been Don't Talk At All Day. Moments after DJs at the station broached the query of who, exactly, owns Pirate Cat Radio -- and where their monthly dues payments are going -- they claim founder Daniel "Monkey" Roberts abruptly pulled the plug on the station.

DJs have no idea if they're still staffers -- or if the station even still exists -- following the abortive staff meeting they say inspired Roberts to scuttle the ship.

The impasse began in November when Roberts brought in an outside investor who answered a "Wanna Buy Pirate Cat Radio?" ad on Craigslist. But while that investor -- who declined to be interviewed -- claims he now owns 80 percent of the station, Roberts told staff he'd sold only the controlling interest in the Pirate Cat Radio Cafe. The station, Roberts told his staffers, had actually been sold in August, to a nonprofit that controls Pescadero's KPDO 89.3 FM. Roberts runs that station; his revival of it was the subject of an SF Weekly cover story last year (The Radio Pirate Goes Legit, Ashley Harrell, 5/26/10).

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Jamie Soja
Daniel 'Monkey' Roberts has left the building
​Complicating matters further, while staffers were instructed to pay their $30 monthly dues to the new investor in December, in January they were instead told to deposit the loot in a bank account for the Pescadero nonprofit -- controlled by Roberts. That started "a discussion about where exactly the money was going," DJ Green Ego says. Adds DJ Patrick "Nylon" Simms, "We don't know. We're in the dark. We're trying to get some answers."

That'll be a challenge -- because no one seems to know where Roberts is. None of the Pirate Cat staffers has seen him since the holidays. KPDO DJs haven't seen him for more than a month. His lawyer, Michael Couzens, says Roberts told him on Feb. 16 that he was in the United Kingdom. His Facebook page lists his home city as Moscow. He was attending the Feb. 13 Pirate Cat meeting via Skype, and a KPDO DJ says Roberts has been running the station via daily calls to an assistant from parts unknown. Messages left for Roberts were not returned as of press time. He told Mission Local Pirate Cat is "closed for now."

With Pirate Cat Radio offline, the DJs didn't pay Roberts any dues this month. Instead, they used the money to kickstart what they're calling the PCR Collective (http://pcrcollective.org), which broadcasts out of the Pirate Cat Radio Cafe. "We're trying to continue on," Simms says. "It is too important to us."

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Long94102
Long94102

INTERESTING ABOUT DANIEL. I WONDER IF HE MADE UP THE STORY ABOUT THE FCC AND THE  $10,000 FINE.  I KNOW THE MONEY TO PAY THE SO-CALLED FINE FOR HAVING HAVING SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE ON THE WAS SENT DIRECTLY TO HIS PAYPAL ACCOUNT.

ZeroChromeX
ZeroChromeX

That jackass Monkey has a long history is misrepresentation, misappropriation of funds, outright theft and profound assholism.

