Freedom Network: Radio for Militias
In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in May 1995, the Federal Communications Commission started taking a closer look at the American Freedom Network, which has been broadcasting on shortwave radio since February 1993.The FCC was concerned that the Freedom Network's programs, which feature commentators and listeners calling in and discussing citizen militia groups and the Patriot Movement, were in some way advocating violence and destruction along the lines of what happened in Oklahoma City.The Freedom Network, like most Patriot and militia groups, leans far enough to the right to bury the needle on any political meter, but their shows do not advocate violence.The network's commentators are extremely frustrated with the United States government and liberals, which they not-so-lovingly refer to as the "Clinton-ista," (in a word-play on the leftist Sandinista rebels of Nicaragua) but their main interest, as the commercials on the shows reflect, is survival and in some cases they show a surprising amount of tolerance. The FCC, which has the power to pull the plug, allows the Freedom Network to continue to broadcast.For people with shortwave radios this is an opportunity to hear some of the human voices behind the Patriot Movement. If you do not own one, quality compact shortwave radios can be had cheaply at Radio Shack or through most any electronics catalog.TUNING INThe Freedom Network originates from Johnson Village, high up in the Rocky Mountains, about 120 miles west of Colorado Springs, a hotbed of the Patriot Movement.Thus far, the Network is perhaps best known for the broadcasts of "Mark of Michigan" Koernke, one of the founders of the Michigan Militia in 1994, who was the target of media scrutiny following the Oklahoma City Bombing in April, 1995.The Freedom Network is carried by the World Wide Christian Network, based in Nashville, Tenn. "Mark of Michigan's" show got the ax from WWCN in the wake of the OK Bombing as being perhaps too hot to handle.The World Wide Christian Network is one of the only commercial shortwave shows in the country. Besides its far-right slant, it also offers a country music show and Shalom, America: a Jewish music show on Sundays, sponsored by a California record store that has the world's largest collection of klezmer -- the equivalent of Jewish polka music.THE HOST WITH THE MOSTThe Norm Resnick show can be heard on the Freedom Network from 5-6 p.m. on 9.475 MHz and from 6-7 p.m. on 7.435 MHz, Monday through Friday.Recently, Resnick has been spending a lot of time on his show helping one of his sponsors, The Patriot Trading Company, sell their products, which are gold and silver coins -- the kind of currency that will maintain its worth in what survivalists consider to be a collapsing American economy.When a caller, Chris from Virginia, mentions that pennies are no longer made out of copper, it gets Norm started."If you drill a hole through a Susan B. Anthony silver dollar, you know what you would find?" Norm asks rhetorically. "You ain't going to find no silver. And that is what I don't understand, if I sold silver that wasn't silver I would go to jail. Like 2-5 (years). Now here the post office has them for sale on their reader board -- it says Silver! I mean how do they get away with it?"Eric, who is on hand from the Patriot Trading Company agrees wholeheartedly. "You know it is a double standard and the only reason they get away with it is the propaganda machine and people swallow it, hook, line and sinker!"Norm has a solution: "Go to your post office and see if they have a Susan B. Anthony dispensing machine. Maybe we can start something here," he says, as his thoughts accelerate. "Maybe we can file suit against the post office for false advertising or something. Maybe we can lock them up for a change!"The true content of our coins might not be the country's most pressing problem, but it is impressive that someone cares, and comes as a relief that these Patriots would still consider legal means.SURVIVALIST HUMORAll of the callers on the Norm Resnick show share the host's frustration with the government, but are not devoid of humor, and often give the impression of being part of supportive community. A man from Montana says, "Any day above ground is a good one," and when Norm asks a caller from Colorado how he is doing, "Survivin'," he says, fully aware of the double meaning.LEND A HANDNorm ends his show with a plea for support that is decidedly one-sided but still refreshing. In a way it is almost conciliatory."Folks if you really despise what we are doing, there is Jane Fonda, Ted Turner and CNN, there's lots of places you could support. If you want to support us, we stay on the air. If you don't support us, we'll be gone and you will have to depend on Dan Blather for your information."From 7-8 p.m. is the Michael Brown Show. From 8-9 is the Law Loft program with Susan Harris and Peter Ludwell, the American Freedom Network's version of Regis and Kathy Lee. Both shows are also on 7.435 MHz on your shortwave dial and both concentrate on legal issues.SNOOZE CONTROLMichael Brown covers the history, evolution and the what he considers the eventual abuses of the Grand Jury system in American law and has not deviated from this topic in almost a week. He is even aware how he might be trying the listeners patience and often says things such as "Bear with me just a little bit longer," and "I know you are tired of hearing about it but..." His main point is the Grand Jury system is only accountable to itself and this is not how it was originally meant to be.It did get a little bit more interesting when he offered a reconditioned Harley-Davison motor to the first person that could send to him a description of how to sue the U.S. Supreme Court, printed on a congressman's stationary. He even offered to service the motor if there were any problems.The Law Loft program features commentary from lawyer Susan Harris with an occasional aside from her partner Peter Ludwell. With an obvious slant to the right, they discuss whatever the current legislation is before Congress.Like the Michael Brown Show, they get bogged down in the details and have few callers contributing to the show to spice things up. Neither Law Loft or the Michael Brown Show were as interesting or as lively as the Norm Resnick Show.AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS:Although all the shows are accompanied by the usual, "The views of the hosts and callers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the advertisers," the collection of ads have a distinct emphasis on survival and protection that will not be found anywhere else on a radio station.One commercial was for the Volcano Stove that with 25 charcoal briquettes can cook two meals a day for two weeks for 12 people. Another offers The White Night 323 Binoculars with infrared emitter that allows you to see things in the dark "whether you are checking out your neighborhood for your neighborhood watch group or checking out a prowler around your house."There is also an ad for The Mainstay Power Bar. It has a shelf life of 5 years and able to withstand extreme temperatures from -40 degrees below zero to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and has a pleasant vanilla flavor.There is a 10% discount on these products to subscribers of the American Freedom Network magazine.SIDEBAR ONEA SHOPPING GUIDE FOR SURVIVALISTS:Shopping for that hard-to-buy-for survivalist in your family? Relax, the Freedom Network's advertisers have plenty of suggestions.Besides the night-vision binoculars, power bars and Volcano stove mentioned below, you might try the following from advertisers:* Books exposing the "New World Order," and its one-world government plot, with titles such as The Planned Destruction of America -- Overcoming the Lies. Also advertised are survival guides and a book on alternative medicine for when society collapses.* A year's supply of food for $700. Perfect for your bomb shelter or wilderness retreat.* Videos such as America in Peril with graphic footage of the Waco massacre.* Backpacks & sleeping bags.* Shortwave radios to keep in touch with fellow survivalists.