Bootleg Radio . . . a true story

...on Saint Patrick's Day

The front-page headline of the March 19, 1972, edition of the Indianapolis Star screamed UNDERGROUND STATION RAIDED: Radio Free Naptown Off The Air. The late night March 17th discovery by the FCC heralded the end of a unique enterprise in Indianapolis radio. Saturday morning March 18th, amid the confusion of the FBI, FCC, U.S. Marshals, and 10 Indianapolis police cars, Assistant United States Attorney John Hirschman was overheard to say "It looks like we have the whole thing at last."

So, it came as no surprise that on March 24, 1972, one week after the raid that got "the whole thing at last," the real closure of RFN at the hands of the FCC and U.S. Marshals occurred. The headline in the March 25th addition of the Indianapolis Star read 'Radio Naptown' In Ripple Raided.

The real end of Radio Free Naptown came much as it had lived: with the full knowledge of RFN and one step ahead of the Feds! The raid at the Broad Ripple house netted neither bootleg radio equipment nor illegal transmitter. The authorities were given a tour of several empty basement rooms where Radio Free Naptown had been located for the past several years.

August 1973
Federal Judge S. Hugh Dillin accepted a "No Contest" plea from those charged with operating the unlicensed radio station Radio Free Naptown. All were fined. This court action was the first FCC court action against illegal broadcasters in decades and would remain so until the 1990's.

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