MOnkey
MOnkey

Press ReleaseFrom Monkey ManPirate Cat Radio, KPDO, Pirate Cat CafeEmail: Monkey@piratecatradio.com In order to clear up any misunderstandings, I am taking this opportunity to explain the events of the past several months. I know that it’s extremely confusing to figure out what has been going on behind the scenes, so I hope this will clarify my position. Pirate Cat CafeIn November 2010 in order to raise some money for various radio projects, I sold 80% interest in the profit-making business, “Pirate Cat Radio and Café”. The legal name appears to be misleading because it represents the café commercial business only, and not the Pirate Cat Radio non-profit web streaming operation. Pirate Cat RadioEarlier, in August 2010, I transferred Pirate Cat Radio, the web streaming operation, to the Pescadero Public Radio Service (PPRS) not-for-profit foundation, which is the owner of KPDO, the radio station in Pescadero. I did this because of several reasons:The Pirate Cat Radio web streaming operation (PCR) was designed to be a non-profit community service, not a money-making company. PPRS is a not-for-profit corporation. Both PCR and KPDO have identical missions and similar programming formats. I felt it was only natural to merge PCR into PPRS.Second, in order to get a good change of streaming on channels such as XM or Sirius, it was necessary to have a not-for-profit corporation, not an individual, running PCR. Rather than setting up a new corporation and organize another board of directors, it was easier and cheaper to merge PCR into PPRS. This is not an unusual act. For example, in recent years, KQED, Inc merged San Jose’s KTEH into its operation. Pirate Cat Radio's operations have been officially suspended for the interim. Despite the station being off-line, plans are already in effect to open 3 new Pirate Cat Radio locations in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles by the start of 2012. Unfortunately the Pirate Cat Radio logo and brand has been misappropriate since the stations suspension. Usage of the Pirate Cat Radio brand and logos are not allowed without prior consent. Cease and desist letters are to be issued to those misusing the Pirate Cat Radio brand and legal actions will follow if usage is not immediately discontinued. KPDOKPDO continues to operate daily with a staff of volunteers in Pescadero. The day-to-day operation is being overseen by interim manager Shannon Bowman-Sarkisian. In the past year I transformed this dormant station in to a thriving place for shared community thoughts, education and music. I have raised funds for the purchase of a professional studio for the KPDO operation; laid the ground work for a teenage media education program at Pescadero High School. I have also worked with the non-profit organisation, Common Frequency, in order to buy a new license and frequency for KPDO and made several upgrades to KPDO transmitting facility so that it can serve a larger area and serve its own area with a stronger signal. During this time I have fallen in love with the South Coast and the people of Pescadero. I have invested my own money and work in developing KPDO, and I plan to continue running KPDO when I return fromEurope. European TripDuring the past 6 months the stress of my work, fundraising for KPDO, and personal financial problems unfortunately caused a rift between me and those close to me. This has resulted in some personal complications and required me to go to Europe to get things in order. During this time I have been working on various radio and media projects through out Europe. I have every intention of returning from Europe in 2011 when my affairs are in order, and resume my activities with KPDO, community radio, etc. InquiriesLegal inquiries about the Pirate Cat Café, the former Pirate Cat Radio, and KPDO are being handled by my attorney, Michael Couzens. Thank you for your understanding at this stressful time. It has been a long road building Pirate Cat Radio, the café, and restoring KPDO to the air. I hope to continue bringing community radio to the people of the Bay Area and beyond when I get back.

Ezgomed
Ezgomed

Funny how people stopped making accusations and talking trash after this letter was posted, hats off to Monkey for doing all he has done (whether or not some people don't like him, he has done more than most anyone on the planet to provide an alternative to corporate FCC regulated radio).

T. Wood
T. Wood

There seems to be an awful lot of past PC DJs putting in their two cents. I haven't got anything to say that's worth quite that much but I'll throw in this much. Monkey was bold and he was a leader. He was also brash and juvenile at times. As for transparency, there was none in my time there. You assumed there were costs and you assumed you were helping with them, and that seemed fair enough. Nobody was getting rich and three of us were being heard.

Patrick
Patrick

Sebal, you or anyone interested can apply to have your own show. Cost is $30 a month. We don't discriminate against age, sex, religious views or education. Most of us are doing this for the love of radio, not because we think this is a career move. Yes, there are people here who have been in the business. As for the Hippie factor - we love our little Wookie faced Diamond Dave Whitaker and his Friday afternoon show, which brings out 30 or more people at a time to perform songs, poetry, tell stories or just be interviewed about about current events. PS

JspiderSF
JspiderSF

Looks like the PCR Collective webstream is up and running:http://199.16.186.42:8567/pcr.m3u

And seriously people, there's no need for hating or false competition between San Francisco radio stations. How many bullshit corporate FCC-licensed stations are there polluting our airwaves? There's room in SF for at least that many quality, community stations. Pirate Cat Radio/PCR Collective, Radio Valencia, KUSF, KPOO, Western Addition Radio (are they still around?), Bagel Radio, KALX, KFJC, KZSU. When I'm president, I'll revoke all of Clear Channel's FCC licenses and put all of those stations on Sutro tower and blast them at 50 kilowatts. But until that happens, I bounce around between all of their web streams, and I'm almost guaranteed to hear something new and awesome.

So write your letter to the FCC to save KUSF (THE DEADLINE IS FRIDAY!!!) and go buy a latte (with or without bacon) at the Pirate Cat cafe and do whatever else you can to support local, community radio.

HouseGuest
HouseGuest

Sebal's typos are reminiscent of Monkey's.

HouseGuest
HouseGuest

Sebal also seems to know that Juan is Juan the Comedian...a DJ who Monkey fired.

Sebal
Sebal

Really Juan the Comedian? is that why you are rolling around the station again after being dumped from the station?

Sebal
Sebal

PCR Collective?? Why not just CR Collective. There is not a "Pirate" left at that station. Love or hate Monkey, at least he had the balls, for a while, to but heads with the FCC. All the good shows have left PCR, and this whole "collective" thing is nothing more than a few amateur hippies trying to give themselves some relevancy and radio cred. If they were really into community radio and a fresh start, then why not break all ties from PCR? Get rid of the facebook page that says 87.9 pirate cat radio, and quit mentioning Pirate Cat Radio in all your updates. Face it, even without Monkey around, you are still riding his coat tails, pathetic. We need someone to stand up and start a "real" pirate radio station.

Juan
Juan

Sebal - Why is it that your spelling and punctuation errors are exactly the same as the ones Monkey makes?

Miz D
Miz D

I don't know who you are, but as a past PCR DJ, There are a lot of wonderful people working their ass off to keep this group of talented people together. All but two of my favorite shows are still at PCR, thank god! PCR gave a few other stations the incentive to start their own thing, and even though the reasons behind this were a general distaste for Monkey, the result has been good, and I am proud of my friends at PCR that persevere... Good job Pirate Catters!! San Francisco needs you!

Gadja
Gadja

Seriously Sebal? You are so miserable that you have to hate on a radio station that's a week and half old? How do you know what PCR Collective is made of? Just wait.

Raj
Raj

I second that, Sebal. Monkey did paint a big target on his chest and did not hide from the FCC. I'm not saying I'm a fan of Monkey. But being a former DJ for over 2 years at PCR, I can assure you no one there now would put their name on the line. But hey, to each their own. They can record their podcasts, and chat with their one caller Sweet Gail, it's not like it really makes a difference here in the city.

saveKUSF
saveKUSF

I totally agree sebal! Lately pirate cat has been nothing more than a training ground. The good dj's move on to better stations, the bad ones get canned, and the mediocre ones stay on. If you're going to take up a fight, fight for stations like KUSF. Pirate cat is like that pair of ugg boots. Throw them in the back of the closet, they ain't cool no mo!

asfd
asfd

Really there seem to be a lot of misinformation going on. You guys don't really know where the antenna was, or if it was in fact monkey now do you? You know that monkey put his name all over the place, but was he really the one doing all the grunt work and getting ALL the notices from the FCC? Do you know that enough to make such claims?And perhaps all the 'better' DJs move along because of personal conflict with Monkey himself? Or were you too busy defending his honor to think of that? Or maybe Monkey himself canned the good ones?I mean, really what do you know about who is running the station and who's doing what? Or why call it PCR Collective v. Pirate Cat Radio?Regarding the logo, that is a Petco advertisement that apparently was the source of the Pirate Cat logo. You wanna defend monkey on that one too? for really "stickin it to the man" by ripping off a petco product?Also, totally agree, save KUSF!

saveKUSF
saveKUSF

and what the hell is up with that new logo?? Bwahahah! What are they opening a hallmark store for cat lovers? too funny!

Juan
Juan

You are clearly bitter about something and have no clue what you are talking about.

njudah
njudah

Why is it that these "alternative" broadcasters always seem to be plagued by some of the most bitter and angry and divisive fights? KPFA is a war zone between factions and management, now Pirate Cat Radio seems to be under a cloud, and the Guardian is anti-union. How progressive.

Juan
Juan

Pirate Cat Radio and Cafe are most certainly not "closed for now", I was in there only today (Monday Feb 21st) and both were definitely running and open.

Canary
Canary

Daniel Roberts does not own KPDO, nor did he pay for it, he manages it.

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